From THE ECONOMIST - DEC. 2018
The value of solitude
Indigenous peoples no longer seem doomed to extinction. The first of three articles explains
North sentinel has few visitors, which is just as its 150 or so residents want. The 30,000-year-old tribe on the tiny island in the Andaman archipelago in the Bay of Bengal has had almost no contact with the outside world since 1991. So when John Chau, a young American missionary, paid some boatmen to drop him off on the island last month he was greeted with bows and arrows. The same happened in 2006 to two Indian fishermen who drifted ashore when they were asleep on their boat. All three were killed.
The Sentinelese may be the most isolated people in the world. For the past 20 years the Indian government, which administers the Andamans, 1,300km east of India's mainland, has decreed that they be left entirely alone, though periodically it checks from a distance that they are not suffering an epidemic. Since they probably lack any resistance to new diseases, contact with outsiders might kill them. The Indian government will make no effort to find Mr Chau's killers, and has no plans to retrieve his body.
It is not yet clear if the tragedy will have long-term ramifications for the Sentinelese. Nevertheless, thanks to a long fight for indigenous rights, they have a better chance of survival now than they did a generation ago. The same holds true for many other indigenous peoples, broadly defined as groups that preceded today's dominant societies and have tried to resist integration into them.
Many have come back from near extermination. In Latin America Hispanic invaders saw little point in co-existing, especially with the tribes of the Amazon.
In Australia the incomers, mainly from Britain, considered Aboriginals barely human.
In Africa and Asia indigenous groups were often pushed into the forests or deserts and disdained by newcomers. All over the world the number of indigenous peoples shrivelled, SIL, a Texas-based charity, reckons that more than 5,00,0 languages have died out in the past half-century.
But in the past 30 years a number of developments raised hopes. The Brazilian constitution of 1988 set a trend by recognising indigenous rights. In the rich world awareness of such rights has soared. In 1989 the International Labour Organisation declared that indigenous peoples had a right to their land and to be consulted if it was to be developed. In 2001 the United Nation's Commission on Human Rights appointed a special rapporteur for indigenous rights. In 2007 the UN passed a declaration to defend them.
Picking the right battles
Rights have been enshrined in many countries, too. India's constitution seeks to protect "scheduled" tribes, though they remain among the country's most disadvantaged groups. Similar laws have been enacted elsewhere in Asia, such as the Philippines. African governments tend to be loth to concede that groups such as the San, Pygmies and other hunter-gatherers should have rights stemming from their prior presence in parts of the continent. But such peoples are belatedly winning recognition. Battles between the Kenyan government and the Sengwer and Ogiek forest peoples, for instance, are more often being fought in the courts.
Most of the groups campaigning for the protection of indigenous peoples are cauiously hopeful. Marcus Colchester of the Forest Peoples Programme, a British charity, says that in the 1970s the prevailing opinion was that indigenous tribes were doomed to extinction. In Latin America cowboys who killed indigenous people were sometimes pardoned on the ground that they did not know it was wrong. "The struggle for the self-determination of all peoples will go on for a long time, perhaps for ever, but the principles are now accepted. That is a huge change," says Mr Colchester. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN’s special rapporteur for indigenous rights, who is from the Kankanaey people of the northern Philippines, agrees that there have been "great advances".
The difficulty lies in finding a halfway house between the total isolation of, say, the Sentinelese, and absorption (ie, where peoples can retain their heritage and decide their own destinies yet still benefit from some of the advantages of modern life). Fiona Watson of Survival International, warns that "integration is a no-no, a dirty word among those who seek to protect the Amazonian Indians. That is because many in Brazil’s ruling circles still believe that the choice is between assimilation or extinction. Yet she hopes that aspects of the Indian way of life, like its reverence for biodiversity, are becoming more accepted. It is not only indigenous peoples who can learn from the rest of the world. ■
IF “CHRISTIAN” MISSIONARIES WOULD READ THE WHOLE BIBLE, AND USE SOME COMMON SENSE, THAT SEEMS TO BE UN-COMMON TODAY; THEY WOULD REALIZE THE SALVATION PLAN OF GOD……. WHEN JESUS RETURNS THERE WILL STILL BE PEOPLE WHO “….HAVE NOT HEARD MY FAME, NEITHER HAVE SEEN MY GLORY, AND THEY [ONES SENT] SHALL DECLARE MY GLORY AMONG THE GENTILES” [ISA. 66: 19].
THE CONTEXT IS THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH IN GLORY TO ESTABLISH THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH.
THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO THIS SUBJECT; YOU NEED TO STUDY MY STUDY CALLED “THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT.”
NEEDLESS LIVES LOST BECAUSE OF BIBLE UNDERSTANDING IGNORANCE, AND A LACK OF COMMON SENSE; AND ALSO A “TEMPTING OF THE LORD” - THAT YOUNG MAN MAY HAVE THOUGHT GOD’S ANGELS WOULD PROTECT HIM AND HE WOULD CONVERT THE NATIVES TO CHRISTIANITY—— HE WAS WRONG! DEAD WRONG!