‘As much as I would like to hear more about your blue jays,’ said Garovel, ‘I’m interested to know what your thoughts on the Jungle Wars are. Since you brought it up earlier, that is.’
Melchor’s amusement diminished somewhat. “Terrible business. Are you sure you want to listen to the ravings of an old man?”
But Melchor was looking at Hector now, as if he’d really been asking him.
Hector wondered if it was something that Melchor didn’t really want to talk about, but he also didn’t want to pretend that he wasn’t interested, either. So he just nodded.
“Very well...” Melchor scratched his chin with his thumb. “The Jungle Wars, as a whole, in my view, were inevitable. The diamond mines that everyone was fighting over, they were just an excuse. In truth, I would argue that those wars were cultural conflicts even more than they were economic ones. The Melmoorians were never going to live peacefully with the Cannites. Their belief systems were simply incompatible.”
‘You might be right, but what makes you say that?’ said Garovel.
“The Cannites worshiped rocks and animals. As if that was all the world was. And they thought themselves inherently superior because of this. Closer to nature.”
‘Would I be correct in assuming that you fought on the side of Melmoore?’
“You would, but I lived among the Cannites for several years and knew many good people among them. I bore them no ill will. They were simply wrong. They should never have tried to invade Melmoore. Their government, if you could even call it that, had no respect for their fellow human being. Do I think they deserved to be wiped out for it? Of course not. But it was like one of their very own proverbs: you cannot throw stones at a wolf and then be surprised when it does not flee like a rabbit.”