March 5, 2008

On the Battle of Abu Qir and the Gangs of New York…

Posted in English, Movies Reflections, Reflections at 3:20 pm by Rou...

A while ago I was reading about the battle of Abu Qir* (a.k.a. Battle of the Nile) that took place in Abu Qir bay near Alexandria between the British and the French fleets under the command of Admiral Nelson and Admiral Brueys respectively. The battle resulted in a shameful historical defeat and destruction of Napoleon’s armada…

 

As I read the words picturing the floating corpses on the surface of the sea that said: “An awful sight it was, the whole bay was covered with dead bodies, mangled, wounded, and scorched, not a bit of clothes on them but their trousers.”, I couldn’t but think of how sad yet ironic it appears to me; that whenever you go and visit that place where that battle took place, it never really crosses your mind for a second that such a bloodbath (estimation between 2000 and 5000 killed and wounded from the French side, and a little less than a 1000 killed and wounded from the British side) occurred in this calm and peaceful place… you see… eventually none of those who lived and died during that battle were actually remembered…

 

The first thing that crossed my mind while thinking of this was the scene finale of the movie “Gangs of New York” with the foreground shot of the cemetery where the two main characters of the movie were buried and the background being a skyline shot of Manhattan followed by four time-progressions of New York’s skyline growing taller and taller as the cemetery becoming more and more overgrown – a symbolism of a tempestuous but forgotten past…  

 

A truly memorable quote was said at that scene summing it all up: “… But for those of us what lived and died in those furious days, it was like everything we knew was mildly swept away. And no matter what they did to build this city up again… for the rest of time… it would be like no one even knew we were ever here…

 

I always paid much thought to this particular phrase… that at some point in time it would be like no one ever knew I ever lived in this place or encountered whatever life brought me… At some point in time, it will be as if I never existed… At some point in time, the only evidence of my “once upon a time existence” will be the place itself… which is merely an inanimate that cannot testify a thing… 

 

I remember that someday I was really down and a friend of mine told me something that I keep recalling every now and then… He said: “Imagine 200 years ago, at this very same day, in the very same month, there existed a man who was facing a very similar situation to yours and was very down… where is that man now…?” I said… “Dead…”, so he asked me again… “And where is his problem…?” I smiled, and said… “Dead too…”

 

The idea that was cleared out to me through all the above thoughts is that all the glorious oratory about life and its happenings can never hide the fact that we have always been – and remain still – mortal creatures that will eventually be forgotten…

 

Don’t get me wrong, I am not depressed… in fact; I am feeling good (despite of the depressing surroundings we are all drowned in)… and I am truly appreciating my life’s happenings (good and bad ones) for as long as I am alive… before I am eventually gone and forgotten…

 

 

On the mind of a mortal human being,

Rou…

 

 

*For detailed info about the battle of Abu Qir check the below link:

http://www.nelsonsnavy.co.uk/broadside1.html

 

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