Friday, November 14, 2003

sorry we ate that dude

To prep you for Thanksgiving, I offer you this hilarious link on Salon's news dispatch re: a 136-years-late ritual apology by some Fijians to the relatives of a British missionary, Thomas Baker, who was slaughtered and gobbled. The ritual appears to be an attempt to raise the Fijian villagers in question above their current life of squalor and poverty. To wit:

In a mixture of ancient pagan and modern Christian rites, the villagers have staged a series of ceremonies hoping to erase the misfortunes they believe have kept them poor.

The rituals -- which started about a month ago -- culminated Thursday with the offering of cows, specially woven mats and 30 carved sperm-whale teeth known as tabua to 10 Australian descendants of Baker.

"This is our third apology but, unlike the first two, this one is being offered physically to the family of Mr. Baker," Ratu Filimoni Nawawabalavu, the village's chief, told The Associated Press.

Nawawabalavu is the great-grandson of the chief responsible for cooking the missionary in an earthen oven.

I can only assume that the chief at the time, 136 years ago, heard the missionary's surname and realized there was only one way to cook the man.

South Koreans who constantly demand apologies for this, that, and the other thing would be well advised to note the following:

Past apologies have not helped. In 1993, villagers presented the Methodist Church of Fiji with Baker's boots -- which cannibals tried unsuccessfully to cook and eat.

In Korean politics, there's a lot of ineffectual "boot-eating" going on. Merken Sie gut!

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