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The Art of Soldiering

(2007-09-03 22:36:49)
标签:

社会/纪实

伊战

英军

展览

反战

士兵的艺术
By WILLIAM LEE ADAMS
 
The <wbr>Art <wbr>of <wbr>Soldiering
 
去年五月,英国陆军将3300名士兵派往阿富汗的Helmand省,那是位于该国西南部,是一个贫瘠的、大部分区域由沙漠覆盖的地方。英军的主要任务是保障北约在此地展开的重建和人道主义救援行动,他们并不曾料想在这里会发生战斗,但是自从他们进驻后的数周以来,与塔利班的战斗便成为了家常便饭,直到06年9月他们的任务结束之前,总共有480000磅的弹药被发射,至少发生了500次以上的小规模冲突并至少有15名英军不幸丧生。
 
现在,在今后18个月里伦敦大英博物馆举办的名为"Helmand:士兵的故事"的展览中,来自第16空中攻击联队的士兵们将讲述他们过去一段时间在前线的经历。而此次展出的展品,可能是有史以来第一次把尚未结束的战争中的物件拿来陈列。这些物品属于士兵的私人物品,"每一样展品都带有强烈的真实感,以至于若有厂商把同样的多件物品放在一起而你却无法分别",负责运营场馆的Alex Parks这样说,同时,他也是一名军人并负责英军在Helmand的行动。
 
在展览中人们能看到表现真实且残酷的战斗场面的音频和视频资料,在某段视频中,一位士兵描述了自己在经历另一名同伴死于路边袭击后的心绪,"最糟的部分是棺材";而在另一段视频中,士兵们发射火箭弹并且在一栋建筑物分崩离析时哈哈大笑,"没有人能活着从那栋建筑物里出来,是吗?"画面中的一名士兵这样问到。
 
展览中的一盘盘音频资料同样引人注目,准尉Andrew Stockton在录音中回忆他的胳膊被一枚手雷炸断的情形:"当我伸出手的时候我知道自己已经被击中了,那种感觉就好象一把大锤狠狠地敲在我身上。我并没有感觉到非常疼痛,只是觉得身体有点麻木。说实话,我想那种感觉就好象是是生的牛排。于是我用尽吃奶的力气紧紧地捂住下行的动脉"。展览上同样展出了从Stockton的伤臂里取出的弹片,还包括一些这位准尉的制服的碎布。
 
这次展出并不仅仅旨在昭显战争中的荣誉,同时还向参观者展示了战场生活中的琐事。一顶令人不适的帐篷能够使人联想到士兵的睡眠状况、无数的蚊帐、化妆用品、不甚舒服的小床、便携浴室以及塑料用具发出的强烈气味。字母编号和士兵的个人用品把展出分成了多个区域,这些展品是由超过150名士兵捐赠的。
 
与战争时期的残酷和惨烈相比,士兵的假期却显得那么平静。在展出的一幅带有文字说明的照片集锦里,士兵描述了他们是如何度过他们的时光的。除了听听IPOD,玩玩游戏机或者数独,他们会在余下的4天里用锡杯或者木头柱子作为目标来进行弓箭游戏,胜利者将得到一包薯片作为奖赏。在厌倦了食用那些包括压缩食物和巧克力在内的,包含4000大卡热量的定量食品后,能使士兵们感到高兴的便是友善的阿富汗人给他们送去传统的阿富汗面包、洋葱和红辣椒。
 
展览在头三周内吸引了超过1万人前来参观,并可能带来了一些反作用。其中一段典型的胶片表现了士兵们激动地用机枪进行扫射,而有关的配音则是"进入梦境"以及"巫毒崇拜",诸如此类的视频片段受到了显著而严厉的批评。"摇滚乐使得这些真实影象似乎变成了商业片",一位参观者在留言本上这样写到。留言充斥了各种各样的声音,包括学校的学生、反战者、退役的士兵以及军人的朋友和家属。
 
这同样表示展览引起了多方的广为关注,这使得人们在参观之余还不禁对战争而非单纯的展览提出疑问。正如同另外一则留言说的那样:"我的心为这些年轻的士兵流血,他们是这么勇敢,但是是为何而战呢?"
 
 
原文:
 
The Art of Soldiering
           By WILLIAM LEE ADAMS
 
In May of last year, the British army deployed 3,300 soldiers to Afghanistan's Helmand province — an arid, mostly desert region in the country's southwest. Tasked to provide security for ongoing NATO reconstruction and humanitarian efforts, they expected little combat. But within weeks the troops were engaged in daily battles with the Taliban and, by the end of their tour in October 2006, had fired 480,000 rounds of ammunition, fought in nearly 500 skirmishes and mourned the loss of 15 comrades.
 
Now, in "Helmand: The Soldier's Story," an exhibition running at Britain's National Army Museum in London for the next 18 months, troops from the 16 Air Assault Brigade recount their experiences on the frontlines. The exhibit, which may be the first mounted during an ongoing conflict, was curated almost exclusively by the soldiers themselves. "Everything has that real flavor, which you wouldn't get if a production company put it together," says Major Alex Parks, a soldier-cum-curator who ran operations in Helmand.
 
Video and audio testimonials drive the exhibition, offering raw and disturbing accounts of combat. In one video clip, a soldier describes the emotional aftermath of a soldier's death in a roadside accident: "The worst part was the coffin." In another, soldiers launch a rocket and laugh as a building collapses. "No one is coming out of that alive, are they?" one of them asks.
 
The audio reels are as compelling. Warrant Officer Andrew Stockton relives the moment his arm was blown off by a grenade: "I reached up to my arm which I knew had been hit — it felt like I'd been hit with a sledgehammer. There was no massive pain, it was just numb. It felt like raw steak, to be honest. So I grabbed hold of the artery that runs underneath and just pinched it as hard as I could." The shrapnel removed from Stockton's arm is on display. It still contains pieces of his uniform.
 
The show does more than highlight the horrors of war: it also captures the minutiae of daily life. A claustrophobic tent reconstructs the unit's sleeping quarters, replete with its mosquito nets, toiletries, uncomfortable cots, a portable shower and the overbearing scent of plastic sheets. Scattered across the room are letters and personal paraphernalia, donated by more than 150 soldiers.
 
While periods of combat were both intense and harrowing, the soldier's downtime could be incredibly mundane. In one photomontage, accompanied by narration, soldiers describe how they passed their time. Besides listening to their iPods and playing video games and Sudoku, they scheduled four-day bow and arrow competitions using tin cans and wooden posts as targets, with the winner receiving a bag of potato chips. Tired of eating their 4,000-calorie ration boxes that contained dried foodstuffs and chocolate, the soldiers express joy when friendly locals provide Afghan bread, onion and chilies.
 
The exhibit attracted more than 10,000 visitors in its first three weeks — and perhaps as many reactions. A video projection — which features footage of soldiers storming compounds and firing machine guns, all set to the sounds of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" and the Cranberries' "Zombie" — drew particularly strong criticism. "The rock music played against the film strip made it seem like a commercial," one visitor wrote on the show's uncensored message board. Sundry messages crowd the board, coming from school children, war protesters, former soldiers and friends and family of the troops.
 
And while it's a testament to the show that it fuels strong feedback, its biggest achievement may be that it compels people to ask questions not just about the exhibition, but the war itself. As another message reads: "My heart bleeds for these young soldiers. So brave, but fighting for what?"
 
 
 
 
 

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