Yamyamların Arasında Turist Olmak – Coşkun Aral Anlatıyor/Former cannibals hosting tourists
Articles,  Blog

Yamyamların Arasında Turist Olmak – Coşkun Aral Anlatıyor/Former cannibals hosting tourists

Here I am with a new video. In the meantime I thank you all for your interest and comments. I’m going to make a new video in order to reply your questions. I don’t want to waste your precious time now. Coskun Aral is telling a new story. INDONESIA Viewer discretion is advised. Today, I’m going to take you to a country far away, to Irian Jaya, Indonesia. So, what’s the difference of this region? This region used to be associated with cannibalism. Thirty years ago, I and my friend Gokhan Acun went there for the first time. We wanted to get personal with the former cannibals. We landed in Wamena and came across the Dani tribe. It was an authentic tribe, they were like living in Stone Age. They’ve practiced cannibalism since the last century but they’ve stopped later on. This is a very hospitable and kind tribe. Of course their way of living is different than ours. They don’t wear any clothes, mostly naked. Men traditionally cover their penises with a sheath called koteka and women go topless wearing grass skirts. What do they drink and eat? They’re used to eating porc with the influence of missionaries. They started raising pigs. Apart from porc, they eat sago palm and some insects. They do hunt birds too. So, what did we run into in Irian Jaya? 30 years ago, not many tourists went there. We’ve reached Wamena after a day lon trip from the capital Jakarta. The runway was in the middle of a village and 95% Danis were mostly naked, wearing just kotekas and grass skirts, an open market area where Danis were selling stuff. There was a small guesthouse where people like us, the documentarists and researches stayed. I went the very same place 30 years after. This time my daughter Deniz was with me. She’s 15 years old and wanted to go to Irian Jaya a lot to see Dani lifestyle. Change is what I saw. Wamena airport is a new one. We flew on a twin prop plane, this time it was a jet plane. The runway is a proper one now. Hundreds, thousands of tourists started visiting Irian Jaya. When we’ve arrived at Dani village, the hospitality that I’ve encountered 30 years ago was the same but this time Danis charged money for the welcoming ceremony. Their village is a bit different, I mean looking from a bird’s eye, this time from a drone camera, the village looks like a sole. When you enter the village Danis take you on shoulders, you feel like an offering. Afterwards, they practice their war games to greet you, their way of welcoming tourists. Their weapons are spears, arrows and their oxes are also interesting. For example, this is an axe they use and you know what they use it for? It’s for a weird tradition, for cutting fingers. When we went there 30 years ago, there were many women whose fingers were cut. I asked the reason for cutting fingers and they’ve replied that when a family member dies, women cut off one finger. This time, in this trip with my daughter, I realized that a few women were left whose fingers were cut off. Their life expectancy is low in this region. They lose their lives at their 30’s or 40’s. Now, their living conditions are improved, food is within reach compared to the past, but diseases like malaria are common. They showed me the exact same mummy when I saw 30 years ago. Once like a young warrior but now a middle-aged man approached me and asked for my daughter in return of 15 pigs and a few goats. I said “No way!” They really greeted us in such a warm manner that we were all very pleased. However they also sacrificed a pig, I’ll briefly talk about it. After sacrificing the animal, just like their ancestors used to do , they first lit the fire with flint and caught the sparks with dry grass, fed it with a bunch of kindling and placed the stones on top. When the stones were heated enough, they fumed the pork, then they ate it. They also saved the internal organs for the dogs of the village. There’s the footage of the whole process While watching these, one has to remember that the ancestors of this community consumed human flesh. I learnt that the guy who helped me 30 years ago as a guide died recently. So I asked my guide if there’s anything I need to know about cannibalism. He told me about the Yalis and Korowais which I’ve known and visited already. I’ll make a new episode concerning Yalis and Korowais. Nowadays not only Dani tribe’s living conditions have improved but they also socialize with tourists. In fact tourism’s started to change the region. You’ll ask how. Well, Danis started to convert to Christianity. I asked my guide if there’s anyone from his ancestors that he knows to be a cannibal. He told me that if I didn’t show him he could tell me. He told me that his father’s consumed human flesh. I asked him to pose for me behind the photo booth at our hotel, there was a human size foam photo of a Dani tribesman without the face and so he placed his face inside the frame. There he started to talk about the cannibals in his family. Change is also inevitable for this part of the world. Mummies are still the same, the lifestyle seems to be the same but if we think of what’s changed in these people’s lives? First they are introduced to the electricity. Light, then televison, digital cameras even tablet pc’s are in their lives now. In the open market, we saw Dani tribesman whose ancestors should’ve praticed cannibalism, are now playing with tablet pc’s. They sell everything in the market area. It’s really strange to see how missionaries functioned in the area but on the other hand, Muslims were brought into the island just to make the Christian and Muslim populations even. This should be a research subject. As a journalist, I’ve made some inquiries. I can say that Australia has plans over the region especially because of the gold mines. While Australia used missionaries in order to influence the region, Indonesia tries to spread Islam in this part of the island. So, churches in one hand, mosques on the other. You know what my biggest fear is? One day in the future one of the parties will interfere in the region and this will trigger a turmoil. Oh boy, after such a fabulous trip, I had a big question mark in my mind. I hope the very best for these people. I hope they abandon traditions like finger cutting, cannibalism, they improve their living conditions but they shall never be enemies of each other. Hope to see you in the next episode. Waiting for your comments and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel CoskunAralAnlatıyor.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *