Unlike the Hamer, or the Khonso or the Dorze, the Mursi tribe has no organized way of dealing with tourism. This is a shame, considering that they’re arguably the most interesting tribe in Ethiopia; they’re famous for their plate-lipped women, honey-hunting and blood-drinking.
According to some Ethiopians I spoke to, they’re also savages, lacking any religion (animism isn’t considered a “religion” in the eyes of some Christians and Muslims), prone to theft and lacking any respect for outsiders. The fact that clothing never really caught on with them also seems to demean them in the eyes of other, more progressive, tribes. One man, in the nearby town of Jinka, said “my people are civilized; we use clothes.” He told me of a hoary feud in which the Mursi killed a member of his tribe (I think he said he was Suri), and an elderly Mursi woman was killed in return.
Indeed, before visiting the Mursi village, we picked up an interpreter and an armed guard to accompany us.
But before all this, we had stopped at a Karo village. It was very picturesque, overlooking a magnificent river and ravine. These people had it good, but they were not opposed to collecting a few extra Birr from tourists looking for some nice photos:
The Karo, like the Hamer, practice bull-jumping – but they no longer whip their women. Other than than, I didn’t learn much about them; we spent very little time in their village.
The Mursi are mountain people, and the drive up to their area held some nice views. As we approached our target village, it started to rain. This made it extremely difficult for me to shoot photos from the car, something that I always endeavor to do, if not always very successfully. Shooting from the car means that I get candid images of local people, not posed, staged, shots. I’ll post a couple of these. It’s unfortunate that the quality isn’t good, but it does give them a certain spooky character. These were my first glances of the Mursi:
As soon as we arrived at the village, many women and girls gathered around us (I was with 2 Japanese tourists) and very aggressively prodded us to take their photos. Each photo would cost us 5 Birr (only a few cents). They grabbed our arms, pinched us, placed themselves directly in front of us, all the while announcing “discount! 5 Birr!” or other words to that effect. It was awkward to say the least, and somewhat dehumanizing as well. On top of that, in an effort to gain the attention of tourists, they’d wear their most outrageous costumes; obviously, they don’t go about this way normally. My understanding was that these costumes are intended for ceremonies. But we did get some interesting shots, and they did make some money, so I guess everybody won.
I had to venture to the outskirts of the village to find some Mursi men to photograph. These guys didn’t make themselves up for tourists; this is how they normally go about:
They spend their days exposed to the elements, their skin is rough and they are sturdy. The British man, who was living with the Hamer, told me the Mursi are “scary people.” I began to see what he meant. I approached one of their huts at random and took this photo:
I asked about the significance of the jaw bone near the entrance, and was told that it’s simply leftover food. I imagined Mursi women, lacking lower incisors (they’re taken out, at an early age, for the plates), gnawing on the jaw and then casually discarding it on the floor.
Here are a couple of shots my Japanese friends took. They just emailed them to me:
While wandering about (actually, trying to get away from the ladies), I saw a heavyset man sitting by a hut. He appeared, at the time, to be the only sane person in the village. It turned out he was the village chief, his name is Oli and he’s well-traveled. He spoke English, so we chatted a bit:
Oli has two wives. They would have cost him a total of 120 cows or so – unless there’s a bulk discount.
Thanks for posting. Sure is different!
I wish that I could make every white person in the world view this post. What kind of primitive savages put giant plates in their lips? Who would distort their faces and bodies in this manner? Who would imagine, that this is a society made up of our equals, or even our betters? The answer is, sadly white people!
I think you can do better with educating than waving around an ethnic group that consists of only 3,500 people, neverminding the fact there’s only a handful of groups in SS africa that have been known to use lip plates, or the fact a number of native american peoples also used (and still use) plates. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lip_plate#Usage_in_the_Americas) It’s barbaric and crazy, sure, but it’s actually very rare in reality, whether in Africa or in the Americas. I’d kind of think a regular of this site would be above the rhetoric of “LOL look at the n***ers putting lips in their lips, this is what they’re all like!!!” that you see waved around in trying to prove something about race differences.
As some corrections, there’s actually about 7,500 mursi, and another group, the surma, also use lip plates and number 80,000, but regardless, the practice is rare even in Africa, and waving this around really doesn’t add much weight.
I’m glad there’s some discussion here, however, I won’t participate in this one; I wouldn’t feel right visiting villages, snapping some photos, and then ridiculing them from the comfort of my home. It seems like poor taste, and I already regret having done so, to some extent, earlier. So I’ll just report things the way I experienced them, and let others make such judgments.
Informing others about out how primitive tribal blacks live in African is “educating.” If it was not for white influence, I am sure a lot more blacks would be wearing plates in their lips today and/or living in mud huts, or putting mud in their hair to this day.
What sort of people cover themselves with tatoos and body piercings in weird places ? White people, that’s who.
This is certainly true in Portland!
Is this a travelogue or a conservative site? Get back to chronicling
the destruction of Western civliation.
Egypt, & Iran are going to surpass this degenerate country.
The America of 2065 will be one never ending “spring break” with
white female sex slaves survinig their black masters.
The white man? He will no longer exist.
If you read the “about” page, you’ll see that I have more interests than just politics. I write about a variety of topics. If my travel adventures don’t interest you, there are plenty of other conservative blogs to keep you occupied until I’m ready to post about politics again.
As for the fate of Western civilization, I wish I could save it by blogging.
I read that Somalis with a lot of Arab ancestors look down on Somali Bantus and discriminate against them. I was surprised because I had never heard of racial strife among East Africans before.
I’m assuming that the Ethiopians who distinguish themselves from the Mursi tribe were the lighter skinned, more Arab-looking ones. I guess they look down on the Mursi not only for being less aesthetically pleasing, but because their Bantu genes have made them less intelligent.
So this is female oral mutilation!? This is the first time I read that they don’t only screw up the lips but rather destroy a lot of teeth!? Do they have advanced anestesia and antibiotics? Are these not dangerous procedures that hamper the women for life?
So they have difficulty eating!? Kissing and oral sex must be out of question.
I notice that most primitive tribes (what is the PC way to name them?) have seriously painful and body damaging procedures, but normally for young males. In comparison Jewish and Muslim circumscision pale as relatively harmless.
Actually, the Mursi also practice female genital mutilation. Of course they have no advanced anesthesia and antibiotics. I couldn’t tell you how dangerous these procedures are, but I’m guessing that the lip procedure, which takes many years, is more inconvenient than dangerous.
The Mursi don’t kiss. As for oral sex or difficulty eating, I don’t know.
I also did not know that they deliberately destroyed their teeth along with ruining their lips. I don’t think they care about the pain experienced during their barbaric body modification rituals. Perhaps the intense pain is seen as part of the experience?
I wonder how they speak with their lips stretched out and many teeth extracted? I find it curious that feminists are not up in arms about Africans deliberately flattening the breasts of their women, whipping them for strange rituals, or ruining their lips. I suspect the girls are not given a choice in the these matters.
Oh wait, I forgot for a minute, race trumps gender! That’s right, it is only wrong when white males harm women! Sometimes harming or mistreating women means merely complimenting them too! It would be interesting to get the reaction of a feminist visiting some of these tribes. Surely, there is some way this behavior can be blamed on white males? Oh, I got it, it is my fault, because I’m not spending enough money to “educate” these savages. That makes sense!
“Kissing and oral sex must be out of question.”
Isn’t oral sex a relatively recent obsession amongst western people? I know my grand-parents didn’t engage in it, probably not my parents either. Westerners have even mainstreamed anal sex for heterosexuals now, I’ve heard.
I don’t think this travelogue is out of place on a race realist blog. On the contrary. I, for, one, like reading those accounts, if only to learn things about places I will never visit and people I will never meet.
It also shows that you can be a race realist, defend your own and country, and still travel across half the world to discover the “Other” that people like us are supposed to despise and demean.
It’s also refreshing to enjoy a break from the hateful and sectarian spirit that seems to be the norm nowadays all over the opinion spectrum.
” travel across half the world to discover the “Other” that people like us are supposed to despise and demean.”
Why are we “supposed” to despise and demean anyone? And says who?
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