“Would you like to comment on the incident in the amazon?”

It was an Irish radio producer who I thought had the wrong number. He didn’t. He wanted to know whether I would appear on The Orla Barry show to discuss a controversy in Peru involving a film crew and a tribe. According to an article in the Guardian a British Film crew had been accused by a local anthropologist and the Peruvian government of visiting a village they didn’t have permission to visit and the result was that four of the tribe caught a virus from the foreigners and died. The film crew denied visiting the area and the controversy appears unresolved.

Orla Barry was interested in discussing the issue of filming in remote parts of the world, especially with tribe’s and whether this was a good or a bad thing. In that context, despite not knowing much about the Peru incident, I agreed to go on the show. The other guest speaker was a chap called Jonny from an organisation called Survival International.

Jonny and I agreed on air that television filmed and produced in a sensitive and accurate manner is a positive way of sharing the plight and stories of tribe’s worldwide. The danger arises when film crews go into remote areas without permission or any real knowledge of what impact they are likely to make.

Jonny and I got in touch after the radio show and last week I met with the Survival International team. I was interested to learn more about their work and how we could support it.

There were two campaigns that immediately caught my eye:

1. Uncontacted Tribes

2. Stamp it Out

The aim of Stamp it Out is to get rid of the use of out-of-date and racist phrases like ‘stone-age’ and ‘primative’ from the lanaguage used by some journalists and writers to describe tribal peoples.

What’s the problem?
“It is incorrect because all societies adapt and change, and it is dangerous because it is often used to justify the persecution or forced ‘development’ of tribal peoples. The results are almost always catastrophic: poverty, alcoholism, prostitution, disease and death.”
Find out more and support the campaign


Tribewanted & Survival International

Both learning about the uncontacted tribes and taking part in the Stamp it Our Campaign, and reading more about the threat to tribal people’s in general through Survival will be an important project for me.

I think as a ‘tribe’ of a very different kind – one networked globally – but with a slowly developing sense of culture, I think we can learn a lot about why ‘progress at their pace’ is so important, what makes communities strong and why we especially should support the protection of these kinds of tribes.

I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on Survival International – I think they are a very important charity for us to support and one that I hope we can practically support in the near future.

Why not as we join and build our tribe, help the protection and therefore survival of many others?

I’ll be at the House of Commons next week to begin my support.

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