Thursday, November 13, 2003

No Blood No Foul?

Fijians Say Sorry For Cannibalism

The Australian relatives of a British missionary killed and eaten by Fijian villagers 136 years ago thought two apologies were enough.

But yesterday they got a third, in the form of an elaborate ceremony attended by the Fijian prime minister, as villagers strived to lift a curse they say began with their ancestors' cannibalist crime.

The Reverend Thomas Baker was killed in 1867 at Nabutautau, a remote community high in the hills of the South Pacific island of Viti Levu.

[. . .]

Yesterday, they offered cows, specially woven mats and 30 rare carved sperm whale teeth known as tabua to 10 Australian descendants of Baker, a Wesleyan missionary.

In related news that isn't true at all, not in the slightest, not a word of it, Jews worldwide have begun deliberations as to whether the Christians, especially those who haven't been eaten by Fijians, are right about their culpability in that whole crucifixion of Jesus debacle of old. 'It's really been horrible public relations if nothing else,' Rabbi Yulli did not say.

Oh, but buck up, all you wrathful Christians out there. Take it from the Fijians, your vengeful God's still got a bit of spite in him. Don't you, Big Guy?

Village chief Ratu Filimoni Nawawabalavu said the village hoped the ceremony - which mixed ancient Melanesian pagan and modern Christian rituals - would erase the misfortunes they believed had kept them poor since that long-ago meal.

[. . .]

Past apologies haven't helped. The village last said sorry in 1993, when it presented the Methodist Church of Fiji with Baker's boots, which cannibals had tried unsuccessfully to cook and eat.

[. . .]

Villagers believe that since 1867 either Baker's spirit or old disapproving gods have made sure that modern developments like electricity, a school, piped water supply and other essentials most Fijian villagers enjoy have been kept from them.

It was only two weeks ago that a logging company cut a track to the village

All this goes to show: do not fuck with the Methodist Church.