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Transcript of interview with Komor-a-kora, Bio-iton-giga and Arinyatuin

DT: When the tourists come up and down this road to the
Omo and take photographs, and when we come and film you
like this, what do you say about it, privately?

Arinyatuin: We say ‘It’s their thing. They are that sort of
people – people who take photographs. It’s the whites’ thing’.
What do we know about it? You are the ones who know. We
just sit here and they take photographs. There’s one [a Polaroid
photograph] that, as you look at it, you can see your own body
appearing. If it’s bad, tell us.

DT: I’m trying to find out what you think, in your stomachs.

Arinyatuin: In our stomachs? We’ve no idea. They can’t
speak our language, so we can’t ask them why they are doing
it. We can ask you, because you speak Mursi. They come with
Kuchumba,10 who just sit in the cars. When the tourists have
taken their photographs, they drive off.
We say, ‘Is it just that they want to know who we are, or
what? They must be people who don’t know how to behave.’
Even old women come and totter about taking photographs. ‘Is
this how whites normally behave?’ That’s what we say.

DT: (Laughing) So that’s what you say!

Bio-iton-giga: Goloinmeri – why do they do it? Do they
want us to become their children, or what? What do they want
the photographs for?

DT: They come because they see you as different and strange
people. They go back home and tell their friends that they’ve
been on a long trip, to Mursiland. They say: ‘Look, here are the
people we saw.’ They do it for entertainment.

Komorakora: Recently, the Administrator at Hana told us,
‘Build a nice big house, with a fence – a big house, well built.
The vets can use it when they treat the cattle and the tourists can
photograph it. The tourists come to enjoy themselves. They can
sleep in the house and go back the next day.’
That’s what he said – what’s his name?

Bio-iton-giga: Dawit Shumbulu.

Komorakora: Yes, that’s it, Dawit Shumbulu. That’s what he
said. We said to each other, ‘Are we here just for their amusement?’
Now you’ve said the same, so that must be it.

Bio-iton-giga: If they are going to take photographs, they
should give us a lot of money shouldn’t they? But they don’t.

DT: That’s bad. Is that how they behave?

Arinyatuin: Yes, we are always arguing with them. They
cheat us.

Bio-iton-giga: They’ll take a lot of photographs, give us a
single note, and then get in their cars and drive off.

DT: Don’t you complain?

Bio-iton-giga: Of course we do. But they dive into their cars
and escape.

Arinyatuin: They are thieves, aren’t they? White people are

DT: Yes, it’s bad. What about the Kuchumba – they are different
from the whites, aren’t they?

Arinyatuin: Yes. They don’t take photographs. They just ask
for food. ‘Give us a goat to eat,’ they say.
So we just give them one, When a lot of them come, it’s for
tax. Don’t you have tax in your country?

DT: Yes, we do.

Arinyatuin: There’s none of this going round taking photographs
with the Kuchumba – they are more like us. This photography
thing comes from your country, [smiling] where the
necklace beads grow. Give us a car and we’ll go and take photographs
of you.

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