July 12, 2008

3 September 1945

(...) And so - peace. What danger is that American shopkeeper Truman babbling about as he points to the atomic bomb in his pocket? What is there for him to be afraid of? People are safe. The bomb's in his pocket, and he's got plenty of money. Or maybe he's afraid that we'll get an atomic bomb too, even bigger and more savage, and then we, the masses, will live happily as at the banquet before the last universal plague.

Truman's speech today was historic: God in one hand, the atomic bomb in the other, and a threat on his lips.

The world war is over.

Forty million Soviet citizens, my brothers and sisters, have perished. My eighty-year-old father died from hunger in Kiev, and I myself, severely wounded by my own people, am barely alive.

What do I want? What do I need? Work. I want work. And a bit of joy. I will have work, but I will not have joy. I cannot rejoice when the people around me are badly off. I am ashamed, so ashamed, as if it were my fault that people are poor, badly dressed, displaced, and overtired. As if it was I who had tricked them, deceitfully promised them something, sucked their blood out, deprived them of their holidays and rest and gentle natures, and made them unhappy (...). Are they heroes or not? They are heroes. More - they are heroes and martyrs a hundred times over. They choked Germany with their corpses and drowned her with their blood (...).

Alexander Dovzhenko

Diaries 1941-1956.
trans. Marco Carynnyk

July 4, 2008

As the second invasion of Iraq by the U.S. was beginning in open aggression, and thousands of of 2000-pound U.S.-made bombs were about to fall on Iraqi land and people as part of the "shock and awe" air-war campaign,

Der Standard - March 20th, 2003:

Jean-Marie Straub and Hans Hurch (director of the Viennale) made a Peace Wall commenting on many things, including "the threatening catastrophe" of this war. A continuation of the wall was to follow by Jean-Luc Godard.

On the wall:

a) WHERE DOES YOUR SMILE LIE BURIED?* (literal translation of the graffito in red on gray). Photograph by Deiter Reifarth; the same graffito seen at the beginning of Straub/Huillet's film Von heute auf morgen (1997, FROM TODAY UNTIL TOMORROW)

b) a still-frame from John Ford's THE LONG GRAY LINE (1955)

(Here, two photos of the wall as it appeared in the streets of Vienna. Photo: Viennale)-

and 5 years later...

One moment please...