I first became aware of Uruguayan writer, activist, and dog lover Eduardo Galeano
about 20 years ago through Lawrence Weschler's investigations of the amnesty movements in Brazil and Argentina during their post-military dictatorship years (Weschler's work culminated in his book, A Miracle, A Universe: Settling Accounts With Torturers
; Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America
briefly put him in the news cycle when Hugo Chávez presented a copy to President Obama). Since then Galeano has gained international recognition, and in this country was awarded the (prestigious) Lannan Prize for Cultural Freedom. He also published his splendid Memory of Fire
, the three-volume history of the Americas, and a number of other well-regarded tomes. Since Memory of Fire
, Galeano has employed a kind of digressive anecdotal style which includes a variety of textual fragments, some fact-based, some invented. Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone
(Nation Books) covers 5,000 years of human history with fragments, questions, vignettes, poems, dreamscapes, and more. Here is the book's last entry, entitled "Lost and Found":
The twentieth century, which was born proclaiming peace and justice, died bathed in blood. It passed on a world much more unjust than the one it inherited.
The twenty-first century, which also arrived heralding peace and justice, is following in its predecessor's footsteps.
In my childhood, I was convinced that everything that went astray on earth ended up on the moon.
But the astronauts found no sign of dangerous dreams or broken promises or hopes betrayed.
If not on the moon, where might they be?
Perhaps they were never misplaced.
Perhaps they are in hiding here on earth. Waiting.