Saturday, 21 February 2015

"Massacre has one voice"


The depth within his open mouth, his eyes calling out in desperation meeting nothing to rest upon for help. Every muscle tensed, his whole body is one with his roar of anguished and angry desperation. 


Agesander, Athenodoros and Polydoros, Laocoon and His Sons,
Hellenic baroque, Vatican Museums.
I have cut off the son to Laöcoons left since he seems a later addition;
the struggle for life is so much more inwardly intense without him.


Above is Laocoon struggling against the snakes commanded by Athena to have him elimininated. The plastic arts only have so little of movement having to contain its all in the one moment. It works in space to quote Lessing, who lived so much later than Antiquity and found a face distorted in pain an abomination. In the arts the protagonists ought to be suffering nobly, according to him, thus making art an aesthetic matter rather than an ethic one.

Laocoon roared in pain in Virgil's version, and cartooning is an art form rebelling against that noble division of aesthetics from ethics. While humor is very much the instrument in juxtapositioning stances or situations; juxtaposition is as powerful a tactics in the matter of the most painful of subjects. In this case on the negligence, willed or otherwise, when it comes to Syria bleeding. Salam Alhassan has transformed the pain into the one voice placing him in the midst of the blandness of indifference. 

So visibly deserted by everyone, the Syrians will soon be entering their fourth year of Assad's massacring his own countrymen, with Salam Alhassan's own words beneath: 


Salam Alhassan, February 16, 2015.

Massacre has one voice
A voice that could not be heard
Because conscience is mute
and the heart is deaf



The cartoon shown is courtesy of Salam Alhassan and must not be reproduced without his permission.


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