Mingi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Mingi is the traditional belief among the Omotic-speaking Karo and Hamar tribes in southern Ethiopia that adults and children with physical abnormalities are ritually impure.[1][2] The latter are believed to exert an evil influence upon others, so disabled infants have traditionally been disposed of without a proper burial.[1] The Karo officially banned the practice in July 2012, while around 50,000 individuals secretly continue to practice it in other Omotic communities.[3]

Overview[edit]

Among the Karo and Hamar, physically deformed or mingi individuals have traditionally considered to exert an evil influence upon others, so disabled infants have traditionally been disposed of without a proper burial.[1] Such a child was historically killed by forced permanent separation from the tribe by being left alone in the jungle or by drowning in the river.[4][5][6]

Reasons for being declared impure include birth out of wedlock, the birth of twins, the eruption of teeth in the upper jaw before the lower jaw, and chipping a tooth in childhood.[7][8] Some who were separated have been reported to shadow the tribe at a distance until eventually succumbing to hunger or predators.[4]

A feature story in 2011 points out that there has been a dearth of academic scholarship on the subject, but "some observers have speculated that it might have started many generations ago as a way to purge people who are more likely to become a burden or who cannot contribute to the propagation of their people."[6]

The Karo officially banned the practice in July 2012, while around 50,000 individuals secretly continue to practice it in other Omotic communities.[3]

In 2008, Karo tribesman Lale Lubuko began rescuing children deemed "mingi." The 2011 award winning documentary film Drawn From Water chronicles Mr. Labuko's early mingi rescue activities.[9] Together with California filmmaker and photographer John Rowe, Mr. Lubuko founded Labuko's Omo Child Organization. To date, 37 children ages 1–11 have been rescued. The children live in a home built with the help of John Rowe.[10][11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Petros, Gezahegn (2000). The Karo of the lower Omo Valley: subsistence, social organisation and relations with neighbouring groups. Dept. of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Administration, Addis Ababa University. p. 57. 
  2. ^ Strecker, Ivo. Do the Hamar have a Concept of Honor?, University of Mainz,
  3. ^ a b "Lale Labuko". nationalgeographic.com. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b The Hamar and Karo Tribes: The Search for Mingi http://ffh.films.com/id/1572/The_Hamar_and_Karo_Tribes_The_Search_for_Mingi.htm
  5. ^ Taboo, Episode 2: Skin Deep, National Geographic. Video.nationalgeographic.com. Retrieved on 2014-02-07.
  6. ^ a b LaPlante, Matthew D. (2011-05-11) Is the tide turning against the killing of 'cursed' infants in Ethiopia? CNN
  7. ^ [The Hamar] believe that evil and bad luck (mingi) exists in certain unholy or impure things. Twins, a child born out of wedlock, a child born with a cleft lip or palate, and children, whose upper milk teeth come before their lower ones, are considered to possess 'mingi and for this reason, they are thrown into the forest to die. [1]
  8. ^ Emnet's Story... ebenezerethiopia.blogspot.com (2010-01-03)
  9. ^ Drawn From Water Film, Compathos Foundation (2014-04-23)
  10. ^ Lale Labuko, Humanitarian Information, Facts, News, Photos. National Geographic (2014-02-02). Retrieved on 2014-02-07.
  11. ^ Video – NG Live!: Lale Labuko: Rescuing Children of the Omo. Video.nationalgeographic.com. Retrieved on 2014-02-07.