Diamanda Galás: Artist Statement for Schrei 27
July 27, 2012
The piece Schrei 27 is a very violent piece psychologically. If a person is isolated too long from society with false promises of release which constantly are presented to demoralize her/him, a suicidal impulse starts and builds that becomes so strong that the day may be spent looking for ways to kill oneself, anything, a wire, string, anything.
But the torturers say and sincerely believe that suicide is a way of tormenting the AUTHORITIES by escaping a fate due the victim, and it is blasphemous to the government. It is heretical.
“A fate worse than Death” could be seen at the death camps in Greece for traitors to the state, in the camps of Dachau, which institutionalized prisoners before the institutionalization of the Jews, in Makronisos, and in EL NTAMPA (El DABA) , which was designed for the worst criminals. Never discussed are the horrific boat rides which took the prisoners from their homes to these islands of torture, wherein the prisoners are smashed together for hours with dysentery. The giant rodents are not discussed in the desert islands which used the hot Sun to torture during the day and the cold Moon at night.
It is much like the Mexican escapees into America who are put on death walks by Mal coyotes who have taken their money to take them to a better place but could care less what happens to them. No, a man who has not experienced this torture does NOT know what it is like. I write about these things because I have experienced torture of a different sort but close enough to know this subject. I could sign this statement in blood.
Yes, we who can speak must speak for those who have been so traumatized that even recalling an event of torture dissolves them into seizures, nightmares, vomiting, and a run of terror that can be so easily triggered that most no longer live on the same floors as the families to whom they return IF they return at all–because they are ruined mentally and physically. OF COURSE they get cancer OF COURSE they develop incurable diseases afterwards.
There IS NO SEPARATION OF THE MIND FROM THE BODY. WHY DO PEOPLE PERSIST IN BELIEVING SUCH NONSENSE. WHY DOES THE WORLD DEPEND FOR ITS SURVIVAL ON PAINKILLING MEDICATIONS. THEY ARE NOT JUST FOR THE BODY. HOW MUCH TRAUMATIC MEMORY CAN THE BRAIN CONTAIN WITHOUT EXPLODING.
And the poor go to jail for this. A travesty. A mockery of humanity.
There is a naive idea that making a film on this subject that is not a documentary is an ” artistic approximation” of a far worse pain. REALLY? WHO DARES TO WRITE THIS SAYS HE KNOWS THE HISTORY OF THE COMPOSER.
WHO WROTE THE WORK THE INITIAL PIECE. I will not speak for the life of the gentleman who held the camera, a person of unending empathy, whose life is filled with unending trauma. Because I have not written in a list of footnotes of my life, that is because it is no one’s business. If I am seen screaming back the questions of the interrogator into his face it is because there are no answers to his questions and he and I know this, and rage can only last so long until fainting or death comes. Extreme situations produce extreme physical manifestations: freezing, stammering, seizures, obsessive behavior rituals, creative rituals which, like the overall obsessive behavior, allow the prisoner to stay alive, even if it is a daily dialogue with a spider in the cell.