Sunday, 24 May 2015

When pictures say more than words.

I've been to Madrid. A spur of the moment thing and I've only been home for a couple of days so there has been little time for thought-collecting.

But, amid the Rioja and the flamenco and the general jollity I saw a picture than will - and should - haunt me for ever.

I saw Guernica:

The huge painting by Picasso painted after the Luftwaffe bombed the Spanish town during the Spanish Civil War.

It is an image we all know - reprinted whenever Picasso or Spanish history creeps into the frame. Yet it is about so much more than Picasso, or Spain. But printed images, or reproduced online can never reproduce the impact of seeing this painting on a wall.

It is a brutal depiction of what war does to people - people like you and me, and to our children. It's savagery goes far beyond words.

I don't usually step on political toes but this time I shall. For all those who would leave refugees at sea in the Mediterranean or the Andaman Ocean should stand in front of this picture for an hour. All those who drop bombs on those who worship a different god or have a different skin colour should stand in front of this picture for an hour. All those who would condemn the many to punish the terrible behaviour of the few.

I'm not saying that there are never times when we should stand our ground. But we should never do so without knowing - really knowing - that this is what war feels like.

12 comments:

  1. A superb blog. With you all the way.

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  2. Hmm, thought I'd posted a comment, but I don't see it now. Brilliantly put! I so agree with you.

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  3. Absolutely...especially when most of the situations these pour souls are escaping from were caused by the actions of the West.

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    1. Good to know it's not just me feels like this!

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  4. Sadly I don't think that people who abandon refugees in boats or who drop bombs because of beliefs would be at all moved by anything, even an amazing piece of anti-war art.

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    1. I didn't realise just how powerful it is till I actually stood and looked at it. Copies don't have the same impact - but this is astonishing. There are people weeping it's got such impact. So I'd want to handcuff them to the room and force them to look at it - and then see if they can let people drown.

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  5. I saw and learnt about Guernica at an early age and it has never stopped impressing me. Unlike you I have never seen the actual painting so I can imagine that I would have a similar reaction. Great post. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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  6. Excellent post. The lesson of war should be NO MORE WAR, but it's a lesson far too many have chosen to forget and/or ignore.

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