EmaBee Inspiration: Arundhati Roy


lotus flower at the Royal Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

I’ve written before about Arundhati Roy, one of my favorite quotes from her. She also wrote one of my favorite books, The God of Small Things. I love that book because she writes in the way that I see the world, too. Noticing the tiny details that make up the substance of life. The paradox is that they seem tiny and insignificant but at the same time, without the parts there is no whole, full life. It inspires me to always notice the small things: the creases in my grandmother’s hand, the pink barrette in the child’s hair, the way my name rolls of his tongue, the patterns in the cats fur just after he cleans himself…

In our library at the Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, I came across her book, “War Talk.” She offers commentary on war and non-violence resistance in her powerful way of writing. She eloquently portrays the suffering of war and threat of nuclear holocaust:

…We remember especially the man who just melted into the steps of the building. We imagine ourselves like that. As stains on staircases. I imagine future generations of hushed school children pointing to my stain…That was a writer. Not she or he. That.…That’s what nuclear bombs do whether they’re used or not, they violate everything that is humane. They alter the meaning of life itself.


bougainvillea at the garden shop I pass through on my way to class every morning – a beautiful small treat every day….the small things…

She also also provides pointed, moving arguments for non-violent movements:

Any government’s condemnation of terrorism is only credible if it shows itself to be responsive to persistent, reasonable, closely argued non-violent dissent. And what’s happening is just the opposite. The world over, non-violent resistance movements are being crushed and broken. If we do not respect and honor hen, by default, we price ledge those who turn to violent means.

Across the world, when governments and the media lavish all their time, attention, funds, research, space, sophistication, and seriousness on war talk and terrorism, then the message that goes out is disturbing and dangerous: If you seek to air and redress a public grievance, violence is more effective than nonviolence. Unfortunately, if peaceful change is not given a chance, then violent change becomes inevitable.

Many might call her writing idealistic and unrealistic, but without her vision for peace (any vision of peace) what is life worth living for?


8 responses to “EmaBee Inspiration: Arundhati Roy

  1. Small things, some actually invisible, are what sustains life. Over half the oxygen in our atmosphere is produced by plankton. Trees depend on filaments of fungi beneath the soil to carry water to their roots. Bees and other pollinators are being wiped out by pesticides. There are many human-caused threats to our biosphere that could result in the extinction of our species even if Hiroshima and Nagasaki are never repeated. Thank you for spreading awareness and caring of the small things that sustain us.

    • Thanks mytiturk glad you liked it, thanks for sharing your thoughts, too. It really is alarming how these small things that sustain life are slowly and quietly being destroyed. I worry that once “we” as a global community realize, it will be to late….

  2. She is not idealistic or unrealistic. Two major changes of the 20th Century were shaped by non-violence – India’s liberation and the Civil RIghts Movement in the USA. She is right, people’s knowledge and memory of history is brief. The 21st century has been marked with violence and needs champions of non-violence.

    • Thanks Skywalker. I get that all the time, that I am not realistic, a tree-hugger hippy, naive ideaist. And it burns.me.up. I look to people like Arundhati Roy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ghandi for inspiration and how to make my argument for non-violence in a meaningful way. I am still developing my voice. Because you are right – we need more champions of non-violence.

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