Fire for Effect is a military term which refers to the firing of artillery, once calibrated upon the desired target, with the goal of saturating the target for maximum destructive effect.
In the small town of Vrontados, on the Aegean island of Chios, every year the fall of darkness on the evening before Greek Orthodox Easter, witnesses a centuries old war-like engagement re-ignite. Known as Rouketopolemos, which literally translated means Rocket-War, this mesmerizing display dates back to the 16th Century when it was originally enacted with cannon fire as a ruse to trick the Ottoman invaders into keeping their distance, and therefore allow the local parishioners to freely observe Easter Mass. Today the congregants of the neighboring churches of Angios Marcos and Panaghia Ereithiani (St Marks and Virgin Mary Erethianis) open fire at one another in sport, with endless battery salvos of homemade wooden rockets (totaling up to 80,000), propelled by gunpowder and aimed at the bell tower of the rival church.
The sensory effect of this harrowing yet hypnotic scene, as much for spectacle as ritual tradition, foreshadows modern warfare and the religious ideological conflict that continues to fuel the migrant crisis, flooding the easterly shores of this Greek island as small boats overburdened with Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees make the short but perilous sea-crossing into Europe from Turkey, fleeing war and terror raging in their own homeland.