Drink the Bitter Root

Drink the Bitter Root

A Writer's Search for Justice and Redemption in Africa

Book - 2011
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Drink the Bitter Root is an emotionally charged account of a writer's travels in sub-Saharan Africa. Long fascinated by the "dark continent," Gary Geddes decides at age 68 to make the trip. During is travels he encounters rescued street kids, women raped and infected with HIV during the genocide, child soldiers, refugees and poets-turned-freedom fighters.This masterful blend of history, reportage, testimonial, and memoir is a condemnation of the horrors spawned by greed and corruption and an eloquent tribute to human resilience.
Publisher: Vancouver : D&M Publishers, c2011.
ISBN: 9781553654582
Characteristics: xiv, 232 p. : maps.


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Apr 16, 2012

The book was a finalist for the 2012 BC non-fiction award.

Sep 17, 2011

This travelogue-memoir was a "Staff Pick" of the Fall 2011 issue of "BC Bookworld" magazine. The item noted that the book "describes Geddes' forays, at age 68, into Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Somaliland. In a world of child soldiers, refugees and poets-turned-freedom fighters, Geddes is particularly impressed by Somali culture in which poetry is a popular activity viewed as 'a healing and a subversive art'."

So much for their opinion. As a reader who worked in southern Africa for several years, my response was that Geddes was a voyeur of African misery and crime. It would be like hanging out on Vancouver's Eastside to observe, photograph and interview the prostitutes, addicts, and homeless for the next parasitic book. I wanted to quit before I got to page 50. I persevered to the end. I regret it. [Note the injunction in the "Quotes" tab.]


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Oct 15, 2011

The author goes to Rwanda to see the great gorillas before they are exterminated ... and happens to see some child-soldiers, raped women, and political prisoners ... while enjoying good meals and cold beers in the new hotels catering to prosperous NGOs.


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Oct 15, 2011

In his Postscript, Geddes quotes an "... Australian aboriginal elder Lilla Watson: 'If you've come to help me, don't waste your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up in mine, then we can work together.'" (p. 221) Then the author offers a list of aid agencies and human rights groups to readers who may want to help. Geddes and readers should re-read Ms. Watson's injunction.

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