World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


British Peer Claims Bushman Life Unevolved

SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE

31 March 2006

British Peer Claims Bushman Way of Life is Biologically Less Evolved

Jenny Tonge, a former MP and now member of the UK's House of Lords, has sparked outrage by claiming that the Bushmen's way of life is biologically less evolved. In a debate in the House of Lords, and later in a BBC interview, she called the Bushmen's lifestyle 'stone age' and 'primitive'.

Shortly afterwards, in the British newspaper The Guardian, she went further, implying that the hunter-gatherer way of life is low down the evolutionary scale: 'A more accurate description would have been Mesolithic, middle stone age or hunter gatherer. Why this perfectly acceptable, biological, evolutionary description should cause offence I do not know.'

She also called for a proper debate about the 'management of indigenous people' to prevent them 'failing to adapt and becoming dropouts'.

The Bushmen's organisation, First People of the Kalahari, called her remarks offensive. They said, 'If you call someone stone age or primitive, it sounds like you think they are inferior to you... We just want the opportunity to be allowed to choose our lifestyles. We want to go back to our land to be with our ancestors and we want to be allowed to live there in peace by hunting and gathering - not as 'exhibits in a museum' but because it is a very clever way to survive in the desert. Tonge obviously does not respect us enough to think we know how to choose what is best for ourselves.'

Baroness Tonge's statements come soon after Survival International launched 'Stamp it Out', a campaign to highlight how the use of labels such as 'stone age' to describe tribal peoples underpin prejudices which cause them real harm.

Baroness Tonge formed her opinions of the Bushmen on the basis of half a day in a Bushman relocation camp during a visit controlled by the Botswana government. As was widely predicted, Bushmen in the camp have recently started to die from alcohol abuse.

ENDS

To listen to Baroness Tonge debating her views with Survival International's Fiona Watson visit http://survival-international.org/sights.php?gallery_id=333

To read Baroness Tonge's article, and reactions to her remarks in the press, visit http://survival-international.org/related_material.php?id=410

To read a press release about Bushmen dying from alcohol abuse, visit http://survival-international.org/news.php?id=1513

To read this press release online, visit http://survival-international.org/news.php?id=1520

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news