November 21, an American missionary died under the arrows of the Sentinels. These Afro-Asian people live on the Andaman archipelago in India. They have always defended themselves against any intrusion on their island because they know that contacts with our world will precipitate the end of their people. But they are not the only Afro-Asian peoples to be threatened and to defend themselves with their bows. Their cousins, the Jarawas, are forced to defend themselves against poachers who come to kill them. They told us about it in our documentary film "We are Humanity".
The Jarawas, like the Sentinels, are fighting against their disappearance planned by the Indian government. The Jarawas are victims of a photo safari organized by the Indian army. Every day, dozens of tourists in 4x4s take pictures of Jarawas along a road that crosses their forest. Undefended, the Jarawas are forced to stay by the roadside by local police. It's a human zoo. And now, the Indian government has begun to widen this road to bring in more tourists. This year, the government opened "special schools" to re-educate Jarawas children. They are forced to attend re-education classes to become Indians. It is forced assimilation, a crime against humanity. There are only 400 Jarawas left. Afro-Asian peoples have lived here for 50,000 years.
They are the most ancient of the peoples in the world. They are all being assimilated by force and disappearing. Until a few decades ago, the Onges lived quietly on a neighbouring island. The Indian government forced them to abandon their beautiful beaches and put hotels in them for tourists. The Indian police gave them tobacco and alcohol. They forbade them to hunt. The Onges are disappearing. There are only 80 of them left! For the Indian government, the jarawas, the Onges and the Sentinels are just "savages" whom they try to soften with some fruits and tools. Then they treat like animals in a circus by bringing in tourists. They re-educate them to destroy their way of life and drive them out of their territory to build luxury hotels.
But no one seems to care what the Indian government does for Afro-Asian peoples. No matter that these peoples disappear, in the press, we prefer to question the moral right of these peoples to kill and defend themselves.
The Sentinels killed him with their arrows. In the press, this event raised many questions and comments about social networks. Should we try the Sentinels for this murder? Does morality apply in this particular case? In the film we shot, the Jarawas told us that they killed ten poachers who came to attack them on their beaches. They were armed with Kalashnikovs. Self-defense? Should we judge them? Is it moral to give death even if one's own life is in danger? Should the other cheek be turned? You see how the notion of morality challenges us, divides us.
Jarawas and Sentinels live in the world of truth and falsehood and not in the world of good and evil. The Jarawas know what is true and what is false. They don't even ask themselves the question of evil or good. They do not envisage that another member of the clan could attack, deceive or steal from them. They do not plan to do so to others. That's why they have no notion of morality. It is not a question of discipline, of following a code, in order to do good or not to do evil. There is no moral authority, no court, no judgments or sanctions. Acting against the general interest is simply unthinkable. For us, this can be difficult to understand and accept. But not all Jarawas and Sentinels ask themselves these questions. They live in the real world. The reality is that they feel their lives are in danger if the humans of our world arrive on their beaches. And it's not because of any belief. No, they know that strangers, we, have only death and desolation to bring them. It happened to other Afro-Asian peoples, their brothers, the Onge and the Great Andamanians who have disappeared. They know that it starts with a small group of explorers and ends in ethnocide. Rethink the indigenous peoples of South America, the Aborigines, the Papuans... The Jarawas and the Presidiums are lucid and their judgment is not altered by beliefs or codes of conduct.