John Chau shouldn’t be forgotten. His fatal ‘civilising’ mission has resonance, past and present

by Rashmee

Posted on December 3, 2018


No one’s talking about John Chau any more, but we should. The young man died trying to convert a tiny hunter-gatherer tribe on India’s remote North Sentinel Island. I thought of ‘Rain’, Somerset Maugham’s short story when I first heard about the American missionary. Maugham wrote the story in 1921 but nearly a century on, … Continue reading “John Chau shouldn’t be forgotten. His fatal ‘civilising’ mission has resonance, past and present”

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Missionary John Chau’s death shows that colonialist ideas of indigenous peoples are still with us

by Rashmee

Posted on November 28, 2018 / The National


There are startling echoes of Somerset Maugham’s 1921 short story “Rain” in the recent death of John Chau. “Rain” is about a proselytising American missionary on the islands of the Pacific. Chau died in an attempt to convert to Christianity a hunter-gatherer tribe on North Sentinel Island, in the Bay of Bengal. Both stories illustrate … Continue reading “Missionary John Chau’s death shows that colonialist ideas of indigenous peoples are still with us”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK