Sunday, September 05, 2004

American Digest: Pieta for the 41st Photograph

The internet is overflowing today with images and reflections of the tragedy in Beslan, near Chechnya. I don't have words to describe how I feel except to say it is overwhelming. Others are much more eloquent than I.
I also don't know yet how to put pictures in my blog and the pictures are too important to ignore. Go to the link and read the whole thing...

"This is the picture I could not look at. This is the picture I must look at. I will try to explain -- not really to you, but to myself -- why it terrifies me more than all the other pictures.
She kneels among the dead children. She has long black hair pulled back and dresses in a loose black dress as she kneels at the head of her dead boy. She reaches out to touch, or perhaps arrange the hair, of her dead child. Her dark hair is parted in the middle and her arm seems to also be downed with dark hair. Her eyebrows too are dark and her skin olive. If I were to see this woman in another context, in a different and less death dominated photograph, at this focus and at this distance, I would think, for at least a long moment, that I was looking at my first wife.
She had this build, this coloring, the predilection for black clothing, and even an echo of the features of this woman since her ancestors came to America from the Balkans. She too would pull her hair back so. And she had, as I recall, the same ability to make a gesture that was at once strong and yet gentle when reaching out to touch our daughter when she was as young as the small dead boy that this woman caresses. "

1 comment:

Gerard said...

Thank you very much for the kind words and the link. I appreciate them. Don't worry that others may or may not be more eloquent. Just add your voice to the choir.