Sunday, June 25, 2006

new reads on war

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie recently wrote for the New Yorker on the subject of war - excerpt below

My mother often shouted at Fide. She was creative with her Igbo insults. “You are a fat millipede, nnukwu esu!” she’d say when he took too long with a task. “Look at him, ike akpi, with the buttocks of a scorpion,” when he forgot yet another thing she’d asked him to do. Or, “May dogs lick your eyes!” when he didn’t tell the truth. She asked Fide to start dinner in the afternoon because it took him so long—jollof rice alone kept him busy for four hours. One afternoon stands out in my mind. Fide was at the Formica-topped kitchen table, scraping the scales off a tilapia with a knife. He worked with slow, deliberate motions—scrape, pause, scrape, pause. There were transparent scales on his chin, on his arms, on the floor. “You’re taking forever to do that!” I said. “It’s like preparing a body for a funeral,” Fide said. “You take your time to do it well.” It was a joke, and he was laughing. But, after he died, I would think about this, too.
-- Read on

In the same issue, you can also read Tony D'Souza on the war in Cote D'Ivoire...
I was in Abidjan in 2000, shortly after General Robert Guei’s bloodless Christmas Eve coup, which eventually helped to usher in the bloodshed of the past six years in Ivory Coast. At the time, there was a small contingent of United States Marines in the city—the U.S. Embassy Guard. They were housed in a spacious apartment in a downtown high-rise in the Plateau district. I was in my first year with the Peace Corps, and whenever I was granted a break from my posting in the bush I’d travel to the city, to a Peace Corps-run hostel that was always crowded with volunteers. Now and again, eager to spend time with the white women among us, the marines would invite us over. They were well provisioned: alcohol, air-conditioning, and all the latest magazines, CDs, and DVDs. When they called, we’d round up a couple of cabfuls of the willing, and then happily dig into the marines’ top-shelf goods. The women needed little coercing—they enjoyed the Snickers bars, People magazines, and Bacardi as much as anybody.

Nnorom Azuonye is also thinking around the subject of war in his essay, Democracy and the Lottery of Haunted Hours...
The idiocy of the rationale for war and invasion of sovereign nations to deliver a brand of government is confounding: drop a few bombs, kill men, women and children in their sleep, destroy the environment for those that survive. In a scenario like that, what has been delivered is not democracy, but a death demon. Recall the words of Phillip Frazer in ‘What NATO's Bombs Did to the Environment’ (; “NATO's bombs not only destroyed Serbia's military machine; they also devastated the region's land, air and water. After several months of Serbian forces' burning villages and NATO's flying over 40,000 sorties that dropped powerful explosives on Yugoslavia, massive damage has been inflicted on the Yugoslav environment and neighbouring countries”


Blogger My Talking Beginnings said...

I eagerly await chimamanda's second coming in the form of a new book!!

6:57 pm, June 26, 2006  
Blogger Onyeka George Nwelue said...

At the moment, Chimamanda remains my best writer. You can imagine someone who would use the Igbo dialect in her writing, still those who are not Igbo would relate to what she is writing.

Wow! Half of a Yellow Sun, here I come!

8:18 pm, June 26, 2006  

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