Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Myths as Collective Metaphors by Eduardo Galeano

And myths and legends are, at bottom, collective metaphors, that is, means of expression that history finds to reveal itself in spite of obligatory silence, and in spite of the obligatory lie.

The myth, to give you an example, the myth of Túpac Amaru . . . truly . . . is such a beautiful one. When they kill the first Túpac Amaru in the plaza of Cusco and behead him, in the same afternoon a myth is born, immediately, an anonymous, inexplicable, mysterious myth, among the multitude who attend his death, who, crying, attend his execution, the myth of the head that is going to find its body, and for two centuries people continue to believe that the head is going to find its body, and it does.

Because two centuries later, exactly two centuries later, rises a cacique [tribal chief] whose name is already forgotten, but who chooses to name himself as a man never to be forgotten because he chooses to take the name of Túpac Amaru.

Túpac Amaru II, the second Túpac Amaru -- or perhaps the first who has returned to the world as was announced, because his head has finally joined his body -- then becomes the protagonist of the most formidable revolution that has ever taken place in the Andean world.

In all ages, at all times, there are myths that, if you will, more than enrich history -- they reveal and express history . . . truly . . . then it seems to me that it is very silly not to pay attention to those myths, as if they were not scientifically possible.

Túpac Amaru, the last leader of the Inca, was executed on 24 September 1572.