I recently had the privilege of visiting New York City; while there, I was struck by the multiplicity of cultures, customs, ethnicities, and personalities that tangled and converged within the city boundaries. I was delighted to experience a city defined by its heterogeneity.
“When I got depressed in Rwanda, which was often, I liked to go driving. On the road, the country resolved itself in rugged glory, and you could imagine, as the scenes rushed past and the car filled with smells of earth and eucalyptus and charcoal, that the people and their landscape – the people in their landscape – were as they had always been, undisturbed. In the fields people tilled, in the markets they marketed, in schoolyards the girls in bright blue dresses and boys in khaki shorts and safari shirts played and squabbled like children anywhere. Across sweeping valleys, and through high mountain passes, the roadside presented the familiar African parade: brightly clad women with babies bound to their backs and enormous loads on their heads; strapping young men in jeans and Chicago Bulls T-shirts ambling along empty-handed – save, perhaps, for a small radio; elderly gents in suits weaving down red-dirt lanes on ancient bicycles; a girl chasing a chicken, a boy struggling to balance the bloody head of a goat on his shoulder; tiny tots in ragged smocks whacking cows out of your way with long sticks.
Life.” – We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: stories from Rwanda, Philip Gourevitch, pp. 178-9