reply to post by DraconianKing
I am a Cargo Cultist
. I believe in the Ropen, the roaring Bird Gods who come from the sky bearing
blessings and gifts that men call Cargo; and I believe in the white shamans who call the gods and send them away, sometimes riding with them into the
sky. My grandfather was a servant of the white shamans, who gave him much cargo for love of him and his family: if you come back with me to my hut I
will show it to you. Some of my cousins have blue eyes; it is their reward from the Ropen for the service my grandfather's daughters did the white
When you ask me to justify my belief in the Ropen, it puzzles me. Shall a man not believe what he has seen with his eyes and touched with his fingers?
Shall he discount as lies the words of his kith and kin, that he hears with his own ears? Did my father and my father's father not eat of K-Ration
and Hershey and Heinz, brought by the Ropen? Have I not seen the empty boxes and cans and wrappers of this cargo, the heirlooms of our tribe?
And do we not, at times, hear the Ropen calling in the sky and, looking up, see their mighty wings made tiny with distance above us?
Yes, it is true that the Ropen have not come to land for more than two generations. Where once the white shamans taught us and brough us gifts, now
the white and red and yellow men of the coastal towns rob us of our labour in exchange for little cargo, and call us savages for not covering our
bodies as they do. We do not have ugly bodies like theirs, so we need not hide them - yet surely we have sinned, that the Ropen come no more.
Faithfully each spring we clear the landing-place on the bluffs above the sea and construct a great female Ropen of palm-fronds and banana leaves to
lure the Bird Gods down. And there is feasting, and at night we light fires in two line along the landing-place as the white shamans did, to guide the
Ropen to us from afar. But still no Ropen come.
Yet they will come again, I know. All in my tribe believe this. If not in this generation, then in the next, or in the one to follow, the Ropen and
their white shamans will come. Then again there will be cargo for all! Men shall no longer need to hunt and till the soil or labour in the factories
and docks of the coastal towns. Life will be again as it was in the days of my grandfather, when the tribe lived on cargo and served the white
shamans, filling our bellies with their bounty as they filled the bellies of our women.
You ask me to justify my faith? What need have I of it? I have proofs. They lie about me wherever I turn my eyes. The Ropen are real. The cargo is
real. My cousins' blue eyes are real, too.
I have no need of faith. I know