Friday, November 11, 2005


"Just up the road from Verdun, where military incompetence and slaughter almost literally bled the French army dry [in the First World War], is the Douamont Ossuary. Here the bones of 130,000 unknown young men gather dust and an occasional glance from a passing tourist. Above them the marbled hall, which echoes even to the footfall of trainers, is bathed with blood-red light from the stained-glass window. Here, in a dark alcove ignored by most, is the statue of Silence which in 1919 stood plainly outside the front door of the provisional ossuary. Slightly bigger than life-size, the figure of a woman with a shawl over her head holds a silencing finger to her lips. The message – that the truth about the futility of the war is best not uttered – is hard to miss. Now, lost in its alcove’s shadows, even this 84-year-old injunction is fading from sight."
(from Reclaiming the Silence)

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