The smoked monkeys brought the point home. During my first day on a boat on the Congo River, I’d embraced the unfamiliar: how to bend under the rail to fill my wash bucket from the river, where to step around the tethered goat in the dark and the best way to prepare a pot of grubs. But when I saw the monkeys impaled on stakes, skulls picked clean of brains and teeth thrusting out, I looked otherness in the face — and saw myself mirrored back.
I was the real exotica: the only tourist to take this boat in nearly a decade, and the only white woman, as far as the crew knew, ever.… Seguir leyendo »
It was past dark on a February afternoon in 1894 when a keeper at Greenwich Park, just outside London, heard the bang. Rushing toward the spot, he made out the figure of a young man on bent knees, with his abdomen gashed open and his bowels spilling out. The police identified the victim as a Frenchman named Martial Bourdin, with ties to a well-known anarchist club. Clearly, they concluded, he’d been on his way to bomb the Greenwich Observatory. It was a highly symbolic target: the Prime Meridian, the longitudinal center of the world.
Bourdin did rock the center of the world, just not the way he may have intended: Anarchism in the 1890s touched off the first age of global terrorism, and then as now, migrants and civil liberties paid the price.… Seguir leyendo »