Are "tribal" and "ethnic" different?

In the review of Alec Russell's "Big Men, Little People: encounters in Africa" (Books, 17 January), Aida Edemariam states that the hope of the independence movements of the 1960s was flattened by, among other things, "tribal (not ethnic) clashes". It is a pity that the reviewer did not explain the differences between "tribal" and "ethnic". Hitherto they have been taken as being identical. If a difference has been found, I think, as they say in another magazine, we should be told.

J Seery
Middleton St George, Nr Darlington

This article first appeared in the 31 January 2000 issue of the New Statesman, Why arms sales are bad for Britain