18 Feb

Mobile library

childrenofthedaysChildren of the Days
Eduardo Galeano
This book blew me away. Galeano also wrote The Open Veins of Latin America, so I expected it to be good. He uses each day of the calendar year to tell a story about whistleblowers, rebels and free thinkers from around the world, but particularly Latin America.

The book is about social justice and by turns makes you gasp, cry and smile.

The way he picks an event or moment, important or seemingly trifling, and finds the heart of it in so few words is incredible. I don’t know what process he used to write this unusual book but I would be fascinated to find out.

Excerpt from Children of the Days – the entry for June 3rd is as follows:


The town of Tambogrande slept on a bed of gold. Gold lay under the houses, unbeknownst to anyone.

The news arrived along with the eviction orders. The Peruvian government had sold the entire town to Manhattan Minerals Corp.

Now you will all be millionaires, they were told. But no one obeyed. On this day in the year 2002, the result of a plebiscite was announced: the inhabitants of Tambogrande had decided to continue living from avocados, mangos, limes and other fruits of the land they had worked so hard to wrest from the desert.

Well they knew that gold curses the places it inhabits: it blows apart the hills with dynamite and poisons the rivers with tailings that contain more cyanide than blessed water.

Maybe they also knew that gold makes people crazy, because with gold the more you eat the hungrier you get.

In 1533, Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro ordered Atahualpa strangled, even though the king of Peru had given him all the gold he demanded.

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