A calendar of neglect, but paradoxically a calendar of immense import. Relegated to the confines of the dustbin of history to be too obscure or derided by a fickle memory as too obtuse, these are the forgotten children of Planet earth whose influence, either triumphant or terrible will be felt until perpetuity. Eduardo Galeano in a marvelously minimalist style, lays down one event (in some rare cases multiple) for every day of the year.
Triumph juxtaposes with tragedy; horrors vie with heroics and humour blends in with hatred as Galeano unfurls each splendid tale of his in an uninhibited fashion. The past coalesces with the present only to coagulate into the future. Employing a marvelously minimalist style, Galeano sets out what can justifiably be termed the ‘human anthology’. The topics are as diverse as the foibles and favours concerning them. They envelope time and space with carefree abandon. John Rockefeller’s autopsy competes with a pair of German brother’s whose diligence in learning the ways of life of the Mayans in Trojolabal did the world an immeasurable service. The unfortunate cooking of a bishop named Pedro Fernandes Sardinha (no pun intended) shares space with the second birth of Fyodor Dostoevsky, who got a miraculous reprieve from a firing squad.
Spanish inquisitions and the Russian football team that failed to turn up to play Chile in Pinochet’s ill maintained National Stadium (an original torture chamber for prisoners) merge to harrow and hurt the human conscience. Galeano also lends an element of scathing satire and sardonic views for some implacable events such as the unjustified invasion of Iraq by the US on the pretext of destroying ‘non-existent’ Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The precocious value of this book can be aptly summarised by reproducing John Berger who reviewed it, “put it beside your bed and the bed of those you love”
Children Of The Days – Not just to be kept beside the physical bed but to be firmly etched in the bed of conscience!