Monday, November 07, 2005

Never Forgotten

This Post: Never forget Abu Ghraib

The atrocities committed in 2003 at Abu Ghraib, where prisoners were abused and tortured, are far from being forgiven and forgotten:

Artists and Poets world-wide have created an enduring record of the shameful and outrageous human rights violations that will live on not just in history books, but also in the annals of art, culture and literature.

One such artist is the famous Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero (born 1932), who exhibited a series of 50 interpretive works on the subject at the Palazzo Venezia in Rome in 2005.

When asked why he painted such horror, he replied (in his own words):

"Por la ira que sentí y que sintió el mundo entero por este crimen cometido por el país que se presenta como modelo de compasión, de justicia y de civilización."

Botero in front of his canvas

"La injusticia me hace hervir la sangre" - Fernando Botero

All of Botero's paintings in his Abu Ghraib series, numbered 1 through 50, are based not on photographic evidence alone, but mainly on transcripts of actual testimony from the investigation into the prison scandal.

Botero made the paintings so that 'this crime against human dignity will be forever etched upon the collective consciousness of mankind'.

- Photo: The Artist in front of his canvas expressing in no uncertain terms his contempt for the perpetrators and their superiors, and his profound moral outrage.-

Having previously called himself an admirer of the United States (one of his sons lives in Miami), Mr. Botero said he became incensed because he "expected better of the American government".

Throughout Europe, where sentiment against the Iraq war is strong, news of the paintings and sketches has already generated interest. In 2006, museums in Hanover and Baden Baden, Germany, plan to hold special exhibitions of Mr. Botero's Abu Ghraib series.

[Remember Theodore Roosevelt's words on criticizing the president.]

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