Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
It's not the sheer number and scale of deaths, rapes, destruction, ethnic cleansing. It is what is - to my mind - the ultimate sin : they are destroying entire peoples and their culture.

This reminds me of a comment by Wade Davis in the video linked below:

No biologist, for example, would dare suggest that 50% of all species or more are on the brink of extinction because it simply is not true, and yet that, the most apocalyptic scenario in the realm of biological diversity scarcely approaches what we know to be the most optimistic scenario in the realm of cultural diversity, and the great indicator of that--of course--is language loss.  When each of you in this room were born, there were 6,000 languages spoken on the planet.  Now a language is not just a body of vocabulary or a set of grammatical rules, it is a [flight?--watch the video below] of the human spirit; it is a vehical through which the soul of each particular culture comes into the material world.  Every language is an old-growth forest of the mind, a watershed of thought, an ecosystem of spiritual possibilities.  And of those six thousand languages, as we sit here today in Monterey, fully half are no longer being whispered into the ears of children.  They are no longer being taught to babies.  Which means effectively, unless something changes, they're already dead.

What could be more lonely than to be enveloped in silence, to be the last of your people to speak your language, to have no way to pass on the wisdom of the ancestors or anticipate the promise of the children?  And yet that dreadful fate is indeed the plight of somebody, somewhere on earth roughly every two weeks, because every two weeks some elder dies and carries with them into the grave the last syllables of an ancient tongue.

I know some of you say "Wouldn't it be better--wouldn't the world be a better place if we all just spoke one language?"  I'd say, "Great.  Now let's make that language [Yoruba?]; let's make it Cantonese; let's make it....Kogi.  You'll suddenly discover what it would be like to be unable to speak your own language."

*Ethnosphere--"the sum total of all thoughts and dreams, myths, ideas, inspirations, intuitions brought into being by the human imagination since the dawn of consciousness.  [Humanity's legacy]"

I think he says in this video something like:

"If you wiped out all of the people of a tribe--that's genocide.  What we're doing is wiping out the culture--that's ethnocide."

The only annoying thing (for me) about the video below is that it has an unavoidable sponsorship advert at the beginning.  Beyond that (close your eyes for ten seconds, or go get your cup of tea, until you hear the someone start speaking), I found it enjoyable, educational, great pictures, and the story about the...innuit grandfather's ingenious plan to escape...which may well be an innuit folk myth but it's still great.

Here's the video.


(I also think your topic links to this comment about the nature of violence--hat tip to Helen for the link.)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 04:11:06 AM EST

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