Eduardo Galeano, 1978
translation by Bobbye Ortiz.
–excerpts from my mind through his–
In defense of the word.
“One writes out of a need to communicate and to commune with others, to denounce that which gives pain and to share that which gives happiness. One writes against one’s solitude and against the solitude of others. One assumes that literature transmits knowledge and affects the behavior and language of those who reaad… One writes, in reality, for the people whose luck or misfortune one identifies with– the hungry, the sleepless, the rebels, and the wretched of this earth– and the majority of them are all illiterate.
Our own fate as Latin American writers is linked to the need for profound social transformations. To narrate is to give oneself: it seems obvious that literature, as an effort to communicate fully, will continue to be blocked… so long as misery and illiteracy exist, and so long as the possessors of power continute to carry on with impunity their policy of collective imbecilization through… the mass media.
How far can we go? Whom can we reach?
…To awaken consciousness, to reveal identity.
Can a literature serve a better function in these times?
Our effectiveness depends on our capacity to be audacious and astute, clear and appalling. I would hope that we can create a language more fearless and beautiful than that used by conformist writers to greet the twilight.
In Latin America a literature is taking shape and gaining strength, a literature that does not propose to bury our dead, but immortalize them; that refuses to stir the ashes of society but rather attempts to light the fire… perhaps it may help to preserve for the generations to come… ‘the true name of all things.’ In an incarcerated society, free literature can exist as both denunciation and hope.”
Original book, it lights my fire: The Open Veins of Latin America
Real lyrics, in hip hop form: K’Naan 2008 (try “If Rap Gets Jealous”)