Eduardo Galeano - On Roque Dalton

[Sobre Roque Dalton]#

Roque Dalton makes the stones laugh. He was the least solemn of all of us, and he pulled Death’s leg too. So I won’t go writing, now, a tear-dampened necrology in his memory.

But I can’t refrain from saying that I was disgusted by the press’s silence, and I can’t refrain from noting the double pain that death provokes when you learn about it so late. The teletypes of the big international agencies didn’t vibrate to report on the murder of the poet. I suppose they were occupied with Jackie Kennedy’s financial and sentimental mishaps, or some bullshit like that. We already know who directs information in Latin America. The lie-machines didn’t dedicate a single line to Roque’s death. This writer wasn’t born in Paris, hadn’t been blessed in Europe. He came from a small Central American country tattooed all over his body. It was there that he fell, riddled with bullets.

Roque’s poetry, like him, was loving, ball-busting, combative. In Roque’s face and poetry, winks became raised fists. He had courage to spare, and I don’t need to mention his fury. Nothing can be further from the empty rhetoric of sacrifice than the work of this militant who neither saved nor wanted anything for himself.

We don’t need a minute of silence to hear his clear laughter. It rings high and forever, slayer of death, in the words he left us to celebrate the happiness of creating and of giving of oneself.