interview by Adele Bertei
for February issue 2013, 6 Carlos
AB: Your father was in the military so you traveled and moved around a lot as a child. How do you think this influenced you as a writer?
Sapphire: One of the things it did was to break a certain provincialism for me. I had a deep sense of myself as American and as early as first grade I knew America was powerful… which is something that came to me younger than most kids growing up in the inner city where so much of their political analysis is totally black and white, the ‘police against us’. The police are little people compared to us as enforcers of the world. With The Kid, we are again talking about a horrible imbalance of power. When Precious dies, it’s there in the book to show the absolute devastation that is going to happen to her child. We’re looking at a boy who’s really intelligent, driven, ambitious. He’s not mean-spirited. The seed for knowledge his mother planted in him will not die. How does he go about reclaiming power in the culture?
AB: It all comes back to power, the need for it and its abuse.
Sapphire: Yes. We see Abdul begin to appropriate the behavior and the words of those who have stripped him of power. The priest comes to him, he says “Show me some love”, and Abdul goes to one of the smaller children to abuse him and says the same thing, “Show me some love.” He duplicates the sexual behavior of the priest. When we look at Jerry Sandusky’s victims or at Sugar Ray Robinson who was abused by his coach, these men coming out and talking about what has happened to them… when we thought we had taken our sons, our brothers to football practice and they’d be fine but it turned out the ‘sportsmanship’ they were learning was something that would create, well, a person who would do what Mike Tyson has done. What happened, what went wrong? At the same time Abdul is learning to be an abuser, he is learning to be a creator. He has that epiphany in the dance class and he realizes the power of music, the power of black culture, the power of dance... he’s given another way to become a human being, to experience power.
AB: He appropriates the language of his abusers but he also appropriates the language of art. Of Shakespeare, science.
Sapphire: Exactly. He begins to look for role models he can identify with. He falls in love with Jean-Michel Basquait, also falls in love with Shakespeare and Gerard Manly Hopkins… this is part of the world of the Catholic brothers, and he’s going to have to find a new God. And art is going to be his God. He’s going to need, on some level, Charlie Parker. Billie Holiday. These were flawed people, these were addicts, problematic people. But they held close to their God, which is art.
AB: Sometimes certain readers have problems with young characters like these being too ‘precocious’, too smart… like a kid in these circumstances would never know so much, or want to reach… which I find offensive.
Sapphire: I don’t know if that is racism, classism or just plain ignorance. Precious spent the last years of her life educating herself and educating Abdul. Then he enters an accelerated academic environment at the Catholic school. He’s exposed to people, he reads. I did not want to portray a child who is intellectually or creatively limited. What we’re looking at is the way power has undercut his soul.
AB: Art is a healing balm. When you’re hurting that bad, you reach for the stars and you take risks. Growing up without a safety net bestows a certain type of bravery.
Sapphire: You have nothing to lose. And what you have to gain is the re-making of your own self, in a new image. Abdul is not on an endless narcissistic quest for who he is. He knows who he is. He’s not confused racially, he’s not even really confused sexually. He is in that place where he’s asking, how do I become Charlie Parker? How do I dance like Basquait painted? How do I get that feeling in my body like Billie Holiday must have had to sing like that? This is where he’s at. Not only does he have nothing to lose, if he fails in this quest, he will not be able to survive. He wants to be the new black man without the history of his mother dying of AIDS in poverty, and he doesn’t want his collective history of having been descended from slaves. When a person can begin to open their eyes to other’s trauma, when they are able to see the collective hurting of the world, they’ve made a huge step forward. We see that in Push. Precious is so empathic that when she goes to the incest survivor meeting her whole world wakes up, oh my God, so many people have suffered! It takes a lot more than that for Abdul to understand how other people have suffered. It’s not until his relationship with the young woman My Lai and that moment with his great-grandmother, and when he’s dancing that he opens his heart enough to feel the pain… to feel what it’s like to be blasted open. He begins to feel for other human beings.
AB: One of the most fascinating aspects of The Kid is how you write with such unflinching honesty about how a child can go from victim to predator as a way of taking power back. Was that challenging for you?
Sapphire: That was really frightening for me. What I wanted to do in the book and what I’ve wanted to do in my work all along is show the cycle of abuse. In Push, we’re looking at a victim, and Precious is someone who we can empathize with, she becomes a survivor. She was a female child, so she sought a circle of women and a communal spirit to take back her power. Abdul is a man. A circle of women is not going to make him feel better. In fact it would probably make him feel worse. He needs to feel the power that was taken away from him.
AB: Both Push and The Kid are written in first person present tense. You’re basically going through those experiences with she and he, writing from the inside out. It’s a long time to be looking out from someone else’s eyes on a rough journey.
Sapphire: It’s a long time, and you know, honestly when I finished the Kid I said, it’s the last time (laughter). Push was even harder because although there were no limits to Precious’ intelligence or creativity I had to confine myself to the limits of Precious’ language. She couldn’t read, but at least with The Kid he was a reader and a burgeoning intellectual. People who are successful at going deep into trauma compartmentalize, if they are not to go crazy themselves. We’ve got therapists, we don’t have to drink ourselves to death or live the lives of the artists of the 1940’s and ‘50’s. We now have information they didn’t have. I know sometimes it has affected me because I go around people who do other types of writing and I can see how, over the years my viewpoint, the way I live life, a certain kind of solitude I seek, I’m not the same as them. But I haven’t jumped off a bridge, I’m still able to function!
AB: Well, I’m very grateful you persevered because it’s a brilliant book. What’s next for you?
Sapphire: I have two projects… I’m looking at issues like how can we be so rich here, and yet still have so much poverty? Why have we settled for this? They’re telling us now that the vast majority of our homeless population is children. I think it’s intense for these kids in a very different way then it’s ever been. Back then, poor people didn’t have TV’s, they didn’t have the internet. Here you have people who can get a drug store cell phone and go on the internet and still be homeless. And they’re looking at Kim Kardashian in $700 panties and they’re constantly exposed to this affluence.
AB: Yes, there’s a warped type of social engineering going on. One last question to ask… what did you think about the film adaptation of PUSH, Precious?
Sapphire: I loved it! Monique took it to another level! And Gabourey is a gift from the Gods. There was only so far we could go with certain issues if we wanted it to not be an X-rated film, so some things had to go. But hopefully people will do as I did after I went to see The Godfather. I bought the book! It was thrilling to see those performances, so unexpected. Lee Daniels is a genius… he was like a can opener, he opened those women up! They’ve all been in movies before… Mariah Carey, all those women. I think Lee still hasn’t been given the credit he deserves for creating the environment that brought those actresses to the level they went to.
AB: It’s true, and I’m sure he’ll thank you for saying that, but you started it!
Sapphire: (laughter) Yes, as Abdul said, “I did plant the seed.”
At the Golden Globes, Jodie Foster came out… as lonely.
I considered sending this piece in to the Huffington Post but there was a glut on the subject, so am sequestering these thoughts to my own little corner of the web.
I've spoken before on privacy here. Critics will say if someone chooses to be an entertainer, the loss of privacy is their willing handshake with the Devil. Talk about an egregious assumption. The right to privacy belongs to us all, and even if there are ‘loopholes in the constitution’ that make it (ambiguously) legal for paparazzi to stalk celebrities, it doesn’t make it right. Let’s start by saying Jodie didn’t choose to be on the screen. For anyone who’s grown up watching and reading about her, it was a career initially chosen for her. Like Quvenzhané Wallis, Jodie happened to be a kid with an innate ability to move people with her acting. She was a natural. As she grew up and the roles became more demanding, she probably realized her talent early and guided by her mother, learned to nurture her own unique abilities, as well as handle herself in public with grace and dignity. Hence the Honey Boo Boo comment, which I felt was more of a respectful defense in honor of her mother than anything else. Jodie may not have chosen to act when she was three, but she certainly wasn't exploited to the point of a train-wreck freak show by her mother, and let's face it, we all know that without an intervention of some sort, Honey Boo Boo and her mother are headed for the bug house. Some LGBT bullies are holding the latter up as bastions of integrity because of Miss Boo's gay uncle, while dragging Jodie through the mud for not using the specific words they would prefer she use, and for maintaining dignity and privacy throughout her career. This, really? Especially after her moving words to her mother at the Globes? The mean-spiritedness of people who employ no critical thinking whatsoever boggles the brain. And everybody is a critic these days…
I was a lonely kid too, swept into a solitary life via very different circumstances than Jodie’s, and lonely the word has always rattled me. My pride always defaults to the word solitude, which implies strength of choice and character. I've come to value solitude because it allows me the quiet and concentration I need to create. I can gather myself together and focus. Solitude allows me to think for myself, apart from the tide of public opinions. But you can only be with yourself for so long before you begin to crave the deep fulfillment of intimate conversation with another. Sometimes the best way of communing with yourself is by doing just that with another person. It's a ritual solitary people long for, a way of 'taking communion' with someone you trust and care for enough to unfold your soul to. Rilke said in his letters to a young poet. "I hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the solitude of the other." Without this quality of communion, solitude can turn into a deep loneliness.
Admitting to loneliness requires vulnerability. A chink in the armor. Lonely is scary, a very brave place to look in the eye. All this to say it’s hard to admit you’re lonely let alone announce it to millions. Harder for some, in fact, than admitting to being gay. If you don’t have a partner, there’s an entirely unfair social stigma that goes along with being single. You must be unwanted and unloveable, otherwise you'd have a partner, right? Let's just say I know several people who are far lonelier than I, and they've been in committed relationships for years.
Is it different for the famous who are single? Of course, since a celebrity who announces their being unattached will have fans lining up much like Cinderella’s sisters at the ball. Shoving clumsy feet into a delicate glass slipper, ignoring the physics of how easily it can shatter. No less of a burden to bear than that of the non-famous lone wolf. Is this what Jodie was hoping for by admitting her loneliness, a line-up? Trust me, she can get a date without having to announce being single to the world. She seized that moment of being fêted by her peers at the Globes to express gratitude, love to her family and the people she keeps close, and to ask for privacy and respect. She was dropping her guard, showing her vulnerability to the world by confessing to yes, being gay on her own semantic terms, but more to being lonely. Other than what she’s given on the screen, she truly doesn’t owe we strangers anything. We owe her our respect for all the great performances she’s ripped herself inside-out to give us, which we’ve each paid a paltry sum to watch. It is definitely not her duty to speak for the LGBT ‘community’ when she stands up to speak for herself.
Words hold so much weight. Words mean everything within the context and tone they’re spoken. It's up to us to listen. Why would I want my sexuality to define me when it's such a very small part of my identity? I don’t identify as a lesbian because I detest boxes and definitions. I also find words with a “z” sound to be very unattractive. Words like zoo. Xenophobe. I don’t want ANYONE, the government and the gay ‘community’ included, putting their politics on my body. (The closest word to describing my sexuality is one I’ve made up; I’m a cloche-opheliac.) Being gay doesn’t mean I have absolutely anything in common with another gay person aside from the sex of the person I choose to love. That’s not what I base my friendships or my work on. The community I hope I can belong to is one that understands how our society is in deep trouble and that with wisdom, compassion and ambition we can all do our part in changing things for the better. FOR US ALL.
Why don’t the gay pundits go after the real enemies of gay civil rights, for instance the Utah Mormons who funded a marketing campaign for Prop 8 in Cali to make sure gays never have the right to marry? Do these finger-pointers spend any time volunteering on the ground to help at-risk LGBT youth themselves? Do they do anything for the ‘community’ aside from condemn other gays who they feel should be doing more? How dare they judge? How dare they ask others to speak for them, act for them? Andrew Sullivan is the biggest of the bullies. And he calls himself a Catholic?
Speaking of Catholics, it’s also time they left Mel Gibson alone. His critics act as if they’ve never met or witnessed an alcoholic in the grip of their disease. I bet each one of these Mel-bashers has an alcoholic in the family who has done reprehensible things, or maybe they’re alcoholic themselves. I happen to know of a gaggle of aging white hipsters who think they can throw the ‘n-word’ around willy nilly, like a bunch of Hitler youth (s)niggering at an ice cream stand. Oh so stylishly above contempt, they’ll use the word without shame or hesitancy and then condemn Mel, or Tarantino for using it in the context of his pop take on the antebellum south. One actually called me a ‘nigger-lover’ and thought it was funny, hardy har. For those of you who would condemn Mel, you don’t know nor do you care about these aging white hipsters and their penchant for glib racism, do you? However you DO know about Gibson at his worst because of his celebrity, thinking this gives you the right to publicly damn him while he works toward his best. What a cluster-F*** of hypocrisy we swirl in.
Pundits, you’re fighting the wrong battles. Save your vitriol for the gatekeepers, the suits who refuse to present inspiring gay stories on wide screens but will defend murder-simulating video games that teach our children to kill, the publishers who won’t publish gay stories of triumph, the record company executives who forced stars into closets, stars who ended up self-medicating into premature deaths due to broken hearts. Pull the blankets off the TRUE CULPRITS and focus your rage and indignity where it belongs. Stop demeaning yourselves and your ‘community’ this way.
I could go on, but I’ll calm down and conclude with this:
The singularity that comes from deep hurt, wisdom beyond the years and loneliness begs to be treated with tenderness. For the singular and lonely among us, we long for a twin, much like Jodie’s Nell. Someone who sees and understands us, deeply. A gallant lone soul unafraid of solitude who can speak the secret language of our hearts. Sometimes the wait is long, but don’t despair. There’s gold in them thar hills. May you always find the beauty. May you have the joy of your family and loved ones, and of continuing to tell inspired and inspiring stories. May you create acts of faith and may you soon see an end to your brave, brave loneliness.
A Spy in the House of Mas
by Adele Bertei
an abridged version of an opinion piece published in the Trinidad Guardian,
February 19, 2006 (written during the Bush administration)
Mas = masquerade, or Carnival
In the States, there aren’t any cultural incentives to create aside from the incentive to create cash in order to spend spend spend. Our government has stripped public schools of their art programs, and the population is overall too racially disparate, classist and xenophobic to come together for all-inclusive communal celebrations. We are divided, conquered, and if we’re lucky, working. Working way too many hours motivated by a desperate need to consume everything the current mass hypnosis convinces us we might need to be happy. This need is so acute that when we can’t afford to feed it by the sweat of our labor, we resort to crime, which sort of explains why 12 percent of all African American men between the ages of 20 and 35 here are incarcerated, and women’s incarceration numbers have been expanding at the rate of nearly 5% since 1995. The other part of that equation has to do with the need versus the costs of housing, feeding and clothing your family and keeping them healthy when you’ve never been given a decent education.
Ultimately our lack of meaningful culture is making us poorer in spirit and pocket while corporations grow beyond obese off the sweat of our labor. If you are not a wealthy American, aside from the hours you bust your arse trying to stay in the game, you’d best lie back in a passive sleepwalk while the soucoyant of consumerism sucks the spirit from you, otherwise you’re in for a mighty harsh struggle.
Speaking of soucoyants, let’s get to Trinidad.
I met my first Trini in the mid-eighties, at the time knowing nothing of the twin islands. Aside from Jamaica’s reggae music, and Mustique as a rich rock stars’ paradise, for all I knew, the Antilles could have matched what V. S. Naipaul once said so disparagingly about it: “History is built around achievement and creation; and nothing was created in the West Indies”. Strange, and terribly wrong, coming from a Trini native who wrote so movingly about the country in several of his books. I came to find out nothing could be farther from the truth; obscurity and insignificance does not, by any means, equate a lack of creativity or achievement. Indeed, in this case, I’ve come to believe obscurity is the island’s greatest blessing.
After discovering Trinidad as treasure chest, I was shocked at how the rest of the world could be so ignorant to all it had to offer. I expected more ambition from its artists and craftspeople, its musicians and storytellers. Why were they not forcing their hand more, helping the world understand just how incredible the cultural phenomenon of the music and the Mas were? I was wrong in this, in wanting something it could not give, as if all it were giving wasn’t enough.
I began documenting Carnival in the year 2000, and at the time, a young man from Utah was traveling with us as a cameraman. We took him into Sea Lots to film one of our main subjects, Curtis Blackman, who lives in what most would call a (very cozy) shack. Curtis showed us his handiwork; the home he had built with his own hands, and the costumes he so lovingly assembles with every penny he makes, year after year. When we walked through Sea Lots with Curtis, everyone knew and greeted him warmly as the ‘Dragonman’.
Later that evening the Utah cameraman expressed his compassion over the poverty in Sea Lots and what he thought was Curtis’ life of misery. “That poor poor man, it really shows you how lucky we are in the states.”, said Utah, shaking his head in a gesture of extreme pity. Knowing this was a defining moment in my experience of Trinidad and in no mood for confrontation with Utah, I walked outside, preferring to listen to the bark of native frogs, and to reflect on how impoverished we are in America. Deluded, disconnected from our imaginations, from spirit, and from one another. And how blessed is Curtis Blackman.
The worst thing you can offer an abandoned child who has grown up rough is pity, for shame is deeply humiliating – the best you can give is a respectful recognition, maybe some admiration for the tenacity of spirit it took that child to survive. Just as the idea of art as belonging to every citizen is the essence of Trinidad’s cultural nature, a gleaming survival is the essence of its history, its present, and its future. This survival shines as hard and as bright as a diamond, and for those of us lucky enough to recognize it glittering beneath the haze of ‘third world’ stigma, the view is endlessly astonishing.
In his Nobel lecture, speaking about Trinidad’s seemingly disparate mélange of citizens and its colonial history, Derek Walcott said “Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.” I saw this love everywhere when I began to truly look at and feel the country. I saw and heard it in the voice and eyes of Brother Resistance as he recited the lyrics of his rapso song The Glory of Kings, in the laughter and schtyups of Rachel Price, in the picong of Nikki Crosby and Errol Fabian, in the Orisha chants of Ella Andel. I felt it when the people swarmed around Lord Kitchener’s hearse at his passing, mourning his death by celebrating his art as they sang Sugar Bum. I saw it in the self-satisfied little jigs Clive Bradley would dance as he rehearsed the Witco Desperadoes into goose-bump-inducing crescendos at their Laventille pan yard, and when Machel Montano and Drupatee Ramgoonai sang and danced their duet Real Unity to an ecstatic crowd of Indian and African Trinis. I watched it dance like electricity in the classical hand gestures of Shiv Shakti’s choreographer Michael Salikram. I saw it in the way Curtis carefully sewed pieces of broken bottle glass into the talons of his dragon costume, felt it as I sat entranced, listening to Peter Minshall weave his magical story about Washerwoman and ManCrab around me like a cloak of forewarning I’d never want to shake.
We didn’t make the film to instruct… it came purely from a childish excitement to share, to say “Hey, look at the treasure chest we found…!” But fashion is fashion, and the unspoken shall always remain. Makes me think of a powerful story by Ursula Le Guinn, which poses the question that so much of our happiness is predicated on the suffering of others, and we must believe and uphold that suffering in order to be happy ourselves. The story is called The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. Yet in the case of Trinidad there is no child locked up and suffering... it’s the white hierarchy who’d like to believe there is.
On my trip back to Trinidad this last Christmas after a four year hiatus, I was shocked to find the front pages of several Trini newspapers shouting out reports of kidnappings, choppings and murders. What’s really going on in Trinidad? Is the current reigning soucoyant of Trinidad not a Trini at all, but in reality, American consumer values sneaking in through television and advertising, pressuring Trini’s to feel like they haven’t enough, that they have to kidnap and kill to get it? When I first came to Trinidad, there wasn’t this feeling in the press and on TV of violence… there also was no MTV, no gangstah rap, but that’s all changed. I see the boys with their low-hanging jeans now, mackin’ and posin’ yet I know they would never for a minute call their women bitches and ho’s… try that on Trini women and we’re talking Lysistrata for real.
I will not be so presumptuous as to imagine I understand what is going on politically in T&T, but a nation of brutal murderers is certainly not the country I see. There is a much larger truth at work here in Trinidad, one the world would rather ignore than discuss or defend, namely the belief in the creativity of the human spirit and the
I’m a spy in the house of Mas, but the disseminators of information in America turn a deaf ear to the pearls we bring back from this island. So I turn around and give it back to the country that informs me, that makes me a better human being, for what it’s worth. In Trinidad, I’m neither tourist nor native, caught in a netherworld where suitors often find themselves, courting my prospective lover, wondering if she will deign to love me back. And every time I touch down on her shores, the wonder instantly vanishes and my grateful heart breaks open once again.
"These are the times that try men's souls." – Thomas Paine
Today is Memorial Day, a day to honor and remember the soldiers, sailors, airmen and women who gave their lives for America. A day does not pass without me mourning the America they've lost their lives for.
Don't let anyone kid you, we are not in a recession. Those of us over a certain income bracket may not feel it but it’s a depression on all counts and the U.S. is merely the tip of the Hindenburg as governance by corporate greed continues its worldwide plunder. I know it’s old news by now, but when I heard about the recent 'higher education policy' in England, the spine-chilling scope of this hit like a punch. Knowing they could count on a decent education and not having to worry about college tuitions has always been an intrinsic comfort and source of pride for the English. When I first visited London, I’ll never forget the awe I felt as I spoke with a working class kid in Shepherd’s Bush - a twelve year old - who was far more articulate than an entire pack of American working class adolescents attempting to string a sentence together.
How do we dethrone the oligarchy? Every citizen of the US should be obligated to read Thomas Paine’s The Crisis, replacing the tyranny of 1776’s Britain with America’s corporate tyranny. (Read all of Thomas Paine, inspiration for the times!) If one were to care about the state of the country instead of playing ostrich and to have sympathy for hardworking people who can hardly feed their families, for the young adults who leave college buried in debt with no job prospects, for the seniors tossed from homes they've dutifully payed for all their lives and lost in predatory lending schemes by bankers who knocked on their doors with unctuous smiles, well... what can one do to change this tragic system?
In a recent issue of The New Republic, Richard Posner writes: “If we were being honest with ourselves, we would call this a depression. That would certainly better convey both the severity of our problems, and the fact that those problems have no evident solutions.” Feel the endless spin.
I agree with your viewpoint Mr. Posner, but, 'no evident solutions'? Really? How about we start with the glaringly apparent? What if the American people begin by demanding:
• the corporate Republicans stand down and end the filibuster(s)?
• the percentage of the income tax we pay actually be reflective of our incomes?
• outsourcing be declared a felony?
• lobbying be declared a felony?
• an end to privatization of public institutions, especially prisons and schools?
• the roll-back of corporate ‘rights’ of personhood?
• the banks be prosecuted for economic crimes against the people?
and last but hardly least,
• universal health care for all?
How do we, the American people, make demands on our government? Watching Bill Maher take the piss out of Mitt Romney’s magic underwear hardy har won’t change anything, and Rachel Maddow can’t do it alone. I'm elated that Obama has come out in support of gay marriage. But every time things start smelling even more rotten than seems possible in Denmark, have you noticed how they trot out the gays as a diversionary Punch and Judy show while our air, food and minds are being poisoned, our pockets picked, our hopes for a decent future for our children fall ever further into ruin? We certainly have no power to vote on the most crucial issues which affect us so profoundly. The 'representatives' we vote in to fight for our interests have pretty much all been bought by the corporate powers who continue to destroy the 99%. Demonstrations for a wide range of causes are crucial and are building a nationwide grassroots movement, but are they really changing anything? The corporations in question own the media and they keep the demonstrations and numbers underreported if at all; they’ve learned from the 1960’s and 1970’s that what we don’t hear about, we won’t be tempted to participate in. Sad to say but ultimately these demonstrations are akin to a pack of mewling kittens pinned beneath the boot of corporate brawn. On one hand the internet is helping to bring like-minded people together, but its rhizomatic nature keeps all the groups who should be working toward a common goal apart. Divided and conquered are we.
I know this will sound a bit aerie faerie but allow me to indulge myself in a dream. Imagine if we all begin by carrying a pocketbook copy of the Constitution
A very simple solution lies within the words of our country's greatest Republican president Abraham Lincoln in his address to the nation at Gettysburg; "...that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." The simple solution as spoken here is that we highly resolve. The complexity of the solution lies in pulling everyone together, but most of us are too petrified and/or apathetic to do what it actually will take to shake the boot off our backs.
I’m an American whose constitution has been stripped away by tyrants. I want to take pride in being an American. I want the country I was promised as a little girl, the liberty, freedom and justice that my father and your father fought for.
The Republican bullies of today shame not only our noble forefathers, but the memory of all those who have lost their lives to protect America's liberty. On this Memorial Day as we honor and remember the soldiers, sailors, airmen and women who gave their lives for America, here is a quote from Henry Ward Beecher:
“They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this Nation.”
© Adele Bertei, all rights reserved
Still from the film All Quiet on the Western Front.
Painting of men with flowers by Owen Freeman.