Eduardo Galeano, the “poet laureate of the anti-globalization movement,” who has been published here at Truthdig, says “the world is organized by the war economy and the war culture.”
International publication of his latest book, “Children of the Days,” has brought Galeano on a rare tour through the United States. Guardian writer Gary Younge met the author in Chicago and published a description of their visit in the online edition of his paper.
Having begun his professional career as a reporter, Galeano credits journalism with “waking me up to the realities of the world.”
“There is a tradition that sees journalism as the dark side of literature, with book writing at its zenith,” Galeano told the Spanish newspaper El Pais recently, Younge says. “I don’t agree,” Galeano continued. “I think that all written work constitutes literature, even graffiti. I have been writing books for many years now, but I trained as a journalist, and the stamp is still on me.”
The realities Galeano confronts are sober and bleak. “This world is not democratic at all,” he told Younge. “The most powerful institutions, the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and the World Bank, belong to three or four countries. The others are watching.”
But people of conscience like Galeano are watching them. And their criticisms sometimes enter the orbit of higher levels of power. In 2009 the recently deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez pressed a copy of Galeano’s acclaimed 1971 exposition of the long exploitation of Latin America into the hands of a smiling Barack Obama. Footage of that exchange appears below, along with a May appearance by Galeano on “Democracy Now!”
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
Gary Younge at The Guardian:
[H]e flits from past to present and back again, making connections with a wry and scathing wit. His desire, he says, is to refurbish what he calls the “human rainbow. It is much more beautiful than the rainbow in the sky,” he insists. “But our militarism, machismo, racism all blinds us to it. There are so many ways of becoming blind. We are blind to small things and small people.”
And the most likely route to becoming blind, he believes, is not losing our sight but our memory. “My great fear is that we are all suffering from amnesia. I wrote to recover the memory of the human rainbow, which is in danger of being mutilated.”
By way of example he cites Robert Carter III – of whom I had not heard – who was the only one of the US’s founding fathers to free his slaves. “For having committed this unforgivable sin he was condemned to historical oblivion.”
Who, I ask, is responsible for this forgetfulness? “It’s not a person,” he explains. “It’s a system of power that is always deciding in the name of humanity who deserves to be remembered and who deserves to be forgotten … We are much more than we are told. We are much more beautiful.”
The Associated Press:
Mariela De Marchi Moyano (CC BY-SA 2.0)
The author at Librarsi bookstore in Vicenza, Italy, in 2008.