Category Archives: loyalties

FIRE SPIRIT

[a short story   by Sha’Tara]

A restless wind whispers softly in the spruce on the edge of a small lake. Brightly shining stars and distant, paling northern lights cast eerie shadows in the late summer night. A great horned owl calls, answered by the howl of a timber wolf echoed over the waters. A startled killdeer gives its plaintive cry, repeated several times, then silence again. Glowing softly, a small campfire throws its own little stars into the night, their flickering, sinewy path changing to the mood of the breeze. A young woman sits near the fire, staring, unmoving, her dark eyes reflecting its dancing light. The minutes pass slowly as the stars trace their endless circle around the tail of little bear.

At a  chosen moment the woman stands and throws some broken branches upon the fire, watching intently as the flames leap up, crackling, hungry. She begins a slow dance around the edge of the fire, her bare feet moving through the drying grass, her footsteps blending with the lapping of wavelets on the shore and the sighing of the wind in the branches. She hums in a low monotone, unintelligible words passing her lips. Gradually, the song becomes more forceful. Proudly throwing back her head, her black hair cascading down her back, she lifts her hands up and starts chanting. The song rises and falls, hauntingly moving, echoes of ancient voices seeking words to an as yet unformed hope.

Her dance takes on a rhythmic pattern, her knee-length dress swaying as she approaches the fire then steps back lightly into the darkness of the trees, to reappear from another direction. Her voice rises above the trees, flowing through the rolling hills…

From the midst of the flame, a form takes shape, graying head bowed, hands held in blessing. The form addresses the dancer: “Daughter, what are you doing? Why dance with danger tonight? Why seek death? You are the hope of the people. Would you tempt the white man again and be accused of witchcraft? Would you die in his fire too? You summoned me… now answer me!”

Swaying gently, without looking at the flame, the song dying on her lips, she answers the vision: “I am your daughter. I cannot be otherwise and I have your heart also. You died to save me, mother, though I never asked it of you. Now, you are Fire Spirit. You live in the heart of the volcano at the centre of creation and possess the gifts of life and healing in full measure: would you deny me my own birthright and refuse me my homecoming?

There is nothing left here, mother. The people are ashes, spirits without homes. Those who remain are slaves eating crumbs from the hand of their conqueror. Should I fear a moment of pain and I too become a slave?

No, mother! Do not try to dissuade me. Tonight, I dance with the spirits under the stars. Tomorrow, I will dance in the fire. Then I’ll come to you and together we will prepare the medicine for the wandering spirits. We will rise with the breath of the sun in our mouths, awakening the land, shaking the ashes of the people in the winds until all becomes one and life pulses freely in the land again. I’ll see you tomorrow, mother…”

The flames died down and the vision vanished. She took up her chant and her dance, delighting in a myriad of physical sensations heightened by the knowledge that this was her last night on earth. In the morning, her relentless pursuers would find her. The angry new god would have his victim and enjoy a short-lived victory over the past. From his fire she would rise to become Fire Spirit and wrest the future from his bloody hands.

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Another Gift of the Magi (part 3)

Near the end of that year her body finally gave out and she remained bedridden.  Ariana spent as much time as she could spare comforting her and listening to some of her experiences in the world of high class prostitution.  Sometimes they could be heard bursting out in laughter, followed by Sylvia’s terrible coughing fits.  Surprisingly, and perhaps not so surprisingly, during that year some of Sylvia’s clients who had helplessly fallen in love with her, traced her to the hospice and she was permitted to receive them.  There were strange tearful reunions and many a new anonymous donation appeared in the “Hope Fund”.

The week before Christmas was the hardest.  Sylvia labored for breath and could not eat.  Fed intravenously, she was slipping fast.  Christmas Eve came and she couldn’t hold any longer.  Ariana came in and saw that the battle was over.  She reached down and held the frail, wasted body of her sister and said: 

“Remember our vow – no matter what the circumstances, we would always spend Christmas day together?  You have to hold on tonight.  You have to celebrate the birth of our Lord with me tomorrow.  You can’t break your vow.  You can’t!”

Sylvia understood.  She held on and passed away in the evening of December 25.  Ariana looked out the window into the city night.  Snow had fallen all day and everything was covered in white.  Street lights reflected their pale luster upon store fronts decorated with various aspects of the kind of commercial Christmas the world has come to accept as normal.  For a brief moment the city, attired in a virgin’s white hid her ugliness.  Ariana thought it fitting that it would make an effort and put on a white mantle for the passage of her sister’s soul.  Above the city, between high-rise escarpments, Ariana saw a couple of stars twinkling in the cold night.  Only then did she allow the floodgates of sorrow from her heart to open and she cried silently, for a long time.

A year went by.  Things returned to their normal madness in the hospice.  Sister Celeste drove herself even more now, but learned to ease up on the younger postulant nuns and things ran smoothly.  On Christmas Eve she found herself alone in her small office in the old house that served as rooming house for nuns and postulants, and office for the hospice next door.  She had done her final rounds to ensure that all was under control there under the night shift. 

The old house felt terribly empty as those not serving in the hospice had gone home to their families to celebrate Midnight Mass and Christmas day.  She pulled out her rosary, thought of Mother Teresa doing the same thing and smiled to herself as she looked out her office window into the night sky filled with grey clouds that presaged more snow on Christmas day.  

The beads of the rosary slipped silently through her fingers from years of practice.  She thought of Sylvia and tried to imagine the kind of life she was now having.  Pangs of sorrow, regret and emptiness hit her.  Had her foolish dream, however well it had turned out, been the cause of her sister’s death?  She shook her head as she prayed through the rosary.  “I cannot entertain such thoughts.  It is wrong. Sylvia and I were as one and she made a choice that I would have made had our positions been reversed.  She chose her life of sacrifice, not just for me, but for the people here, for the city, for the world.  We both did, and found what we wanted most.”

The front door buzzer brought her out of her meditation.  She checked the monitor.  Two men, unshaven, poorly dressed and obviously hungry and cold, stood at the door.  Compassion moved her heart as she looked at them and in violation of an unbreakable rule she had made, against all common sense, got up and went to open the door.  She invited the men inside and as she turned to lead them out a side door to to the hospice cafeteria, they grabbed her, threw her to the floor and raped her at knife point.  Then the one with the knife plunged it in her heart several times.

As Ariana lay dying, her blood-soaked hands holding her punctured chest, she whispered, “I forgive you…!”  Her final thought from this side of the veil was, “As promised, I’ll be with you for Christmas, sister.”

It is not given to us to see beyond this point.  Death guards his territory with terrible jealousy.  His reasoning, often tragic to us, remains impenetrable.  We cannot investigate further; we can but speculate on the fate of those who “cross the bar” and never return.  Some will think, heaven, and some will think, there is no more to the story.  That is how it should be but regardless of our belief choices, it is given to us to have the mental means to contemplate the lives of people such as these two sisters; their motivation and the results from such sacrificial offerings to us and our world. 

The story is fictitious, certainly, but how many real lives provide the flesh and blood background for stories such as this one?  My question, as always, is: can we take ourselves beyond just admiration and perhaps temporary sadness?  Is there some food here for us? Something to move us to better ourselves and take new steps, however hesitant, towards becoming compassionate beings? Surely, anyone who has read the story to the end must realize such are not given to us simply to entertain, or bring out a few temporary tears, as beneficial as such may be to our eyes strained by the harsh glare of consumerism. 

 I do not easily give Christmas wishes for to the degree that I understand the concept I strive to live without hypocrisy.  However, I will do this: on behalf of Sylvia and Ariana, cast out any darkness from your hearts during this time and do give yourselves, one and all, a merry Christmas!

I Live in a Banana Republic that Isn’t

   [Off the cuff, and It’s time to say it,  by Sha’Tara]

What is Canada?  Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a democracy, it’s a constitutional monarchy.  Some will argue that it is both, as if it could ever be both.  “Is this salt, or sugar?”  “It’s both.”  Oh, sure, that makes total sense.  They have to be the same, after all they’re both white.    

Canada: this is where I live. Geographically it’s the 2nd largest country in the world, about half the size of Russia and a bit larger than the USA, with China after that.   Population however is a mere 36 million.  Compare to the US @ 320 million, Russia @ 143.5 million and China @just under 1.4 billion.  Size isn’t everything.

But Canada isn’t into population size.  She’s not into motherhood.  To put it one way, she’s the bastard daughter of the divorced  queen of England and king of France. 

After the reconciliation, as she entered into her swinging years she saw opportunity and became America’s busty blonde bitch.

Washington’s her lover and her pimp is Wall Street.  Uncle Sam brokered the deal and it’s a tight one.

Wally:  “Let’s have a closer look at those natural resources, hey girlie?  Spread ‘em.”   And “spread ‘em” she does, with gusto.  As a “country” Canada is a total whore.  Whatever her lover does, she imitates.  Whatever her pimp orders, she does.  But like all whores, her dirty deeds are done mostly behind closed doors and no one’s the wiser.  Lamestream media isn’t much interested.  Just another prostitute and if she misbehaves, what do you expect?  She’s a whore. That, at least, is the cover story.

While the rest of the world carried on over the US presidential campaign and ordinary people all over had relevant things to say, or fears to express, nary a word from the whore.  Why should she care?  She’s been “protected” under every US presidencies, her wardrobe filled with furs, feathers and leathers, her “rights” guaranteed along with his rights, her “wrongs” in accord with his wrongs.  Imagine being the consort of “the biggest guy in the room.”  Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan or McDonald, what difference can it make?  Whatever they want, she gives.

Canada: the greatest pretend nation in the world; a cartoon character without a mind of her own. 

The EU or the US want her to sign some international trade treaty that everybody else abhors, sure, where do I put my “x” guys?  (Glossy lipsticked smile.) 

Wally Street says, you’re being too lavish with the servants, girlie, I need you to tighten up there.  “Oh, sure, of course Wally, I understand.”  (Clap hands)

“No more of those frills like labour unions understand?  Cut back on welfare, medicare and payouts to natives or whomever.  Can’t you find some more effective way to cut pensioners off?  Let them be homeless, won’t affect us.   I need to come up with more dough for Wally, he’s getting antsy and I can’t have that. 

Isn’t there any untapped natural areas we can get oil, gas, potash, lumber, copper, gold, steel, uranium, whatever from?  National parks?  Yeah, anyone look into national parks for resources lately?  No?  Whaddaya mean, no?  Get on with it.  Wally promised me a new gold bracelet if I get him more oil.”

“Wally says I need more security on the farm, so let’s get that up and running, now!  And no more protestors and demonstrators, Washy hates them.  Warn ‘em and if they continue, jail them.  In fact, jail ‘em all.  Put ‘em to work to pay for their keep, just like Washy does, I don’t care, I just don’t want trouble, OK?  And for God’s sake, no more damned refugees.  What am I supposed to do with ‘em? (Stomps foot and pouts.)

Canada.  This is where I live.  You don’t hear much about it because there’s an understanding.  Lamestream media knows that living with the mob means representing its interests.  You don’t talk about the mobsters’ girls. Those who make that mistake don’t just get fired, they end up at the end of the pier in cement boots.   

Why did I write this?  It’s a heads up, you see.  Canada is probably one of the last “safe” places to live in, in today’s world.  Or so it seems, but the reality, well, think of it as Anschluss when Nazi Germany annexed Austria in 1938.  Remember, most Austrians were jubilant, as most Canadians are these days when Washy and Wally invade another country.  Official education doesn’t wipe out ignorance.   

 

The Cursed Year, the Year of Bliss

  short story by Sha’Tara – part 8

“How it ends”

I slept like a log and woke up the next morning around 10 AM with a slight headache and some confused memories.  I remembered some words and somehow I felt better, less confused, less worried.  I wanted to write my story, that was all.

I took a longer than usual shower, took more time with my face and hair, fixed myself a good brunch of French toast with whipped cream and canned strawberries and got myself ready in an ankle-length plain brown skirt, a dark green sleeveless turtleneck top and pulled my hair back with a white band.  I pulled on a pair of black fake leather boots on two inch heels and put on a wide brimmed brown hat. I hefted my small black shoulder bag instead of the briefcase.  I needed sun glasses to complete the effect but I didn’t have any.  Then I remembered I had some change left from the tenner I’d gotten for the taxi.  I’d stop at a drug store and pick up a nice pair of glasses and a pair of black gloves.  I asked myself, was I trying to impress someone?  I smiled in the foggy mirror, then stuck out my tongue at myself: brat.

Raymond arrived promptly at one and deposited me in front of the Lonin Towers.  I was quickly and deferentially escorted to the penthouse.  Joe was waiting for me. 

“Good afternoon Helen.”

“Good afternoon Joe.  What’s on the agenda?”

He leaned back in his chair and looked me in the eyes.  “You are.  Please sit down.  I need to square something with you.  Serious, really serious.”  I nodded.  Serious – I can do serious.  I waited, listened.

“I was up all night completing some research and what I’m going to say to you now; what I’m going to reveal to you; might come across as if I’ve lost my mind.  It certainly did to my attorney, Frank Beck earlier this morning.  But I have to do this.”  He leaned forward and looked deep into my eyes.  I had trouble holding his intense gaze.  Then he completely threw me for a loop.  

“How much, do you think could I trust you?”  Tension in that question, the air seemed to crackle around me. 

“Weird question, I know, but bear with me here.  For instance, with proper, acceptable compensation, how far would you be willing to go for me, to cover for me?”

“How could I answer that Joe?  Would I jump off a bridge?  No.  Would I help you launder money, or channel drugs in or out of the country?  No.  Would I lie for you in court?  No.  Would I protect your interests inasmuch as I could understand a certain situation, and it was in my power to do so?  Yes.  Could you trust me in some legal – and note I’m saying “legal” with emphasis – transaction involving large sums of cash or property or with someone’s reputation?  Yes, to the best of my knowledge and ability, I would serve you in such capacity.”

He sighed deeply and leaned over his desk towards me. 

There were tears in his eyes.  I shook my head and looked again.  He was wiping his tears. Then he faced me again, extended his arm and opened his hand.  I instinctively placed my right hand in his and he held it tightly for several seconds,  saying nothing.

I ventured: “You want me to feel something; something you want to say but would rather I deduced for myself.”  He nodded, yes. 

I let my feelings flow freely through his grip.  And suddenly I understood, with a shock, what he wanted from me.  I let my mouth speak the craziest words I’d ever said, and I’ve said quite a few crazy things over the years, as I looked directly into his eyes.

“You want me as your heir, like if I were a daughter…”  I stopped, not knowing what else to say.  He nodded again, yes.  I realized he was finding speech very difficult, so I continued,

“But you know nothing about me, Joe.  I’m a stranger to you, a girl with no past, no future, no family, nothing.  A stray, a nobody.” 

A part of me wanted to tear my hand out of his and run from this, as far away as I could so I’d never be found again.  I’d fallen into another man-made nightmare that was going to tear me apart.  This time I felt trapped and really scared; scared because I couldn’t physically fight this man. I just couldn’t.   

Yet an equally powerful part of me went in the opposing direction, falling into his mood and I felt a great welling of compassion for that man.  I also felt a sense of belonging, as if the present was a formality between us, as if I’d been his daughter all along, and I’d been in a coma, and I’d just awakened.

I heard myself say with a quite reasonable tone of voice, “What’s going on here Joe?  What is happening?  I’m confused.  I feel as if I know you and somehow I belong here, with you.  Have I been drugged? Joe, please talk to me; level with me.”

He stood up, walked around the big teak desk and pulled me out of my chair.  He took my hair band off and ran his fingers through my hair.  He held me carefully, as if I was suddenly very fragile and his tears flowed freely now.  I heard him say, “Oh, God, thank you.  Thank you!”  I waited, comfortable in his arms and loving his fingers through my hair.  I leaned my head against his shoulder, waited.  Then I heard him say life-changing words in my ear.

“You’re my daughter, Suzanne, my daughter, my only child.” He paused again, just holding me for what seemed a long time.  Then he resumed,  “I will tell you a story that is hardly believable, but it will make sense to you eventually. 

“I married your mother twenty years ago.  It was one of those impulsive youth things.  She was young, beautiful, attractive, luscious and so full of promise.  She was an entertainer in a Toronto bar, a university girl who’d gotten trapped by drugs and into the sex trade.  I bought her freedom and kept her in a private apartment so my parents wouldn’t know about her right away.  Yes, a kept woman, but I was sincerely in love with her and determined to marry her.  I got her re-enrolled in university to legitimize her in the eyes of the family.  Eventually I convinced my mother to meet her. 

She was accepted in the family and we were married.  I bought us a suite uptown, quite luxurious, and all went well.  She finished her accountancy degree.  About two years later she got pregnant and nine months later, there you were.  So beautiful… such an incredibly beautiful baby. And I swore over your crib that you were going to have everything to make your life heaven.  We, well your mother actually, called you Suzanne.  You were my Susie and the world revolved around you.  Six months of perfect bliss between my new partnership at my dad’s firm, in this building, and home with you. 

Then it all went to hell. 

Your mother kidnapped you and disappeared from the radar of police and private investigators.  Nothing, not a trace.  She had planned her run very carefully; left no trace.   She took the money from her private account but didn’t close it so as not to arouse suspicion right away.  She’d also bled a substantial sum from a company account she had access to through her part-time position in the company.  Investigators concluded that she’d embezzled enough money to live comfortably practically anywhere in the world, enough to easily buy new identities for herself and you, allowing her to disappear forever. 

I must say, sadly, that the very last place anyone would have thought to look for her was in northern Alberta!  The police, the investigators, Interpol – we all thought, California, Costa Rica, Europe, England, France, Tuscany, Spain; the Caribbean, Brazil perhaps, the Philippines, even Japan.  I spent a fortune in stocks to keep investigators and Interpol looking: nothing, as if she’d taken you on a ship and vanished in outer space.  What really covered well for her is that she had a lover and she took his  name, effectively cutting all traces.  She had money, she did not need to apply for government money or get a job.  And in her new status, everything about her was legit and above-board.  As I said, no trace and we weren’t looking within the country, not until I hired a retired ex-FBI agent with a different approach to solving kidnappings.

“But I still don’t understand Joe.  How can you be so sure I am who you think? I don’t remember being called Suzanne.  Ok, how old am I?”

“You’re almost 17.  November 11th is your birth date.”

“True.  My mother didn’t change that then.  Any other proof?”

“You had a little birthmark just below and to the right of your belly button.  A tiny little starfish shape with one arm missing.”  My heart jumped.  I had that birthmark.

I couldn’t stop myself any longer.  Imagine the longing to belong after all I’d gone through, and my current state of loneliness.  I blurted:  “Dad?  Can I please call you dad?”  and I turned around and threw my arms around him.  We stood there, holding and crying for a long, beautiful, unforgettable moment in time.

But it was not over, not yet.  I still had questions, maybe not doubts as such, but definitely questions.

“When did you discover that this crazy girl was your own lost daughter?”

“Do you remember a fifty-something man in a black trench coat and a fedora kind of hat engaging several conversations with you on the train from Edmonton to Montreal?  Do you remember him buying you a few meals in the dining car and escorting you when your train was held up overnight in Winnipeg?”

“Yes, he said his name was Roger.  I remember him quite well.  He was rather annoying, insistent, I thought.  Kept asking me dozens of questions, especially about my childhood, and what I remembered, if anything, of my early Peace River farm days; said he was doing research in the history of Canada’s northern farmlands; their development, and he added he was especially interested in the movement of people, and what brought them to that lonely north country with so much against it, a country that truly belonged to bears, moose and muskrat and not human beings.  But I’m sure I didn’t say anything revealing, I didn’t, and still don’t, remember anything of that period.”

“Roger, well his real name is Stephen, is one of the last two private investigators I’ve had on your case through the years.  And you did reveal things.  They didn’t make sense to you because we’re sure your mother and her man drugged your milk so you wouldn’t remember anything that happened to you.  Even at six months old you may have been able to see things in your past and asked dangerous questions.  You “woke up” on the farm they’d bought with some of the money she’d stolen from the corporate account and you were brainwashed to think you were born in that house, not in the hospital and there would be no records because they hired a midwife for the delivery.  Remember them telling you this?”

“Yes, and for a time they made me feel special about it.  I was a true farm girl, born right in the family home, not in an impersonal hospital.  They wanted me to feel safe, secure and loved.  But things changed.  The man I called dad became an alcoholic and abusive.  Dangerous.  That’s why I ran away.  But how could I have an older brother on the farm?  What about Gene?  Did your guy tell you about the older brother?”

“That’s the key part.  Your mother’s lover already had a two-year old son you see.  This Gene is no relation to you and he’s got a big mouth.  He remembered things and bit by bit he told a story about his beautiful younger sister.  “She’s no kin of mine and I can legally fuck her,” he bragged to some acquaintances in a bar.  The story got told around and Roger heard about this and he did his math.  He did research on the family, then went looking for “the no kin of mine” younger sister.  He called me and told me he thought he had a substantial lead when you suddenly left your home.  He traced you to Grimshaw and got on the same bus to Edmonton.  He kept watch over you while you stayed in Edmonton and when you booked passage on the train to Montreal, he got on too.  He then contrived to have several conversations with you.  He’s a dedicated employee and as an ex-FBI operative, he knows his business.  He knew how to gain a degree of your trust without alarming you.  And he’s a bit psychic.  He told me that your decision to take the train to Montreal was an indicator you were being guided home.”

“That Roger guy on the train… you kept private investigators looking for me for 16 years?  You love me that much… dad?”

“I do.  There is no explanation for this kind of love.  It’s the kind that travels infinity and I’m convinced, lasts throughout eternity.  I sensed it when you were born, and I know it even more so at this moment.”  And he whispered it as he hugged me even tighter: “I love you, Susie.  Welcome home.”

[end of part 8 – How it ends]

(Teaser questions:
Will Suzanne write and publish her story about the City’s slums and their occupants?
Will she fulfill her dream of becoming a full-fledged investigative reporter?
Will she become a director of her father’s conglomerate news empire?
Will she return to the Peace River country and confront her mother?
Will there be indictments and criminal charges laid against the mother, and the step-father?)

 

 

 

The Legacy of Empire: thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara

               The Legacy of Empire

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

For 2000 years “Western” empires have dominated the social, religious, political, commercial and military world scene.  If all the horrors perpetrated upon helpless peoples by these empires were listed somewhere, on some “wailing wall” or cenotaph or other monument to man’s inhumanity to man, that couldn’t help but bring even the most obdurate believers in the rightness of western capitalism, to their knees in shame.

It is generally believed that the German people, from the time of Hitler’s ascendancy to the German “throne” to the defeat of Germany, did not know of the existence and purpose of the death camps.  That is, of course, not true.  They knew, but they lived, much like Europeans, Americans and Canadians today, in some kind of Matrix illusion fostered by their leaders, their masters, their gods.  Whatever they suspected, they could not bring to the fore of their individual minds because their collective belief in the rightness of what was being done blocked the truth from surfacing.

Then the terrorist, vicious short-lived Third Reich empire collapsed; its armies were defeated; it’s cities ruthlessly bombed into fire storms and rubble.  Then groups of German people were forced to march through the death camps in their neighbourhoods and forced to accept what they had known all along but refused to reason out.  Then, and only then, were their eyes opened to the truth.  Then, and only then were they able to reason the utterly abhorrent evil that had been their Nazi rulers which they had so vociferously and materially supported, including reciting as sacred mantras the verbal mountains of lies against Jews and all undesirables as listed by their Nazi elites.

This, in terms of Earthian history, was but a short blip of historical significance; a quiz from which the current benefactors of Western imperialism were supposed to learn the greater truth regarding all of their religious, political and capitalistic enterprises.  They were supposed to take the lesson of Third Reich Germany and apply it to the whole Western concept of empire.  The were supposed to begin asking the really tough questions: is this lesson applicable to me, to my own country, to my beliefs regarding my government, my banks and corporations, my military forces as they proceed globally to control lands, and extract resources and cheap labour?  Yes, I use the possessive pronoun, “my” because most of the people I’m writing about actually believe they live in a democracy, and by that belief, they make themselves responsible for all of it.  If you claim that something is yours and you have the means to demonstrate it is yours; more particularly if you teach that to your children then you’d better be prepared to be a fully accountable part of it all.  Be prepared to demonstrate your freedom and bravery in America; be prepared to demonstrate what “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” means in France.  And in Canada, just be prepared to support your Stanley Cup winning team, eh?

Predictably very few did see the lesson.  They saw a stand-alone, readily identifiable “evil” and they saw it defeated.  Case closed, and now for the good life once again.  And so they did.  Until now.  Until their Empire (the US and its on-again, off-again European allies) faces defeat after defeat in tiny, impoverished countries they should be able to conquer and subdue in a walk-on.  Take Afghanistan: by normal reckoning, not much of a country to stand up to US military and para-military might.  But Afghanistan defeated the mighty Soviet army in the 80’s – a fact that had much to do with the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Now it is proving as much of a miasma to US military efforts as was Vietnam.  Imagine that!  But that’s not all: from these imperialistic wars have grown several deadly “terrorist” groups whose purpose is not only to free their nations from Western imperialism, but to sow terror and fear among their enemies, on those enemies own homelands.  It’s a reckoning long time in the festering stage and brought to a boil by the Bush wars.  And it is only beginning: the legacy of empire.  Status: unpaid.

Here’s where emotions take over and the issues become completely clouded in the attacked, once oh-so-secure western nations.  Until now the taking of lands, resources and slave labour by Western imperialist powers was a given, a God-given right for almost any western empire or nation, including the US with its mega-global corporations and widespread military bases.  The rest of the world simply had no say in the matter.  If you needed a democratically elected popular leader (or for that matter a totalitarian dictator who had been installed by the US) deposed or assassinated because he stood in the way of your cartel’s “needs” for cheap resources and labour, the US government and its military machine was right there ready to intervene on your behalf.  Bang: you have the invasion of Iraq, not once, but twice.  Didn’t subdue enough?  More military intervention and destabilization throughout the entire Middle East and beyond.  Everybody on the receiving end of the trillions spent on these wars is having a heyday.  That thousands of innocent civilians become “collateral damage” in these imperialistic forays is accepted as inevitable and quite OK.  Wedding parties and hospitals blown up?  Big deal.  We were sure they were terrorist hideouts.  Another case closed.  After all, it’s been going on for 2000 years and worked quite well: why mess with a winning combination of sanctioned murder in the name of capitalism and Christianity?  The legacy of empire.  Status: unpaid.

So, it’s been a great time for Western corporations, Western elites, Western religious organizations, Western middle classes and Western yuppies.  A really great time.  During this time, while profits grew exponentially, so did corruption in all the high places and while it can be said that Reagan’s trickle down theory regarding money did not materialize, quite the opposite happened in fact, it can certainly be said that religious, political and financial corruption certainly did.  That was inevitable for two reasons.  One, that is the pattern demonstrated in history.  Two, as Einstein said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.”  The pattern that must lead to final, crushing corruption was dutifully followed through by each and every empire ever to arise on planet earth.  It was dutifully followed by the Western-US empire and is still being followed.  The legacy of empire.  Status: unpaid.

Why is that?  Simple: it’s how the beast feeds.  Without corruption in high places you simply cannot have, let alone sustain, any sort of empire.  Empires are not only made from corruption, they are a corruption of all natural and human aspirations, and I would add, for those who believe in such things, they are demonic in nature.  The next thing to consider is, once you have an empire, you can no longer control or lessen, the degrees of corruption that feed it.  As the empire grows old, it grows fat, less mobile, more needy.  It needs more and more support in terms of resources.  It needs more slaves to take care of its growing needs.  The legacy of empire.  Status: unpaid.

What you have now, here, in the West, is a complete reliance on an empire that has become a geriatric basket case.  Of course the facts are covered up with louder and more boastful lies by the day.  Just listen to the diatribes and the rhetoric.  Everybody who’s anybody, from a Sunday morning TV preacher to an anchorperson to a president, has praise for the dying dragon and sure-fire ways to improve its health: send me money, vote for me, buy my sponsor’s products.  A reminder from the short historical lesson mentioned above, Hitler and his cronies spouted exactly the same assurances to the German people near the end of the empire.  But those are not healing words: they are lies and it matters not if those spouting the lies believe them or not.

So here we are, in the aftermath of several serious “terrorist” attacks in the lands of the great Western Empire.  9-11, Charlie Hebdo, and now ISIS attacks in Paris, France.  Most westerners, like 3rd Reich Germans, want to believe, need to believe, that these attacks are simply the acts of religiously motivated deranged individuals loosely organized in terrorist cells and organizations.  Take another *blue pill*, you’re going to need it.  Take it with a full glass of scotch, maybe two or three: you’ll need that as well.  Perhaps have a look in your pharmacopoeia shelves for some anti-anxiety or anti-depressants as well.  Load up, it’s not becoming any easier to lie to yourself, even after watching Fox News, CNN or Christian Television.  It may not be as profitable to be a stalwart Western United Empire Loyalist in the near future.

The greatest mass-hypnosis in the west regarding terrorists and their attacks has to do with not wanting to face the accumulated facts of history.  The West has a huge negative balance sheet as regards its gross human rights abuses of non-Western nations.  Not counting the Roman empire, 2000 years of taking, enslaving, raping and murdering, and nothing paid back except the pittance of pretend “charitable help” which is just another arm of brainwashing and aggression.  One abuse conveniently ignored: the capture and enslavement of Africans to the tune of from 11 millions to perhaps as high as 100 millions.  The legacy of empire.  Status: unpaid.

Now we’ve arrived at a critical junction.  Many things are conspiring to bring this planet down, and they’re happening much too close together to allow for much comfort for the clear minded.  Let’s see: 7 billion Earthians population expanding exponentially.  Endemic corruption in all aspects of power and leadership.  Environmental pollution totally out of control despite claims to the contrary by same corrupted sources.  Seas dying.  Greenhouse gasses on the rise contributing to, and exacerbating global climate change – and as yet no one has any idea how deep and how long this change is going to go and to last.  Predictably the powers that be will talk around the problem; will assure the cloudy-minded that all’s under control; that science will prevail; that jobs are more important than a living environment (say what?); that essentially the only practical way to combat pollution is to make more pollution.  What else have we got: oh yes, wars.  Endless wars that are looking more and more like resource wars.  I’d say this world is not shaping up so well.  The legacy of empire.  Status: unpaid.

The legacy of empire.  With cooperation and a willingness to accept the need for drastic change in thinking, working, playing, worshipping and war-making, perhaps some of the more serious problems could be solved in a short enough time to make a life-saving difference.  But we already know that changing its habits is not an Earthian trait.  The animal just can’t do it, it’s not smart enough to understand the necessity until the necessity is forced upon it, or it’s dead.

The biggest problem facing Earthians now is the spread of resource and land space wars.  While many emotionally charged euphemisms are used to describe the reasons for these wars they are resource wars: who gets to control, and to profit from, remaining global resources.  That it’s come to this is due to imperial thinking.  “We” cannot allow “them” to take over and rule the world.  “We” must remain in control or “they” will overrun us and take over, ruling over us in turn.  Indeed that is a scary thought considering the pain and suffering “we” have forced upon those which “our” empire ruled.  Indeed they will seek vengeance; they will want justice; they will force reparations and “we” will become their slaves in turn.

The legacy of empire, and the only thing that can prevent this from happening is a complete collapse of society world-wide.  Some choice.

“We would rather be ruined than changed
we would rather die in our dread
than climb the cross of the moment
and let our illusions die
(W H Auden, The Age of Anxiety)

*blue pill* refers to a Matrix movie concept.  The blue pill left you in the Matrix illusion; the red pill made you see reality as it really is.