Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Let's Define Ethnocide!

Chajudaña was the village of choice for hosting most of the inter-village reunions because it was the healthiest, best organized and most able to provide food for the other villages. The other indian villages chose Chajuraña repeatedly for these cultural events.

I recently received an anonymous comment that said I was guilty of ethnocide. Here is the comment ....

"The word ethnocide barely begins to describe the atrocities your ministry is inflicting on indigenous cultures along the Rio Caura."

Now, since there is no name I am not going to post it in my comments sections. I do feel, however, that there is a need to consider his comment as to it's veracity. For if it is true, we need to stop mission work.

ETHNOCIDE-- The purposeful destruction of an ethnic group or culture.

It is true that indian groups are diminishing and we should consider the causes. I will list a few that we saw in the jungle.

Infant mortality due to lack of medical care
Unnecessary deaths from sickness due to lack of medical care
Drunkenness which causes fights and often deaths or chronic illness
War between tribes and villages (90% of all tribal wars are for the purpose of stealing females)
Mercury poisoning due to illegal mining causing birth defects
Sterility in the women from being raped and infected with venereal diseases by illegal miners
Female deaths during childbirth from uterine ruptures and hemorages

When you look at the villages where missionaries worked in the jungles of Venezuela you will see some things that are statistically true.

Where the Gospel is preached there is...
Lower Infant mortality rate(due to medicines and emergency flights provided by the missionaries)
Lower death rate among all ages (Due to medicine and basic care provided by the missionaries)
Fewer Drunks(Due to the gospel being preached and people choosing to stay away from such addictions and its unhealthy consequences)
Lower Suicide Rate(Due to the teaching of the scriptures which give people hope, purpose and a future.)
Less Warring between tribes ( due to people following a lawful order and developing a respect for all life, both male and female, raising the value of the female from being a piece of property to a person with equal rights)
Less mining and mercury poisoning (Due to the fear of being reported by conscientious indians who have been made aware of their rights and responsibilities by the Biblical teaching of the missionaries)
Less Rape and venereal disease (The young girls have been taught not to get drunk with the miners, the fathers have been taught not to trade or sell the services of their female family members to the miners)
Fewer deaths in Child birth (Due to the fact that the husbands have been taught from the Bible to love and care for their wives and thus provide prenatal care and take them to the city for birth if needed.)

Since the effect of the missionary presence does not cause the destruction of tribal people, but rather strengthens the tribe, I don't see how the accusation can possibly be true. I have seen the statistics kept by the health department comparing all the villages of the Caura region. The statistics show the truth. Guess which village doubled in population in less than ten years? Dare to venture a guess of which village had the lowest infant mortality rate of the region? Which village had a lower mortality rate overall? Or, which village had the better quality of life and longevity according to the Doctors of the State Government? Which village had the higher percentage of school age children? Which village had the best trained teachers? Do I really need to go on?

That doesn't sound like Ethnocide to me!


Elizabeth said...

Certainly the FATHER will not agree with that comment either. Having a daughter of such bent, I can tell you that they usually are FAR from belief and they simply cannot "see the forest for the trees"...blind, blind, blind. And following a pagan god of some sort no doubt, whether named or not. Blessings on you and your family for being brave enough to do the work you have!!

Beemoosie said...

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before. Matt. 5:10-12

Jesus said it best!

Abouna said...

Clint; During the Vietnam war, I spent a number of years as a missionary along with my fellow monks from an Orthodox Catholic monastery, in Vietnam and Laos. Most of my work was with the Montangnard mountain tribes. While doing so, I saw a lot of the same things you mentioned. manytimes, infiltrators from N. Vietnam would come into the villages and accuse the missionaries of being the cause of all the problems faced by the Montangnard people in an effort to get the tribal leaders to either force us out or kill us. In some instances, when their tatics failed, they resorted to killing a large number of villagers. Needless to say, that failed also and I am proud to say that the Montangnard men became the best allies of the American soldiers in Vietnam.

It is so easy for ignorant people to sit back and blame those who are in the field doing the work. Yes, I will admit that not all contact with "civilized" societies has been good for native peoples, but when those contacts are of a beneficial nature, such as missionary work and medical treatments, one can not deny that the lives of the native peoples have been greatly improved.

I want you to know that my heart bleeds for the people of Venezuela. Do they realize the mistake they made in electing Chavez?

God bless you and the work you are doing.

Pat said...

I have not been in the jungle with the Indians, however, I only need to see a firsthand account of the statistics of the villagers therein. I have met a couple of the young ones you ministered to, and they were healthy. I know all the services you performed, because I saw your personal pictures and that was validated by others. To think that you would live in an area to murder to to cause mass deaths in the area is a statement formed of ones own imaginations. The informed citizen will take pains to validate any beliefs they may have!! To know that there is a tribe in your country now thriving in many ways because the TRUTH has set them free from bondage of years of living their lifestyles. They have received training to insure healthy maternal and fetal lives, as well as many nutritional skills to institute a healthier life. Many treatable illnesses have been able to iradicate/medicate for healing.

If any genocide has taken place, it is at the hands of the government that has refused to let anyone come in and help bring much needed medical supplies as well as survival supplies. The help that they had for many years was torn from their lives to maintain a strict socialist people/republic!!

To accuse those who lived with, loved, cried with, shared with, taught with, and prayed with and hoped with of the death of such peoples is an outcry!! Obviously your opioion has been tainted by some propoganda! I suggest before any accuasation is mnade, you personal;y visit these villagers and interview them as to what they gleaned or were taught form such a people dedicated to serving them, with no reward, just a hope of giving them hope of salvation!! This affords them life which they once were dead to!! If morals, character and social skills are wrong, then we should surmize we become a godless nation here---and God help us all with no hope!!

serendip said...

I think this anonymous character is just parroting communist propaganda drivel dutifully and mindlessly.

What your family doing is admirable and takes a lot of faith, courage, physical and spiritual strength. You guys are an inspiration to so many and we love you in the cyberworld and appreciate what you've done and continue to do.

Caraqueña said...

You guys are the best, Clint and Rita! I'm sure that Chajudana is the worse for your leaving it!

Pastor David said...

Interesting- I just did a sermon on 'being pesecuted for righteusness sake' this morning-

One point on why are we are persecuted-


John 16:3 says, “They will do such things because they have not known my Father or Me.”

Sometimes the persons that make the loudest noise and commotion do so because they have no idea what they’re really talking about. This is often the case with the ungodly people of the world who desire no other God besides themselves.

They don’t fully understand what it means to be a Christian and therefore dismiss it with a curse and yell. Out of their own ignorance, they blindly persecute true believers.

Their ignorant because they’re un-teachable.

Let's see if I am right and Mr. Anonymous stays that way!

jennifer said...

It doesn't sound like it to me either!

Lassas said...

Well, as usual missionaries are tampering with statistics.

In many cases missions and the unhealthy conditions being at hand there has caused many lives. Among other things missionaries attepmts to exchange traditional clothing, adapted to local climate and moisture, with unhealthy western clothes has caused different infections. Unhealthy separating of the sexes, kidnapping of children and banning of traditional medicine has also caused health problems. On top of that comes physological problems due to loss of identity and similar.

The way to better health is not to missionize the indians but to recognize their rights as citizens and give them medical treatment and education without at the same time try to force Christian superstition down their throats.