THE GREAT PATRIOT, 2011
Pen and ink, wash, white gouache.
36.2 x 25.2 in.
The question "What do you want?", someone finally taps in Morse code against Johnny's head, after doctors and nurses tried to sedate him with injections, until they subsequently understood that he wants to communicate with his own knocking. The following wish of Joe Bonham, who was maimed in the war but mentally completely lucid, penetrates through his knocking to the outside world:
„Take me wherever there are parliaments and diets and congresses and chambers of statesmen: I want to be there when they talk about honor and justice and making the world safe for democracy and fourteen points and the self-determination of peoples. I want to be there to remind them I haven´t got a tongue to stick into the cheek I haven´t got either. But the statesmen have tongues. The statesmen have cheek. Put my glass case upon the speaker´s desk and every time the gravel descends let me feel its vibration through my little jewel case. […] Let them talk more munitions and airplanes and battleships and tanks and gases why of course we´ve got to have them we can´t get along without them how in the world could we protect the peace if we didn´t have them? Let them form blocs and alliances and mutual assistance pacts and guarantees of neutrality. Let them draft notes and ultimatums and protests and accusations. But before they vote on them before they give the order for all the little guys to start killing each other let the main guy rap his gavel on my case and point down at me and say here gentlemen is the only issue before this house and that is are you for this thing here or are you against it.“
(Note: The narrator and mutilated soldier Joe Bonham is meant)
"And when they are against it why goddam them let them stand up like men and vote. And when they are for it let them be hanged and drawn and quartered and paraded through the streets in small chopped up little bits and thrown out into the fields where no clean animal will touch them and let their chunks rot there and may no green thing ever grow where they rot.
Take me into your churches your great towering cathedrals that have to be rebuilt every fifty years because they are destroyed by war.“
(From: "Johnny got his gun“, Kensington Publishing Corp.)