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The phrase "the desert of the real" conveys that ‘the real’ is the destroyed world, gloomy, fantastical, inexplicable through language, especially when viewed from the ordered world. In Indonesia, we are actually in that ‘desert’: with incessant floods, landslides and earthquakes.
The Bible prohibits the faithful from making pictures of humans and from worshipping idols, as do the other two Abrahamic religions. The history of the Christian world has witnessed a few episodes of ‘iconoclasm’, movements to destroy statues: in the 8th and 9th centuries in Byzantium, and at the beginning of the 16th century in Europe, when the Protestants burnt statues and paintings in churches.