Social Distancing and the False Narrative of John Allen Chau

While we’re in the middle of a plague scare, I want to take a moment to set straight something: John Allen Chau was not the first person to visit the North Sentinel islanders. He was more like the 500th person. People who had interacted with the natives included National Geographic, when they made an entire documentary of them in the 1970’s, or the anthropologists who were photographed exchanging food and gifts with them in the 1990’s, or the government contractor that lived on the island for 18 months and regularly interacted with the natives. Not a conspiracy, the government of India has openly admitted that they discouraged publication of images of peaceful interaction with the natives, over fears that criminals would flee there to avoid prosecution. Chau took extensive measures over the course of a year to vaccinate and self-quarantine — far more, it should be noted, than the government officials who had been visiting the island every year to check on the natives. The press disgraced him post-mortem with lies and exaggerations. Wherever you may stand on Christianity, the man came unarmed, preaching a peaceful message, practiced distancing, and avoided spreading disease. The only life he jeopardized was his own.

This information was gleaned from several sources, but the majority was derived from the Wikipedia entry for the Sentinelese.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s