lundi 14 décembre 2009

I am also a Bumiputra...

Genetic 'map' of Asia's diversity

Map of Asia
The study indicates that all of Asia was populated through one migration event.

Even during a short time period such as one's life time, the variation in population movement has been incredible and unpredictable. so for a traveller, it is always good to look back and study the origins of the peopling of the continents. Asia is especially interesting. this new study confirms what had been suspected that the migration from the south to the north in Asia occured. but that was very very long time ago. the further away the historic origins are from the present, the general interest wanes. Who are the Bumiputra of Malaysia? Orang Asli who must have been there for perhaps 50 000 years or the Malays who came there from the North 1500 years ago? Most of the people we call Indians are descendants of migrants from the North to India in the past 5000 years with major migrations occuring in this millenia. The Adivasi are the true Bumiputra of India. I had been fascinated by the physiognomy of the South Indian people who bear a remarkable resemblance to australian Aboriginals, they should since Australian aboriginals are thought to have migrated from southern India (there are Australoid people still living in South India, Todas of Nilgiris and Vedas from Sri Lanka among others). Often I would stop and stare at a man or woman in the streets of Madras, stunned by the similarity of the "typical" dravidian look and the Australian Aboriginal physiognomy.
Post Second World War migration changed the gene pool once again. Italy alone has contributed 60 million immigrants to the world, one in every seven australian and one in three Portenos, have Italian blood.
The new migration which is somewhat culturally incongruous, is the latest invasion of Europe and America by people who have no historical association with the developed world, and whose only reason to come, with some exception, is economical.
A Pakistani flower seller in the streets of Oslo, A Sri Lankan bar tender in Paris, A Dinka tribesman in the frigid north dakota, a shifty west african in the streets of Malaga speaking perfect Spanish and selling you a fake handphone, Bosnians in the Calle Florida in BA..
Cultural Diversity has come home.
after about 60 000 years of divergence, the modern migration has brought us back together. In an interesting study supported by National Geographic and detailed in their september 2009 issue, is the genetic study of just one street in Queens, 30th avenue in Astoria. Queens is considered to be the most ethnically diverse population in the world. There was every single human migration known to man ( not in the modern sense.. we are talking about 50 000 years to about 10 000 years ago).. Pedro A who has Indigenous blood running through his veins washes dishes, his ancestors are Peruvian having arrived there from Siberia. Atsushi M, a japanese ( I really dont believe that there is a pure japanese race,since japan was inhabited by various races of people over the centuries, but for this discussion..a japanese) may have arrived at the island from the prehistoric migration from the south. Alma M, a bosnian must have arrived in her ancestral home from Africa via the Middle East. Strangely enough the people who have least mixture are the original ones, from Africa, for many reasons, remain least diverse. Americans of African ancestry undertook only a short journey from Africa across the Atlantic.. compare that journey of an Orang Asli or Australian Aboriginal?
One every 17 person living along the meditarranean coast has one direct phoenician ancestor.. so Palestine is not the land of the Phoenicians nor the claim of Lebanese Christians that they are Phoenicians dont hold water.. A major portion of this planet's population has traversed what we call the Middle East one time or another in their long journey..
When I was a Medical Student, as part of an experiment, all of us analysed our own genetic origins by studying certain antigens in our blood... Strangely enough none of us had any African Genetic material in us ( perhaps the migration was too distant?), but in my case, the closest affinity was to Georgia in the Caucuses.
In the last 1000-2000 years or so a kind of reverse migration seems to have taken place, Moguls coming in from Uzbekistan, Han Chinese pushing down from the North, jewish populations moving out of present day Israel.
It is nice for people to know that we must price our cultural diversity whereas our genetic diversity is at best ambiguous and thus race based declarations have little meaning.
In that way we are all Bumiputras...