Books Not Bombs or How About Tweets?

The World

Teju Cole (Photo: Teju Cole)

On Wednesday we shared a few snippets of Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole's latest series of tweeted stories about drones. This is an off-shoot of his Small Fates project in which he started tweeting short stories based off of forgotten news items. But these most recent tweets take a literary view of aerial assaults. They are an assault, of sorts, in what Cole terms the "empathy gap." Cole talks more with anchor Marco Werman about what he means by that and why he chose to write about literary figures like Ishmael, Buck Mulligan, and Okonkwo. "First and foremost it's about identifying," he says. "We come to hold the characters as in some way like us. Meanwhile if we hear that a drone strike killed three people in Yemen as happened on Inauguration Day that is so abstract, it almost means nothing and therefore we feel almost nothing."