For those who died in solitude (1914-1918, 1939-1945 and 2020) and for those who have to watch helplessly.
Now that the Coronavirus strikes and the political level (except for the people with money in their eyes) puts aside their differences, I am reminiscing about an old composition: the Unknown Soldier. Maybe it is because I find the resemblance of the situation now very similar to the situation back then. I wrote this composition a while ago. My goal at the time was to describe the process of the soldier on the battlefield. It became a comparison with what is happening today. The French president Macron said that we are at war with a virus: "Nous sommes en guerre”.
To clarify what I mean, I have used images of World War I. Mainly because, in those days, respect for the ‘wounded soldier’ was hard to find. Luckily, today this is no longer the case. But when I look at the political back-and-forth in the parliament, I see little respect from some parties. Not necessarily for the victims, but for the political leaders that, whatever choice they will make, they are criticized. Making the impossible choice. Try doing it yourself.
The music in the Unknown Soldier also describes the process of the soldier’s suffering. Dying in solitude on the battlefield. The same images I saw on the news: how terminal corona-patients have to die in solitude in Italian tents, without any family present.
The Unknown Soldier stands for these victims (and perhaps the ones that will have the same fate). The massiveness is beyond our imagination. Our survival instinct is now mainly focused on what is going on in our direct environment. How can we take care of the ones close to us? When I look at the images in my film, I do not see much difference. How can we take care of the ones close to us…
Dying is, of course, in every way the last thing we would wish for. The pain that the relatives have to endure is exceptional. Or when it concerns yourself, because you’re not done yet with living. Especially dying with a disease like Corona is bizarre.
I conclude this film - when I tried imagining dying somewhere in a trench - with a strong belief. A belief that is based on intuition. A belief that I learned when I held the hand of a dying person.
Is my story/music a comfort for the people that are confronted with (the effects of) Corona? No. Should we be happy with all kinds of politicians that are trying to score points? No. Should we pretend nothing is going on? No. Over 100 years ago, people were dying a pointless death as well. It repeated itself in 1939-1945. And now in 2020. Actually every day, really. Everywhere in the world.
With the music, I give words to the dark side of life, to the Nameless. But I also try to give some form of meaning to the pointlessness of this dying. It’s not an answer or an experience, but merely, an observation.