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In the Name of Food

Unpublished essay from 1999


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«I am trying to envisage hunger. What kind of condition is it? It has nothing to do with European and North American «hunger artists» – who experiment with the power of the ego and the limits of the body. Whatever they may be assumed to lack, it is not food. As an exercise in self-discipline, I am trying to imagine the absence of food. With collective pictures in my memory, I let my imagination carry me into the landscapes of utter starvation, where I have never been. I am not writing about my own lack of food. This makes it possible to write.»

Telling Rwanda
Black Hole and Story Fragments

«Rwanda needs to be told. Rwanda, land-locked and secretive, is tradition as well as tradition annihilated (in 1994). It needs to be told, but by whom?
    I was invited to go to Rwanda during the spring of 1999 to inspire and teach some Genocide survivors to express themselves in writing in general, and to write about their Genocide memories in particular. I could only do this because of my own commitment to Rwanda. I had written about Rwandan everyday life and extraordinary violence and pain, mostly as seen by the eyes of women and endured by women, in books and reports since 1992.»

The Secret Life of the Writer

Unpublished essay

«The title of this essay – that I’m obeying – was not invented by me. It could not have been so. It really is complex, difficult and intriguing. It may be misleading, too. It could tempt an essayist to take for granted what this writer/essayist certainly cannot take for granted. Before entering a house of possible secrets, I’m standing at the threshold of the title with questions, wide-open.»