buddhism peace versus Inca violence

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February 25th 2015
Published: March 4th 2015
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Today I was passing a shop on my way to the main plaza where I noticed people were standing around. One stray dog barked alerting all the other stray dogs from the neighbourhood to tell them that there was trouble. These stray dogs are clever, not only can they cross roads alone but they can become faithful companions to humans, and sense abnormalities. For example, if there are a group of tourists with a guide, the dog attaches itself to the group (especially if they’ve been stroked or fed by the group), and if somebody merges into the group who shouldn’t be there, the dog begins to bark and alerts other dogs in the neighbourhood. I followed these particular dogs to find a policeman with a bloody nose after being punched, and about 10 other policemen and 5 police cars outside a shop. A man was then brought out in handcuffs after obviously having punched the policeman. The dogs surrounded the criminal, barking. It seems in these South American countries both trained and stray dogs play a big part in upholding the law - the trained police dogs sniff for drugs on borders and wild dogs deal with any other criminals.


I cast my mind back to the news I’d seen in Argentina, of a group of tourists being taken out of their cars in Mar del Plata on the beach and being held up at gun point for their money. I thought about all the other news stories which seem wildly violent compared to the crimes being carried out in Europe. I wondered where the crime and violence came from. I presumed it had filtered down from the lawlessness of the USA, which had polluted Mexico, made Venezuela a violent place where it was impossible to go alone and had made violence generally more acceptable in South American countries. Now I am convinced it originated from the Incas. In the whole time I travelled around Asia violence wasn’t a big issue, I felt safe and the spirit of Japan and Thailand was centred around peace and harmony. Perhaps that was due to the Buddhist influence whereas the Andean countries must have been influenced by the violence of the Incas. When thinking back to all the indigenous practices and rituals I’ve studied in the museums, not one has been peaceful.

When my niece Sophie is a bit older, and its Halloween I’ll look forward to telling ghosts stories based on these Inca rituals. Or even better, when she’s naughty Joe can tell her stories about these sacrificed children and lie and say they were disobedient. Joe could tell her that the children were sacrificed to keep the Gods happy, if she goes to church she won’t be sacrificed because she is keeping the Gods happy but if she skips mass, one cold, dark night she’ll need to be sacrificed up a mountain Scotland in the highlands in November (I bet plenty of Bolivians are telling their kids similar stories to this) I can’t wait to see Sophie next. I could even mix these stories up with Icelandic folk tales which were almost as gruesome.


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