Kessel le Vieux Jan van (1626-1679) Peinture sur cuivre
Cannibals are in the news this week. Why? Miami, Montreal, Maryland. Did you also hear about Manitoba, as well? Synchromystic cannibals? Synchronicity? Copycat media?
The word "cannibalism" originated from caníbales, the Spanish name for the Carib people, a West Indies ethnic social group formerly well known for their practice of cannibalism. Cannibalism, also called anthropophagy, is defined as the act or practice of humans (Homo sapiens) eating the flesh of other human beings, although prehistorically Neandertals eating CroMagnons and CroMagnons eating Neandertals has been called cannibalism. Humans eating Homo floresiensis, the so-called little people, the Hobbits of Flores Island may have taken place, and I'm sure that would be called cannibalism, as well.
A person who practices cannibalism is called a cannibal. They aren't zombies. They aren't vampires. Both of those are mostly fictionalized characterizations. Cannibals are real. The folktale/fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel is, at its core, about cannibalism. The account about Jeffrey Dahmer, who killed and ate men and boys between 1978 and 1991 in Wisconsin, is a true tale of cannibalism.
In the last week, the news has been filled with cannibals. Despite attempts to avoid the news, how can we? Cannibals are in the news. Why?
First, we have 31-year-old Rudy Eugene (in box below) videotaped devouring Ronald Poppo, homeless man (face first) during an unprovoked attack Saturday (May 26, 2012) afternoon, which started near the Miami Herald building, and ended on the MacArthur Causeway in Miami, Florida. When Eugene ignored orders to stop, police shot him dead.
Ronald Poppo, 65, (left) is still alive and in a hospital. A surprising twist in the story is his sister, Antoinette Poppo, thought her brother had killed himself years ago.
As is often heard, friends and neighbors of the attacker did not understand this kind of behavior from the person they knew. Rudy Eugene's girlfriend said the attack could only be explained by Eugene being drugged or the victim of a Voodoo curse, she said.Montreal Cannibal
Meanwhile, in Montreal, police were seeking Luka Rocco Magnotta (above), a gay porn star in relation to the discovery on Tuesday (May 29, 2012) of a male torso in Montreal and a hand and foot from the torso mailed to Ottawa. Magnotta, 29, fled after a Chinese male associate was chopped up and eaten in Canada. Officials feared Magnotta might be heading back to London.
Luka Rocco Magnotta was born July 24, 1982 in Scarborough, Ontario, as Eric Clinton Newman but also known as Vladimir Romanov or Mattia Del Santo.
The National Post noted:
On the web, which is where the alleged killer variously known as Luka Magnotta and Eric Clinton Newman and Vladmir Romanov was if not born then certainly nourished, he was identified five days ago as the possible maker of the 1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick video.
For the record, the video, whether it is faked or real, whether or not it is ultimately tied to the discoveries in Ottawa and Montreal of a dismembered foot (mailed to Conservative Party headquarters), a dismembered hand (caught by Canada Post) and a torso in a suitcase (discovered by a janitor) is sick-making.
Magnotta's victim has been identified as Lin Jun (above), a 33-year-old Chinese man studying at Concordia University in Montreal. He apparently was killed on May 24th or 25th.Magnotta is believed to be on the run in France, and reported to be obsessed by the Eiffel Tour.
On Thursday (May 31, 2012), at the 21-year-old college student Alexander Kinyua’s bail review, a judge denied him bail. But the suspect, who was arrested on Wednesday, remained calm. He said very little other than he was originally from Nairobi, Kenya, and had strong community ties to Maryland after living here for nine years. But details behind this stunning crime remain a mystery. Investigators say Kinyua killed his Morgan State University roommate 37-year-old Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie, and then ate his heart and parts of his brain. He cut off his victim’s head and hands and stored them in his family’s townhouse on Terrapin Terrace in Joppatowne, Maryland.
Alexander Kinyua, left, and Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie, right.
Kinyua was due to be expelled from university after beating a fellow student with a baseball bat days earlier. That student was left blind in one eye by the apparently random attack. Agyei-Kodie, a Ghanaian national, was also dismissed from Morgan after receiving a conviction for a fourth-degree sex offense, harassment and stalking in 2008.
I have been unable to find what exact tribal groups these men are from, or what translations there are for their names. Update: As a reader notes (under comments), the Kenyan's name is Kikuyu and the meaning of "Kinyua" appears to be Kiswahili for "drinker."
The Kikuyu group is culturally tied to reports of cannibalism. Furthermore, the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya occurred between 1952 and 1960, and involved the Kikuyu-dominated anti-colonial group called Mau Mau. British soldiers developed mythic racist rumors that the Mau Mau were "wild, bloodthirsty and cannibal black terrorists."
Missed by most is the precursor news event to these recent cannibal stories, the one that appeared on May 22, 2012. CBC revisited the Manitoba Greyhound bus decapitation and cannibalism incident of July 30, 2008. As Andrew Griffith of Red Dirt Report pointed out to me, the news story put out across Canada during May 2012 was about Vince Weiguang Li (shown above as prisoner), who beheaded and ate a fellow passenger aboard a bus in Manitoba nearly four years ago. Li "believed he was chosen by God to save people from an alien attack."
|Vince Li's victim, 22-year-old Tim McLean.|
The similar sounding names Poppo, Rocco, and Joppatowne in these three recent stories pop into the mind's eye.
Geographical Groups of Historical Cannibals
The traditional locations of cannibalism have been specific to certain areas of the world, although individual incidents of humans eating humans are known globally. Cannibalism was widespread in the past among humans in many parts of the world, continuing into the 19th century in some isolated South Pacific cultures, and to the present day in parts of tropical Africa. In a few cases in insular Melanesia, indigenous flesh-markets existed. Fiji was once known as the "Cannibal Isles."
Cannibalism has been well documented around the world, from Fiji to the Amazon, from the Congo to Māori New Zealand. Today, the Korowai cultural group is one of very few tribes still believed to eat human flesh as a ritual practice.