finding beauty in a broken world-terry tempest williams (part too)

“Bones are the essence of the life they once held.” (53)

“Those who cannot speak are spoken for.” (142)

“Rwandans are wearing America’s discarded T-shirts. Te people become walking billboards for American consumption, from Old Navy to Abercrombie & Fitch to Eminem to “Harry and Elaine’s 50th Wedding Anniversary.” One young man pounding a pickax into stone in wearing a T-shirt that reads, ‘Having a frickin’ good time’.” (300-1)

“In coming to know one animal well, we can come to understand ourselves in more complex terms. We are not so different. We respond to the world around us. Can we imagine the needs of other species, not just our own? Can we allow our imagination to create an empathetic response to Other. Might this be another pathway toward peace?” (167)

“After witnessing the legacy of bones, these distinguished pieces of paper might as well have been written in smoke. How does a phrase like ‘Never again’ uttered religiously after the Jewish Holocaust, after Cambodia, Rwanda, and now Darfur, translate to ‘again and again’-the mantra of our collective denial? Code terms like ‘civil war’ and ‘tribal conflict’ give us license not to get involved. The masterminds of all genocides count on our complicity. They plan, calculate, and execute their intent, trusting in our refusal to acknowledge what they are doing. And in the case of America, instead of intervention, our government debated for months whether the mass killings in Rwanda fulfilled the definition of genocide. The manipulation of extinction is done most efficiently through bureaucracies.” (239)

“At each memorial, I read ‘Never Again’ in Kinyarwanda. But each time I see these coupled words and realize what is occurring in the Congo and Darfur, I want to add a comma between them: Never, Again.” (307)

Dignity creates a pause in others and attracts respect.” (317)

“So many of the children we have met in Rwanda have dignity. Dignity has nothing to do with age. It does have to do with survival.” (318)

and so i was wrong about the prairie dogs-i pulled one passage about them. i am in absolute awe of how terry tempest williams has managed to unite the stories of mosaics, prairie dogs, and the rwandan genocide.

i don’t so much recommend this book, but deem it part of the required reading for humans who continue to be part of this world. i aim to create a work like this, that spans across history and geography and comes out the truth it always was.


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