CIRCULAR PUNISHMENT

Region, Concept: Middle East (Druze Territory), Movement
Sub-Concepts: Fragment, Birthmark, Imperfection, The Map
Description: Three-year-old boy takes village elders to the place of his past-life murder.

Necro-memory: to recollect only the traces of the obliterated, the disappearance, the nothing. They say the birthmark is the sole record of a foregone atrocity (not the emblem of a past life, but of a past death), and that it can lead the elders to the proper site of damage, violation, and cold-bloodedness. The red lines across the child’s forehead are thus a cartographic document, a mapping of the burial grounds for an unthinkable incident. It does not matter whether this reincarnation-event is true or false (authenticity is irrelevant), only that it effectively takes place in the perceptual universe of the guardians of this people: that the imperfect trait of the birthmark acts as torch or night-star, that its stain guides and navigates the aged clerics across their high-mountain passes and into the nexus of an elapsed world of horror, that this malevolent fragment alone can facilitate the excavation of an unfound skeleton and killer’s axe, is enough to stitch the line between revelation and vengeance. Return of the worst piece of the puzzle—the vanishing-point—in the name of unfinished business. And so the punishing forms an image, and a circle.

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Jason Mohaghegh