Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Mongoloid, he was a mongoloid
his friends were unaware
Mongoloid, he was a mongoloid
nobody even cared
Mongoloid, he was a mongoloid
one  chromosome too many
Mongoloid, he was a mongoloid
and it determined what he could see

Gerald Casale (DEVO band, USA)
This is the lyrics of a song called "Mongoloid", written by Gerald Casale , a member of  "DEVO", an American rock band  formed in 1972 in Ohio, USA. Mongoloid is a term used to describe  people with Down's syndrome. It actually all started when  doctor, John Langdon Down (after whom Down's syndrome was named), who studied this behavior while working as medical superintendent  at  the Royal Earlswood Hospital in England ( built to house and educate those disabled people , or "idiots" as they were termed at that time), decided  to call his patients as "Mongol."   He wrote in 1866  that "...these children were a regression to a Mongolian ethnic type."

We are talking about his patients (children with Down's syndrome) who came to this institution from all over the country (England). They did not come from Mongolia. Nor there is not one official document that says there were people of Mongolian ethnicity among those patients  whom doctor Down worked with during that time (1855-1868).  How did  this doctor came up with the term "Mongol" to bring it into connection with  that syndrome?  I think, because of the Mongolian invasion back few centuries ago, the  western part of the world, which didn't suffer directly from that aggression but remained puzzled and confused with all types of  mystical  rumors  and hearings went around. Rumors exclusively depicted Mongols as wild barbarians, cannibals  with looks and characteristics hardly resembles a "normal" human being, allegedly having  certain anomalies. Doctor Down was not saved from this perception either.  What else could it be?! I am positive that doctor Down had never visited Mongolia back then (and I doubt he ever met a Mongol either), and I don't think that  there were so many children present from Mongolia, or even any intermarriages between English people and Mongolians at that time.

Long story short, this term is still being used to  describe  those with such syndrome  until today. The proof ?  What about  the song ("Mongoloid") I mentioned in the beginning, or the story of a Mongolian woman in Scotland ( read this  story HERE ) , or the movie called "The guitar Mongoloid" (in Swedish: "Gitarrmongot" ) directed by Ruben Oestlund (Sweden) in 2004 ?

Ruben Oestlund (Sweden)
Do you see what Dr.Down has done? Even though he later admitted it was a failure, the harm was done. Unfortunately, people like Gerald Casale or Ruben Oestlund  keep contributing to promote this misunderstanding by their song or  movie. What would the new generation perceive when they learn this song or watch the movie? That is how this practice is kept alive. Their products have been distributed by others too, making them  really  efficient propaganda tools. There is a German guy goes by the name "Rummelsnuff" who took DEVO's song "Mongoloid" into his song list and sings while acting like one with Down's syndrome in his video. There is also a music band called Sepultura which covers this song too. So, the list can go on.

Ruben Oestlund's movie "Gitarrmongot" was shown on the screens of film festivals, like in Moscow, Russia and recently in the US. One cannot really say how many people watched that film on those festivals and movie theaters.  So, no  wonder why this "habit"  is not "dying out."
(Watch DEVO's song  here and the cover by Rummelsnuff  here )

Mongolians at home and abroad are angry  with the fact that Ruben Oestlund's movie is on the way to be shown in the US, participating in the film festivals in different cities, and they are protesting it using all means available. This article of mine can be considered as one of them.  Some Mongolian communities abroad have sent a letter to those who directed this movie. Below is a copy of this letter:


January 16, 2015
Dear Mr. Östlund and Mr. Hemmendorff,
We are writing to you as ethnic Mongolians regarding your film “The Guitar Mongoloid”, which is being shown as part of film festivals in New York, Maryland and California.
We are deeply concerned and hurt by the use of the term “mongoloid” in the context of your film and are requesting that you change the name of the film in the nearest future, out of respect to the Mongolian people and to the international Down syndrome community.
The term “mongoloid”, referring to people with Down syndrome, was dropped by the World Health Organization in 1965 because it was and still is considered to be offensive to those of Mongol ethnicity.
Furthermore, in many countries, the word has come to be used as a term of offense. There are many campaigns around the world trying to stop the hurtful and offensive usage of “mongoloid” and to promote the original meaning, namely, “related to the culture, language and people of Mongolia.”
We do not expect you to reconsider your decision to show the film. However, we request the following:
  • That you tell the audience from today’s – Jan 16, 2015 – New York 9.15pm screening onwards that the term “mongoloid” is offensive both to Mongols and to the international Down syndrome community and that you are extremely sorry to the Mongolian and International  Down syndrome community, and are planning to change the name of the film in the near future.
  • Edit in the same disclaimer in the future screenings of the film. Have a staff member of theatres to read the disclaimer when showing the film without disclaimer.
  • Put the same disclaimer on the internet, especially in the film description on your websites.
  • Change the name of the film out of human kindness and compassion in support of vulnerable members in society and dignity and respect of another culture and nation with rich history and its own place in the world.
Please read more about the use of this offensive term at the link:
Thank you, in advance, for your sensitivity to this issue. We look forward to your response.
– Mongolians NYC Community
– Mongolian Association in the UK
– “Tsahim Urtuu Holboo” TBB (NGO) online community of Mongolians around the world    


Lastly, I just want to say that there would be no peace, cooperation or friendship between nations and various ethnicity  if there is no mutual respect. There will be only mutual enemies if this kind of stupidity continues. That what Casale and Oeslund do, cause hatred and  disrespect. Why people just can't or don't want to avoid or drop something which would harm or hurt others? Are the bad people outnumbering the good ones?  What should people do to stop such "provocations"  which do nothing but harm people's relations? These are the questions we should ask ourselves and find answers if we want to talk about friendship and living  in peace. Let us hear your voices too.

p.s. The correct and original meaning of this term is "related to the culture, language and people of Mongolia and Mongolian ethnicity." 


  1. Have you got the same objections against the US motor bike gangs who call themselves "Mongols"? They are starting chapters in countries all over the world and are basicly rebel, criminal, bad gangs who by association with their name are reflecting badly on Mongolia and Mongolians.

  2. Of course I have. They should have given themselves a different name, not less impressive than "Hell's Angels", maybe "Heaven's Angels " ? My understanding is that they wanted impress others with the name like "The Mongols" just to use the reputation and glory of the Mongols who were once so powerful to conquer half of the known world back then. If one can call it as an achievement no other nation could beat, then what the US bikers meant by using the word Mongol is definitely not of denigrating or offending nature. More the opposite. In that sense, since it is not of offending nature, one can expect not much protest from the natives. The Down's syndrome-case is the total opposite. So, I am just explaining purely from the standpoint of how (or of what nature) is the word being used in these two cases. Regarding the bad reflection on us, I would say the Down's syndrome case is much worse than being pictured as terrible invader. Who would love an invader anyway, especially people from the areas affected (Arabs, Russians, Chinese, Koreans etc.) ?