Monday, July 14, 2008

mon 14 july 08: cleaning, cookies, genocide

today i interspersed my house-cleaning and baking cookies with continuing to read philip gourevitch's we wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families, an account of the rwandan genocide of 1959-1996. (it's inadequate to simply write 1994, which marked the height--but not the extent--of the extermination campaign.) i started reading when i woke up, with my fuzzy morning brain, and picked it up again during breaks--lunch, while waiting for a mopped floor to dry, etc. it was an uncomfortable feeling, attending to this solidly middle class life of scented candles, carpet refresher, & houseplants while reading about a boy who carried a double bed on his head as he fled his native land, or a woman who lost her entire family to a man and his machete, only to find the killer return from exile to inhabit next-door. (303 "A certain Girumuhatse is back") a chief in the resistance who operates from his 'office' of a gazebo covered with UN plastic sheeting: "'Truly, he said, 'the Hutus want to exterminate all the Tutsis.' His own people, too where having a hard time protecting themselves: their fighters included boys of six and seven, and their arsenal consisted largely of spears, bows, and arrows, and homemade rifles that fired nails. 'It's not an automatic,' the Mwami said of such a gun, 'but it kills.'" (288) not cognitive dissonance proper, no, but it gave me an unsettled pause nonetheless.

middle-class frivolities abounded later this evening, when i started baking vegan chocolate chip cookies for my boyfriend and his roommate arthur. for brian's i bought a special bar of fair-trade chocolate--he admirably rejects the blood variety (learn more here)--and used fair-trade dark brown sugar. i spent at least an hour reading and researching recipes and the results, thus far, have been divine. i'm letting the cookies rest in the fridge for 12, 24 hours and then sprinkling the tops with sea salt--this may be my new "secret". the cookies are a bit overly sweet (even with 70 per cent chocolate) so the salt should counterbalance. sweet + salty is ne'er a miss, though, from normandy's savoury sablé to french fries dipped in wendy's frosties.

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