December 16, 2002
Tribal Justice

Larry and Meryl and many others may perhaps claim this is yet another example of the "peace and justice" religion of Islam, but that's taking the wrong lesson from it. This is yet another example instead of the way the world used to work for the past ten thousand years or so. Might makes right, and you don't piss off the powerful folks otherwise it will go very badly for you. This is the kind of "traditional" culture we are being railed at for destroying.

The ugly fact is that these sorts of "traditions" have resulted in the torture, death, and dismemberment of far, far more native people than any colonial regime imposed by the west has ever even approached.

"Traditional" cultures are, at heart, about how to keep powerful families as powerful as possible and the weak masses as weak as possible. The fancy dresses, fancy dances, and fancy literature are merely window dressing to distract from this mean, ugly truth. Just because a family shows up to church clean, smiling, and in pretty clothes doesn't forgive the fact that the husband goes home, gets drunk, and beats his wife and children.

Because, when it gets right down to it, if enabling small people to stand up to rich thugs means I'll never again see a Ramayana dance, if forcing families to raise baby girls instead of leaving them in the far corner of a rice paddy to die means I'll never again hear a Muezzin call the faithful to prayer, if giving the common people a voice in their own destiny means I'll never get to eat a traditional Massai meal, well, I'm just fine with that.

Aren't you?

Posted by scott at December 16, 2002 01:51 PM

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