". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Blood Sacrifice

This is from a long sequence on the walls of a tomb (brought from Egypt and reconstructed in the Met -- filled with screaming running children and people pushing buggies and strollers in these very narrow corridors and tiny, tiny rooms) belonging to a middling functionary of the Old Kingdom, again early in its establishment. It's the entrance, in a way, to the Met's Egyptian galleries. Thus, certainly the screaming children, particularly on a holiday.

I liked this because if you look at this wall's sequence of sacrifice, it's almost like stop animation. The bull selected, garlanded, led to the place, killed, blood caught and offered, and the flesh dismembered.
The damned kids though kept screaming that they wanted into that tiny chamber to see. "GET OUT! YOU GET OUT RIGHT NOW! LET ME IN! I I I I WANT TO SEE! I'LL KILL YOU IF YOU DON'T GET OUT!" Nevertheless inside, they couldn't see because they were too short, and they didn't have the eyes to see it anyway, any more than their parent(s). You get nothing out of this if you duck in and duck out again. You need to be patient and look, which as impatient and self-centered as just about everyone is, means they hate you for being so. I understand viscerally much better now how that poor Wal-Mart greeter got trampled and none of his tramplers even stopped to notice. This country is beyond reform, beyond repair.

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