[ by Charles Cameron — Syria echoes Guernica ]
This, from JM Berger today, offers a glimpse of Syria that is neither war, nor peace, if I might put it this way, but war longing for peace:
‘All Syrians Are Tired of This Absurd War’: Voices From the Ground During the Cease-Fire https://t.co/H6rifenXHz
— J.M. Berger (@intelwire) September 15, 2016
Irresistibly, it reminds me of this:
5 May 1937
-commissioned the "Guernica" at the Paris World's Fair. pic.twitter.com/ZknE4okL
— Pablo Picasso JAG (@GuernicaArtWork) May 6, 2012
Isn’t that a bull’s head in cloth, hanging right above the shoulder of the leaping boy in the Syrian image — and isn’t that alnmost exactly Picasso’s swooping white head, again in cloth, just to the right of it? The illusion of their similarity is enhanced by the aspect ratio of the Twitter image from Syria, which cuts off a stretch of green in the original photo, just below the image as you see it here..
But it may be I’m seeing this because the bullfight and tauromachia have been on my mind recently — mythic combats of man pitted agains one of his worthiest opponents. There’s an archaic resonance there that’s inmportant in some way, but the actual killing of the bull, blood in the sand, horrifies me, the animal descending from grandeur to humiliation, its bowed head propped on one horn as it awaits finality — terrible.
And I was accordingly happy to recall the less violent version of the sport, still pitting man’s skill against adversary — in the bull-leaping of Knossos:
Bull-Leaping Fresco from the Great Palace at Knossos,Crete pic.twitter.com/hZNTKqBIFp
— Libertas (@VeraCausa9) May 25, 2016
and its latter-day practice, shown here at the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona:
— Richard Kellie (@rjkellie) July 10, 2016
This image comes from the fabulous Constellations of Words site.