Alain Etchepare photographs

Alain Etchepare photographs

Cathares. In the memory of stones

1208. The Roman Catholic Church and her inquisition pursue the Cathares movement in the south of France. The pope declare them heretic. The "perfect" cathares found safety in some castles, but they will be being exterminated until the last.

What story can they tell us, what have they really seen?
Swept by the wind and the mist, pounded by an unforgiving sun, frozen by the harsh winter, these old Cathares stones still stand, the last remaining witnesses sentenced to keeping this terrible tragedy in their souls.
Roaming these paths, climbing the narrow, spiraling staircases, brushing against these stones, gazing at the horizon from the top of a keep, who can but imagine the noise of the weapons, the burning infernos, the screams of terror and wails of isolation, the despair of surrender, the stupidity and cruelty, the smell of death.
Everywhere we go they whisper to us, reminding us how man, the very same who erected them, is capable of the worst absurdity.

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