Secrecy Needs In Exposing A Top Global Cult
Posted by Barry Pittard on August 19, 2007
Our security needs are pragmatic, and are not in the nature of the secrecy and cover-up of scandals so endemic to an authoritarian cult that has so much to hide. The BBC’s own experience in investigating his cult and the testimonies of those who have left it led to its calling Sai Baba ‘The Secret Swami’, and the somewhat Soviet-style secrecy and authoritarianism of Sai Baba’s religious cult have been repeatedly observed by media, institutions and academics who have attempted to examine this founder and his organization.
The need for sensitive non-disclosure of the accounts that came to us of sexual abuse by Sai Baba and some around him in his education wing, and other alarming information, was rapidly apparent to some of us, but – rather disturbingly! – to others came only slowly and, astoundingly, to yet others scarcely at all.
If there was an extenuating circumstance for bewilderment at all it may be this: suddenly, to our great surprise, we found ourselves cast in the role of activists and crusaders. What does the layperson know of sexual abuse? The exceptions in our midst were those such as Shirley Pike and (the late) Elena Hartgering, Dave Brandt and others who were mental health professionals of various kinds. We were entering a world of anguish and complexity. What we learnt was that the first requirement is to listen with compassion. It is the opposite of what cultic defenders show, who race to judgement, leap to the worst imaginable conclusions, and condemn any who should dare to attempt to communicate their account of abuse.
Males from various countries – in some instances many years later (as in the case of Mark Roche in appearance in the BBC television documentary The Secret Swami) – have attempted to give their accounts of sexual abuse at the hands of Sai Baba. Those devotee apologists for Sai Baba and his Sathya Sai Organization (or rather, cult) who make ready and cruel assumptions about the abuse survivors might well contemplate on a saying of the English philosopher, scientist, statesman and essayist Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) adding the word ‘hear’ and, ‘view’ in the case of television footage from The Secret Swami, and Danish national broadcaster DR’s Seduced (in Australia, Seduced by Sai Baba, SBS) to Bacon’s ‘read’:
“Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted… but to weigh and consider”.
Video clip of Mark Roche interview from The Secret Swami, BBC 2, This World
Ullrich Zimmerman Interview, Part 2., Broadband.
- Sai Baba. Some Dissenting Themes and Resources
- The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision
- BBC’s ‘Secret Swami’ Clip. Man Claims Abuse When Young
- Psychotherapist’s Note On Ullrich Zimmerman’s Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Sathya Sai Baba
This entry was posted on August 19, 2007 at 6:22 pm and is filed under Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions. Tagged: authoritarianism, Autocracy, Secrecy, Security. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.