As Orwell knew well, the veneer of humanity’s much-vaunted civilization is not very thick. We only have to look at Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany to realize that all it amounts to is a thin layer of gilt over the deep capacity for savagery that lies within us all. After the revelations in Iraq, the latest disgusting example comes from the Congo, a country ravaged by civil war where the new sport, it appears from this report in the Independent, is hunting down and eating members of that nation’s pygmy population “as though they were game animals.” Disgusting.
As usual, barbarism goes hand in hand with superstition. In the Soviet Union it was the faith in Marx’s absurd millenary fantasies, while in the Congo there is a belief, apparently, that eating pygmy flesh will endow the cannibal with magic powers.
I don’t think that I’m alone in not knowing much about the pygmies of Central Africa, but I remember once hearing some of their music. It was strange (at least to me), beautiful, and oddly haunting.
Even more so now.