Wednesday, 13 November 2013

"Cheap metal in the limbs"


Back in Ancient Rome when the Christians had to communicate in secret across the city they drew a fish as their symbol. "Fish", ichtus in Greek, is in sound fairly close to the name of Christ, while not easily figured out by the Romans since the fish and Christians are not a direct match.

The example above is but one of how to communicate within a group safe from the world outside. But in Syria the opposite situation is at hand.


Syrian Ironman
- cheap metal in the limbs, precious metals in his heart
Peace for the wounded

Aleppo, October 5, 2012.


The revolutionaries is a mixture of many, even opposing groupings, whose goal may not even be quite the same, at least some seem to take advantage of the situation for their own, immediate good. Two parties are singled out here, the militarists, who fight just for sake of fighting, and the religious, they too with an agenda of their own and with no respect for the mutual goal. The wall above has the revolutionary flag as its focal point, and as stated in the calligraphy the heart is of precious metals. The metal for the limbs are on the other hand cheap, and so there is a need to define and address the problems at hand.


The revolution cracking the heads
Aleppo, October 5, 2012.

What is particularly striking is how they make use of a completely different visual language from the revolutionary imagery as such. These are made by the very revolutionaries who have specialized in stencils from the onset. They were the first on the streets creating a common language to create a consciousness of what is was all about. By now Syrians know the language of the stencils just as they see that these are not directed at them, but that the need for a cleanup is being addressed.

While the stencils use a distinct voice - not unlike the fish back then in Rome - the murals make use of a deliberately naive way of drawing. Matchstick men visualize the primitiveness of those who will not understand. While all imagery contains a level of code, this is a code of not having one, since this is about not knowing how to cooperate.

The hammer is the people striking the bearded extremists and the military groups alike, not accepting injustice from anyone.


Revolution money owed to the people
Aleppo, October 5, 2012.

Note how the flag of the revolutionaries each time is placed with great care. In the head-cracking mural the word revolution, ثورة, is separated from the ones wrecking the intentions of it, stating the cause above them all as the most important, while it on the photo above is the people, الناس, who has the flag and the sword on its side.


Hand in hand - reconstruction
Aleppo, September 29, 2012.

And then there are the happy ones, the uniting ones where all go hand in hand, building a future together. Even if this particular mural is a reconstruction. Presumably the original one was destroyed by the regime? After all, of all the parties involved in the present situation, the regime would be the only one terrified by a scene such as this:


Hand in hand - reconstruction
Aleppo, September 29, 2012.
All photos courtesy of Tarek Alghorani.

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