Like my friend, Amanda, I find the above picture amusing…in an ironic sort of way. I mean, here are these isolated, uncontacted natives hanging out in Brazil. All of a sudden, one day a chopper comes by disturbing their world. The BBC’s full photo essay with captions truly tells the story (link).
Apparently, a plane flew over the region taking pictures of the tribe in order to prove its existence as well as preserve its land so the people would remain undisturbed. To make sure the tribe wasn’t disturbed, they flew over a second time further disturbing the tribe. The BBC photo caption tells the next part best, “The first flight had an obvious impact on the tribe. By the time the plane returned most of the women and children and those who remained had painted their bodies.” Uh…yeah. I’m pretty sure if I never saw an airplane I’d react the same way; I’d paint my body and grab a spear. The painted men in the above photograph look like they’re about to shoot the plane out of the sky. Obviously, they thought they were under attack.
I suppose it’s important to document the group’s existence, but it seems a little backwards to terrify the people out of their minds to do it. I’m sure they don’t hide their families and throw on some full body war paint every day. Feeling threatened, they tried to protect themselves, and in doing so, have had their pictures plastered all over the Internet–half-naked painted guys holding weapons. It’s kind of funny, right?
Yes, it’s funny that these people didn’t understand the plane’s purpose and thought they were under attack. Yes, it’s funny that they wanted to shoot it down. And, yes, people who aren’t fully clothed are always a bit amusing.
And yet, I wonder if they thought their world was about to end. Did the men speak loving words to their wives and children as they painted their bodies for battle? Did the women hold their children close hoping for deliverance? Despite the obvious differences between my civilization and theirs, we are all human, created in the image of God. We all love, hope, dream, build, tear down, plant, destroy, hate, and fear.
I know what it’s like to spend a day out with friends, and suddenly, the plane in the sky appears. I don’t know what it is, it doesn’t make sense, and no one can explain it to me. But I know the battle must be fought, and I know that maybe, just maybe, I’ll make it out alive. A remote tribe in Brazil, a random girl in Pennsylvania–there are so many barriers that separate our lives, and yet when it comes down to it, we’re all afraid of the same thing–being hounded by paparazzi.