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Beautiful words, terrible reality

Posted: March 27th, 2010 | Author: ktcita | Filed under: activism, war, writing | Tags: , | 2 Comments »

One reading a piece by Arundahti Roy in the Guardian today I was left with the same bittersweet feeling I always get when reading her work. Such beautiful words for such terrible realities. I was pleased to see that the Guardian had posted a video of Arundahti Roy reading from her essay, as hearing her speak is so powerful. Unfortunately this time the quality of the video is poor, and the usual resonant power of her voice has been lost. If you ever get the chance to hear her speak live, I highly recommend it.

I note that the Guardian has referred to Roy as a author and activist. I recall her questioning the validity of this statement: “It seems to suggest that it isn’t the business of writers to look deeply into the society they live in. It reduces what a writer is as well as an activist, suggesting they’re somewhat unidimensional,” [from here]

The Guardian essay is about the tribal Indian people who are fighting against the better armed Indian government for the rights to their homeland. This is an excerpt:

“Why must they die? What for? To turn all of this into a mine? I remember my visit to the opencast iron-ore mines in Keonjhar, Orissa. There was forest there once. And children like these. Now the land is like a raw, red wound. Red dust fills your nostrils and lungs. The water is red, the air is red, the people are red, their lungs and hair are red. All day and all night trucks rumble through their villages, bumper to bumper, thousands and thousands of trucks, taking ore to Paradip port from where it will go to China. There it will turn into cars and smoke and sudden cities that spring up overnight. Into a “growth rate” that leaves economists breathless. Into weapons to make war.”