A War Veteran: A word that I hope will become obsolete

Jacques Tardi. C'était la guerre des tranchées. Casterman, 1993

I am never quite sure how to feel or respond on Veteran’s day, other than sadness for those who have been to war, or worse, didn’t make it back.

Erich Maria Remarque. All Quiet on the Western Front. 1928/29
Erich Maria Remarque. All Quiet on the Western Front. 1928/29
“I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another.”

Wrote Erich Maria Remarque in All Quiet on the Western Front in 1928, about the brutality of war. Jacques Tardi wrote about Trench Warfare in 1993, and 2008. They weren’t alone in their anti-war sentiments.

Jacques Tardi. C'était la guerre des tranchées. Casterman, 1993
Jacques Tardi. C’était la guerre des tranchées. Casterman, 1993
Jacques Tardi. Putain de Guerre! Casterman, 2008
Jacques Tardi. Putain de Guerre! Casterman, 2008

While many in the US are enjoying the “Tale of Princess Kaguya”, they may have never seen the  “Grave of Fire Flies” (火垂るの墓, Hotaru no haka) a 1988 Japanese animated anti-war film written and directed by the very same Isao Takahata and animated by Studio Ghibli .

Yet, we continue on “unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay(ing) one another”.

There are people who lived because of war, such as when the allied troops put an end to a hateful anti-Semitic despot’s march across Europe. There are people who died, because we did nothing, such as when the Hutus slaughtered the Tutsis.

Irrespective of whether the war was justified or not, what is worse is that our veterans who actually faced the horrors (that I can only try to comprehend) lack adequate care.

So, while I never know how to respond on Veteran’s Day, there are only things that I am sure of:

#1. Veterans need better care and benefits

#2. We have a responsibility to protect the innocent, but not greedy right to war.

May be one day we will all get along, Ed McCurdy’s (and my) dream will come true, and the word Veteran will become obsolete.

Jacques Tardi: Déjà Vu


Librairie Lutèce. 29 Rue Monge, Paris. Photo Credit: Aditi Raychoudhury, 2005
Librairie Lutèce. 29 Rue Monge, Paris. Photo Credit: Aditi Raychoudhury, 2005
Door of Librarie Lutèce, with Arthur Même of Ici Même. Photo Credit: Aditi Raychoudhury, 2005
Door of Librarie Lutèce, with Arthur Même of Ici Même. Photo Credit: Aditi Raychoudhury, 2005

Quartier Latin. Paris. 14 Octobre 2005. 21:33 Heures.

I am willingly, and hopelessly, LOST!! Its my preferred way to travel. A bright red door, with the painting of a hatted man, drawn in a style reminiscent of Hergé’s early ‘ligne claire’ style pops out of the dark street I am trotting down to find my way back home. The hatted man is opening a door painted within the real red one. How clever! I salivate at the cheerful stacks of ‘albums’ that await me if I can come back some day when the ‘librairie’ is ‘ouvert’. Its my last evening in Paris. My camera battery has faded far beyond the evening light. I hope that I have enough juice left in my battery, and memory in my card, to record a couple of hasty, blurry pictures of one of the most captivating sights I have seen in Paris. I wander into the closest Metro station – Cardinal Lemoine – and finally, turn to the map in the Rough Guide to find my way back to my gracious Parisian hosts. I download my pictures, and return to them longingly from time to time, till not at all.

My Bed. Oakland, CA. 13 April 2007. 00:05 Hours.

I am re-reading Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi after watching the movie, and am curious to learn more about her. Aaah yes, the limitless web seduces me. I find out that she is influenced by David B., another French comic book artist, whose book Epileptic has just arrived in the mail. He, in turn, has been influenced by Jacques Tardi – the creator of the hatted man opening a door within the door of a comic book store, somewhere in the Quartier Latin, which stopped me to take the last two pictures of the day before the camera ran out battery. The man at the door is Arthur Même of Ici Même – written by Jean-Claude Forest, and illustrated by Jacques Tardi in À Suivre!! It all comes together nicely! Isn’t life fascinating?

Read my previous post on Jacques Tardi.

Jacques Tardi

 

Jacques Tardi. C'était la Guerre des Tranchées. 1993.
Jacques Tardi. C'était la Guerre des Tranchées. 1993.

In my recent conquest to find illustrators who tackled subjects that interest me, I discovered Jacques Tardi. I have not read any of his ‘albums’ (as comic books are called in France) yet – except for what I can glean from the wonderful internet. As with Tintin and Asterix, why is it that these European comic books have not been popular in the US?