It is an obvious fact, almost a cliché, that fire contains a power with two faces. On the one hand, the magic of a bonfire, of a firework, of the fire in the hearth around which the family gathers to listen to stories on winter evenings, the fire of survival and life. On the other the destructive force that consumes everything in its path and leaves nothing but ashes.
The God of the Christians had warned Noah after the Flood: ‘no more water, fire next time!’ Life was not completely wiped out by the Flood. Nature can resist water, independently of human beings. But fire spares nothing. God’s threat was explicit: the Flood was the last chance. The final warning before the total annihilation of all life on earth. What has been happening in the Middle East for some years and more specifically in Iraq reminds us of the sword of Damocles that has been hanging over humanity since the dawn of time.
As if Hiroshima and Nagasaki had not been sufficient, the rain of fire and sword, and of blood, continues to fall on the men and women who have had the misfortune to be born in one place rather than another. An absurdity, an injustice that the artist transforms into an end-of-the-world geography. The map that stands for the territory, matches to rekindle the dangerous game in which we are engaged, and fire, at once playful, expiatory and definitive. There is no redemption to be sought. All that remains is the desolation of those matches bent by the scourge, like a devastated forest. A simple match, the metaphor is accurate, would be enough to destroy the beauty of the world. And the worst of it is that the event never ceases to fascinate us, like children who do not understand the lethal games of adults and of the gods of whom we are the willing playthings.