But I plucked a new, different, worldly soul for myself -- maybe a soul I found in the spray thrown up by the surge of that distant African river as it plummets onto black rocks and sends up into the sun a permanent arc of a rainbow.
FBI Girl is a gorgeous, sumptuous book. Conlon-McIvor takes a subject (herself and her family) that might have sunk in other hands, beats egg white under her words and the whole thing rises like a dream. It's a love story for her people and for a time and place. Read it.
You can't rewind war. It spools on, and on, and on, looping and jumping, distorted and cracked with age, and the stories contract until only the nuggets of hatred remain and no one can even remember, or imagine, why the war was organized in the first place.
The land itself, of course, was careless of its name. It still is. You can call it what you like, fight all the wars you want in its name. Change its name altogether if you like. The land is still unblinking under the African sky. It will absorb white man's blood and the blood of African men, it will absorb blood from slaughtered cattle and the blood from a woman's birthing with equal thirst. It doesn't care.
Surely until all of us own and honor one another's dead, until we have admitted to our murders and forgiven one another and ourselves for what we have done, there can be no truce, no dignity and no peace.
Once, I discovered the skulls of two impala rams, their horns locked into an irreversible figure-of-eight; the two animals had been trapped in combat, latched to each other during the battle of the rut. The harder they had pulled to escape from each other, the more intractably stuck they were, until they had fallen exhausted, to their knees, in an embrace of hatred that had killed them both.