Arundhati Roy on The Ministry of Utmost Happiness – books podcastby Guardian's Books podcast
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 belongingto 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 choirbut who've got a spark and a bit of fireand a capacity to question the assumptionshanded them by community and loved ones.Mitochondrial evidence tends to showhumanity came that close to extinction some 70,000 years agopossibly from an exceptionally large exploding volcanowhich shut down the biosphere for a decade or so.Well you know?Soon after that is when art began to showin the form of figurines, beads, and paintingsand also in the advanced tools we began inventing.Might it be both the art and the inventionsarose out of an enhanced imaginationand art is more than a pretty picture,an essential feature of the human creaturethat not only makes our lives a bit bearablebut 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 displayright there in the national stadiumwhere 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?
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.