Jungle-green, the soldiers haul their loaded rifles, aimed and ready to go; they wait for the executive order. Heavy though they are, they sling them over their arms without fail or complaint. The fierce sunshine is the new enemy, and under the vigorous muscular stress and strain, the deep rivers of sweat that trickle underneath the uniform comes the authorization to strike. The nations insisted on military intervention.
Classical composer Lucy Claire is tuned into the Middle East and its ceaseless conflicts. ‘Paelistin’ originally featured on the Futuresequence compilation, SEQUENCE6. Now, however, the origins of the piece are unmasked with director David Trevail’s video. A battlefield, constructed out of deliberate care, plots the war-zone, where merciless killing and civil conflict are rife, inflicting on the wounded not just the scars of battle, but the highly flammable gasoline tank that is the fuel of war, as incendiary as the fiery grenade in the hand of a rebel fighter.
The accumulation of brutal heat spreads like Californian wildfire until it engulfs the unstable region. Violence is carved in the dry, white-washed stone of a tablet. The thud of the beat could also be the muffled stomp of hard-hitting boots kicking up the humid dust of the dry land. Her piano remains a cautious on-looker, a civilian standing before the invasion of troops, the violin and the cello at the forefront of the assault. The three instruments combine as a multi-national coalition in times of crises; each instrument is assigned its own colour, which in turn makes up the dominant flag of the West: red, white and blue.
The burial ground is littered with makeshift crosses that jut out of the ground at uneven angles, for a select few lucky enough to escape the horror; mercy for the dead. Still, their bodies are caressed and carefully planted by the hand of their maker. She buries the evidence, the black soil running over her hands. White flowers lose their purity as they are snapped in half and then divided in an act of remembrance, standing guard over the tomb of an unknown soldier.
The spent bullets ricochet off the concrete; the pointed tip forever sharp. There is something depressingly final, laying there on the dirtied, rocky ground, the broken blood flowing out of open wounds while the victorious stand triumphantly by. The scarred, scorched remains are left in a state of decay.
The sanctuary and sanctity of childhood is lost; the bullets pound into the concrete, and, in the next shot, a favourite brown teddy bear looks on with a blank, staring face that camouflages its distraught confusion. She lights a candle, in honour of the fallen. It is the brilliant white burn of light that comes to claim those who have taken a bullet; lives that have left the war-zone, extinguished in an instant by the rattling of the wind over the bunker.
The colours of red, white and blue are shared by the nations: the United States of America, France, the United Kingdom. These nations share the streaks of paint (war-paint), the colour crimson sinking into the soil of a far-away country; the colour like that of the blood-stained road after a vicious suicide attack.
The blood splatters over Syria, a country ripped apart by a brutal dictator. The United Nations, the organization that is seemingly paralyzed by fear and indecision, succumbs not only to the cowardice of evil, but to morality itself. Through the haze of smoke and the heavy rumble of the tanks, you will find your evidence. The pieces of rubble that used to be home is proof – entire towns have been destroyed without so much as an afterthought. You can’t paper over the numbers: over one hundred thousand killed, one thousand of that number – hundreds of whom were innocent children – killed in the suspected chemical weapon atrocity on the outskirts of Damascus.
Two million refugees.
The soldiers stand ready for the imminent slaughter at the hands of those in power; their political battlefield is a far cry from this kind of war, lit by golden chandeliers and the steel safety of the underground war room. The Middle-East, native to peace, has a dirt-streaked face primed for war. Her face, too, is spattered with the dirt of violence, one that is difficult to wipe off.
Leaking ash drips onto the newly pronounced dead. The orange-blue of the flame spreads as it always does, slowly engulfing the soldier. Not only is it content with taking life, but the flame devours it as if it were a shred of intelligence in the quest for proof. It’s like he was never there.
‘Paelistin’ is not just a political statement, it is the deep running river of anxiety for a region plagued by war. The resolution amounts to running in circles when we are faced with the futility of war.
The paper burns the careful, clean hand-writing:“The superior man ordinarily considers the left hand the most honourable place, but in time of war the right hand. Those sharp weapons are instruments of evil omen, and not the instruments of the superior man”