On disturbing anonymous tribes in the information age

Hobbes, what a sad day. I read the news about the Amazonian tribe just discovered in the rain forest by the Brazilian government. Their location is irrelevant. That someone can be living out there, with no iPod, tax issues or dental care puzzles me and makes me smile at the same time. The fact that they have been found saddens me.

These guys were just going about their business as they had for the last thousands of years and by their reaction to the helicopter –arrows anyone?- they didn’t seem very happy.

And who would? Living forever in fear of some other tribe coming along and having to start a deadly fight right then, you know, like being killed for a “dirty look”. I am glad I don’t have to live in a barbarian South American jungle.

The Brazilian government says that they need to be registered for their safety and security.

That’s also what they Botswana government has been trying to do for years with the Koi San bushmen communities of the Kalahari desert. The discovery of diamonds after independence made of Botswana one of the richest and most stable nations in Africa.

I worked briefly in the country, and government was struggling to relocate these desert peoples from inhospitable locations to settlements closer to schools and hospitals. Needless to say, as soon as they were being moved, they would try to go back to the endless sand plains.

The world is getting richer, and we keep talking about Chinese and Indian people having the “right” to the comforts of the western standard of living. But what happens when peoples who have been living the same way even before Archimedes had his first bath class with the 21st century man?

Inevitably, for their safety or our anthropological interest, we will put another flame out.

I hope Martians leave underground, at least they are safe. For now.



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