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Arundhati Roy on The Ministry of Utmost Happiness – books podcast

Arundhati Roy on The Ministry of Utmost Happiness – books podcast


Charles Ashurst

Arundhati Roy inspired this poem. (Does Pinochet rhyme with display? If not, I'll have to edit some more.) does Pinochet rhyme with display?
I love America and Americans,
but I'm increasingly feeling another kind of belonging
to the lights of the world all around us,
who are the reason we don't sink into darkness,
who don't always sound or look like a choir
but who've got a spark and a bit of fire
and a capacity to question the assumptions
handed them by community and loved ones.
Mitochondrial evidence tends to show
humanity came that close to extinction some 70,000 years ago
possibly from an exceptionally large exploding volcano
which shut down the biosphere for a decade or so.
Well you know?
Soon after that is when art began to show
in the form of figurines, beads, and paintings
and also in the advanced tools we began inventing.
Might it be both the art and the inventions
arose out of an enhanced imagination
and art is more than a pretty picture,
an essential feature of the human creature
that not only makes our lives a bit bearable
but rescues us when life gets really terrible?
Many a generalissimo doesn't think so,
with an opinion of poets and artists a bit low,
as was the case with Chile's Augusto Pinochet,
who made the murder of artists a public display
right there in the national stadium
where he gave the order to shoot them.
Imagine if Pinochet had ruled the world,
poets and artists in unmarked graves, their bodies curled.
And what if our biosphere is in trouble again.
Where would we be with our artists did in?

Charles Ashurst

I love the USA and my countrymen but I'm increasingly feeling a belonging to the lights around the world who are the only reason our world doesn't fall into darkness.