War stories and legacies.
Friday 31st March 2023
St Mary le Strand Church, WC2R 1ES
A tradition of "city laments", a Mesopotamian genre of literature describing the violent destruction of a city and its people, is the tradition to which the Book of Lamentations belongs. Possibly the most visceral, violent, and desperate piece of writing in the Hebrew Bible, the scribe describes the very real events of the fall of Jerusalem, c. 587 BCE, in which Jerusalem was besieged, attacked, and razed to the ground, as the final act of the Judean-Babylonian War. The scribe's description is bleak; the degree of suffering is overwhelming, the atrocities committed are indescribable, and there is minimal hope for redemption. The conclusion is that God, finally, may have forsaken his chosen people.
Although this text is biblical, the subject is war and its awful destruction. Human conflict is pervasive and ever present. The desperation and pain in the scribe's account of the fall of Jerusalem is reflected in generations and generations of war survivors, right up until the present day. In this concert, we present various settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, all with their own take on the grief of war.