Wanting to keep my citizenship and therefore applying Australian values of a fair go and tolerance for other beliefs, I’m increasingly concerned about the missing angle in the Wa-Wa story – what if he is a witch?

Before the Wiccan subscribers descend on me, I hasten to add “not that there’s anything wrong with that”. Well, not necessarily wrong. There might be a problem though if the Korowai tribe is right and Wa-Wa’s an evil sort of witch, a turn-into-a-cassowary-and-disembowel-you witch, rather than the nice bespectacled Harry Potter type. Just which witch is Wa-Wa?

We are, after all, required to accept as perfectly reasonable such concepts as Allah supplying virgin s-x slaves for suicide bombers, the crucifixion sacrifice of the Son of God, lopping the end off small boys’ p-nises, various animal-headed multi-limbed deities and the sound of one hand clapping, never mind being reincarnated as an ant. Or a Korowai witch. So much for Big Religion.

Reminders of the need for religious tolerance are considerably more common than miracles. We currently have the divine comedy of a Pope saying something about Islam being violent and therefore being threatened with violence by followers of Islam. So it goes.

So, not wanting to offend the Korowai, where does that leave us with Witch Wa-Wa? The Christian tradition for some centuries was to burn rather than eat your witch, but perhaps it’s hard to get enough dry wood in a jungle.

The only thing for it then must be 60 Minutes repeating last night’s repeat of the original story and running a viewers poll: Is Wa-Wa a witch? If the vote is negative, leave him to Channel Seven.

If it’s positive though, Channel Nine will have been vindicated. Much better to leave him in the jungle. Otherwise he could turn up here asking for refugee status – and that’s definitely not part of our Australian values.

Peter Fray

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