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But has humankind really progressed that much, or are we just as bloodthirsty and ruthless as ever?
If you’re under the impression that we are somehow more enlightened, you might be surprised by some of the ancient, barbaric practices that still exist throughout the world.
Other examples: in India, around one hundred and fifty to two hundred women are killed per year for witchcraft, and in Saudi Arabia witchcraft is legally punishable by death.
In modernized countries we cringe at our ancestors’ past use of slavery, yet talk ourselves into feeling less guilty by believing those days are long past. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are currently between ten to thirty million slaves worldwide—more than at any other single point in history.
For instance, Gambia’s own president, Yahya Jammey (who admittedly is a little crazy), launched a witch-hunting campaign in 2009 that terrorized the villagers, caused dozens to flee the country, and killed at least six.
Yes: in some places it’s not enough to just kill you for your crimes—they need to make you suffer first.
One of the most horrific ways to go is through stoning, which involves burying people up to their waists or chests and bludgeoning them to death with rocks.
For instance, discreet groups of Hindus still practice the now-illegal tradition of Sati.
Sati is a funeral custom whereby a widow will throw herself (either willingly, or due to social pressure) on the pyre of her dead husband, and burn to death.