Sunday, May 07, 2006

Narrow Exits

One of the least known yet most moving corners of Paris is nestling right under the tourists' noses, if they had time to life them up and look around a bit.

Right on the tip of Ile de la Cité, hidden away down a harrowing flight of spiteful steep steps, you enter another world. The world of the deportees...

At the entrance to the monument there is an explanatory panel, showing the various coloured triangles the undesirables who were sent away were required to wear, so that one could readily identify the exact nature of their particular perversion.

There were triangles for Jews, of course, but also for gays (pink!), for blacks, for politically incorrects, for socially undesirables, and many other categories and sub-categories.

They had the human race pegged and nailed down to a tee... you were either in... or out. And if you were out, you were REALLY out...

Visiting this place is a moving experience, especially if you have some personal connection with the events commemorated. But even as a simple member of the human species, it grabs you by the throat, thanks to the amazing design of this tiny space, fabricated in the form of a starkly denuded prison, which lays our thoughts and emotions bare, as our souls, whatever they may be, struggle to absorb the enormity of what we have done to our fellow man in the name of greed, power, intolerance and incomprehension.

© 2006 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free / Mystic Rhythms

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