The Scourge.

I don’t think there’s a God, I think there may be billions of them. My beliefs vary, on some days I believe in hermeticism, spirits, alchemy, psychopomps, Sol Invictus and Mihr the Great and every God who was ever worshipped. On other days I believe in almost nothing. There is only one thing in which I maintain unwavering faith, one belief in which I am unswerving: the glory of humanity.
I know, I know, a little saccharine and trite but true nonetheless. It is also relevant, today more than ever, because today I need to talk about racism.
A week or so ago a policeman in America shot a youth several times and killed him. The youth’s body was left on the cold ground for hours on end, uncovered and open, until the coroner came to take him away. The policeman was suspended with pay while an investigation was carried out. It almost immediately began to look very likely that an act of cold blooded murder took place. The chief of police spun and lied and insinuated and released irrelevant videos of the victim in an attempt to smear the name of a dead 18 year old, protests erupted and became violent. The police donned camo gear and assault rifles, they raised a hue and cry and hurled tear gas and smoke bombs and overwhelming force at rioters and peaceful protesters alike.
None of this makes any sense whatsoever without the undercurrent of racism.
Ten thousand generations ago my ancestors left Africa and struck out north. We don’t know why, overpopulation seems a possible reason. They walked and swam and climbed and, after a few thousand years, made their way to northern Europe. Over time they stopped producing melanin in the same way as their forebears, their skin lightened until they were as pastey as I am now. This is, absolutely without question, the only difference between white people and black people.
Over time Europe grew rich. Not at first, of course, first Asia developed writing and mathematics and built vast cities while Europeans busily figured out their tribal structures and culture. Eventually, though, eventually Europe grew rich. So rich, in fact, that when the rulers of Europe looked out from the thrones they had inherited due to the ‘purity’ of their blood and saw the rest of the world struggling to feed itself they decided that it was ripe for conquest. Genocide was committed against the people of the Americas. Vast empires were carved from Africa and India. China, long a bastion of civilisation, was forced to bow to the will of the west. Australia was noticed and used as a prison. Africans were rounded up, crammed into impossibly squalid holds in impossibly awful conditions, and sold into slavery an ocean away from home. All of this was done on the assumption, at its core, that white Europeans were better suited to leadership than those from ‘lesser’ races.
In the second world war it reached its nadir when Hitler invaded nations to the east of Germany because he thought that the Slavs, a people with no genetic difference to the Germans, were a genetically simpler people who would make good slaves for his new Reich. The Nazis built room for gassing undesirables, men, women and children, and tossed survivors into ovens along with the dead because they believed the Jews were, as a racial group, plotting against the Aryan people. Children were tossed in ovens to burn to death, screaming, with the corpses of their parents. All in the name of racism.
Even now we hear it from time to time. We hear sad and useless ingrates, convinced of their own intellectual superiority, claiming that Arab countries need dictators to keep them in line. We see politicians shrug their shoulders and sigh when some tinpot warlord in the Congo commits another atrocity. We talk about ‘ethnic groups’ and ‘the Somali community’ as if they are somehow not us, as if they are here but far away, the same but somehow different.
It makes me angry. It makes me angry that I still need to talk about this. That I still need to say, still, in the 21st century, that there is no difference between humans no matter the colour of their skin. How pathetic is it, how repellent, that some people still don’t understand something so basic? When I hear that black people are stopped and searched more often than white people in England and in America it makes my blood boil. It makes me angry that some people with a similar skin colour to me decide to demonise people with a dissimilar skin colour to me and think they’re somehow doing me a favour. It makes me angry to think that they know it’s shameful, that they know they cannot openly express their racism, but they still think it’s acceptable. It makes me angry when a UKIP MEP calls a woman of Thai descent a ‘ting tong’ and calls her repugnant bigotry ‘naivety.’ It makes me angry when other people make excuses for her, when they try to say she grew up in a different time, as if everyone was racist in the 1980s. It makes me angry when one person looks at another, sees the colour of their skin, and uses that moment to decide they are superior.
At the last; when some filth pig in camo decides to aim an assault rifle at someone exercising their right to protest, to hurl tear gas into a candlelight vigil, to beat someone who has done nothing, it makes me want to claw their eyes out. Their job, their only job, should be to protect the people that live within their jurisdiction. When they take it upon themselves to create a segregated society, to treat an ethnic group as second class citizens, they have lost their right to exercise power. Racism is a scourge and nothing else, not a tool, not an excusable quirk. I picture a united humanity achieving feats of glory and wonder beyond belief. The racist prefers a humanity apart, severed from its purpose. The racist is a traitor to our future, they must always be resisted. And, should the day ever come, they must be fought to the last drop of blood.

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Children of the Fallen.

PylonHis name is Daniel. He is our saviour, our father and our friend. He is very old and, now, very sick, but he still leads us while he draws breath.

A lifetime ago he told me about the time before the fall, when there were millions of people in every city and electronic lights made night indistinguishable from day. He told me about police and money, about cars and aeroplanes. He told me about decay, and decadence, and debauchery.

It must have been horrible, when the fall came. I try to imagine it sometimes, gutters running red with bloody vomit and mounds of corpses dragged outside the cities. Always death floated through the air, sneaking in through the nostrils and the mouth, smeared invisibly on door handles and bursting blood vessels under the eyes. It still lingers in some places, the Sleepless Death, but Daniel has kept us safe in his wisdom and might.

When I was very young my mother had been his consort, he said. She was one of many, accepted in to his service and kept on his farm. He had children too, dozens and more, brought up to know the light of his divinity.

I only remember her in fractions of memory. Instants, really, and I cannot know how close to reality they are. I remember her laughing, one day, and Daniel laughing with her. He has not laughed in a very long time. I remember her angry with me because I was hungry before bed and she could not stomach my whining any longer, I remember Daniel calming her. When I look at him now I see a different man, I see the loss of his consorts etched in the lines of his face, the weight of grief and the scars of revelation.

She was only the first of Daniel’s wives. After her passing came Angela and Sarah, then Ellie and Christine, each one gifted herself in return for the safety of her children. I can remember when the fields rang out with the sound of children at play, dozens of us, then near a hundred as the orphans flooded in, even as Daniel grew more solemn. I know now, I know that he was growing closer to God.

His first revelation was the hardest. It was born in blood and fire. He had agreed to take in some stragglers, fallen men before he really knew how far the world had fallen. They were kind enough for a little while. The ramparts around the farm still bear the tool marks of our betrayers as they were nursed back to health. It wasn’t for months that they acted, trying to steal his wives. Beautiful Angela, stoic Ellie and Sarah all killed for spite and jealousy. They are saints now.

We fought back, a horde of fresh faced children against the ragged fallen ones. Four of them died quickly, two of them were left. Daniel slept and nursed his wounds and his grief and screamed fevered visions into the night. When he emerged on the ninth day he had… changed. His skin had grown waxy and pale, his sweat glistened in the morning air and his left arm and leg moved with a pained stiffness. The socket of his left eye seeped a grey fluid while his right blazed with understanding. He gathered us together and began to speak and we were breathless with fascination. His hair was white now, streaked with the lustrous red it had been. He told us about the voice that talked in his long sleep, about the joyful news that he had spoken with glorious angels. Michael had come to him with his murdered wives, he said, and told him of his mission; a gospel of hope and protection against the ravages of the fallen world. He was here to build the kingdom of heaven on earth, and we were to be his army. All the while his eye socket twitched, his crippled half strained to move. He was half man, half martyr.

All of us listened in awe, but all of us were sceptical. How could we not be? He had been placed in shock and unfathomable pain. The two prisoners were the objects of our vengeance, castrated and nailed to the palisade as a warning to the rest of the fallen.

The years went by and every week we would gather for fresh sermons in the barn. At first we went along because it was enjoyable, a break from the labour of reinforcement and farming, but as time went by we went to hear the words. He gave us hope, meaning and purpose, he gave us a path to walk in to the future.

He would retreat sometimes, into the house with the women and girls he took for his wives. Sometimes he would see things in his sleep and preach to us from his dreams. Sometimes he would declare new laws and codes. Once or twice he emerged from his den and declare that a pair of his children should marry. All the while new people came, they would suffer the fate of all fallen, save for any children young enough to remain uncorrupted by the outside world.

I remember the day, years ago, that he decreed we were to expand our land. Some of the fallen live under a crumbling pylon on good earth with good cattle far too close for comfort. We went out during the day, all of us armed to the teeth. I carried my pitchfork and led ten eager lads against the abominations but Daniel? Daniel led us all.

Even then he was frail, walking on good days but stumbling and slow so we had built him a platform on which to sit. He slumped in the winged throne above us, lolling and wobbling with every step, gazing across the corn fields with eye and socket and raising emaciated arms to direct us. I can still hear the drums beating when I sleep, still see the sun blazing behind his perfect white hair. The sores on his pallid skin weeping for our sins.

He sits in his throne now, very still. Around him petitioners and guards are gathering. He is very still, very quiet. He has been thinking for some hours now, gazing into the realm of God with his seeping socket, caressing the faces of the saints with his withered hand, walking the sunlit fields of the Lord with his crippled leg. Someday he will join them and we will carry on his work, we will make the world his kingdom. Not today though, today we will bask in the glory of our God.