from Ryszard Kapuściński’s Imperium

I thought about the terrible uselessness of suffering. Love leaves behind its creation–the next generation coming into the world, the continuation of humanity. But suffering? Such a great part of human experience, the most difficult and painful, passes leaving no trace. If one were to collect the energy of suffering emitted by the millions of people here [in Kolyma] and transform it into the power of creation, one could turn our planet into a flowering garden.

But what has remained?

Rusty carcasses of ships, rotting watchtowers, deep holes from which some kind of ore was once extracted. A dismal, lifeless emptiness. Not a soul anywhere, for the exhausted columns have already passed and vanished in the cold eternal fog.

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