Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Our Pockmarked Past . . .

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I've been meaning to post these two photos since seeing some similar images of pockmarked walls in Beirut on Mary Anne's Beirut Pursuit blog which I've been enjoying of late. Whether from nearly a hundred years ago, as these walls are, in the village of Ablain Saint Nazaire, France, or from thirty years ago in Lebanon, or from ten years ago in Kosovo, or two years ago in Gaza, or one year ago in Iraq, or yesterday in Somalia; pockmarked walls tell sad stories of our inability to solve our differences without unleashing explosive hatred on each other. For as long as history has been written, and no doubt longer, this has been the case. Is there any hope for the human race ? I wonder.
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Ablain Saint Nazaire is in the north of France, in the Pas de Calais area, in the shadow of the hill known as Notre Dame de Lorette, where one hundred thousand men died trying to take the crest of the hill during World War One. The church, or what's left of it, is from the fifteenth century.
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32 comments:

Alyson (New England Living) said...

Wow! Stunning photos and amazing lesson.

Owen said...

Hi Alyson ! It's been ages !

You get the early bird award today for sure, or is it the night owl ? Hope all is well where you are, I'll be around to take a look... life has been crazy of late... thanks so much for dropping in !

Stickup Artist said...

Beautiful shots Owen! That second one with the red roses and green leaves against the ruins is pure magic. Such a bittersweet message. Beauty and renewal against the ruined and decaying. Only time will tell but I hope the roses win!

NicoleB, Kuwait said...

Nope. I gave up hope for the human race a while ago.
I doubt we will ever learn.
If we don't, one day it will be 'Good riddance'.
Well, maybe I won't see that day ;)

The shots are wonderful though.
I love old structures and wish they could tell me their stories (mh, maybe not the real bloody ones).

Greets from Kuwait!

Steve said...

Wounds in stone speak only of the pain of wounds in flesh.

Alberto Oliver said...

Good Morning Owen. Quite moving when watching the scars of fierce battles. Those wall are just a sort of a memorial for those who lost their lives, sometimes fighting for something not even them were sure about. If all of the wars are absurd, WW I is perhaps at the top. everytime i see pics of Sarajevo after the siege in the 90¨s one can´t anything but feel shame,,why?? if only a decade before Winter Olympic games were held there and later.. if the walls were so damaged as in the pics youshow, i don´t want to figure out about the fate of the victims who lived there.

But that great pic with the red flowers blooming is like a message of faith, despite all that destruction. Yes Owen, maybe, maybe someday humans will learn.

Wish you a great day my friend!!

mythopolis said...

I recall staying in Sospel to the south. The house was also bearing these blemishes of war. And while hiking the hillside to look down on the sea, I came across a concrete bunker...a gunner's nest. Except for these reminders, Sospel was a peaceful little town, and I have fond memories of it. Your photos are wonderfully sad.

pRiyA said...

Hi Owen, thank you for the link you left on my blog. Now it is my mission in life to see a Baobab tree in my lifetime.
What you said about pock marked walls is so true. It could be anywhere. But (and this is the great cynic saying this)as much strife and hatred as there is in this world, there is as much goodness. It just doesn't get noticed as much because the strife always creates the bigger impression.

pRiyA said...

ps: Beirut Pursuit is a revelation!

Nevine said...

Lovely and serene shots, Owen. But these marks are eternal... perhaps to remind us... though we seem never to remember... and hastily pick up arms and charge to make more eternal scars upon another's soul. How damaging we are to our very selves!

Will we ever learn? I think not.

Nevine

TechnoBabe said...

What is it that makes us dislike hearing or seeing other people doing or saying what we don't like so much that we want to hurt them, eliminate them. Amazing to see walls so very old and the beautiful flowers showing respect in the only way they can.

...louciao... said...

Sorry...what was that you were saying? I was busy with my fish sticks.

Clytie said...

Your first picture tells a sad story. The 'human condition' - so much hatred and violence. Sometimes I despair - until I see the second photo with the roses. There is always good in the world along with the bad.

Kris said...

wonderful angles!

lgsquirrel said...

So many fallen. How sad the testimony of these monuments.

The Photo Huntress said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dedene said...

Lovely photos. Very thoughtful post. I'm off to check out the Beirut blog.

Beth Niquette said...

I love the feeling of height you've captured with these photos--I especially love the first picture. It fills my eyes.

Virginia said...

Owen,
As always your photographs are just a wonderful addition to your thoughtful text.
V

indi said...

The article lifts up the mood of the photographs. many a times, it only limits one's imagination. I love your insight :)

The Sagittarian said...

Great pix, love the red flowers.

French Fancy said...

I know I'm not the first (I can see at least one above me) to comment on the vibrancy of the red flowers against the stone - but it is amazing.

Anyway Owen I hope you are well - I've had a few weeks away from the blogosphere and will shortly be moving so will be away once again. I'll be coming and going rather. In the meantime hope things are good for you and yours

Julie

ρομπερτ said...

What a great ode to life and beauty.
Please have a good Thursday. Very greateful as well for the recent comments of yours, much appreciated indeed !

daily athens

babbler said...

Owen,
It is indeed a very long slide to the top of that cathedral! If you look very closely you can see me and the Mr. Slug waaaaay up there on the scaffolding to get a closer look! My optic tentacles tend to get dizzy at that height!
Thanks for stopping by Slug's Rest, I had alot of papers to grade before I could show my face back at the class! I hope you didn't give that substitute teacher too much trouble while we were out sliding and/or crawling about the garden! I hope we didn't cause you any worry with our temporary sabbatical.
Please note:***I want all of your dear readers to know that you, Owen, should be very proud of yourself for successfully completing your current course of study and will be graduating Magma-goo-loudly from the advanced math program over at SRU, Slugs Rest University!
For anyone wondering what all of this means, suffice to say that by visiting Owen, you are rubbing tentacles with a very special slug who corresponds with an upwardly mobile group of slugs located on the Central Coast of Oregon, a location with a high water content and high population of slugs, which reflects well on all of you.
I would also like you to know that your poetry in a previous post was excellent and not to be missed. I had alot of reading to catch up on here at Mr. Toad's whilst I and the Mr. S. were absent! Magnificent. :)
Love,
Mrs. and Mr. Slug

babbler said...

PS - I have posted your final grades and that of your fellow students back at Slug's Rest University, tacked to the bulletin board in the hallway.

Roxana said...

i have been reading Jonathan Littell's Les Bienveillantes these days and i have my head full of such pessimist ruminations about humankind :-(

and mostly, the inability to understand, why, why -

Owen said...

Oh you all !

You just overwhelm me !!!

Will be back here soon but business at the straightjacket factory is simply booming ! BOOMING ! And poor little toads like me have to sprint to keep up... if we want to keep our jobs that is... and unemployment in this day and age is no joke, when one has little tadpole mouths to feed... but I'll be back.

(and for any of you interested in film trivia, "I'll be back" was a famous line by what character in the film Bad Boy Bubby ?
:-)

Gotta hop off back to work now...

Lydia said...

This time your words nearly edged out your images for today's gold star. Therefore, two gold stars for you.


I was thinking about the one hundred thousand men dying no doubt to "Charge!" These days the mantra is used by millions of shoppers.....without even a command we are slowly killing our souls (well, at least our wallets).

Mary Ann said...

Thanks for the shout out Owen! Sorry it took me a few days to respond--I just saw it. I love these pictures, your narrative around them too.

I hope we're not hopeless as a species, but that's not an observation based on fact, is it?

babbler said...

Owen,
"I'll be back" belongs to California Senator Mr. Arnold Schwartzneggar (I know my spelling might be questionable...) or is might be Mr. Slug talking to a leaf on the ground that he wishes to eat. Now a question for you - Who is the owner of the following words "Am I right? Am I right?" I will toss these imploring and expressive words over my tentacle, back at you, in hopes of one of your precious gold stars! Yippee!

mythopolis said...

Bad Boy Bubby? Sounds like one to check out. Sounds like something Harmony Korine would have written!

Amy said...

Love those photos. I love see buildings like that and finding those sorts of textures, but it's said to hear how it happened. Thank you for the quick lesson.