Living with the Forest


By Jerome Lewis J. ルイス
English 日本語 日本語
In the pitch-black darkness, sitting on the forest floor with our bodies so close that we touch, we sing, each voice producing a different yodeled melody to create a densely overlapping harmony. As the hours pass, individual melodies melt into one another, and we begin to lose ourselves in the human and acoustic tapestry we have created. The intensity of the singing builds, its coordination increasingly perfected until the music is so beautiful that the self melts away. Such splendor attracts forest spirits into the camp to join us, the BaYaka believe. As tiny dots of luminescence, they float around us, coming close and then retreating toward the forest, their subtle voices whistling sweet tunes that occasionally slip through the polyphony. Overwhelmed by the beauty we have created together, some call out “Njoor!” (“My word!”), “Bisengo” (“What joy!”) or “To bona!” (“Just like that!”).  漆黒の闇のなかで体を寄せ合い,森の地面に座って歌う。それぞれ異なるヨーデルふうのメロディーが重なって濃密なハーモニーとなる。時がたつにつれ,メロディーは互いにとけ合い,人と響きが織りなすタペストリーのなかで自我が消えていく。歌が力強さを増して完全に調和すると,音楽は至上の美に達し自我は消え去る。
In such moments, you feel that you are the forest, your awareness expanding to encompass the trees, the animals and the people around you. Experiencing such expansiveness, as I did during my doctoral research among the BaYaka Pygmies of the Republic of the Congo in the 1990s, is deeply moving and establishes a loving and joyful connection to everything and everyone in the vicinity. During such “spirit play,” an intensely immersive form of theater, the BaYaka feel themselves communing directly with the forest, communicating their care and attention to it and reaffirming a profound relationship of mutual support and love. As my friend Emeka said, “A BaYaka loves the forest as he loves his own body.”  そうしたとき,人は自分がその森そのものであると感じ,意識が広がってあたりの木々や動物,人々を包含する。私は1990年代にコンゴ共和国のバヤカ・ピグミーと一緒に暮らして博士研究をした際,そうした意識の広がりを経験した。深く感動的な体験で,近くのすべての人や物と愛情と喜びにあふれた一体感が築かれる。極度に没入的なこの「精霊劇」の間,バヤカの人々は森と直接に交わっているように感じ,気遣いと思いやりを森に伝え,森と愛し合い助け合う深遠な関係を再確認する。私の友人エメカ(Emeka)が述べたように,「私たちバヤカは自分の体を愛するように森を愛している」。
The BaYaka follow strict rules in their hunting and gathering. They harvest wild yams in such a way that they regenerate and multiply, they try to avoid killing pregnant animals, and they consume everything that they take from their environs. Over millennia their actions and those of other Pygmy tribes in the Congo Basin have enhanced the forest’s productivity not just for humans but for all creatures. The BaYaka do not have a word for famine. When I tried one evening to explain to Emeka and others assembled around a fire that there are places where people starve to death, I was met with skepticism and disbelief.  バヤカの人々は狩猟・採集に関する厳しいルールを守っている。野生のイモを収穫する場合は再生して増える範囲にとどめ,みごもった動物は殺さないようにし,周囲の環境から採取したものは無駄にせずに食べる。過去数千年間,コンゴ盆地のピグミー部族の行動は,森を人間だけでなくすべての動物にとって豊かなものにしてきた。バヤカに飢餓を意味する言葉はない。ある夜,私は焚き火の周りに集まったエメカたちに,世界には人々が飢えて死んでいく場所があると説明したことがあるが,疑われるばかりで信じてもらえなかった。
Also in the 1990s, however, international institutions such as the World Bank, working in partnership with national governments and conservation agencies, began to implement sustainable-development models in the Congo Basin. They zoned the rain forest into expansive sections for logging and other activities while setting aside “protected areas” as safe havens for wildlife. In accordance with the belief that nature thrives if left untouched by humans, which originates in 19th-century U.S. policy, regional governments banned Pygmy groups from the wildlife reserves.  だが1990年代,世界銀行などの国際機関が各国政府や環境保護団体と連携し,コンゴ盆地で持続可能な開発モデルの実践を始めた。熱帯雨林を区分し,伐採その他の活動のための広大な区画を作る一方で,野生動物の安全な避難場所としての「保護区」を確保した。人間の手を加えずにおけば自然は繁栄するという19世紀米国の政策に由来する信念に従って,地元政府はピグミー集団を野生動物保護区から締め出した。