In the olden days of modern civilized society, they used to persecute witches and kill them via various means. Remember the Salem Witch Trials in early America?
A looser interpretation of this type of persecution is that the authorities used the term "witch" especially towards those women who behaved in a more powerful manner than that society felt was appropriate. It was (and is) a way for those in charge to keep women in their place by threatening them with punishment. One would have hoped that this type of repression is long over. But apparantly not.
While it is hard to believe, there are places today that continue to persecute witches and people (especially women) who are deemed powerful or different from strict established modes of behavior. Prior posts on this blog report on recent witch round-up, trials and punishments in Africa
And now, in the morass that is Gaza in the Mideast, those labeled as witches are being arrested and even killed as late as 2011. It seems that Hamas leaders have arrested 150 women in 2010 in Gaza for the crime of practicing witchcraft. It was stated that the activities of these women represent a real social danger because they risk ''breaking up families,'' causing divorce and frittering away of money. One awareness campaign against ''the witches'' was launched using large posters in mosques, universities and public offices frequented by women. One woman, 62-year-old Jabryieh Abu Ghanas, was charged with creating ''voodoo dolls'' and was shot dead in a street in the centre of Gaza.
It is clear from the recent uprisings in the Mideast that there is a real thrist for democracy. And that also means equal rights and fair treatment under the law. Let us hope that persecutions of this type (and of all other types) stop soon.