The reporter speaks to camera from the steps, recently swept, across the churchyard where huddles of tourists peer at maps and hold up camera phones, squinting into screens.
A TV is being watched.
The camera’s banal gaze focuses on the grey flagstones. Everything is clean as if a uniformity has returned, a natural order resumed.
Laughter is heard.
[Off stage a tented green, colourful banners, cups of tea. But the cameras will not travel and the gaze will not turn. Attention is fixed on the clean stage. The question is how to depict what is not ever to be presented.]
They say we have no solutions; that we are in disarray, confused, guileless; we have no plan; we are so loose a collective as to be redundant.
But what a cockeyed view that is: of course, we are all those things. We have been pulled this way and that, confused past our wits, futures beaten away, our aspirations mocked, torn apart and isolated.
Of course we have no solutions. We are not paid to find them. Our wages pay for others to do that. It is they that turn from responsibility, not us. We can only protest, remain, shout, hope.
Archeologists discovered signs of large buildings here, perhaps a temple. Remnants of weapons were also found, including traces of what might have been poisons. Certainly battles were fought here. A small camp seems to have existed, with broken pots, pans and temporary shelters found all across the hillside near where a river once flowed. We can only guess what calamity wiped out all of those who lived in those times, and at the extent of the destruction, but, what we do know, is that it was the end of an era – of an empire – and of the start of another.