Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

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Apparently deluded author Jared Diamond sells stone dead notion of progress in book about tribal peoples

An interesting article on apparently deluded author Jared Diamond suggesting progress is an element intrinsic to human societies and that “tribal warfare tends to be chronic, because there are not strong central governments that can enforce peace” has been published in The Guardian.

Sounds fascist to me and plays right into the hands of absolutist regimes in the developing world who suppress minorities, something that is extremely commonplace all over the world. It beggars belief to suggest that the violence and greed that is suffocating our world and that largely emanates from the world’s largest economies is in some way more constructive than the violence that is inherent in traditional societies living, more or less, in a a give and take relationship with their natural environment.

His thesis also lends support to various genocides committed by dominant groups be it in North America, South America or elsewhere.

Iryan Jaya, an area Diamond apparently uses as research ground being a case in point. Whether tribes there attack each other or not, the fact is that the only threat to their existence comes from the Indonesian government.
While Survival International are indeed overprotective of their turf, presumably to be able to raise funds and pay themselves, they have the stronger argument here.

Working with minorities in Asia for twenty years, I have always found small ethnic groups far less aggressive than the majorities they have to contend with (there is an obvious logic at work here, right?), be it in Pakistan, India, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia or Nepal.

Diamond’s contentions are dangerous and give ammunition to governments who more or less forcefully assimilate their minorities (a common practice in all the above listed countries). Maybe Diamond should stop reading books for a moment and actually go out there and take a look at the violence commonly used to deal with traditional societies around the world.

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