It’s worldwide news: John Allen Chau, a young American dope religious fanatic sorry, I mean “adventurer / missionary”, has been killed with arrows and buried by members of a tribe of primitive peoples on remote North Sentinel Island in the Indian Ocean. Now the Indian Government (in whose jurisdiction Sentinel Island sits), under international pressure, is trying to get his perforated remains back – but without much success. “The police are taking great efforts to avoid any direct contact with the Sentinelese, a pre-neolithic group whose island is barred to visitors.”
Get that? Didn’t quite understand they were serious, Johnny? Why do you barge in, Bible in hand, where you are not wanted? From his last letter: “…he asked God if North Sentinel was ‘Satan’s last stronghold’. In another: ‘What makes them become this defensive and hostile?’” Well how’s about YOU’RE NOT WELCOME, WESTERN BOY, SO GET LOST, TAKE OFF, BEAT IT.
But religious delirium conviction is a funny thing. He would not give up. So he continued to pester the locals and they pestered him right back: with arrows.
The young adventurer, a graduate of the weird & wacky Oral Roberts University, decided that the peoples of xxx island were in the grip of Satan. No really. And that he had to go there are introduce Jesus to them to save them from perdition. He went there. They introduced him to Jesus by making him a pincushion, like Saint Sebastian.
NOW DO YOU GET THE POINT, COWBOY?
(‘Get the point’ – Get it?)
Why did they riddle the nice man with arrows? Simply because – as they had explicitly made it clear previously, by threatening him and shooing him off – that they wanted absolutely no contact with the outside world. They were satisfied with their life and their culture and their world-view, without outside interference.
“Leave us alone. Go away.” Is that so hard to accept, Reverend?
THE LAST FEW GROUPS WITHOUT OUTSIDE CONTACT: TARGETED BY THE MISSIONARIES
To its credit the Government of India respected that wish and made the island off-limits, not like the busybodies in Soeharto’s “New Order” who were determined to convert the primitive tribes of Papua (then called “Irian Jaya”) into standard-issue Javanese. No more intertribal warfare, no more cannibalism or wearing your penis-sheath. That military-style effort triggered outrage internationally and the Government of Indonesia had to back off (a rare occurrence at that time) and leave the Dani and Asmat alone, more or less.
In West Java the “Badui Dalam” had a similar attitude, wanting to live apart from the surrounding Malay culture, in an isolated mountainous region. During the Dutch colonial era one obstreperous bureaucrat demanded to be allowed to visit them, against the advice of both Indonesian and Dutch associates. He barged into the Baduy territory, forcing them to receive him. He saw how they lived, and returned to his official residence in Batavia, to be discovered peacefully dead in his bath some ten days later. Surprise, surprise: he had aroused the wrong spirits. And that was that for the nosey Dutch “administrateur” class, who took the lesson to heart and pointedly avoided the Baduy from then onward.
Christian missionaries, many of them licensed General Aviation (private) pilots, perform important services to the remote tribes, in mountainous areas where there are no roads. They bring in food during famines and medicines, along with their religious intent. On both sides of the border (Papua Province / Papua New Guinea) the general attitude has been “leave us alone and we’ll leave you alone”, but that has not discouraged adventurous young westerners, some of whom have paid the price. Like the enthusiastic John Chau, Michael Rockefeller would not be dissuaded, alas.
So as our planet rapidly fills and overfills with humanity, and technology ensures total surveillance societies (the PRC today claims it can sweep data on its 1.3-billion population in around one second) the question arises “Should those peoples with their own culture and language, bothering no one else and not disturbing the environment, be allowed to be left alone?”
“And you, Citizen: do you think you have the right to be left alone?”
DO PEOPLES, TRIBES AND INDIVIDUALS HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE LEFT ALONE?
SO WHAT DO YOU THINK
DEAR YaUdah Bistro PATRON?
Share your approval / outrage in the Comments Section below. We’ll run your comments, with or without your name, two weeks from now. Have a nice beer and sausage / steak / potato salad / smoke as you ponder your Comments…
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