An article this morning describes an increase in mob killings of sorcerers in Cambodia.
The article is interesting, and grisly, because it provides some insights into this behavior as well as insights into Cambodian society.
One explanation for the murders:
“I think these killings have more to do with Cambodians’ perceived lack of agency in their own lives than with increased sentiment against people who claim supernatural abilities. And mob-think can be very powerful, especially in a country with so little effective governance.” (Cambodians are increasingly being executed for sorcery)
Reading that made me wonder if we Americans are all that much different when it comes to “terrorists” or our perceived “enemies,” in Ukraine or anywhere else in the world.
Most Americans oppose most wars unless there is a trumped-up threat accompanied by the “sorcery” of important people lying about that threat (run-up to Iraq war, Vietnam, etc.). At such times, and especially as the economy worsens, our “perceived lack of agency in our own lives” leads us into “mob-think.”
“Governance” in our country is very “effective” at inciting “mob-think” against terrorists and enemies, though it is, similar to Cambodia, generally highly ineffective at governing according to sound ethical principles or social ones that benefit the public.
The Vietnam War is an example of how we used sorcery at home to kill millions of innocent “enemies” in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Our government’s support for the bombing in Gaza today is another example,
It’s a small stretch to see our large public space as a macrocosm of village life in Cambodia where sorcerers are singled out for blame and murder. The semiotics are remarkably similar, though our death tolls are massively higher.