Arguments Worth Having

Art = Absurdity = Provocation = Contemplation = Wisdom = Love

Eighteen Paragraphs: An Essay of Death and Imagination

with 3 comments

 Ceux qui vous font croire des absurdités, peuvent vous faire commettre des atrocities.” – Voltaire

Product Details 

This essay, Eighteen, is available at the fascinating zine Drunken Boat. The essay was a Finalist in the 2008 William Faulkner – William Wisdom Writing Competition.

EIGHTEENZoya Kosmodemyanskaya is a partisan fighting against the Nazi invasion. She is captured near the Russian border. Shortly after, in January of 1942, her picture is shown on the front pages of Pravda, one of her breasts is lopped off, and she is about to be hanged. She is eighteen years old.

When Masabata Loate returns to her township in South Africa, after spending five years in prison as an anti-apartheid activist, she is surprised to find the political climate has changed. A mob sets upon her with pangas and she is cut to pieces.

During the Great Terror, Vassili Klementovitch Sidorov is arrested and accused of various counter-revolutionary activities. One of his faults is that he has accused Stalin of killing too many people. He is sentenced on July 16th, and executed August 3rd, 1938…

Suggested: read Eighteen while listening to Killing In The Name [Explicit] by Rage Against The Machine.

Those who can make you believe absurdity, can make you commit atrocity.”  – Voltaire

Update:  Eight Are Charged With Chilean Singer’s 1973 Murder After Military Coup – NYTimes on Victor Jara

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3 Responses

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  1. Moving essay Caleb. It’s the first work I have read of yours. I am reading 1984 right now and I can’t help but imagine the Khmer Rouge as a “successfull precurser” to ruling Party in Orwell’s book.

    “Those who died are justified, for wearing the badge, theyre the chosen whites.”

    Kyle

    July 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm

  2. Yes, 1984 is one of the most important books of the 20th century and captures political nightmare. Orwell’s Animal Farm, equally important, may be the most representative of what happened in places like the Soviet Union, Cambodia, & China, and what is happening in North Korea.

    Thanks for the comments.

    Caleb Powell

    July 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm

  3. […] take to task the “wrong kind of Muslim.” Not only that, you quote one of my favorites, Voltaire on absurdity. But 75-80% of the world is non-Muslim, analogies should be precise, and what you imply by them […]


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