Pablo Picasso must have been driven by the sense of urgency to paint Guernica in 1881 -- 1973, the theme of which was the indiscriminate bombing of the titular city by German forces in 1937.
Picasso was living in Paris when he learned of the genocide committed in his native Spain. He started making sketches immediately and completed the work in about a month.
A mother holding her dead child, a fallen soldier and a terrified horse were included in its composition. The painting was initially displayed at the Paris International Exposition in 1937 in the Spanish pavilion.
The show, in the sense that it alerted the world of the unconscionable inhumanity of the raid, served as a news bulletin of sorts.
An Asahi Shimbun correspondent reported on a bombed-out housing complex from the outskirts of the capital city of Kyiv. An attached photo showed a children's slide that went on there until just a short time ago.
Many residents were buried under the rubble, and it is believed that they were alive.
Every scene of carnage we are shown is beyond belief, from the bombing of a hospital to a massacre of civilians.
War crimes are suspected, but I feel the expression is too tame. In this war, its horrors are not so much crimes committed in war. The International Criminal Court has launched an investigation, and the chief prosecutor has arrived in the suburb of Kyiv town of Bucha.
The team will collect evidence to verify the criminality of the acts to prosecute the parties responsible and demand their extradition.
This may seem like a roundabout process, but it will definitely exert great pressure on Russia.
Picasso spoke little about the intended message of Guernica, believing the painting to be self-explanatory.
No matter how unbearably shocking the reality may be, we must never avert our eyes from the war in Ukraine.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that covers a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. The column is written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers and provides useful insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.