“…Goya in Beirut.
The great master’s Disasters Of War – his terrifying 19th-century sketches of rape and torture and execution – are here in Beirut, such trust in Lebanon from the Cervantes Institute -
- such shame in Beirut that when I went to see them there was only one other Lebanese in the gallery (free of charge, for God’s sake) -
- as this was, after all, a display of this country’s own sadism and masochism in the 1975-1990 civil war.
Or was it?
For I fear that those who visited this greatest of all anti-war manifestos must have looked at these sketches – women dragged off for rape, men emasculated on tree branches, shot down by death squads – and thought not of Lebanon at its darkest hour -
- but of cities 250 miles to the east of here, in the towns of Syria, where such atrocities are now taking place by the hour -
- where these etchings fit picture-perfect on to the YouTube videos that pop up on our screens each night…”
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