Well, let me tell you a little story that should open up your eyes to the realities of life – and it will prove my point.
In 1964 I was posted to a small government outpost in the middle-Zambezi Valley in what was then Rhodesia.
It was called Binga – and Binga was located on the shores of Lake Kariba. Kariba was the biggest man-made lake in the world in those days, and it filled to capacity for the first time the year before, in 1963.
“Fifty-seven thousand Ba-Tonga people – who had been living on the banks of the Zambezi River for centuries – had to be moved out of the lake basin before it filled up with water. Many of them settled in the hinterland of the valley floor, away from the very rocky shores of the new lake. They were a very primitive people, right out of the ancient iron-age, and they had great difficulty adjusting to the new way of life that had been thrust upon them.
“My late wife, Babs, and I took a young Ba-Tonga man into our domestic employ that year, and we trained him to clean the house, to look after the chickens in the coop outside, and to tend the vegetable garden. He became fascinated by Babs’ culinary skills and he professed a desire to become our family cook. So Babs introduced this very rare and strange person to the white man’s cooking craft.
“All went well until, one day, Babs opened a packet of frozen prawns and left them to thaw out on the draining board of the kitchen sink.
“Young ‘Witness’ – the name of our new cook – took one look at the prawns and backed away, demanding to know what those strange ‘things’ were: and what were we going to do with them?
“He refused point blank to wash and clean them. He refused to learn how to cook them; he was appalled by the fact we were actually going to eat them; and he left the house immediately after this conversation and went home.
His departing words that day was to inform us that prawns were ‘a product of the devil’. And for the next nineteen years he never changed his opinion, and we never exposed him to prawns ever again.
So my two kids – my son and my daughter – grew up in the old Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) not ever knowing what prawns tasted like.
“So tell me. Who is right about the prawns: You or Witness?”
Who was right? Was our First World perspective correct or are our Third World brethren in Africa to be believed? Are prawns really a ‘product of the devil’?
“Now look at the issue concerning the lion bones. Who are the likes of you and me to judge whether or not the people of the Far East should or should not be allowed to use lion bones for making soup?”
“And let me take this argument one step further. What right have we Westerners to tell the Chinese that they may not use rhino horn in their traditional medicine recipes?”
prepared to pay huge sums of money for it. And THAT is all that matters. There is a huge market for rhino horn in the Far East and we should exploit it for the benefit of Africa’s people – and for the benefit of our rhinos. It is not the Western person’s right to question what the people in the Far East believe in or do. Just as it is not the prerogative of primitive people in the Zambezi Valley to tell Western people that they should not eat prawns!”