Again and Again

24 August 2008 at 11:33 pm Leave a comment

There are some things a human should never have to do. And one of them is being ridiculed by his fellow being. I’m not talking about being made fun of by “mates” in school, or “collegues” at work, but being made believe that thay are being helped to “embrace society and technology”, when really, they are being shown to overly-curious tourists who will take pictures of them, and even maybe a monkey, and when they get home, they’ll wonder at the similarity, not only in skin colour, but in actitude. This turists will probably be shown rituals and ceremonies, and they’ll film them, or take pictures of them, and then show those images to their friends and family “safely” at home, and describe the event as simply “unique”.

These ideas and outrages were crossing my head one evening on a boat, on my holidays in Iguazu, Argentina, ot so very long ago. We had crossed to the Paraguay border, and we were being “honoured” by the Guarani population, as they showed out one of their ritual dances.

Now, I ask you: apart from giving some food, and allowing two boys to sell some of the things they made, what benefits did this company, who “kindly” allowed the Guarani to show ritual dances, which would be an honour to watch, if it wasn;t for the fact that they do it every evening for different groups of stupid tourists. And what’s worse, it’s not something you should show to almost everybody. It’s exclusively for their gods, and for them to see. As a non-Jew is not allowed at a Synagogue without permission (or not allowed at all), a non-Guarani should not be allowed at these rituals.

As for the joke the companies make of their  “help”, the Guarani are perfectly capable of growing their own food, and have done so for generations. And, if their problem is that there’s not enough rainforest left, well, the truth is it’s mostly the boat company’s, the tourist’s, mine, and your fault.

It’s preposterous that we should make a show of rituals and traditions. It’s fine if you want to be informed, and if people are truly honoured with being allowed to observe these rituals. Imagine having to show the world your singing in the shower. It’s not a pleasant experience. Just imagine that, and then think of the Guarani on the Paraguay coast having to show the public their “singing in the shower” again, again, again, again…

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Entry filed under: Reflection. Tags: , , , , , .

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