Thursday, February 27, 2020

South Sudan

In contrast to the ongoing tribal warfare in Africa, the Dinka and Nuer get along in America. We sometimes try to force the African warfare into a Muslim-Christian narrative, but that is only partly true.  The tribal warfare, especially between the two major tribes, dominates the landscape. Serbs, Croats, Kosovars all get along in America  That is not 100% true of all conflicts, as there are still animosities that get carried across the many waters of the world to here.  But the tendency is strong.  (Canada too, I should mention.  I try to remember not to leave them out just because they are a smaller population when they are one of the voices of sanity.)

The mere moving to another land may be the great part of the ceasing of hostilities. However, I think the American experience is also part of this.


james said...

For a possible counterexample there's the history of the Irish here. My wife described an occasion when she and a couple of friends wound up in an IRA bar in Chicago, where cursing the Queen was the order of the evening.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

You will find such in Boston and Quincy even now, though it has diminished in the last few decades. I do find that the resentment is more against the WASPs here - though they were English by descent - than the English under the Queen. It is the familiar identification of oppression of one's ancestors as oppression of "us," as if you endured any suffering yourself. We take credit for the grand deeds of our ancestors that we had no part in, and resent criticism of their faults as if we ourselves were being insulted. It's all very natural. I do it myself. Because no generation is completely new and there is cultural continuity from the people of our family, region, church, or ethnic group, it is not absurd to consider those people from 200 years ago "us." Yet there is something rather silly about it.

RichardJohnson said...

the Dinka and Nuer get along in America.... Serbs, Croats, Kosovars all get along in America. That is not 100% true of all conflicts, as there are still animosities that get carried across the many waters of the world to here. But the tendency is strong.

Not all Irish Americans go the IRA route. I suspect that most do not. My uncle's father came over from Ireland. My uncle had no desire to carry over Old World conflicts into the New. Though he did retain the Irish liking for a wee bit of drink.

From my high school days, I knew a Palestinian Christian family. A family member came to the US in the '70s for grad school, and got a STEM doctorate. In contrast to his aunts and uncles in the US before the Six Day War, he was a very active activist against the Israelis. Guess that living under Israeli occupation from age 10 would do that to you. His anti-Israel activism took over his life. After decades in the US and decades of activism, he abandoned his well-paying STEM job to return to Palestine.

The scuttlebutt I had heard was that the son of this anti-Israel activist had a Jewish girlfriend. Which proves once again that groups in conflict in the Old World can get along in the New.

Grim said...

I suppose it might be the 'narcissism of small differences,' as it's sometimes called. In Africa, the tribal difference was towering and absolute though in fact you were probably quite alike in how you lived and worked (and even prayed: even across Muslim/Christian differences, prayer was central and important to community and family life). Once in America, the differences with your neighbors are no longer small, and those who are 95% like you are suddenly welcome cultural allies rather than the deadliest of enemies.

james said...

A few years back a restaurant called Africana opened. They served from a variety of regional cuisines, and hosted various African or African-inspired music nights.

They closed after about a year. It seems there were too many fights. Maybe if they had specialized... The Ethiopian cuisine restaurant is still around after decades.