I can remember when the Nuer and the Dinka were two related tribes in southern Sudan wetlands that periodically raided each other, using spears, and we anthropologist were the only ones who heard of them (plus some of our students).  And I recall an article back in the 60s or 70s that argued that they were really a single tribe (something like "The Nuer are Dinka").  Now they have modern weapons and can kill many more of each other over national political power and resources in Africa's most recently formed state.  I am saddened to read news stories of the San of the Kalahari Desert, the North African Berbers, the Kachin of Thailand, the Tutsi and Hutu of Ruanda, the Swat Pathans of NW Pakistan, and other tribes of the classical anthropological literature.  They only get into the news when the news is bad, never good:  such is the nature of "news". 

But then, the whole world is going bad in so many ways, so I shouldn't expect good news.  Indeed, if we really knew of the pre-ethnography history of these same tribes, perhaps none of today's sad events would seem so very different.  They all have histories, interethnic relations.

This meant not so much to evoke discussion as to just get this off my chest.  It's hard to forget the people who meant so much to me before I abandoned the field of Anthropology almost 40 years ago.  In fact, caring about how what we do here in the US affects folks everywhere else, and about the fate that we ultimately share, is what lead me into the energy field (efficiency & renewables, not more fossil resources or nukes) in the first place.

I wish you all a good, hopefully even happy New Year. 

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Bravo! I enjoyed reading this.You have a good heart and a good mind.

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