Monday, December 04, 2006

Hideous Day of Discovery

This morning I listened to Ernst Hugo Järegård's demoniac reading of Lovecraft's 1923 short story, "The Rats in the Walls". It's full of history, archaeology and racist physical anthropology. And toward the end was a passage that struck me as good to think of to spice up a dull day at a rescue dig.
"I wonder that any man among us lived and kept his sanity through that hideous day of discovery. Not Hoffman nor Huysmans could conceive a scene more wildly incredible, more frenetically repellent, or more Gothically grotesque than the twilit grotto through which we seven staggered; each stumbling on revelation after revelation, and trying to keep for the nonce from thinking of the events which must have taken place there three hundred, or a thousand, or two thousand or ten thousand years ago."
Then, as I was writing the above, my RSS reader told me "Large mass grave found in the Balkans". The site is apparently located near Zvornik in eastern Bosnia and contains the remains of 700 people murdered for reasons no less atavistic than what befell the victims of the insane de la Poer family in Lovecraft's tale. Only this didn't happen three hundred, or a thousand, or two thousand or ten thousand years ago. It happened in 1992.

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Blogger Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Yes, Martin. But sadly, the various mass graves in Iraq -- smaller in number but as large in total -- are even surpassing that. "Atavistic reasons"? What about killing a person simply because his name implies connection with the 'enemy,' an enemy that claims to follow the same 'sacred-text' that you do, and merely to argue about the 'proper' choice of a successor that occurred 1300 years ago.
(And it is becoming more and more common for Iraqis to carry two sets of identification, one giving a 'Sunni' name, and one a 'Shiite' one, whatever their real beliefs and background.)

06 December, 2006 16:45  
Blogger Martin said...

Politics are so hard. The states that work well don't really know how they got that way, and the states that don't work don't know what to do about it.

06 December, 2006 20:07  

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