Extracts from the travel diaries of Sally I.; scholar and philosopher. This documentary series, Galactic Misunderstandings, is brought to you by Starwire Discovery Programmes

Galactic Misunderstandings: Mandalorians

It has been quite the journey. When I started my first week, I was a veritable ball of preconceptions about Mandalorians, their nature and their value to the galaxy at large. In truth, I expected to have those preconceptions altered, but I did not imagine the range and variety that I experienced. It is no surprise that a culture that thrives on adaptation should have diversity, which of course means that no stereotype stands the test of every Mandalorian individual; with the exception of a few exceptionally common traits encouraged by the Resol’nare.

Sadly, while I feel better about my understanding and found many ways to extol seeming paradoxical virtues from the culture, part of suvarir—to understand—is to accept the bad as well as polish the good to a mirror shine.

Part 7: Suvarir

Me (ridiculously) trying on a traditional buy'ce
Sometimes you can understand something better by doing it. Sometimes, that's just an excuse to try on a bucket

Few nations can be absolutely absolved of a history of atrocities or injustice. Jedi, Hutt, or Imperial all stand with the Mando’ade in having a history of deeply unsettling or unwise decisions. So we should endeavour, I think, to judge the modern incarnations of these people on their modern actions, rather than on the actions of those who are dead.

This is why you will not hear me discuss the conscription of the crusaders or the genocide of Cathar at much length; the Mando’ade culture may once have produced such catastrophes and horror, but it would be disingenuous to associate that with the behaviour of today unless there was somehow a parallel. Arguably, you can define the Mando’ade by their Mand’alor when they have one, so I will focus on the tenure of the Avenger and the Vindicated. At least where commenting on specifics seems necessary.

There is no doubt that for all the peaceful and constructive interpretations of the Resol’nare there are as many—probably far more—that promote war, violence and general belligerence. Par for the course, these are also far more publicly recognisable interpretations that make the most noise; not to mention the frequency of such beliefs. Therein lies a recipe for the Mandalorian stereotype that the galaxy loves to hate; thuggish, crude, unempathic, and low on head and high on bucket.

Ori’buyce, kih’kovid

All helmet, no head

A Mandalorian proverb for arrogance or an overblown sense of authority.

The associations between the tenets of the Resol’nare and a violent lifestyle barely need explaining. Self defence, armour, a sole ruler. Add in a competitive spirit and a hunger for adversity and growth. The way these things lead to violence and war are not hard to grasp and in some ways are respectable. Our era has been defined by war, after all. Some people who could be fully engaged with this programme may have been born after the return of the Sith Empire and now, in adulthood, have never known peace. In a galaxy at war, is it any wonder that some of the best non-sensitive warriors in the galaxy decide to adopt a combative stance? With the abuses of Zakuul, which certainly proved the Mandalorians’ belligerent footing somewhat valid, the journey from self-defence to cold warmongering and seemingly thuggish behaviour is not an unclear or bemusing path.

A Mandalorian engages gangers on Nar Shaddaa
At the end of the day, when the chips are down and a fight is all there is, nobody comes out looking innocent; least of all these guys

There is no excusing some behaviour, of course. The worst of the Mando’ade tend to be considered acceptable, in part due to the same philosophical flexibility of the Resol’nare that allows for the peaceful and relatable interpretations that I myself drew. Therefore, the public face of the Mando’ade is defined by its most violent and antisocial examples—they’re the loudest. If you have taken anything away from this Galactic Misunderstandings series though, let it be that Mandalorian culture has the potential for a great deal of beauty, and peace, not just violence or suiffering. All populations can wind up represented, unintentionally, by their worst examples under the right circumstances—don’t let yourself fall in this trap. With the Mando’ade, or anyone else for that matter.

With so much capacity for evolution and individuality, if there is a people whose individuals you should judge by their individual actions, let it be the Mando’ade. Be accepting of those who reach out and want to improve the galaxy. Continue to lambast and discourage those who would destroy it. With any luck, we’ll all come out better.

Ret’urcye mhi.

Sally would like to thank everyone who helped in the creation of this programme. She has pledged that any financial benefits acquired as a result of this programme will go to educational or humanitarian causes.

If you would like Sally, or any of the Galactic Misunderstandings team, a topic in-depth, be sure to leave your feedback and suggestions in the comments below. As always, we will try to answer any and all questions posed to our network.

Galactic Misunderstandings will return when we have crowd-sourced a new topic. Galactic politics? Battle tech? Esoteric cultures? No topic is beyond the reach of Starwire Discovery.

All views and opinions expressed in this programme are those of presenters and contributors only and do not necessarily reflect those of Starwire Entertainment Limited, its sponsors, associates, or subsidiaries. The footage for this program was recorded three years ago. Any statistics, time-sensitive information, or mentions of ongoing events may not be up to date.

Thank you for watching this Starwire Discovery programme. This has been a not-for-profit instalment of Galactic Misunderstandings. Production was led by the Discovery subsidiary of Starwire Entertainment Ltd.

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