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Pacifism can be suicide: The strange case of the Moriori.

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posted on Nov, 21 2009 @ 10:44 PM
I was always a fan of Ghandi and passive resistance, and the influence of this on the Civil rights Movement and the anti-apartheid struggle (at least partially). But then one reads history and finds repeatedly that passive peoples become lambs to the slaughter when their more aggresive neighbors rise against them (and often the worst genocides are commited against neighbors: the Protestant/Catholic wars; the Germans and Jews; Tutsi and Hutus; the partition of Hindustan and Pakistan, and in Yugoslavia and the current divisions in the Middle East).
I just read a case that makes me seriously question my pacifism as a moral dictate. It concerns the Moriori - the native people of the Chatham islands east of New Zealand. They took a vow of pacifism (Nunuku) early in their history, and the elders refused to be swayed even when a tiny force of mainland Maori threatened to over-throw them. The results were tragic, perhaps even more tragic than resistance:

"A council of Moriori elders was convened at the settlement called Te Awapatiki. Despite knowing of the Maori's predilection for killing and eating the conquered, and despite the admonition by some of the elder chiefs that the principle of Nunuku was not appropriate now, two chiefs — Tapata and Torea — declared that "the law of Nunuku was not a strategy for survival, to be varied as conditions changed; it was a moral imperative."[10] A Moriori survivor recalled : "[The Maori] commenced to kill us like sheep.... [We] were terrified, fled to the bush, concealed ourselves in holes underground, and in any place to escape our enemies. It was of no avail; we were discovered and killed - men, women and children indiscriminately." A Maori conqueror explained, "We took possession... in accordance with our customs and we caught all the people. Not one escaped....." [11]" (Moriori Wikipedia

This little known, harrowing history is also better narrated on New Zealand History . Can one blame either the Moriori or Maori for acting according to their established customs?
Perhaps as a pacifist, one shouldn't be too critical of the arms industry and gun-owners. One never know what "neighbor" may arrive from space.
Perhaps one could say that both overly aggresive and overly passive peoples face a risk of extinction?

posted on Nov, 21 2009 @ 11:18 PM
Interesting Thread, Star for you mate. I would give you a flag, but I still haven't figured out how yet.

With myself being Maori, I do see your point of view. Over agressiveness and over pacifism can both lead to the same outcome. The Maori themselves did indeed almost doom themselves just as the Moriori did, but instead of taking a passive approach like the Moriori did, the Maori took up an over agressive attitude towards the Europeans/British or Pakeha. The Maori's launched many attacks on the British Empire during the stages of European settlement, although the Maori were very skilled warriors and experts in Guerilla warfare, they stood no chance against a virtually endless supply of professional soldiers from Europe. If it wasn't for a truths established between the Europeans and the Maori, I might not be here right now.

Say we were invaded by another civilization from space, what type of approach should we take towards them? Would it be more effective if first take a diplomatic approach to them? or straight should everything we have at them and make sure they don't get up?

In my opinion, it would need to be a mix of diplomacy(pacifism) and agressiveness (violence) towards the neighbour who wishes to take us over. Hope I understood the question right.

posted on Nov, 21 2009 @ 11:44 PM
reply to post by Jordan_The_Maori

The point was well taken. I think a space invasion would bring out any of the hallmarks of colonialism. With current history we often think colonialism was a matter of simple massacre of native peoples. This did happen everywhere to an extent, but often early colonialsim was also done by proxy. That is, selling weapons or technology to one side or another in the hope they will sort themselves out. It's still on-going today in so many ways. This is where the more aggressive cultures find themselves exploited for agendas that are ultimately beyond their control. Of course nowadays this is done with big corporate or nationalistic games of divide-and-rule, and perhaps only in parts of Africa is it still based on "tribalism". Nevertheless, if aliens came with "disclosure" and superior technology (assuming they haven't done so in inderict ways) the struggle over resources could be changed or intensified. The Europeans obviously had no incentive to stop the killing and took the "killers" to the Moriori. Let us hope an alien race will be more moral in its agenda, and more selective in whom it supports amongst the "colonized". (The specific killers and the Moraori were after all one people, perhaps two extremes of one coin.)
We were watching "Hotel Rwanda" and "Shooting Dogs" recently, and the question always arises: why didn't these people arm and defend themselves? It's easier said than done, and in Christianity we find this strange dichotomy of war and pacifism (a movie that explores this nicely is "The Mission").

posted on Nov, 22 2009 @ 12:27 AM
reply to post by halfoldman

On New Zealand specifically, I think the film "River Queen" gives a good acount of constantly conflicting loyalties amongst the frontier Maori and British. A touching factor is the depiction of the colonized Irish fighting for the British Crown. The coming together of two different, yet surprisingly similar peoples via the main characters defines its own pacifist balance.
In general there are anthropologically speaking very few cases of true pacifism.

posted on Nov, 22 2009 @ 05:58 AM
reply to post by halfoldman

That's very true, colonialism is viewed as a sort of 'attempted massacre/genocide' of the native peoples of the affected country. But what must be taken into account is, peoples attitudes towards colonizing other countries were very positive, in their minds, they thought they were doing a good thing by helping the natives come up to modern standards. If some casualities of the native population were brought about by attempting to 'modernize' them, then that was water under the bridge for the European colonialist. This is how they were brought up, so we can't really blame them.

Now back to the issue of what would happen if Aliens came to Earth with the possible intensions colonializing us?

In my opinion, if they did come, we would not stand a chance. As seen throughout history, the more advanced civilization wins and otherwise wipes out the opposing side. That is what would most likely happen to us if Extra-Terrestrials came to Earth with hostile intensions.

And like you said halfoldman, I do also hope that if Aliens do come in mass amounts, that they do approach us as friendly and seek to help us. But with us being Human, the naturally greedy and violent species that has been slowly destroying everything we lay our eyes on, you might just see that if there is to be fighting between us and Alien visitors/invaders, we would be the ones to start it. I would put money on that actually.

posted on Nov, 22 2009 @ 07:16 PM
It's worth noting that this has always been a controversial point. During India's struggle for independence, many people viewed Gandhi as a kind of "patsty" or "uncle tom" for the British, to keep the Indians pacified so the British could remain as long as possible or at least pull out retaining maximum wealth and avoiding chaos. Gandhi's comments on the way Jews should respond to the holocaust were also roundly criticized by many because they were thought to lead to unnecessary pacifisim and hence abade mass genocide.

Martin Luther King was also roundly criticized by certain elements of the black liberation movement (such as Malcom X, the Black Panthers, etc.) for similar reasons.

I cannot say which way is wrong or right. To a very large degree, I think the effectiveness of whichever way is chosen depends on how the the world views it, which is controlled to a great extend by the media and other forms of propaganda/presentation. For example, consider the impact that one famous photo of the man standing in front of the Tienanmen Square tanks had:


This is an image known around the world because it was pumped heavily in the Western press. The Press had an agenda at the time: ending or crippling communism, so the protests were given the utmost attention and praise. On the other hand, similar things happen in Palestine every day. Most of them are ignored because it goes against the MSM agenda, although other aspects of the the press treat such people as heroes because they have an opposite agenda.

To sum up, the perception of the value of violence versus nonviolence seems to be shaped by the media and the forces that stand behind the media. This is not fair at all, but its just the way the world works. I think (almost) all humans have a kind of instinctual respect for the nonviolent underdog, but this can be manipulated and twisted in so many way by different power blocks and ideological groups for their own purposes.

posted on Nov, 22 2009 @ 09:49 PM
reply to post by Jordan_The_Maori

I think colonialism and the colonists themselves varied. There was true psychotic greed, but also a degree of philanthropy. Most pre-colonial societies were also far from perfect, and resistance was seldom unified. The anti-colonial moral for me rests on the fact that they were invaders who were not invited. Other than that things get very murky and debatable. Take the complex case of the Irish soldiers, or colonized peoples who curreently partake in neo-colonial wars.
In any case, to the mind of many conspiracists the aliens are already here, and have been for thousands of years. They rule by proxy and have devised a pyramid scheme of power where a very tiny elite at the top manage to rule the broad masses of humanity at the bottom. According to this theory we are all colonized. We largely police ourselves for the elites by mind-control: religion, politics, education and divide-and-rule.
Others forsee a full-scale alien invasion: well if they arrive planting a flag and handing out glass beads we better run for our lives.

posted on Nov, 22 2009 @ 10:04 PM
reply to post by silent thunder

Here in south Africa Gandhi is seen very much as a hero, yet he also made some profoundly racist statements against blacks and complained about them living in Indian areas. His complaints against racism in SA were very much limited to the British treatment of the Indians - although that is nowadays hardly mentioned. He did make some very pro-Nazi remarks before WW 2, but before the horror of the holocaust became known many people were sympathetic to Hitler, including several anti-Semitic US preachers (and Germany did get a raw deal after WW 1 that caused much suffering). Ironically it seems people who were victimized themselves become some of the greatest victimizers in turn.
From what I recall that student uprising in China was not entirely peaceful before the authorities responded. Indeed, certain "just" causes make the propaganda out as pacifist, but at closer inspection that is often not the case. Eventually change comes about when the elites think it's time for a change, and not because of pacifism. So, pacifism is very much a part of the disinformation.
I think one can also distinguish between anthropological pacifism (rare tribes who have a cultural phobia for violence) and pacifism as a political tool to make the oppressor look and feel bad.

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