Here’s a photo of my coffee table yesterday. The NY Times magazine’s cover story, I Was a Child Soldier, was on the table from the Sunday Times. After putting down the book I’ve been reading, Dave Eggers’ What is the What, I saw them both together. Both tell similar tragic tales, both use the iconic head and shoulders of the face of a young African man and both come from America.
I read in What is the What a mention of General Gordon, who had been killed in Khartoum in the 1800’s, and who had worked to stop the practice of slavery in the Sudan. Interestingly, I’d just been researching elementary schools in Kitsilano – one had been founded in 1912, named for this same General Gordon. The school’s name has now been shortened to just “Gordon” no doubt to remove the military and colonial connotations. (But without them I’d never have made the connection between the Sudan and Vancouver’s Kitsilano.)