Friday, June 08, 2018

a little child shall lead them

From GetReligion: apparently if a poor, isolated Amazon tribe wants to kill their kids, who am I to judge?

It’s the anthropologists leading the charge.
One anthropologist ... argues that child killing among indigenous peoples must be understood in the context of the Amazon’s incredibly harsh environment. The anthropologist, who conducted years of fieldwork on Brazil’s border with Venezuela, says he heard stories about child killing, which were difficult and tragic. But he says the context is critical. “Something like a misshapen leg can seem like a small thing for us,” he says, “but it’s not so simple for them.” Surviving in the jungle could prove an insurmountable hurdle for these children, leaving them, in the anthropologist’s words, “doomed to failure.”

what's wrong with this argument?

Essentially the PC think that these people should not be given a choice, but are forced to be Zoo animals living in dire poverty so that the anthropologists can study their ways and write papers about them.

this is partly a reaction to the forced acculturation of the past, but to me, it sounds like the arguments of the Pro Apartheid types of South Africa, that insisted tribes should retain their own customs, and not be educated or forced allowed to join the modern world.

Never mind that these "isolated" tribes also kidnap women from other tribes. Why would they need more women? Hmm. maybe because their women flee this tyrannical dictatorship by their headmen and prefer to cohabitate with the Brazilian miners living nearby? Or maybe because so many women die in childbirth and need to be replaced?

Never mind that these tribal customs are not ancient, but are the remnants of the pre Colombian tribes who lived comfortably in the Amazon before disease decimated them. Think evil preppers willing to kill and rape after societal collapse, and you get the idea. But now there is an alternative for them, but the PC want to deny these people a choice, in the name of... what? Freedom?

Whose freedom?

the UKTelegraph has an earlier story (2007) about these missionaries and the girl they saved.

if you read the story, the tribal elders ordered the family to kill her, and the parents, and later a grandfather, committed suicide rather than kill her.

so much for "choice".

(2007)nHakani, who lived in the forest for three years after being abandoned, aged two, by her tribe. She was adopted by Marcia and Edson Suzuki

Who benefits from living in tribal poverty? One suspects the men in charge of the tribe love it because it makes them big shots. One does wonder if the women agree.

In Hakani's case, her parents and grandfather did not agree, and the UKTelegraph story suggests such suicides in protest of killing of their children is not unusual.

When I worked in Africa, I took the medical history of one of my elderly patients, and she mentioned she had birthed seven children, but only five lived, because her first pregnancy was twins, and her husband's mother killed them.

the reason for the custom? a person who gets thin and dies is considered to be bewitched, and twins often didn't get enough milk from their mom, so got thin and died of malnutrition... so tribal custom saw them as bewitched and better off dead.

in my patient's case, she said the deed resulted in her leaving her husband and going back to her family (who accepted her back, apparently repaying her lobola to her husband so she could be free of the marriage).

And after missionaries arrived, missions quickly became a place of refuge, not only for helping supply food needed for twins to survive, (e.g. our nutrition village outreach included many twins) but for women who did not want to be forced into arranged marriages or who had abusive husbands.

My point is: With the advent of an alternative, the custom of infanticide quickly died out.

So essentially, these "anthropologists" are saying: no, let's not disturb these tribes and give them an alternative, let them kill their kids in the name of holy custom.

Never mind the custom is no longer necessary.

In the past, often anthropology was a man's field, so was biased in favor of what men thought. Place "noble savage" myth here.

 Women in the field sought to balance that problem. The introduced the idea that one had to notice the women and children and family of such societies.

But what instead, there is a danger that, just like men, that their  personal biases and ideas are projected onto those they are supposed to be studying.

One sees this personal bias in Margaret Meade's studies. Meade was having an affair, so discovered a tribal paradise in Samoa where people had sex without guilt, and voila, her conscience could be put to rest.

Nowadays, feminists want to normalize abortion and infanticide, because modern feminism is based on the idea that abortion should be celebrated in the name of women's rights, so viola, they find examples of how this works so well in the past.

Ah, but did it work that well? never mind that these murders were those of desperation and poverty, but not approved of customs for the spoiled and affluent whose inconvenient pregnancy would disturb their career, which seems to be the main reason feminists love abortion today. 

Ditto for those whose newborn handicapped child might be a burden. A compassionate society would help: but now deinstitutionalization and the need for care 24/7 too often means destroying the birth family trying to cope with the child, which is why "bioethicists" like Peter Singer insist is it better to just kill the kid for the family's sake.

never mind there is a third alternative: Helping those families (daycare, paying for home health workers, etc.)

Even in Ancient days, the myth of killing off unwanted children (usually girls) (and unwanted slaves of course) these countries actually had myths that warned against it (Oedipus comes to mind).

And, of course, these children were not killed, but left out in the open, and often saved by other family members, or by those wishing a child or a slave, or later, by Christians. (one is now reading similar stories of Chinese families who did their best to save their children, usually girls, from being aborted or killed under their two child policy).

Crippled and unwanted children were often taken to monasteries for safekeeping (e.g. as in the poet Hermanus the Cripple biography here) or later, orphanages, or institutions which are now "viewed" as barbaric, by those who don't want to admit maybe the alternative was worse.

so what changed?

The Jews were against abortion and infanticide, which is why Jesus ended up curing so many children who were born blind, had severe behavior abnormalities, or were suffering from seizures ("caused by a demon").

Yet even those Hellanized gentiles who lived nearby must have been influenced by the Jewish ethnic. One story in the bible is a Gentile woman who begs for her child "with a demon" to be cured, and she was told to go away, being told you don't give the dogs the children's food (i.e. Jesus is only curing his own people).

But this feisty woman responds by pointing out that even the puppies eat the food that fall to the floor, and Jesus laughs and tells her that her daughter is now healed.

The point is that this child was not killed.So not all handicapped children were destroyed, as some modern anthropologists seem to insist.

going back to the original story: The (protestant) missionaries behind pushing the Brazilian gov't to stop this "custom are Japanese ethnics working with "youth with a mission".


the missionaries here are Brazilian, but ethnically Japanese. There is a large Japanese community in Brazil (And in other South American countries).

and the other backstory? The increased influence of pious Protestants in Brazilian culture...

Hugh Gallagher, call your office. 

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