[LMB] Real like Mountains of Mourning

Shan shiroise at gmail.com
Tue Mar 15 19:26:45 GMT 2016

Thank you Damien.
That is a truly difficult dilemma. It reminds me of the Savages in Brave
New World, as well as the Mountains of Mourning.


Clearly there is an issue of contamination: diseases, alcohol etc invading
a small isolated people.
That's the fairly easy bit.
Less easy is the contamination of different ideas, stories, theories,
morals, laws.
It sounds like this is already happening.

My central reaction is to ask by what right does the dominant civilisation
shut a people away in a kind of human zoo?
The pride in this "human heritage" I think is dangerous.
It infantilises the tribal people, condemns them to an isolated life.
I mean it's different on a native reservation where a person can choose to
leave. Here they don't have that choice. They are "sent back" for their own

Yet at the same time the physical risk of diseases, habits like alcohol,
and the deeper risks of civilisation's complexity and uncertainty, are
enormous. A tribal person connecting with, going into, the dominant
civilisation, would quickly be overwhelmed. A sense of inferiority, a
reaction of fragile pride, the sheer immensity of the global community and
its differences ...

I think I favour the slow graduated introduction of modern resources - very
slow. But at least one day they could begin to make choices of their own.
The 'purist' argument is too much like the cultures which impose "honour
killing" on girls who disobey their elders. These people might be
fascinating as Stone Age people. That;s fun for us to learn about, feel
inspired about. But do THEY feel it's fun to be like that? Would they
choose it if they knew what the choice was? I think many of them would not.

Shan Morgain

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