Feeling Syria

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If I were a painter, I would be trying to paint my sense of what is going on in Syria.

I would need thick oils and a flat knife for slicing the images onto canvas.  What I want to convey would be too violent for brushes, I think.  It’s not that I want to make somebody else see what I see, but it does need expressing.

The facts are out there and on the ground: tanks and soldiers, thugs, screams, bullets, fear and running, dust and miasma, desolate townscapes, people churning through narrow streets, relying on each other for the audacity to protest.  There are diminished lumps on the ground that may have been people.

Someone twittered videos from a candlelight protest in Hama last night.  It was stirring to see random small lights in the darkness, flames really, and, finally, to hear the merged voices of the crowd, singing. Someone else tweeted that people were joining in and chanting from inside their homes.

Instead, I made this collage.  The photographs, unattributed, come from a variety of internet sites, most of them cited by Twitter correspondents.  The art at the bottom of the page is, of course, Kathe Köllwitz’s Downtrodden, and came out of her own response to the human devastation of the first World War.  It is no mistake that the work invokes a “Pieta,” in fact, is a “Pieta,” because it is the only answer to where God is in this tumult.


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