A 26 year old white American missionary was killed on a remote Indian island after trying to make contact with an ancient tribe living there. He wanted to convert its members to his version of Christianity.
An estimated number of tribe members living on the island is less than 100. The Indian government has attempted to protect them by making the island off limits to visitors, after displays of hostility in the past.
The tribe members who shot arrows to repel the American, John Chau, must be terrified every time someone tries to invade, for whatever purpose.
No one deserves to bleed to death on a remote beach in a hail of arrows. I also understand that for people who belong to religions based on evangelizing, reaching out to non-believers is central to a lived faith. That said, we have decades of experience in the United States and Canada of the violence done to indigenous people in attempts to convert them to Christian beliefs and Western European culture. For me, it’s no longer tolerable or acceptable to do what Mr. Chau attempted. Not only did he trigger mortal fear in the islanders, leading to the loss of his life, his action has now put other lives in danger as attempts will be made to retrieve his body.
Secure in his faith, I imagine the thought that he was doing violence to the islanders merely by attempting to contact them never entered his mind. I’m shaking my head at the thought of a life lived with that degree of obliviousness.