I was a terrible history student. They taught me history as if it were a visit to a wax museum or to the land of the dead. I was over twenty before I discovered that the past was neither quiet nor mute. I discovered it reading novels by Carpentier and poems by Neruda. I discovered it listening to stories over coffee about some old, very old, warrior on the Uruguayan plains who kept his tired eyelids open with orangewood twigs while he speared enemy horsemen on the point of his lance. Asking and wondering, from where did this planet that we inabit come? This planet that spends a million dollars on arms every minute, so that every minute thirty children can die of disease or hunger and no one is accused. Asking and wondering: This world, this slaughterhouse, this nuthouse, is this the work of God or man? What past time gave birth to this present? Why have some countries become owners of other countries, and some men owners of other men, and men owners of women, and women of children, and things owners of people?
I am not a historian. I am a writer obsessed with remembering, with remembering the past of America above all, and above all that of Latin America, intimate land condemned to amnesia.
Eduardo Galeano, We Say No 1992