— John Steinbeck, East of Eden (via millionen)
To the militant, identity is everything. And all photographs wait to be explained or falsified by their captions. During the fighting between Serbs and Croats at the beginning of the recent Balkan wars, the same photographs of children killed in the shelling of a village were passed around at both Serb and Croat propaganda briefings. Alter the caption, and the children’s deaths could be used and reused.
Images of dead civilians and smashed houses may serve to quicken hatred of the foe, as did the hourly re-runs by Al Jazeera…of the destruction in the Jenin refugee camp in April 2002. Incendiary as the footage was to the many who watch Al Jazeera throughout the world, it did not tell them anything about the Israeli army they were not already primed to believe. In contrast, images offering evidence that contradicts cherished pieties are invariably dismissed as having been staged for the camera. To photograph corroboration of the atrocities committed by one’s own side, the standard response is that the pictures are a fabrication, that not such atrocity ever took place, those were bodies the other side had brought in trucks from the city morgue and place about the street, or that, yes it happened and it was the other side who did it, to themselves. Thus the chief of propaganda for Franc’s Nationalist rebellion maintained that it was the Basques who had destroyed their own ancient town…”"
— Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag
— Helen Oyeyemi, Mr. Fox (via theoryoflostthings)
— "Faith in a Tree" by Grace Paley
In the wide realm of the world there are ancient forms, incorruptible and eternal forms – any one of them might be the symbol that I sought. A mountain might be the word of the god, or a river or the empire or the arrangement of the stars. And yet, in the course of the centuries mountains are levelled and the path of a river is many times diverted, and empires know mutability and ruin, and the design of the stars is altered. In the firmament there is change. The mountain and the star are individuals, and the life of an individual runs out. I sought something more tenacious, more invulnerable. I thought of the generations of grain, of grasses, of birds, of men. Perhaps the spell was written upon my very face, perhaps I myself was the object of my search. Amid those keen imaginings was I when I recalled that one of the names of the god was jaguar – tigre.
At that, my soul was filled with holiness. I imagined to myself the first morning of time, imagined my god entrusting the message to the living flesh of the jaguars, who would love one another and engender one another endlessly, in caverns, in cane fields, on islands, so that the last men might receive it. I imagined to myself that web of tigers, that hot labyrinth of tigers, bringing terror to the plains and pastures in order to preserve the design. In another cell, there was a jaguar; in its proximity I sensed a confirmation of my conjecture, and a secret blessing."
— The Writing of God, Jorge Luis Borges (via cession-lennox)