Obeah In The Caribbea

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Obeah, identified as one of the oldest of all African religions in the Caribbean, extracted its name from the Ashanti words “Obay-ifo” or “Obeye”, meaning wizard or witch. Their beliefs are affiliated with the acknowledgment of one’s ability to use certain spirits for specific purposes, such as witchcraft, sorcery, and magic. For two centuries, the British outlawed Obeah and used the term to describe all slave acts and practices that were considered supernatural or immoral behaviors, such as rituals and amulets (Religion and Resistance). Obeah during the seventeenth century was certainly a popular weapon in the fight against the enslavement of Africans in Jamaica. Jamaicans, Anglophone Caribbean, hold their spiritual and religious characteristic…show more content…
“The fact that obeah had been constructed as a crime rather than simply an aspect of Caribbean religion or culture allowed it to become a central means of stigmatizing— and often of continuing to criminalize—much of the religious practice of Caribbean working people” (Paton 237). Obeah throughout history had been seen as negative, thus, remain as the concrete view of the religion. Although Obeah is recognized for its implement of witchcraft, sorcery, and magic. Essentially, “Afro-Caribbean people regarded obeah as effi- cacious for protection and healing, but administrators and elites used anti-obeah legislation to reinforce the power of the ruling classes” (Handler 4). Though Obeah like other religions has choices, an individual can choose either to dedicate themselves to do what is good or bad. However, often does that choose to do what is bad is highly likely to associate with the religion reputation. Evidently, the criminalization of Obeah is not based on individual misconducts but constructed on British Authorities’ view of the…show more content…
Based on its history, Obeah had been outlawed and the main reason is because of how the white British Caribbean viewed the religion. Which is why “The laws against the practice of Obeah still existed on the Island of Jamaica well into the 20th century” (Myths and Misconceptions about Obeah). The modern outlook of obeah have not changed, instead, it remained identically to the slave trade, conceivably with minor changes. Moreover, “In November 2012, the government of Jamaica brought forward a law to amend the Obeah Act by removing the punishment of flogging. This was part of a wider policy to remove flogging from the criminal justice system” (Obeah Histories). Although under this newly revised law, Obeah still remains illegal, to practice, in Jamaica and practitioners could be subject to imprisonment. This revision was not created to take away the law, it was instead formed to remove a specific policy. Obeah practitioners as long as they are living in the Anglophone Caribbean they will never be free to do what others get to do in their religion, which is the embodiment of freedom of

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