lundi, août 29, 2005

Non Sequitur #19


Only one humane, political work of art in the last fifty years has achieved real fame -- Picasso's Guernica, 1937. It is the last of the line of formal images of battle and suffering that runs from Uccello's Rout of San Romano through Tintoretto to Rubens, and thence to Goya's Third of May and Delacroix's Massacre at Chios. It was inspired by an act of war, the bombing of a Basque town during the Spanish Civil War. The destruction of Guernica was carried out by German aircraft, manned by German pilots, at the request of the Spanish Nationalist commander, General Emilio Mola. Because the Republican government of Spain had granted autonomy to the Basques, Guernica was the capital city of an independent republic. Its razing was taken up by the world press, beginning with The Times in London, as the arch-symbol of Fascist barbarity. Thus Picasso's painting shared the exemplary fame of the event, becoming as well known a memorial of catastrophe as Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade had been eighty years before. (source)

Where is the boat people's Guernica?

3 commentaires:

Fausto Majistral a dit…

Where is the boat people's Guernica?

Lame comparison. Guernica was an open city and the fascists decided to unleash the first massive aerial attack in history on a civilian populance.

The boat people (yet another name) chose to board rickety boats. When they end up in Posidon's cupboard one cannot claim that the sea has moral agency.

Still, you'd be surprised. We're somehow being pushed into assuming some sort of responsibility for the "Malta Boat Tragedy" (sic).

Jacques René Zammit a dit…

Sorry Fausto you may have researched your Cato but in this case you misunderstood. I am not comparing the plight of the citizens of Guernica to that of the boat people. I am comparing the picasso painting's effect on informing the world at large of the problem and ugliness of war and of the lack of such an effective medium for the boat people.

Fausto Majistral a dit…

The issue is one of agency. "Guernica" is not just about the misery suffered by the inhabitants of the Basque city; it's about the misery (needless -- Guernica was an open city) inflicted by human beings on each other ("fascist barbarity" in the article you quote).

There's no human agency in the misery that befalls boat people in the crossings. Very unlike Guernica.