Talking About Suicide

Because it's not a taboo

Reading about Christian Ellis

Christian Ellis was trained as a classical singer, and he turned his military experiences in the war in Iraq into an opera, “Fallujah.” It debuted this month with the help of City Opera Vancouver and can be seen here. Like many veterans, Christian has fought to adapt to his memories and to his return home. The former Marine says he has tried to kill himself four times. The opera begins shortly after the main character has tried to kill himself. Suicide is not the easy way out, he sings.

People who comment on the opera online tend to continue the intense debate about the politics behind the war. Christian’s intensity is more internal. “Literally one day, I would be talking to a buddy and the next thing I know he’s shot in the face dead,” he told The Associated Press. “How do you react to that? How do you move on from that? How do you deal with that?”

Time magazine is the most recent news organization to explore suicides in the military, saying 154 soldiers killed themselves in the first 155 days of this year.

I’ve asked Christian’s collaborators in the opera project for the chance to speak with him.

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