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From: Esa Tipton (tmtartseducation_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Jun 05 2002 - 13:39:56 PDT


This post inspired me to pass along this beautiful
piece from the author of "The God of Small Things."
Being closer to India than most people on this list,
I'm more accutely aware of the ways in which we share
the same air. ..

Don't you think we should add an "Artists Call for
Peace" to the agenda?

Under the Nuclear Shadow
by Arundhati Roy
June 1, 2002

This week as diplomats' families and tourists quickly
journalists from Europe and America arrived in droves.
Most of them stay at
the Imperial Hotel in Delhi. Many of them call me. Why
are you still here,
they ask, why haven't you left the city? Isn't nuclear
war a real
possibility? It is, but where shall I go? If I go away
and everything and
every one, every friend, every tree, every home, every
dog, squirrel and
bird that I have known and loved is incinerated, how
shall I live on? Who
shall I love, and who will love me back? Which society
will welcome me and
allow me to be the hooligan I am, here, at home?

We've decided we're all staying. We've huddled
together, we realize how
much we love each other and we think what a shame it
would be to die now.
Life's normal, only because the macabre has become
normal. While we wait
for rain, for football, for justice, on TV the old
generals and the eager
boy anchors talk of first strike and second strike
capability, as though
they're discussing a family board game. My friends and
I discuss Prophecy,
the film of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the
dead bodies choking
the river, the living stripped of their skin and hair,
we remember
especially the man who just melted into the steps of
the building and we
imagine ourselves like that, as stains on staircases.

My husband's writing a book about trees. He has a
section on how figs are
pollinated, each fig by its own specialized fig wasp.
There are nearly
1,000 different species of fig wasps. All the fig
wasps will be nuked, and
my husband and his book.

A dear friend, who is an activist in the anti-dam
movement in the Narmanda
Valley, is on indefinite hunger strike. Today is the
twelfth day of her
fast. She and the others fasting with her are
weakening quickly. They are
protesting because the government is bulldozing
schools, felling forests,
uprooting hand pumps, forcing people from their
villages. What an act of
faith and hope. But to a government comfortable with
the notion of a wasted
world, what's a wasted value?

Terrorists have the power to trigger a nuclear war.
Non-violence is treated
with contempt. Displacement, dispossession,
starvation, poverty, disease,
these are all just funny comic strip items now.
Meanwhile, emissaries of
the coalition against terror come and go preaching
restraint. Tony Blair
arrives to preach peace -- and on the side, to sell
weapons to both India
and Pakistan. The last question every visiting
journalist always asks me:
"Are you writing another book?"

That question mocks me. Another book? Right now when
it looks as though all
the music, the art, the architecture, the literature,
the whole of human
civilization means nothing to the monsters who run the
world. What kind of
book should I write? For now, just for now, for just a
while pointlessness
is my biggest enemy. That's what nuclear bombs do,
whether they're used or
not. They violate everything that is humane, they
alter the meaning of life.

Why do we tolerate them? Why do we tolerate the men
who use nuclear weapons
to blackmail the entire human race?

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