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Este Blogue é um estudo da Associação Projecto Raia Alentejana e tem como objectivo a discussão da violência em geral e da guerra na Pré-História em particular. A Arqueologia da Península Ibérica tem aqui especial relevo. Esperamos cruzar dados de diferentes campos do conhecimento com destaque para a Antropologia Social. As críticas construtivas são bem vindas neste espaço, que se espera, de conhecimento.

Guerra Primitiva\Pré-Histórica
Violência interpessoal colectiva entre duas ou mais comunidades políticas distintas, com o uso de armas tendo como objectivo causar fatalidades, por um motivo colectivo sem hipótese de compensação.


Friday, 10 September 2010

Vengeance is ours

Jared Diamond, Annals of Anthropology, “Vengeance Is Ours,” The New Yorker, April 21, 2008, p. 74

Keywords
Revenge Killings;Vengeance;New Guinea Highlands;Papua New Guinea;Tribes;Fighting;Uncles

ABSTRACT: ANNALS OF ANTHROPOLOGY about vengeance killings among the clans of the New Guinea Highlands. Tells of a highlander whose uncle was killed in a battle against a neighboring clan and to whom responsibility for arranging revenge fell. The Papua New Guinea Highlands have been of interest to anthropologists since the 1930s, when the Australians and the Dutch discovered tribespeople living in the Highlands. Describes the origins of a particular clan war. Explains nature of a “public fight,” which is fought in the open between large groups of warriors separated by a considerable distance. It’s often impossible to tell who’s responsible for a kill. For that reason, the target of revenge is not the actually killer but the organizer, or “owner,” of the fight. The highlander explained that people in his clan are taught from early childhood to hate their enemies and to prepare themselves for a life of fighting. His first attempt at revenge was a failure, so he hired men from other villages as allies for his next attempt. Mentions intermarriage between enemy clans. In a battle, each warrior faces dozens or hundreds of enemy warriors, many of whom he’s related to, and some of whom he’s not permitted to kill. The highlander stressed the clear thinking necessary for fighting well. Eventually, a battle arranged by him succeeded in achieving revenge against the man held responsible for his uncle’s death. The highlander was unapologetic and enthusiastic about this outcome, although he himself was now, of course, a target for revenge. Fortunately for him, several years later a shift in clan enmities and alliances ended the whole cycle of revenge killings and united both clans against a common enemy, a neighboring tribe. The highlander said, “I admit that the New Guinea Highland way to solve the problem posed by a killing isn’t good…we are always in effect living on the battlefield.” Nearly all human societies today have given up the personal pursuit of justice in favor of impersonal systems operated by state governments. Without state government, war between local groups is chronic. Explains the origin of state governments. The writer describes the experiences of his late father-in-law, Jozef, who passed up the opportunity for vengeance and lived to regret it. Jozef was a Polish Jew who was captured by the Soviets in 1939 and sent to a Siberian camp before becoming an officer in a Polish division of the Red Army. In the summer of 1945, he led an armed platoon to Klaj, Poland, to discover what had happened to his mother, his sister, and his niece. There he learned that an armed gang had shot them, but when he was face-to-face with the man who led the gang, he hesitated to shoot. Instead, he delivered him to the police, who investigated the crime and then, after about a year, released the murderer. Until his death, Jozef remained tormented by regret at his failure to take vengeance. We regularly ignore the fact that the thirst for vengeance is among the strongest of human emotions. The writer’s conversations in Papua New Guinea made him understand what humans have given up by leaving justice to the state.

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