Spreading God’s love results in tragedy


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By HLEE YANG

The Mirror reporter

On Nov. 17, 26-year-old American missionary John Allen Chau was killed by the Sentinelese, a native tribe of the North Sentinel Island in the Andaman Sea.

North Sentinel is one of the most sealed-off parts of Indian and the government has prohibited any interactions with the people on the island. The Indian Navy patrols the water surrounding the island to ensure that no outsiders can get in, but Chau had proven that that ring of security could easily be breached.

With the Bible in his hand and God in his heart, Chau set off to the island of North Sentinel on the night of Nov. 14. He had previously paid a group of fishermen to help take him to the island. After leaving the fishermen, he spent two days in his kayak, paddling to reach shore. Upon his arrival to the island, he was shot by bows and arrows. The Indian authorities reported that “Mr. Chau had been shot with bows and arrows by tribesmen when he got on shore and that his body was still on the island” according to the New York Times.

Many people argue that the Indian police officers shouldn’t try to retrieve Chau’ body and even the man, himself, agrees. In Chau’s last letter, he wrote “Don’t retrieve my body,” and underlined “this is not a pointless thing – the eternal lives of this tribe is at hand.”

Retrieving Chau’s body from the island is has been a struggle. Police officials can’t even go near the island without the fear of being shot. They had to stay at least several hundred yards offshore. “The Sentinelese are watchful. They were patrolling the beach,” Dependra Pathak, the area’s police chief, said, “Had we approached, they would have attacked” according to an article from the New York Times.

Survival International has also urged the Indian authorities to abandon any efforts to recover Chau’s body.

Any attempt to retrieve Chau’s body from the island may bring not only harm to the Indian officials, but also to the Sentinelese tribe. It is especially dangerous for the Sentinelese, for the tribe has not been exposed to the outside world in thousands of years and their immune system is in no match to modern microbes and viruses.

The Sentinelese may be completely wiped out if any outside diseases are introduced upon their land. They have been in isolation for about 60,000 years and thus they are very vulnerable to modern day diseases.

Experts say that coming into contact with outsiders will put their health at a great risk. Survival International’s Director Stephen Corry suggest that in order to avoid the risk of deadly flu, measles or other outside diseases, the remoted tribespeople should be left alone and so should Chau’s body.

There isn’t really any benefit in retrieving Chau’s body and the effects of any attempt may cause more harm than good so why should the Indian authorities continue to retrieve Chau’s body? The effort should be stopped and the government should increase the security around the island so that such tragedy doesn’t happen again.