Infanticide


Indigenous Infanticide.jpg

Photo credit: musikeiroscia.blogspot.com.br/2010/11/hakani-mais-uma-enterrada-viva.htmlThe sound of

The sound of
a little voice
Crying
from beneath the earth.
Why was he there?
He’d done nothing wrong.
What was his crime?
Born undesirable.
Capital punishment
His sentence

NO

It should not be so.

I will open my mouth for these babies
For the rights of these little unfortunate ones.
I will open my mouth and judge righteously
And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy

Copyright: Staci Lys 2007

What is infanticide?

“The popular expression used to refer to the murder of unwanted children, the term infanticide takes us back to a problem as old as humanity itself, registered all over the world throughout history.

“Every year, hundreds of indigenous children are buried alive, suffocated with leaves, poisoned or left to die in the forest. Dedicated mothers are many times forced by cultural traditions to give up their children. Some prefer suicide to this.

There are many reasons that lead to the children’s deaths. Those with physical or mental deficiencies are killed, as well as twins, children born out of wedlock or considered to be bearers of bad luck for the community. In some communities, the mother may kill a newborn baby, if she is still breastfeeding another or if the sex of the baby wasn’t what was expected. For some tribes the birth of twins or children with abnormalities indicates that the mother was promiscuous during her pregnancy. She is punished and her children are buried alive.” http://www.hakani.org/en/what_is_infanticide.asp

The following short documentary is one of the first produced by my husband, Daniel Silva. It is an interview with Marcia Suzuki, linguist that works with indigenous tribes in the Brazilian Amazon. She speaks of her experiences, and of the new and old anthropological ideas concerning infanticide and the cultural impact that it has on the indigenous cultures.

What are your thoughts about indigenous infanticide?  Do you think that these communities should be tolerated as a respect for cultural tradition and indigenous worldview? Do you think these babies and young children (even as old as 15) have the right to keep their lives?

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14 thoughts on “Infanticide

  1. God bless you Staci, and Daniel, Caue and Hannah. Glad we weren’t buried in leaves and left for dead. So glad we were rescued.

    • Heyyyyyy Rob, I’ve been thinking of you these days. Haven’t heard from you in a while. So glad to see you around here.
      Blessings =)
      Staci

    • Hey, that’s great Celeste. Ya, actually we met the little girl that the woman in the interview was talking about. She just simply had a hormonal deficiency, that after treating it in the city, she started growing properly. She’s healthy, happy, chubby, nothing like what she was when Marcia (the interviewee) took her in her care.
      Thanks Celeste.
      =)

  2. A powerful documentary.

    As you know, I work with people with disabilities on a daily basis and so my opinion is that everyone has a right to life no matter their abilities or disabilities. I am so happy that the little girl was given a chance and that the people of her community realized that being different is not a reason for them to play God with the lives of these innocent children. Through understanding comes acceptance.

    • I definitely agree. Everyone has the right to life. Unfortunately, because of animistic cultural beliefs, indigenous worldviews, and survival purposes, this is a reality amongst the many tribal peoples of Brazil.
      “Even though infanticide is a violation of human rights,it ends up being tolerated by the official agencies, under the politics of not interfering in the culture.” (http://voiceforlifewhoweare.blogspot.com.br/)
      We work with an agency called, “Youth With A Mission” which is one of the largest international, interdenominational mission’s organization worldwide. The founder of this organization is a Hollywood producer and he came with a team to Brazil to produce a film showing what it would be like to actually witness this in an indigenous community. If you would like to watch the trailer, you can do so here: http://www.hakani.org/en/synopsis.asp.
      Blessings Heather =)

  3. Thank you for sharing the video, Staci…. To answer your question, infanticide should never be tolerated. The casual murder of the innocents, and our observation of it, is an indictment on the human race. The most precious commodity we have are the children of the world.

    • I know. It’s really sad. Unfortunately, there are some world views that thoroughly believe in this, such as many different Brazilian indigenous animistic views. Sometimes the babies or children are seen as a curse or threat to the tribe. Sometimes it’s just for general survival. Whatever it may be, there are authorities that allow it (or should I say overlook it) because of the fear of infringing on culture. Many mothers end up committing suicide or even leaving their village because they can’t bear it. It’s a huge issue and there’s so much involved.
      Blessings =)

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