Saturday, June 23, 2012
This is coolbert:
Thanks to public broadcast television and the continuing series "Secrets of the Dead" we have the story of yet another of those very talented but also very eccentric and dotty Englishmen who during wartime perform extraordinary duty beyond the capability of mere mortals.
"'The Airmen and the Headhunters,' an episode of the PBS television series Secrets of the Dead."
Tom Harrisson. A man in the same league and caliber as a T.E. Lawrence, an Orde Wingate, a Brookes Rajah of Sarawak!
"Major Tom Harnett Harrisson . . . was a British polymath. In the course of his life he was an ornithologist, explorer, journalist, broadcaster, soldier, guerrilla, ethnologist, museum curator, archaeologist, documentarian, film-maker, conservationist, and writer."
Tom Harrisson a man intimately familiar with the island of Borneo and the indigenous peoples, especially those Dayak tribesmen, the Dayak by reputation HEADHUNTERS AND FEARSOME WARRIORS!!
Harrisson as commander of an Australian special operations team parachuting into the interior of Borneo the mission of which was the combined rescue of American airmen and the waging of guerrilla warfare against the Japanese.
"He [Harrisson] had been recruited . . . for a plan to use the native peoples of Borneo against the Japanese. He was attached to Z Special Unit [Australian] . . . part of the Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD: a branch of the combined Allied Intelligence Bureau in the South West Pacific theatre). On 25 March 1945, he was parachuted with seven Z Force operatives from a Consolidated Liberator onto a high plateau occupied by the Kelabit people.
Harrisson in command his "troops" succeeding most successfully. That Z team organizing, training, planning, and leading into battle their contingents of Dayak tribesmen. Waging the war of the flea, the Dayak very eager to please, their favorite weapons the blowgun and the sword [called a machete] THAT TAKING OF JAPANESE HEADS AS A DEMONSTRATION OF VALOR IN COMBAT VERY IMPORTANT TO THE DAYAK AND A PRACTICE EVIDENTLY ENCOURAGED BY HARRISSON!!
Harrisson too during the Brunei Revolt of 1962 again favorably responding, those Dayak following the call to arms of the leader:
"Brunei Revolt in 1962 . . . Tom Harrisson also arrived in Brunei. He summoned the Kelabits from the highlands around Bario in the 5th Division, the centre of his wartime resistance. Hundreds of Dayaks responded, and formed into companies led by British civilians all commanded by Harrisson."
The Dayak one of only three peoples left on the planet that to this day, the modern time, continue to carry swords on a habitual basis. The other two ethnic groups still fond of carrying swords being the Taureg of the Sahara and the Tibetan nomad!
That taking of heads by the Dayak no longer a practice? The Dayak have become Christian and given up the ancient ways? One might hope so!