Unremitting Heat

In the museum of the street we often meet pieces of public art in the form of statues to commemorate this individual or that. Like many others the statue, or more correctly a memorial bust and plaque, in the entrance to the old town of Mougins, France, is to a military hero.

He stands well this bearded commandant. Dead since 1900 he lives on. Commandant Lamy.

Head and shoulders, arms folded atop an inscribed base, he has no legs.

Most perhaps just pass him by, many photograph him alone against the blue sky or in the company of a loved one, a snap.

He is a reminder of French colonialism. The capital of Chad was named after him, Fort Lamy, until it was renamed N’Djamena in 1973.

Lets toast not Commandant Lamy but instead the Republic of Chad itself and hope that the many Sudanese and other refugees inhabiting the camps in the east of the country since the Darfur crisis of 2003, finally find some peace and resolution.

unremitting heat
on the soldier’s moustache
a small bird singing

Paul Conneally
Mougins, July 2013

As a postscript here is how the French magazines of 1900 portrayed Commandant Lamy’s death:

image

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