Tag Archives: Monument

4130 – Mountain of the Dead IV

OK, that’s the last one. “Abuse” did I say. Why? Well, look at the “graves”:

Soldato / Manzi / Luigi / 30°Fanteria

A title, a surname, a name and a regiment. No date. That’s not a grave! They didn’t care where and when Luigi Manzi was born or when he died. For them, he was nothing more than a function. That’s what I mean by “Abuse”.

4129 – Mountain of the Dead III

Crosses are a Christian symbol and, regardless of how you see Christianity or generally religion, the original meaning was not one of decoration on a memorial for the glory of warfare.

Nothing else is this hill: it’s a symbol for the glory of Mussolini’s legions. It fascinates me (I’m always fascinated by fascist architecture) and at the same time it disgusts me. Well, we’ll see a lot more this year.

4127 – Mountain of the Dead I

This is the Sacrario militare di Redipuglia, a war memorial built under Mussolini. It houses the remains of 100,187 Italian soldiers killed between 1915 and 1917 in the eleven battles fought on the Karst and Isonzo front.

Pretty incredible, huh? Interestingly enough it looks much steeper and somehow more impressive when seen from the highway.

When you’re there, it’s big, but it is just a gentle slope. A strange effect. Maybe it’s because from the highway I had never more time than for a fleeting glance?

4094 – Dead Warriors

This is a monument for the fallen warriors in Italy’s war for unity and independence. For every war you find those monuments, and you find them on both sides of the former front.

In reality those monuments are not for the fallen soldiers at all. They are for the glory of the rulers who sent them to death. Look at those bodies: ancient heroes, immaculate supermen. The reality of war is different. It’s unimaginable suffering and the stench of steaming blood, putrefying flesh and shit. There is no glory in war.

3314 – Victory And Victims

This is the great obelisk on Pra├ža dos Restauradores, a monument celebrating the victory in the Portuguese Restoration War, a war fought against Spain. Portugal had been Spanish for 60 years, and the series of victories culminating in the peace treaty of 1668 made Portugal independent again.

Like all such monuments, it celebrates the victors. It does not mourn the victims. They are “Heroes of the Nation” or someting worthless like that. We think in categories of armies led, in name but never in person, by kings and leaders. We don’t think of individuals with individual lives, histories, dreams, families and friends. “Soldier” is a category, no more.

Still, there are differences. Western democracies tend to value the lives of their soldiers. This is not because our politicians are any better than the dictators who do not, it is because power in a democracy needs to gently coerce. Think of Vietnam: the war was lost not only because of the distance, because of the impossibility to fight a guerilla army, it was lost to a good deal because the caskets coming home undermined public support.

Totalitarian dictatorships don’t need those considerations. Stalin could throw masses of badly equipped Red Army soldiers against a technically superior German force, and it gets worse when Gods get involved.

The attackers in Paris came to die. They knew they would die, but not in the sense how a soldier in the first line knows that it is hardly possible to survive, no, their plan was to die and to take as many victims with them. For their God.

There is no way to argue with that kind of fanatics. This is the most de-humanized kind of warfare possible, and the leaders who exploit young, misled people in such a way, sending them to certain death for a price they can never claim, those leaders are the most despicable scum imaginable.