Hope Born of Paradox

August 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Eduardo Galeano is a man who really gets us to look at a new angle. And that is really what we need now right, new angles. New ways of thinking. New attempts at approaching the same problems that have plagued our history. A friend of mine tweeted this NPR article about Galeano’s current days, back home in Uruguay. It is short and sweet, and worth a read.

Galeano is famous for exploiting the beauty in contradictions, while at the same time being a forceful voice against injustice, poverty and war. One of his most famous writings entails the line, “Courage is born of fear, certainty of doubt”.  The article mentioned above, explores one of the short stories of history which Galeano recounts in his new book Mirrors.

The story is of Belgium guitarist Django Reinhardt. Galeano writes:

He was born in a gypsy caravan and spent his early years on the road in Belgium, playing the banjo for a dancing bear and a goat.

He was eighteen when his wagon caught fire and he was left for dead. He lost a leg, a hand. Goodbye road, goodbye music. But as they were about to amputate, he regained the use of his leg. And from his lost hand he managed to save two fingers and become one of the best jazz guitarists in history.

There was a secret pact between Django Reinhardt and his guitar. If he would play her, she would lend him the fingers he lacked.

For Galeano, this is a story of hope. And what wonderful truth! The reminder that the will of humans is stronger than we can imagine. That despite the fact that we are limited, our capacity is still greater than originally imagined. And the real piece of beauty here, is that when shared between multiple individuals, and harnessed appropriately, our united capacity and will can do fantastic things.

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