For centuries, Europeans dominated the African continent. The white man arrogated to himself the right to rule and to be obeyed by the non-white; his mission, he claimed, was to "civilize" Africa. Under this cloak, the Europeans robbed the continent of vast riches and inflicted unimaginable suffering on the African people.
We understand that Nixon's aggression against Vietnam is a racist aggression, that the American war in Vietnam is a racist war, a white man's war. . . We deplore that you are being used as cannon fodder for U. S. imperialism. We've seen photographs of American bombs and antipersonnel weapons being dropped, wantonly, accidentally perhaps, on your heads, on the heads of your comrades.
No matter how people mess with you or let you down, or how you let yourself down, a good book means that when you get in bed that night, you have a good hour. I feel like you pay all day for that hour. That's what books mean to me. I can open this two-dimensional , flat white page with squiggly little black marks on them, and someone has created this world that you're going to enter into.
The acknowledgement that this person is English, white, or French, or German, this is Portuguese, this is Rwandan, this is Senegalese, this is a black South Africans is a glorious thing. To speak of those positively, to say that they have characteristics, each one of them, that the others almost always do not have, and that there is a complementarily about it.
The newspaper stories were like dreams to us, bad dreams dreamt by others. How awful, we would say, and they were, but they were awful without being believable. They were too melodramatic, they had a dimension that was not the dimension of our lives. We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.
The white face of the winter day came sluggishly on, veiled in a frosty mist; and the shadowy ships in the river slowly changed to black substances; and the sun, blood-red on the eastern marshes behind dark masts and yards, seemed filled with the ruins of a forest it had set on fire.