EDUARDO GALEANO: There is a new energy, which is not new at all. I think that history never ends. Some histories inside history have no happy ends, unhappy ends. But history doesn’t end. She’s a stubborn lady, and she goes on walking, sometimes crying, sometimes laughing. But it never ends. When histories say goodbye, history is really saying, “See you. See you later. See you soon.” So this is like a subterranean river, who went on flowing and nowadays is reappearing with a very important energy coming from people, from the [inaudible] river—how is it? From—
JUAN GONZALEZ: Below to above.
EDUARDO GALEANO: —below to above, yes, and not on the other side, on the other way.
AMY GOODMAN: Trickle up, not trickle down.
EDUARDO GALEANO: I have an engineer friend of mine who said, “Lo único que se hace desde arriba son los pozos,” “The only thing that you can make from up to down are holes.” And it’s true. All the other things are made are created from the bottom. And that’s the way it’s going to be done, and it’s already going on doing in several Latin American countries, which is good news, indeed, for the world.
what you would like him to learn from this book, President Obama?
EDUARDO GALEANO: No, I don’t want to teach anybody anything. Never. I even insisted last evening, when I was talking in that theater—
AMY GOODMAN: At the Ethical Culture Society.
EDUARDO GALEANO: Yes—the fact that I would be glad if Obama and all the USA progressive governors or people here begin to change the word—the word “leadership” by the word “friendship,” because leadership implies the resistance in someone over, above the other ones. And in the real human relationships, the real ones are horizontal, horizontal, not vertical; solidarity instead of charity; and no borders and no classes to receive from anyone, because the Northern world acts as if God would made them the teachers of the South, and they are taking examination all the time. To Venezuela, for instance, is it really democratic country? We’ll decide, because we are the teachers on democracy.
And paradoxically, the teachers on democracy are the factories of military dictatorships. I mean, the United States, and not only the United States, also some European countries, have spread military dictatorships all over the world. And they feel as if they are able to teach democracy.
So I don’t want to teach anything to anybody. I just want to tell stories deserve to be told. That’s all.
EDUARDO GALEANO: Yeah, I was working for several magazines and newspapers, and this Crisis was a very nice experience. It was a cultural magazine, consecrated to cultural subjects and items.
AMY GOODMAN: In Argentina?
EDUARDO GALEANO: In Argentina, when I was in exile. Once a month, a very, very beautiful magazine who sold about 35,000, 40,000 copies, which is a record in the Spanish language, because we could diffuse a new conception of culture. Instead of repeating the old story about culture being the specialized work of artists and perhaps scientists, we tried to recover culture as a collective expression of identity.
And so, we were talking to people, but also hearing what people had to say, in the walls with the graffitis, in the factories. We went with recorders trying to ask what they thought, for instance, the worker thought about the sun, because we were speaking to workers that never saw the sun, except on Sundays. They were working the whole day. Or to the drivers, the bus drivers, who sometimes were working in Argentina that years, fifteen, twenty hours per day. It was unbelievable. So, with our records—registers, no? Grabadoras?
AMY GOODMAN: Tape recorders.
EDUARDO GALEANO: Tape recorder, tape recorders. We went there, asking them, “When you can sleep, what do you dream? What are your dreams? Do you have dreams? Nightmares?” And this was culture for us also. So it was a quite an original experience, really strange. And it was very, very successful, ’til first the economy and later the dictatorship finished it. And when words cannot be better than silence, it’s better to shut up.