Sometimes you come across a quote or passage in a movie or a book, or a billboard and it leaves you breathless. The other day I was watching The English Patient, one of my favorite movies and this passage spoken by Juliette Binoche, the nurse, is so haunting. I wrote it down the first time I heard it.
"Betrayals in war are childlike compared with our betrayals during peace. New lovers are nervous and tender, but smash everything. For the heart is an organ of fire."
My second favorite passage,
"My darling. I'm waiting for you. How long is the day in the dark? Or a week? The fire is gone, and I'm horribly cold. I really should drag myself outside but then there'd be the sun. I'm afraid I waste the light on the paintings, not writing these words. We die. We die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we've entered and swum up like rivers. Fears we've hidden in - like this wretched cave. I want all this marked on my body. Where the real countries are. Not boundaries drawn on maps with the names of powerful men. I know you'll come carry me out to the Palace of Winds. That's what I've wanted: to walk in such a place with you. With friends, on an earth without maps. The lamp has gone out and I'm writing in the darkness."
The historical context of this passage goes somewhat like this: The protagonist's lover (K) is dying in a cave. In the dawn of WWII a group of historians, including the protagonist, are in Egypt on a archeological mission and some of the men are secretly employed by the British government, as in the case of K's husband, with the ground mission to basically alter history: They are redrawing the boundary lines of former colonies with soon to be modern states. Of course, we now know that these boundaries are at the heart of some of the bloodiest ethnic and religious conflicts in Mediterranean lands.