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"Do not start a fight a fight unless you can destroy an opponent..."

In My Parents: An Introduction/This Does Not Belong to You, Aleksandar Hemon describes a street fight from his childhood in Sarajevo between the young thug Dule and the unfortunate bully from the next block:

The brutality was exhilarating, the exactness of the violence awesome, the exquisite skill inspiring, the release of the tension so pleasing, the victory so sweet. None of us in the little raja could ever simply walk up to another kid and annihilate him without hesitation or mercy; watching Dule do it, we learned that to win a fight you have to be willing to destroy your opponent totally, that you must never consider his body, worry about his pain. Do not start a fight unless you can destroy an opponent; do not start a war unless you’re willing to commit genocide. But I was not - am not - willing to destroy others; it is arguably my greatest shortcoming. From my high position, despite everything, I felt sorry for the kid.

My Parents... is an excellent but strange book. I’m accumulating my thoughts on it and hope to write more later.

September 28, 2019 in Books | Permalink