Spiritus Mundi Book Cover.80.3


We are pleased to announce the launch of SPIRITUS MUNDI on AMAZON , including both Spiritus Mundi, Book I: The Novel (5.0-Star Amazon Rating Average), and Spiritus Mundi, Book II:The Romance (5.0-Star Amazon Rating Average). You can browse and sample both onlline for free now, then purchase immediaetly by clicking on the following Amazon sites:

Spiritus Mundi, Book I: The Novel:

Spiritus Mundi, Book II: The Romance


Book I (5.0-Stars on Goodreads)

Book II (5.0-Stars on Goodreads)

CHECK OUT A FULL SUMMARY OF SPIRITUS MUNDI ON SHELFARI before purchasing at:—Book-I-The-Novel—Book-II-The-Romance

Spiritus Mundi is also available on SMASHWORDS in ALL FORMATS:

Book I (5.0 Stars on Smashwords) Book II (5.0 Stars on Smashwords)

Spiritus Mundi is also now available at the following sites:

Spiritus Mundi: Book I: The Novel

Spiritus Mundi – Book II: The Romance


CELEBRATING SPIRITUS MUNDI’S AMAZON RELEASE DAY WITH MAY 17 BLOGTALKRADIO AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH DR. ROBERT ROSE 10:00 AM PST __________________________________________________________________________

We also invite you to listen in to the upcoming new BlogTalkRadio Interview with Dr. Robert Rose interviewing Robert Sheppard on the topic of “World Consciousness and the Emergencer of World Literature” scheduled May 17, 10:00 AM, PST:

How to Tune In: ============ You can tune in for the live Interview by clicking on the following BlogTalkRadio link:

or you can listen in anytime to the recorded Podcasts of the May 17 Interview, or past Interviews:–spiritus-mundi-a-novel

On Spiritus Mundi: ==============

“Robert Sheppard’s new novel “Spiritus Mundi” is a new twist on a well-loved genre. Robert leaves no stone unturned in this compelling page turner you’ll experience mystery, suspense, thrills, and excitement. Robert touches on sexuality and spirituality in such a way that the reader is compelled to ask themselves “what would you do if faced with these trials?” Robert is a master at taking the reader out of their own lives and into the world he created. If you’re looking for a “can’t put down” read pick up Spiritus Mundi!” May 20, 2012

Nicole Breanne, Content Coordinator, ______

“Read Robert Sheppard’s sprawling, supple novel, Spiritus Mundi, an epic story of global intrigue and sexual and spiritual revelation. Compelling characters, wisdom insight, and beautiful depictions of locations all over the world will power you through the book. You’ll exit wishing the story lines would go on and on.” May 13, 2012

Robert McDowell, Editor, Writer, Marketer, Editorial Cra, The Nature of Words


“Robert Sheppard’s exciting new novel, Spiritus Mundi, is an unforgettable read and epic journey of high adventure and self-discovery across the scarred landscape of the modern world and into the mysteries beyond. Its compelling saga reveals the sexual and spiritual lives of struggling global protesters and idealists overcoming despair, nuclear terrorism, espionage and a threatened World War III to bring the world together from the brink of destruction with a revolutionary United Nations Parliamentary Assembly and spiritual rebirth. This modern epic is a must read and compelling vision of the future for all Citizens of the Modern World and a beacon of hope pointing us all towards a better world struggling against all odds to be born.” May 19, 2012

Lara Biyuts, Reviewer and Blogger at and Revue Blanche _____________

Related Links and Websites: Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard For Introduction and Overview of the Novel: For Updates on the Upcoming Movie Version of the Novel, Spiritus Mundi & Casting of Actors and Actresses for Leading Roles See: For Author’s Blog:

All the Best.

Robert Sheppard Author, Spritus Mundi, Novel

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Smashwords — Spiritus Mundi – Book I: The Novel — A book by Robert Sheppard

See on Scoop.itWorld Literature Forum

Robert Sheppard’s thriller novel, Spiritus Mundi, is an unforgettable read and epic journey bringing to life the sexual and spiritual lives of struggling global idealists overcoming despair, nuclear terrorism, espionage and a threatened World War…

Robert Sheppard‘s insight:

Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard is now available on Smashwords!—–Check it Out Now!

See on

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Smashwords — Spiritus Mundi – Book II: The Romance — A book by Robert Sheppard



See on Scoop.itWorld Literature Forum

Robert Sheppard’s thriller novel, Spiritus Mundi, is an unforgettable read and epic journey bringing to life the sexual and spiritual lives of struggling global idealists overcoming despair, nuclear terrorism, espionage and a threatened World War…

Robert Sheppard‘s insight:

Spiritus Mundi–Book II: The Romance is now Available on Smashwords!—-Check It Out Now!

See on

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Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard—Beginning Chapters

Introducing Spiritus Mundi, a Novel by Robert Sheppard

Author’s E-mail:

Related Links and Websites: Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard

For Introduction and Overview of the Novel:

For Updates on the Upcoming Movie Version of the Novel, Spiritus Mundi & Casting of Actors and Actresses for Leading Roles See:

For Author’s Blog:

To Read Abut the Occupy Wall Street Movement in Spiritus Mundi:

To Read a Sample Chapter from Spiritus Mundi:

To Read Fantasy, Myth and Magical Realism Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi:

To Read Sexual Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: The Varieties of Sexul Experience:

To Read Spy, Espionage and Counter-terrorism Thriller Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi:

To Read Geopolitical and World War Three Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi:

To Read Spiritual and Religious Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi:

To Read about the Global Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in Spiritus Mundi:

To Read Poetry from Spiritus Mundi

For Discussions on World Literature and Literary Criticism in Spiritus Mundi:

For Discussions of World History and World Civilization in Spiritus Mundi:

To Read the Blog of Eva Strong from Spiritus Mundi:

To Read the Blog of Andreas Sarkozy from Spiritus Mundi:

To Read the Blog of Yoriko Oe from Spiritus Mundi:

To Read the Blog of Robert Sartorius from Spiritus Mundi:



Spiritus Mundi


Robert Sheppard


C Copyright  2012  Robert Sheppard  All Rights Reserved



                                                                        ON SPIRITUS MUNDI    

“Read Robert Sheppard’s sprawling, supple novel, Spiritus Mundi, an epic story of global intrigue and sexual and spiritual revelation. Compelling characters, wisdom, insight, and beautiful depictions of locations all over the world will power you through the book. You’ll exit wishing the story lines would go on and on.” May 13, 2012

Robert McDowell, Editor, Writer, Marketer, Editorial Cra, The Nature of Words


“Robert Sheppard’s novel, “Spiritus Mundi,” has everything. “Spiritus Mundi” is Latin, meaning “spirit” or “soul of the world.” According to the Norton Anthology of English Literature, the phrase refers to “the spirit or soul of the universe” with which all individual souls are connected through the “Great Memory.” This amazing novel is all inclusive and unceasingly riveting. If you are interested in politics, philosophy, human relationships, sex, intrigue, betrayal, poetry and even philosophy — buy and read “Spiritus Mundi”!”November 18, 2012

Raymond P. Keen, School Psychologist, Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DODDS)


“Robert Sheppard’s new novel “Spiritus Mundi” is a new twist on a well-loved genre. Robert leaves no stone unturned in this compelling page turner you’ll experience mystery, suspense, thrills, and excitement. Robert touches on sexuality and spirituality in such a way that the reader is compelled to ask themselves “what would you do if faced with these trials?” Robert is a master at taking the reader out of their own lives and into the world he created. If you’re looking for a “can’t put down” read pick up Spiritus Mundi!” May 20, 2012

Nicole Breanne, Content Coordinator,

“Longing for a thrilling experience of the sexual and spiritual world? Expecting a thorough summoning of your inner heart? Aspiring to find an extraordinary voice to enlighten your understanding heart? Then you can’t miss this extraordinary novel, Spiritus Mundi by Robert Sheppard. The author will spirit you into a exciting world filled with fantasy, myth, conflicts and wisdom from a fresh perspective. Don’t hesitate, just turn to the 1st page and start out enjoying this marvellous journey.”November 17, 2012

Alina Mu Liu, Official Interpreter, Editor & Translator, HM Courts & Tribunal Service, London UK & the United Nations

“Robert Sheppard’s Spiritus Mundi is a literary novel for those with an extensive vocabulary, and who believe how you tell a story is as important as what occurs in it. It is as current as today’s headlines.

Jaime Martinez-Tolentino, Writer” November 19, 2012


“Robert Sheppard’s exciting new novel, Spiritus Mundi, is an unforgettable read and epic journey of high adventure and self-discovery across the scarred landscape of the modern world and into the mysteries beyond. Its compelling saga reveals the sexual and spiritual lives of struggling global protesters and idealists overcoming despair, nuclear terrorism, espionage and a threatened World War III to bring the world together from the brink of destruction with a revolutionary United Nations Parliamentary Assembly and spiritual rebirth. This modern epic is a must read and compelling vision of the future for all Citizens of the Modern World and a beacon of hope pointing us all towards a better world struggling against all odds to be born.” May 19, 2012

Lara Biyuts, Reviewer and Blogger at and Revue Blanche


“Robert Sheppard’s “Spiritus Mundi” is a book of major importance and depth. A must read for any thinking, compassionate human being living in these perilous times. I highly recommend this powerful testament of the current course of our so-called life on his planet. April 25, 2012

Doug Draime Writer, Freelance


“This new novel ‘Spiritus Mundi’ brings together history, politics, future society, and blends with a plausible World War Three scenario. I have read it and find it over the top fascinating. I am very glad to see Robert share his creativity with the world through this work of fiction, and know it will be a huge hit.” April 28, 2012

Jim Rogers, Owner and Director, AXL


“Robert Sheppard is an exceptional thinker! His work should be read and made the subject of critical study.”May 26, 2012

Georgia Banks-Martin, Editor, New Mirage Journal


“This novel rocks the reader with its supple strength. You want to say “No, No,” and you end up saying, “Maybe.” Political science fiction at its highest, most memorable level.”November 17, 2012

Carl Macki, Owner, Carl Macki Social Media


 “Robert Sheppard’s Novel Spiritus Mundi confronts politics and philosophies of the world. He’s examined multiple layers of personality in his characters; male, female, Chinese, Arab, English, and American melding them into a story of possible outcomes. How else can I convey the intelligent presentation of fiction woven with sensitivity to our world’s governments, religious influences and sectarian principles? We must not forget the influence of a largely secular world. Robert tirelessly checked, rechecked and triple checked his resources in order to bring a fiction of occurrence, and psychological impact as set forth in his novel Spiritus Mundi.”November 18, 2012

Glenda Fralin, Author, Organization NWG


“Robert was one of my best guests. His novel is as wide ranging as are his interests and expertise. He can explain his various ideas with great clarity and he does this with compassion. Novel is worthwhile reading.”November 18, 2012

Dr. Robert Rose, Radio Show Host,



This is a work of fiction:  Names, characters, places, incidents and references

herein either are solely the product of the author’s imagination or are

used totally fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual

 persons, living or dead, or of the same or similar names,

or to other works, business establishments

     events or locales is

entirely coincidental and unintended.



    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again; but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

William Butler Yeats  


Mellonta Tauta:

In Utrumque Paratus


                                                 Spiritus  Mundi


Book One Spiritus Mundi: The Novel Chapters 1-33

  1. Departure (Beijing)
  2. A Failing Quest (New York)
  3. War Council & Counteroffensive (Geneva)
  4. New Beginnings (London)
  5. Republic of Letters (Berlin)
  6. Fathers and Sons (Washington,D.C.)
  7. Ulysses: Blogo Ergo Sum (Beijing)
  8. Frequently Asked Questions (London)
  9. In the Middle Kingdom (Beijing)

10. Past and Present (London-South Africa)

11. Telemachus (Washington, D.C.)

12. The Everlasting Nay (Beijing)

13. My Brother’s Keeper (London)

14. In the Global Village (Beijing-Tokyo)

15. Deceits and Revelations (London)

16. Be Ready for Anything (Beijing)

17. The Obscure Object of Desire (London-Pyongyang)

18. Sufferings (Beijing)

19. Of the Yearnings of the Caged Spirit (London)

20. Cyclops (Washington, D.C.)

21. The Engines of Illusion (Beijing)

22. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (London)

23. The Temptation of the Sirens (Beijing)

24. Truth or Consequences (London)

25. Lazarus Laughed (Beijing)

26. Neptune’s Fury & The Perils of the Sea (The Maldive Islands)

          Naval Diaries and Ship’s Logs of Admiral Sir George Rose Sartorius (1780-1875)

27. Penelope (London)

28. The Volcano’s Underworld (Mexico City)

         Teatro Magico

29. The Everlasting Yea (London)

30. Paradise Regained (Little Gidding)

31. To the South of Eden (Kenya-to Midrand-Johannesburg South Africa)

32. In a Glass Darkly (London)

33. Spiritus Mundi


Book Two         Spiritus Mundi: The Romance            Chapters 1-21

  1. Gerusalemme Liberata & Orlando Furioso          (Jerusalem)
  2. In a Glass Darkly                                                                      (London)
  3. Great Expectations                                                                   (Jerusalem)
  4. The Parable of the Cave                                                    (Qom, Iran)
  5. The Xth Day of the Crisis                                                 (London)
  6. The Supreme Leader & The Three Messiahs                          (Qom)
  7. Going for the Jugular                                                               (London)
  8. The Night Journey, Goethe & The Monkey King             (Qom)
  9. The Central Sea, The Crystal Bead Game & The Quest
  10. The Island of Omphalos & The Mothers
  11. The Council of the Immortals & The Trial By Ordeal
  12. Nemesis
  13. Armageddon                                                                                         (London)
  14. The Fever Breaks
  15. High Noon & Showdown at the OK Corral          (Washington, D.C.)
  16. Ecce Homo                                                                                           (Jerusalem)
  17. Deliverance                                                                                          (London/Lhasa)
  18. For Every Action….                                                                 (Moscow/Beijing)
  19. The Burial of the Dead                                                 (London/Little Gidding)
  20. Spiritus Mundi                                                                     (London/Jerusalem)
  21. In My End is My Beginning                                             

—-The Convening of the First Meeting of the

United Nations Parliamentary Assembly                  (New York)

Appendix 1:        A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly: Frequently Asked Questions

Appendix 2:    Spiritus Mundi: Index of Principal Characters

(Note:  To help you keep track of the characters as you scroll down to see the Index of Principal Characters at the bottom of this Post.)

Spiritus Mundi

Book One: The Novel


  1. Departure

Night is far from over. Having rehearsed in his mind the preparations necessary to his flight to New York the next morning, and coming to the end of that rather concrete and practical chain of visualization, Professor Sartorius exhaled a long breath and paused to take in the silence of the room suspended in the deepening shadows of the dusk light of the wintery Beijing evening. He had not been back home for many years, for a wide variety of reasons, and, thumbing the wheel of his Zippo lighter, he took a long draw of his Zhongnanhai cigarette, held the breath in for a long while, conscious only of the closed and weighted concavity gathered behind his eyes, then emptied himself again across his cluttered desk.

In three days time he would be meeting with the principals of the United Nations Secretariat, the Eminent Persons Group in the UN General Assembly there, and two days later with the Global Appeal Mass Mobilization Working Group of the Committee in Geneva…………“Queer fellow,”  he sub-vocalized to himself behind his closed eyelids as the recollection of his opposite number on the Geneva Group, Osiris, seemed to loom before him——he recalled him donning his faded-black motorcycle leathers strap-by-strap and disappearing into the traffic from the London solicitor’s office—Freshfields, that was it—- at their last encounter, topped off with an opaque-black-visored helmet to make sure he would not be recognized on the street…. Might be recognized by a couple of billion across this planet no doubt….…”Two kinds of tragedy” Wilde had said——Windermere’s Fan—–Not getting what one wants, and getting what one wants———certainly got what he wanted if anybody ever had——-millions, four wives,  lovers…..both sexes, paparazzi and rock-star celebrity up the ass, album covers, magazine covers, films, and now his latest incarnation as global saviour—–blood diamonds, Earth Day,  Band Aid, Live 8, debt-forgiveness for Africa, AIDS relief, and now this…………….

Could he be taken seriously?——–Whim of the hour?———higher vision or hype?—hard to make out——–but he was getting older and perhaps that implied more seriousness, and you couldn’t deny that he had, despite any discounted ulterior motives and theatrics, done a hell of a lot of good in this world that perhaps wouldn’t have been done otherwise…….the G8 and OECD wouldn’t have taken the debt-forgiveness seriously if he and people like him hadn’t put it on the agenda with their media-push—-street to studio to summit.  He was someone to have on your side, no doubt that………….regardless………

Across the city he could hear the beginning of the cascade of Chinese fireworks—–they had made it legal again after ten years—–and the run-up to the Spring Festival and Chinese New Year was beginning even though there was still a late snow on the ground. He could see the distant coloured bursts light up the mist and pale-white ice cover of the Weiminghu—the famous “ Lake of No Name” under the eves of the faculty apartment building he had lived in for the last several years——supposedly the premiere university of China, but he had his doubts—–hopefully the fog would not delay the plane at the airport in the morning——And would his son be there when he got to New York? These were indeterminacies he took to bed with him after confirming the departure time on the website and making the confirmation call to the driver.


II…                     New York                    A Failing Quest


   The flight from Beijing to New York was a long one, and Sartorius took a window seat as he loved to gaze out at the world below in an extended meditation on such long voyages, a habit first formed on his first trans-oceanic flight to Europe for his graduate studies when he first discovered a seeming entryway into an interstitial dimension of the soul at such altitudes.  He pressed his forehead lightly against the double-pane of the plane’s window and watched his adopted home of the past several years whooshingly transformed into a plaything of the gods populated by ant-like homunculae who could still be minutely made out to be stopping cars at intersections or speeding along express arteries of an immense extended hive, web or extended organism in the receding scene below.

“So many, I had not thought the world had undone so many” he mused to himself out of the antechamber of the Inferno, as a further image zooming out of Google Earth rocketed the perspective of his mind past the Empyrian turning vaults of the Paradiso, finally coming to rest at gaze in his inner eye on the limned image, beautiful, blue and fragile—space-vessel earth, Mother Earth, blue and lovely, vessel of life and ark of life, yar and gay, riding small but serene at luminous full-stretched sail through the riddling endless sea of black infinity—coursed out of his memory of the television screen of the Apollo missions to the moon.

His meditation was interrupted, however, as he involuntarily glanced down the nave of the craft, taking in the small ruckus of the dinner cart pushed by two aging stewardesses replaying their questions and dispensing their secular communion along the padded pews. “Oh God” Sartorius groaned inwardly as he reflected on the fact that he was flying an American airline and therefore the stewardesses would be unpretty, middle-aged and surl, the bittersweet legacy of the rise of employment rights and tenure for women employees in the years that he had been flying. Younger countries were less just but still had their sex appeal——the Devil’s Dialectic, he groused.

After finishing a fair meal, Sartorius settled back, taking from his briefcase a few work papers which he would review in preparation for the meeting at the United Nations in New York, a copy of The Economist he had snapped up at the airport lounge kiosk, and his copy of  A la recherche du temps perdu—Du cote de chez Swann, which he was interminably trying to finish re-reading at snatched intervals. He had had to abandon his doctoral studies in Comparative Literature after his son was born, which forced him financially to turn to law instead.

When Sartorius next had the sensation of pre-waking consciousness in the nave of the darkened craft he had not realized that he had been asleep. Indeed, his inner confusion was far extended and jumbled down such that his own position on or above the earth’s surface and his position in time remained a mystery to be contended with, and he had only the most rudimentary sense of existence, as destitute of qualities as any primal man or cave-dweller who had never been exposed to the art of language, or such an unformed sense of existence as might lurk in the depths of an animal. Such, in recent years to Sartorius it often happened, when he awoke like this with his mind struggling unsuccessfuly to discover where he was, and everything would be moving around him through the darkness: things, places, years. His body, still too heavy from sleep to move, searched a composite memory of ribs, elbows, knees, crotch, spasm and vertebrae in a vain effort to discover in what room, bed or chair or context it may have last fallen asleep. He felt his head pressed against the softness of a pillow, bearing up against a slight pain in his lower neck and shoulder as the warm side of his forehead pressed against the cold plasticized glass of the porthole. The stiffened side of his body queried the padded surface below it in an effort to remember how it could have gotten there. A sense of bodily absence vaguely became perceptible, an absence of pressure and permeating warmth of a longed-for woman’s body, long absent to the touch and skin. His sleep had been so heavy that he lost all sense of place or time that he had gone to sleep, and at first he could not be sure who he was. As he groped in the inner darkness a small movement of his eyelid bathed his mind in the milky light of the full moon suspended above the midnight mid-Pacific clouds and waves, and he caught the endless reflection of lunar light reflected across the surface of the looming sea beneath the numinous clouds. He seemed to be floating naked, adrift in mid-ocean in this sea of light and wave, clutching for life at something keeping him afloat. What was it, a spar from a shipwreck, his briefcase floating on the churning waves, his hand gripping ironly, fiercely, and desperately its leathern handle? He had the sense of being a sea-wrecked sailor adrift on a wide sea, desperately trying to float, swim, drift homewards, fighting wayward currents and the adverse wind in his face. He felt a dull sub-migrane pain spread icy-hot along the centerline of the nave of his bobbing brain. He seemed to hear a young boy’s voice out of the mist above the moonlit waters, a voice vague and imperceptible at first as from a boat hidden in shrouded mists of an ocean fog and passing near…… heard a bell and the voice again louder again. He strained to make it out and then it became intelliglble. “Daaddy” the voice called out searchingly, “Daaaadddy” it repeated over again, pausing as the sound carried over the enshrouded waters and waiting for a hoped for reply, as if from a searching rescue boat. The source of the voice grew nearer, and changed in pitch, from that of a young boy to that of a young man, “Faather” it more deeply intoned as it passed close by but still invisible to his eye.  Sartorius struggled to answer, but paralyzed his voice failed him and he could only grate out a low moan clutching to his spar or case. The receding voice faded as seemingly the boat moved away through the impenetrable white mist. Sartorius started as his eyes sprang wide open. His thought raced forward with his racing heart-beats—- his son, his son——.  As he lurched forward fully awake he saw that his arms and lips were trembling and his right fist was locked in a tight sweat to the handle of his large leather briefcase.

The divorce had not been a happy one. To Sartorius occurred the corollary to Tolstoy’s dictum: that all unhappy divorces are the same. Everyone is a loser, particularly the children, and loss, pain and suffering are hosts partaken of universally in this Devil’s Communion. In his case his ex-wife had run away with the boy, taking him back to the East Coast, and after several attempts at reconciliation a long custody dispute of several years ensued, with the courts ruling as ever in favor of keeping the children with the mother. His family life shattered and emerging from several years of depression, he escaped by returning to his international career and public service career, which he had abandoned for his family obligations, again practicing and teaching law in Europe and Asia, and writing several books and innumerable journal and magazine articles on law, literature, and his cause célèbre, the reform of the United Nations system including the development of a United Nations world parliament, or a global United Nations Parliamentary Assembly based on the successful model of the European Union Parliament.

At first he had tried to keep up regular contact with the boy, but this proved impossible as his ex-wife kept him on the East Coast three thousand miles away, and from fear of losing him and backed by the local court refused to let him visit the West Coast. After several years of depression and frustration Sartorius had set off for Europe and Asia to pick up the thread of his former life, hoping the boy would eventually join him. This never occurred and the sense of loss haunted him beneath the surface of daily life. In the end he argued with himself that in that kind of no-win situation somebody had to lose and it was his duty to accept the burden of loss and get on with life on some other basis. After several years as an expatriate he found himself teaching International Law in Beijing and trying to console himself with making a contribution to bettering the world in his small way.  Sartorius hoped that his work would somehow bring them together but his extended absence inevitably generated a sense of abandonment and betrayal on the part of the boy and their relations were strained. The boy painfully missing his father could not forgive his expatriate absence and blamed his father rather than his mother for the separation. Sartorius’ visits were always strained and tainted with this accumulated hostility and he was at a loss as to how to undo the effects of the past in this regard. After his frustrated visits Sartorius often flagellated himself with guilt and self-loathing and recalled to himself in his depression the words of St. Paul: “The good that I should have done I have done not, and the evil that I would not, that I have done.” By now his pain was a permanent feature of his life, though dulled by time and habit, but always buried but a shallow distance from the surface of his daily life.

By the time the plane had finally descended over Kennedy Airport at New York Sartorius had had time to nurse his meditations for several hours, return to sleep, breakfast and work for several hours on his documents and e-mails preparatory to his meetings at the United Nations. He would meet with the Secretary-General and his staff, the British and French delegations and with the American Ambassador to the United Nations, Richard “Buck” Bolger, who was also his old law school classmate. The Committee liaison met him at the airport and took him to the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel where the other members of the contact group were staying and after checking in he looked through the messages waiting for him.  Three dealt with the Committee appointments for the week in New York but the fourth struck a heavy blow as he closed his eyes after reading it.  His son, Jack, would not be coming up from Washington, D.C. to meet him……. special committee meeting……….regrets..

After a half hour of agitated pacing he could not stay in his room but felt an uncontrollable desire to get out and walk in the open air. He walked without any notion of where he was or where he was going, and was dimly aware of the rush of traffic around him. By the time he had recovered himself he had no notion of how long he had been walking or where he was. He glanced across the street and slowly recognized the imposing façade of the Metropolitan Art Museum, now closed, and realized that he had got all the way to Central Park. A heavy tiredness overcame his body, settling like a leaden black weight within his tired limbs, and with the effects of jet lag setting in he felt unsteady on his feet and had a slight fear he would actually black out. But steadying himself against the lamppost he hailed a taxi and got in.

“Where to?” the Pakistani driver turned and asked.

Sartorius did not answer. His unfocused eyes stared vaguely forward seemingly unaware of his surroundings…….

“Come on, where to already?…………..Do I look like I have all night to waste? I’ve got six children and a mother-in-law to feed so let’s get going already, he whined nasally in his high Sub-continental lilt.”

Sartorius became aware of the indignant high-tones of an odd-sounding voice wheezing at him from somewhere in a grey shadow, then slowly recovering his sense of himself, strained to think of where to go.

“United Nations” was the only thing he could think of, and he mumbled these words out hesitantly, and the cab sped off around the corner to turn back in the opposite direction.

By the time the cab had reached the corner of Park and 42nd Street Sartorius had reformed his thoughts sufficiently to know that he couldn’t go back to the hotel room but he couldn’t keep walking under the drag of the jet lag. Now feeling the gnawing growl of hunger beneath the fatigue at the pit of his stomach, he remembered a steakhouse near the United Nations compound where he had gone when he had worked as a young aide there, and instructed the driver to let him off there.

At Ben and Jack’s Steakhouse he felt restored to himself after a real Texan super-sized American steak dinner, which he had much missed in China, along with a buffet salad with lots of assorted cheeses, another sorely missed item absent from his accustomed Chinese fare, and the recovered strength of his body seemed to restore equilibrium to his mind as well. Then feeling the renewed undertow of the jet lag and the heaviness of digestion he recalled from his boyhood the common joke that if you dug a hole through the middle of the earth you would come up in China.

 While not literally true it was true to the extent that the time zone difference placed you exactly twelve hours on the other side of the day as well as the other side of the world and therefore your biological clock and its appended intuitions would be exactly wrong…….Day for Night…. Truffaut, La Nuite Americaine…Apollo and Dionysos…Long Days Journey into Night….these free associations bounced through his mind along with the dull ache of the jet lag which dragged up in involuntary memory the fatigue of innumerable telephone conferences in Beijing in the middle of the night connecting with New York and London. He soon sensed that he would need to get back to the hotel to avoid passing out on the table of the restaurant., and he gathered sufficient strength to pay, get out the door and into the taxi, where the brush of cold night air bolstered him up sufficiently to get him through the lobby and into his room, where he undressed and collapsed onto his soft spongy bed. When behind his closed eyes he finally drifted below the horizon of consciousness, willingly submerging for the moment his looming appointment with Bolger for lunch the next day, he lapsed into sleep not without an inner wry smile at the very laws of biological as well as geographical nature which seemingly so inextricably demanded that states of consciousness in the land of his birth must remain so apodictically 180 degrees out of sync with those of the rest of the world….

He awoke in the morning with an odd sensation of surprise that he had no recollection of having slept or dreamed, but as if someone had merely momentarily switched the light off and then on again. Nonetheless he felt refreshed and energetic and hurried down to meet the contact group in the atrium of the hotel for a light breakfast and to compare notes prior to going over to the Secretariat building for their morning meetings. He got a quick update of the situation from Andreas, the Executive Coordinator from the Berlin Committee headquarters, and heard from the three other “Superkids” as he called them. The were all exemplary in their seriousness, brightness and idealism,  graduate school students or recent graduates with enough family resources to forgo a “real job” for some years while dedicating themselves to “the good cause.” Beautiful in their way, he thought, but inevitably inexperienced and innocent. But without much in the way of money resources, it was on such youthful idealists that the Committee depended for the bulk of the real work, and he hoped they would get the measure of recognition and reward their dedicated efforts deserved and which might make the work in the long run more sustainable. 

 Walking over to the United Nations compound Andreas had a mobile-phone call from the personal secretary of the Secretary-General to the effect that he would be delayed an hour on some urgent Mideast business and that he could see them at 10:30 rather than 9:30 and then only for ten minutes. 

“Damn!” burst out Andreas, clearly miffed at the news by the shrinkage of the opportunity after his long, long flight all the way out from Berlin. “But we have no choice but to take what we can get at this point.” When they had cleared security the coordinator from the Secretary’s office apologetically offered to show them about the buildings until the Secretary-General would be available, and as for the younger “Superkids,” this being their first visit, they took up the offer of a more extensive tour whilst Sartorius followed them part of the way then broke off to amble a bit alone with his thoughts.

Crossing the public lobby Sartorius glanced up at the blue and guled color-tones of the Chagall stained glass windows of the General Assembly with its archetypally simple and tender child wreathed in flowers being kissed by an angelic face, and somewhere in the back of his mind he could make out some intimation of a voice crying out, indistinct at first, then as he focused his concentration he made out faintly the broken intonations:   “Freude”………………then………Freude, schone ………………….Götterfunken………. Tochter…………….”

Then somewhere from the lower levels of his mind’s inner eye or ear, repeating like the record player with its broken stylus “Nicht diese Töne……….Nicht diese Tone…………Nicht diese Töne……….Nicht diese Töne………………”

 He gazed up at the angelic face and wished to himself that he could believe in angels again, Rilke’s Angels, Duino, the glancing of the angel’s wing searing one’s heart with joy…Blake’s angel in the tree his father beat him for….. O God, we needed angels now, where were they?

As he continued to walk aimlessly, he came to an unconscious halt as his eyes followed the hypnotic swing of the gold ball of the Foucault Pendulum and the broken stylus in his inner Victrola player at the back of his mind changed channels and involuntarily skipped tracks:

All the sisters of mercy are not all departed and gone,

They came to me then when I thought that I could not go on,

And they brought me this comfort and later they brought me this song,

I hope you run into them, you who’ve been waiting so long………


I have heard the mermaids singing each to each……….

I do not think that they will sing to me………


What the thunder said………Da………Datta……………..



   His inward diversion was however arrested with the sensation of a hand clasping the back of his elbow. “Robert, do you not care to join us to take a quick look-in about the chambers and the Dag Hammarskjold library ?” intoned the sympathetic voice of Andreas.

   “No, Andreas, don’t worry about me…you go with the others….I’ve seen it all many times before so you can just leave me to myself and ring me on my cell phone when the word comes down from the Secretariat.”

As Sartorius parted from Andreas and continued his amble, heard behind him and off to his left was the deep chime of a ceremonial bell ringing out sharply across the hall. Glancing over, he saw beneath the gay upsloping corners of the blue roof of a small Shinto shrine, a Japanese man in a ceremonial kimono striking a bell with a small wooden log suspended from a chain.

 “Ah, I had forgotten” he thought, “the Vernal Equinox……….it must be the first day of Spring…………………….April is the cruelest month…………………..

 It was the Japanese Peace Bell ceremony, rung twice a year only, once on the equinox with the commencement of spring and the hopes of the new year, and once in September on Peace Day. Sartorius had been there as a young UN aide in 1995 when Boutros Boutros-Ghali celebrated its 50th anniversary, recalling his words:

“whenever it has sounded, this Japanese Peace Bell has sent a clear message. The message is addressed to all humanity. Peace is precious. It is not enough to yearn for peace. Peace requires work — long, hard, difficult work.”

There had been a lot of water under the bridge since that time, he recollected and recovered his chain of thought as the bell continued to toll its peals to the assembled crowd of onlookers before the shrine. “April……….April……….April is the cruellest month………….


     Whan that April with his showres soote

     The droughte of March hath pieced to the roote………..

     So priketh hem Nature in her corages

     Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages…………


     And palmers go to seeking out strange strands,

     To distant shrines well known in sundry lands.


As these fragments of poetry he had memorized in his studies re-crossed his mind, he recalled the image of Dr. Goodmanson, his first high school English teacher who had believed in him and inspired him at that early age. He recalled Goodmanson’s philosophy, which Sartorius had stood up in class once to heatedly criticize, that students must memorize and recite long passages of Shakespeare and other grand poetry.  He said, sure rote memorization is empty without understanding, but you will have plenty of time later in life for explication. If you memorize now, these poems will be with you for the rest of your life when all the fancy theories and cant have long evaporated. He could sympathize with the old man now……….Being a professor he mused that there were three kinds of teachers:  those who are forgotten, those who are remembered and hated—-and, the third set—–those who are remembered and forgiven. He wondered which set would include him.

But these thoughts were cut short by the ringtone of his mobile phone, followed by the anxious voice of Andreas,  “Robert, the Secretary-General is ready for us, we’ve only got ten minutes until he leaves for Cairo—–meet you at the Secretariat elevator double-quick.”

As the pair exited the private elevator leading to the penthouse office of the Secretary-General Sartorius’ eye was involuntarily drawn to the vast panorama beyond the high plate-glass windows overlooking the East River and trailing off into the horizon of the seascape traced over with the woof and warp of the crossed lines of ships and shipping of every description entrancing and exiting the great harbor and the stacks of aircraft spiraling and shuttling down to the runways of Kennedy international airport. As the executive secretary shepherded them into the private office of the Secretary-General Sartorius observed a kindly smile and half-nod of greeting and recognition around the eyes of a white-haired African face behind a sheaf of documents being read as he held the telephone receiver in the crook of his neck while simultaneously talking and flipping through the pages of the folder, motioning in the direction of the sofa opposite him, inviting them to kindly make themselves comfortable until he could finish the telephone conversation.

When he was finally able to set down the telephone receiver he stepped out from behind the very large desk and extended a handshake and arm-embrace across Sartorius’ shoulders, saying “Robert, I am so sorry, so sorry that this Middle-Eastern affair has taken all my time away. But it is so good to see an old friend and colleague again—you are looking well.  Mr. Sarkozy, very glad to meet you and my apologies as well. Perhaps Robert has told you we used to work here together many years ago on the administrative staff when we had quite a few fewer white hairs between us.”

The Secretary-General informally slid a chair next to the sofa and continued in a melodious apologetic tone mixing an African sociability with an innate gentlemanly courtesy:  “Since we have but so little time together before I must board the airplane for Cairo let me apologize in advance for being a bit brusque in summing up where we stand. First of all, let me say I fully know why you are here and I want to convey my deepest, deepest admiration and appreciation for your great work regarding creation of the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, both in my official capacity and individually as well. You are working for a dream which I have long shared and personally strongly support, and which in the long-run must come to fruition. I further appreciate the great energy of your Committee and its recent initiatives.   I know you wish to advance the matter to action and a vote in the General Assembly and that you have come for my support and endorsement. I must, however, regretfully, and I must say very and most deeply regretfully, disappoint your hopes. Privately, I am with you completely and I will do everything I can do informally to advance the concept at the level of study, development and consciousness raising at all levels. With the success of the European Parliament before our eyes the global extension of the same idea of an international assembly within the United Nations system becomes in the longer term more and more inevitable. However I have six peacekeeping missions in the field without funds and I must keep together the coalition which sustains their immediate work. Many lives depend on it. The Americans and the strong powers are down my back to avoid diluting their influence and insist we shelve the proposal for the present and they have impounded their share of the peacekeeping funds until the matter is shelved off for further study in the General Assembly. And you know Bolton, the American UN Ambassador, has been a very credible annoyance for us all. All I can do is appoint the former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali who has been supporting your Committee to head up a study committee and report back in a year or two. I will help you behind the scenes but I cannot break up our fragile coalition on these other matters by pushing this matter too immediately. I hope you will understand and accept for the moment my apologies and regrets.”

“I can only hope that circumstances change quickly enough that we can have your active support as a sitting Secretary-General and not have to wait until you too become another former Secretary-General to join our ranks as well.” lamented Sartorius glumly.

“Yes, it is an irony and contradiction only too painful and too true——When one dreams and struggles to get into this chair one has the illusion that if only one held this office one would finally have the freedom do as one wants and the power to change the world for the better. But I get here and I discover that as a holder of power, if it may be called power at all, I am in large measure but a slave to circumstance, affairs and bitter necessity and try as one might one’s dreams remain but dreams deferred,————-one of life’s little ironies——–Ah, But I am forgetting that I am also the slave of time and I must obey my most unforgiving master and get to that aeroplane, so you…….. I hope you will excuse me until a better next time.———-Constance, are we all packed?——Let’s go, and please show these gentlemen to the dining hall.”

   As Sartorius led his small entourage of youngish colleagues to the Delegates Dining Room for their one o’clock reservation for their luncheon conference he caught sight of a similar small group of three or four entering from the opposite doorway on the upper level, led by a man whose first peculiarity was the contrast of the youthful dark-brown auburn tinged hair of his head with the stark-white of his walrus-like mustache. In the back of his mind Sartorius registered that he must be dying his hair, and recalled the warnings on the Clairol packages his ex-wife often bought advising that such hair colour should not be used for mustaches or eyebrows as this might cause blindness. Yes, Bolger was likely to be precisely that peculiar mixture of vanity and anality such that he would defy absurdity to colour the one but not the other. He had not met him in person these fifteen years, though he had often seen him on television on CNN in Beijing and traded the occasional e-mail. Along with his own ritual before the mirror each morning, he had gotten into the habit of making note of the effects of the passage of time on the faces and bodies of his acquaintances. He recalled him in law school as reasonably good looking but socially unsuccessful with both women and men, though always with a keen though unconventional mind. His mind was indeed radical, though veering to the radical right in the form of its libertarian extreme in his younger days, though more serviceable to the interests of moneyed capital and the high priesthood of the mysterious benignity of the marketplace in more recent years.      In law school Bolger and he had been part of the same iconoclastic set for a short time in the first years, but had quarreled and drifted apart. He noticed that he had put on about as much weight as he himself had…..hard to keep down without incessant exercise….and his face was fuller and showing “character lines,” or the graven ravages of time, depending on your habits of perception.

As Sartorius moved with his youthful cohort to the towering circular staircase leading to the private elite rooms on the upper level he glanced upward and observed the looming presence of stately, plump “Buck Bolger” as he was nicknamed in law school, leaning mock-menacingly over the upper banister:

“Come on up, Quixote, you fearful Fabian Philosopher-King!”

Containing his little embarrassment in front of his young followers at his counterpart’s use of the derogative nickname out of Cervantes he had flogged him with in law school, Sartorius spiraled up the twisting stairs to find himself face-to-face with the dandified presence of Buck Bolger, resting cross-armed, one buttock on the top of the banister and swinging his free leg playfully beneath his extended hand with his artistically custom-cut suit and ornate cuffs evocative of a Tory makeover of Oscar Wilde.

“Good to see you Buck, a lot of water under the bridge since last time, no?” rejoined Sartorius.

“Quite so, quite so….Our Ingenious Gentleman Don Sartorius!……You have got to come back home more often from your knight errantry in the Middle Kingdom.”

“Allow me to present my colleagues…………this is Andreas Sarkozy, Executive Director of our Committee staff in Berlin, and this is Maya Zameret and Anna Maria Iglesias. We are here to the end of the week canvassing the principal delegations and have just come from meeting with the Secretary-General.”

“Yes, yes of course. Very pleased to meet you all. Let’s move into the private room and enjoy the excellent wine and table. I think you’ll find it quite an improvement over the dreck we had to put up with at Boalt Hall.”

As they entered the high-perched exclusive private dining room overlooking the East River’s flow to the sea below, Buck Bolger poured out an expensive wine and proposed a toast of welcome:

 “Let us offer libations of humble thanks to the gods, for the safe return of our wandering idealist, our Don Quixot, Gilgamesh, Galahad, great Odysseus back from across the storm–tossed, wine-dark sea, Epi oinopa ponton, home from the fearful whale-road, home from Patmos shipwreck and lotus-leafed captivity in the Pleasure Domes of the Middle Kingdom, forsaking all to come back from his epic questings to bring us, long-praying, humbled and awed, his Great Boon to humanity and the brethren of native shores.”

“Buck, you’re incorrigible. But speaking of whale-roads, isn’t putting you in charge of this place like putting Captain Ahab in charge of Save the Whales?”

“We do intend to give them a shock to the system,” Bolger retorted, motioning to the waiter to refill the glasses, “and as for Save the Whales, we have had quite enough of that anyway. You should know your Nietzsche. Just look at these people around here, aren’t they the very image of his predators with broken teeth, mouthing their hypocritical golden sweet ideals and moralities as a thug’s concealed weapon to get by glib guile what they are too weak to do openly by force? Save the Whales? Why our limp-dicked bourgeois society has sunk so low that now we have come to Save the Sharks as the far more appropriate crusade, for they are the real endangered species. But don’t you start on another one of your silly crusades for them, because the sharks, Ahab and the Übermenschen will save themselves.”

“Well, the last time I read the book I don’t think Ahab had quite such a happy ending, but then let’s drink to Captain Ahab, and pray to the gods that he attains enlightenment through the tragic mysteries of the whale-road,” rejoined Sartorius, and emptying their glasses a second time they all sat back down into their seats enjoying a light banter of quips, one-upmanship, reminiscences, and observing the better social graces towards the younger colleagues as the excellent salmon lunch was served.

“Andreas” asked Bolger, drawing in the smoke of a Havana cigar, “you aren’t the Andreas Sarkozy who published that piece on the Middle East situation in the December number of Foreign Affairs, are you?”

“Why yes,” answered Andreas, “I do a few articles for various journals on assorted topics in addition to my work at the Committee.

“Oh really?  I am surprised that you are so young as you are. I took it for the work of a much older man. It was really quite excellent, though I didn’t agree with all your conclusions. If you get tired of tilting at windmills come see me sometime and we may find some real work for you.”

After an hour of amiable talk and banter, when he judged the dynamics of the mood of the little party had reached a favourable point Sartorius decided to do his duty by the Committee and make his appeal, though he saw but small chance of success:

“But seriously Buck, we have a great opportunity to give the world something of millennial importance. You know the successes of the European Parliament in bringing together the elected representatives of twenty-seven nations in an unprecedented and evolving international democratic institution. They have been the pathbreakers and have shown that global governance rooted in democratic principles and institutions is indeed possible. You could have laughed down and ridiculed Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet as tilting at windmills when they sat in the ashes of post-WWII Europe and dreamed of a European Union, united, democratic and free of war, but their will and vision created the present then-inconceivable reality, imperfect as it may yet be. Now we have the Parliamentary Assemblies of the African Union, the Arab League, an Inter-American Assembly, the Inter-parliamentary Union, and other similar institutions which are not pipe-dreams but real if embryonic institutions evolving out of that successful model. Now the time is ripe for us to work together to give the world something analogous at the global scale through the United Nations. And Article 22 of the UN Charter allows the General Assembly to create such subsidiary organs without the need to re-negotiate and revise the entire United Nations Charter. We just need your help to get the program to a vote in the General Assembly without a blackball veto or opposition and I am sure we can prevail. From the point of view of simple reason this is really a no-brainer, as it is obvious that all the serious problem of the world, Global Warming and the environment, war and peace, the globalization of the economy, crises of the financial system and the WTO, terrorism, drugs, AIDS and other epidemics, all of these are more and more international and beyond the capacity of any one nation to manage or solve on their own, whether within their own borders or beyond, and you know well that includes our own American Superpower as well as any other nation, so it is entirely obvious that we need to evolve a system of global governance, step-by-step, founded on democratic principles to assure its legitimacy and acceptance, and accountable to the peoples of the world that will have the only chance of solving these global problems that are otherwise unsolvable and unmanageable. The model we are proposing for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is merely the first step in a process of evolution that is inevitable. It will create a democratically accountable forum for developing global consciousness and evolving global governance. It is initially weak and does not amount to any sort of a mandatory “world government” which would prematurely threaten the sovereignty or prerogatives of established nation-states, so it will not limit the freedom of action of America within its own borders or internationally. In the end it will enhance America’s security and power while institutionalizing its core values. We are simply asking to take the first embryonic step forward in the development of a system of global governance that is as essential and needed as it is ineleluctable in our globalized world.”

“That is precisely the first step that I refuse to take, Robert. I will not see the world’s only Superpower tied down by Lilliputian strings until his power is rendered impotent. If we negotiate one-on-one with any nation in the world we have the leverage, strength, and bargaining power to get what we want and what we need. If we allow these Lilliputian dwarfs to gang up on us we will be like Gulliver tied down on his beach. No, Robert, I am not going to give in to the Siren Song of your golden-tongued idealism. We deal here in the harder currency of Realpolitik. I am here to serve the interests of my nation and my government, not to save the whales….or the world.”

“And another thing,” Bolger continued “there are two kinds of people in this world…………..the Givers and the Takers. You, Robert, are a Giver. You want to serve some great ideal and give the world something ideal and wonderful to help those in need. You mostly fail but you do some good in the world which everyone can appreciate. But I and my clan, the Takers, we are the ones who make things happen and energize the real progress of the human race. We build, we invent, we makes dreams come true precisely by pursuing our own selfish interests and lighting up and mobilizing the selfish energies of all those around us, and as an incidental by-product we create a hundred times more well-being for your sentimentalized huddled masses of humanity than ever you do-gooders and givers ever do. Andreas, you are a young man of talent and potential. Come over to our side and you will be useful and well rewarded.  Robert here I fear is a dog too old and far gone in his delusions to help.” 

“Buck, don’t you have any sense of responsibility to the world in your position? You are standing at the switch of the key crossroad of history and good fortune has given you the very position where you have the power to do something of immense historical importance. Millions dream of having the opportunity that lies in your hands. We talked of changing the world when we were in school and now you have that very chance. Isn’t there anything that can change your mind?           

“Robert, I have a responsibility to myself and to the people who put me in this position and I intend to carry it out………And don’t go on with your petty chastisement that I and my tribe somehow are cruel in our lack of compassion and bleeding heart social conscience…..we are the Doers and Builders, and the doing licenses a touch of cruelty to get things done……In fact my theory of life makes me certain that to be Great is to be cruel. To be just is for ordinary men—-it is reserved for the great to be unjust. Successful “injustice” and a dose of occasional necessary cruelty have been the only forces by which individuals or nations have ascended. Justice is an afterthought. Whenever a nation or an individual cowers in its greater endeavors and becomes incapable of committing necessary acts of possible cruelty and injustice it is swept into the dustbin of history……You, Robert, you are a good example in point that a good man will not make a good politician…………..God save us from people who mean well!……………… For Christ’s sake, Sartorius, don’t you ever grow up? We’re over fifty and you are still chasing pipe-dreams and tilting at windmills just like when you were wearing your long hair around when we were in law school.  What was it then…….oh yes Calpirg…right, right……going to use the brains of the world to control nefarious capitalist greed and political corruption!  Nobody in our class is tithing 10% of their lifetime income to your noble causes like you pleaded, they are just worried about getting over ten percent on their next investments and working for the highest bidder! And they are absolutely right to do so. Grow up! There’s not much of your pretty long hair left now, so you had better wise up already!  This world is survival of the fittest not survival of the cutest and glibbest!  And it is the Takers of the world who make things happen and make it better, not you and your pretty-boy givers and bleeding-hearts who only tie down the real doers!  At your age I’d expect you would have learned something of the real world by now!  At any rate I have enjoyed our little reunion and we have both done our duty by our respective organizations, so I will ask you to excuse us to meet our pressing schedule.  I do enjoy seeing you and crossing swords with you, but I am sorry to say I cannot help you. Good Afternoon.”

As they left, Sartorius buried his face and eyes in the palms of his hands saying after several moments “I am sorry Andreas. I am afraid I didn’t handle that very well. Perhaps you would have done better without me.”

“No, Robert. Don’t blame yourself. There is no way to turn around the thinking of such a man and the men he answers to on a dime. You gave it your best shot and you had the best chance to reach him if anyone ever did. Remember your own words———-you said turning these people around is like turning a supertanker under full steam in the opposite direction. It can’t be done at one moment but by slow deflections degree by degree. We knew we would hit a wall this time round but we will succeed in the long run.”

“Yes, and in the long run we will all be dead’ quipped back Sartorius, standing and emptying his full glass of brandy with his eyes closed and head cocked back as at the next moment he let fling the glass violently, shattering it against the marble-floored corner of the room.

“Let’s get out of here” he bolted up and strode abruptly out the door.


The next morning Sartorius saw off his Committee associates, the “Superkids” from the hotel lobby as they caught the shuttlebus to the airport. He had left an extra open day on his itinerary after the United Nations meeting, which he had hoped to spend with his son Jack, but which was now flaggingly open as his son had failed to meet him in New York. The emptiness of his schedule was matched by the discontent and emptiness of his feelings as he returned to the bleak hotel room after seeing them off. He clicked on the television, then surfed the channels with the control, listening to the same news three times in a row, not remembering a thing, before downing four mini-bottles of rum and scotch with coke and soda, then giving in to surf through the x-rated offerings, then finally shutting off the set in a spasm of depression. Pacing back and forth he could not contain himself, feeling suffocated in the small space, heavy with his feelings of defeat from the events of the prior day at the United Nations, and now with the grinding pain of his son’s absence.

In a fit of restlessness, he went down to the hotel’s bar, mostly empty at an early hour, and downed several rum coco’s. He picked at the honey peanuts and at the cheese dip and corn chips on offer, then downed a gin and tonic and made his exit, having no idea where he was going. Abandoning himself to following the crowd, Sartorius found himself strolling up 5th Avenue northwards until hitting the 80’s, then noticing the Metropolitan Museum of Art along the Central Park side, he crossed over and entered. Sartorius had been a serious student of the best art, modern and classical, all his life, but in his present mood he could do little more than follow the crowd while trying to evade his own thoughts. He turned a dull eye upon the Tiffany glass collection and the time-hallowed classics of Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of Washington and Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware. Only vaguely did he sense the looming presence of the monumental stone Iammasu, or guardian figures, of the Assyrian king Ashurnasipal. He lost himself for a half-hour in the costumes of Balanciaga, Chanel and Versace, and retraced the steps of his years, passing from the Beatles to David Bowie to Madonna, before loitering unmoved amoung the portraits and canvases of Van Gogh, Breughel and El Greco. Only the Rodin cast of The Burghers of Calais seemed to draw him out of himself.

After closing hour, Sartorius continued to lose himself on the streets of New York. He walked from midtown down towards Greenwich Villiage, where he had often spent time in his younger days, and heading southward he was struck, not having been in the City for some years, by the absence of the twin towers of the World Trade Center which he had often visited. He grew more and more tired on his feet, but the more tired he became the more impossible it seemed for him to return to his hotel room. Stopping briefly for a cappuccino he continued wandering through the Villiage, sometimes looking in at his old haunts and sometimes just letting his feet lead him where they seemed to want to go, until late in the night.

Then, heading south along Broadway he spotted a rag-tag gaggle of marchers, mostly students and street characters, with signs heading towards Wall Street and the site of “Ground Zero” where the towers had been. He felt a twinge of nostalgia as the demonstrators took him back to the days of his student activism in Berkeley and he tagged along, wondering where they could be going at such a late hour.  He read the signs they carried and the belated chants they made: “We are the 99%” and “Occupy Wall Street—Occupy Zuccotti Park!” Five or ten would occasionally chant to onlookers: “Take Back Wall Street!—Take Back the American Dream!” and “The People United, Shall Never Be Defeated!” Sartorius was happy to find an escape from his own cares and joined in the raucous crowd of demonstrators, raising himself to join in the chanting: “The People United, Shall Never Be Defeated” just as he had done in the Sixties, and he was cheered and welcomed into the fold by a muscular sandy-haired young union organizer and his Nordic-looking girlfriend. He introduced himself as Garry Bonoir, who was a labor activist working with Change to Win, a splinter labor group calling for a new initiative in the labor movement. Sartorius learned that he was part of a group calling themselves “The Counterforce” which sought to fight back against the predatory elite 1% of wealthholders who, along with the effects of an unbalanced globalization and the financial crisis of the world economy were assaulting the American Dream of “The 99%.” They said they were fighting for “Economic Democracy” and social justice, pointing to a large graph which they carried as a banner showing how the income of the top 1% had gone from 10% in 1980 up to 25% while the wages of workers had not risen at all in real terms and unemployment had shot up to over 10%.

“Join the Counterforce” Garry shouted as the stream of protesters entered the tent city they had erected in Zuccotti park near Wall Street, and immediately all the rest echoed with “Join the Counterforce” which mass-repetition, like a Greek chorus, they called “the human microphone” which they used because they could not get a loudspeaker permit from the NYPD. As they walked Sartorius told Garry and his girlfriend Simone about his own work for global democracy through the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly movement and they exchanged e-mails and joined each other’s organizations, expressing a firm desire to support each other, mobilizing support from the bottom-up and using “People Power” to leverage their causes against the entrenched institutions. Garry, seeing that Sartorius was exhausted and looking fevered and unwell, invited Sartorius to share their food and coffee and spend the night, if he wished, in their tent. They sat down to talk about their respective interests. Sartorius learned that Garry had been an Iraq war vet before getting involved in the labor movement. His girlfriend Simone studied sociology at the University of Michigan and was becoming known as a newly-successful actress on the repertory and university stage and in local Indie films.

 Garry’s family came from old French-Canadian stock long displaced to New England after they fled the same repression of dissidents following the Canadian Mackenzie Rebellion against the Family Compact that had driven Thomas Edison’s family across the border into the USA. Garry’s own father had fought in the Mac-Paps Battalion on the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War, and he came from a long line of radicals. Despite his family background he had not been initially political, even the opposite as he defied his father’s condemnation to join the army and “do his Hemingway thing.”  But after he returned from his tour of duty in Iraq, and especially after he was involuntarily reactivated as a reservist for another unwanted combat tour in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, he returned home a prodigal son hardened and disillusioned, and embraced his left-radical family tradition with a new force.

Simone was a swan-like beauty, a budding ash-blonde daughter of a multinational auto executive, scion of a wealthy Michigan family from Saint Claire Shores, nine years younger than Garry, whose mystique was enhanced by the fact that she had lost the sight of her right eye in a childhood light-airplane crash piloted by her father in which she almost died. After that she seemed to live her life on fast-forward, as if afraid she feared it might soon again come to some unexpected end. Like a moth to a flame she was attracted to radical politics and forceful fascinating men. Amoung university circles she seemed to bear some invisible warning sign, akin those affixed to gasoline trucks: Volatile!—Warning, Inflammable Substance!—Explosive! But such observations referred more to her personality and high-temperament than her body. In her first months in the radical student movement she fell in love with Garry and with his politics when as a labor organizer he gave an inspirational speech and took the lead unionizing all the university workers, including the teaching assistants and student-workers on campus, and she blossomed in the radical intimacy of both his forceful mind and his sexual presence, so opposite in character to her conservative father.

Their latest movement had used the Internet, Facebook, Twitter and a mix of technologies to mobilize several hundred protesters from around the country, many radicals or union members, to make a symbolic declaration of hostilities against the financial elite by occupying Wall Street and Zaccotti Park. They had started these lonely anti-Wall Street protests way back in 2000 at the time of the Internet Bubble recession and the UN Millennium Summit, but in those early days they were considered as cranks. Now they were considered prophetic. For years the group would appear in Zucotti Park for a few weeks with signs and leaflets and then disappear, then reappear again to protest new breaking events of social injustice. It was only recently that their rag-tag band had grown via the Internet from a few “chronic crazies” to a place “on the map” of public consciousness. Now, every day they had to outmaneuver the police, and they didn’t know how long they could get away with occupying the park, but they knew the more the police hassled them the more supporters came out onto the street to back them up. With people out in the streets across the world from the Middle-East to Asia to the EU, Garry felt they had to bring the fight to the common people and to New York, the command center of modern capitalism. They were ready to settle into trench warfare for the duration, they said. Sartorius related his own experience of his Berkeley days, People’s Park, and wished them well.

After midnight a silence fell over the park that was heavy and palpable. Settling down in the loaned sleeping bag Sartorius watched the mist of his breath condense in the cold night air, inhaling and exhaling, he shortly fell into a heavy sleep.

Suddenly Sartorius involuntarily sat upright in the sleeping bag. He was not fully conscious of what where he was or what was happening around him but he was convulsed with the sound of the most horrific screaming. He looked out the flap of the tent and took in a young man, perhaps seventeen, with a curly mop of hair, his face flushed red to scarlet screaming at the top of his lungs for no visible reason. No one made any movement to stop or to help him. Heads propped themselves out of the openings of the sleeping bags and cocked themselves to hear, or grimaced and disappeared beneath pillows in an effort to drown out the sound. After three minutes of this unbearable noise Sartorius poked Garry in the next sleeping bag in the ribs and asked what the hell it was all about any why wasn’t anybody going to do anything. Garry replied that it was just Crazy Ronnie, and it would be over soon. Crazy Ronnie was a little schizy and was taking Thorazine and his shrink was a Reichian who believed in “Primal Scream” therapy. So sometimes if Crazy Ronnie would get too stressed with things or too depressed with things or went off his medication he would just go off like that, sometimes get up in the middle of the night and screaming into the night sky. The first time it scared the daylights out of you but after that you got used to it and he was completely harmless. The only danger was that the cops would take him off for disturbing the peace if they caught him at it. Then Garry finally stuck his head out the tentflap and yelled: “Ronnie, enough is enough already!” and after another few seconds the horrific noise stopped. The silence returned, but as he drifted back to sleep Sartorius could not help but feel something primal tingling through the night.

Morning brought parting, the hotel and then the afternoon taxi to the airport.

III.           Geneva                        War Council & Counteroffensive

   Sartorius, having arrived an hour early, was surprised to find he was not the first to arrive in the conference room of the office of the Committee off the Boulevard Helvetique.  Opening the large oak double door he found a stocky figure ensconced with his feet propped upon the table, and with his eyes closed, minutely exhaling from a small Cuban cigarillo, a figure he recognized immediately as that of Günter Gross, his sometime co-conspirator in Quixotic forays beyond the pale of the acceptable in solid Bürgerliche society, and better known to the world as the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, though tarnished a bit in repute of late since the publication of his latest book of confessions regarding his pre-war existence.

“Günter! I had hoped but not expected your gracing us with your exalted presence in our little quest——-are you joining us on this Argosy?  I cannot hold out too much hope on the official front, as Bolger true to form gave us no hope whatsoever and held that he’s to have none of it on his watch. We’ll have to do an end run around him with our better friends in the General Assembly and move public sentiment against him and his crew. ———-But how is Ottolie?  Did she come down with you or did you come alone?”

Sartorius noticed that he had seemed to have aged quite a bit since seeing him last, over two years ago, though the e-mails and Christmas presents had kept them on a regular basis since then. He seemed a bit heavier and a bit slower in speech, and taking him in as he eased himself into the adjoining chair, he stretched out a hand for the expected greeting.

“Robert, it has been quite a long while, hasn’t it? Yes, Bolger is an ass, and no Ottolie didn’t come, as she has something else in Berlin tomorrow. I did like your piece in the Guardian and I quite agree that we have to get this thing off the ground now. So who else is scheduled to show up?  Our rock music friends from London? We’re going to need every Knight of the Round Table and every protecting god and guardian angel for this little quest, plus Enkidu, Hanuman and the Monkey King in the bargain.”

Just then the office manager came in with a tray of silver and coffee and served the two old comrades ingratiatingly, taking care that their small needs were thought of, and giving an impression of mixed respect and informality. The two old friends continued their personal exchange and in sequence greeted the arrival of about a dozen committee colleagues until she returned once again about thirty minutes later.

“That great horrible long limo is blocking the driveway again and that mob from London is on its way up,” she disported.

Shortly thereafter a mixed entourage of smartly dressed show-business types thrust themselves in en masse, a seeming advance garde for the principal figure of this pop-royal train, a slender figure in immaculate and most theatric purple Parisian mock-aristocratic cut with painted nails and an earring of the same shade to match his unique suit. He wore an antique lace front, collar and cuffs on his shirt, and his pants were tight in the manner of a toreador set off with the seeming effect of a codpiece reminiscent of Don Juan’s era. His manner was not quite langorous or effeminate, but seemed to suggest something slightly androgynous or perhaps Asiatic in its implied aura of sensuality and decadence. He savoured the impression he cast about the room in a way that carried the tone of a stage entrance. To his left was a stocky well-built man in a more conservative Saville-row suit, though with a deep-pink shirt and iridescent tie. The latter moved forward to introduce his companion to the principals rising from their seats about the conference room.

“Günter, Robert, allow me to introduce a friend to our cause who I hope will be also a personal friend to us all as well—— of course I am sure you know him by the stage and media name Osiris of the Angels of Thoth, but amoung friends its simply Oscar.”  

 “I hope you will pardon the nuisance, but it is almost impossible to move with this bloody buggering hoard of paparazzi ever running me to ground. It’s virtually impossible to do anything serious without having all our energy drained away by the media circus. Thankfully most of them have followed Isis to the airport so we were able to peel off on the sly, though we have blocked up your access road to keep the limos out of sight of the main street. But Sir Bob has been telling me of your plans and both of us want to give you all we have got in the way of commitment. I hope we can flesh out what we can really do to bring this seriously forward. Right Bob?” the world-renown pop-persona winningly intoned in an effort to come across on a more credible personal level. 

  “Absolutely Oscar.  You all know what we’ve done in the past, famine aid, AIDS, Global Warming, Live 8 and all that; and we are here to see what we can lend to push it all to the next higher level.”  he replied.

Professor Sartorius answered with a slight curl of amusement and irony about his somewhat full and slightly feminine lips on an otherwise masculine face “Well we are so very grateful to you both and so glad to bring you on-board as part of the team. We don’t underestimate the value of what you have to contribute and we will need every bit of it and more.

 If you will make yourself comfortable Arianne will get you settled with some coffee and edibles and we will get ourselves organized to call the meeting to order.”

            Arianne tinked with spoon on the crystal beaker to get the room’s attention, stood, and announced smartly, “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Chairman, Dr. Theophile Gysin will call the meeting to order…………..Theophile………”

            “Welcome, welcome. The first order of business is to hear from Robert, that is Dr. Robert Sartorius, on the results of our delegation meeting with the Secretary General and with the American Ambassador to the United Nations Mr. Bolger………Robert……….”

            “Well, good comrades, much as I would like to keep everyone’s hopes up I am afraid I have to speak with candor and report that we’ve run into a brick wall. The Secretary General is personally very sympathetic in private, but he let us know that with the American opposition his hands are tied. We met with Bolger and his staff but their attitude is unreformed and defiantly Neanderthal. We tried to talk some of them round by appealing to enlightened self-interest, emphasizing that the US would in the long run need a system of effective and legitimized global governance to protect its own interests as well as a stable internationalized and global economy, and even to preserve a desirable status quo vis-à-vis its own strategic interests which have been so little advanced by reliance on mere unilateral preponderance of force and power……” Sartorius began, then paused…….

            “…….But he is quite formidable in his own way and he gave it back to me point-for point. He insists the United States is in the United Nations only to the end and extent that it serves to enhance the power and influence of the United States, and that his personal duty is just to magnify that power and influence to serve the interests of his nation. He told me to my face that in reality there is no United Nations, there are only a handful of nations with the will, strength and vision to lead the world to its next stage of development, and a weak mass of corrupt and hypocritical followers-on who seek in their weakness only to extort the highest price for their selling themselves to the highest bidder. He excoriated us for a completely romanticized obfuscating of an institution which, at best should be tolerated to the extent of its short-term usefulness to our national interests, and insisted that on his watch no step such as our pseudo-democratization of the UN would be allowed to occur, which in reality would amount to a Lilliputian web of strings tying down the real progressive strength of the US as sole superpower and its dynamic allies. He called it, using Nietzsche’s terms, ‘the collective ressentiment of the impotent against the strong’ and vowed that such a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly would amount to nothing more than an attempt of the weak to avoid inevitable defeat by the strong, mano-a-mano, by resorting to the tactics of a dogpile of pygmy hyenas!  He insisted no one would lure the world’s sole superpower into that trap, not on his watch, at any case.” 

            “The bloody fascist bastard!” erupted Osiris from the midst of his entourage. “We’ve got to take the fight out into the streets, to the people around the world and pressure those bastards into living up to their own pretense that they are democratically elected and speak for their people. The whole lot of them are nothing but Janus-faced media whores who will do nothing until they feel the heat and flames up their asses at risk from public outrage.”

            “Easy boy, easy my boy”  intoned his friend in the Saville-row suit rising next to him and easing a brotherly arm around his neck and shoulders . “You’re right on but things are a little more complicated in the big world than up on the stage and screen. We’ve got to go to the world-wide public, sure, but we have got to do it in the right way and with a realistic plan on all fronts. Let’s put our heads together and listen to a few wise grey hairs before we run off all hot and lathered…..”

            “Roight you are Sir Bob, right you are. I’m woith you, I’m right woith you, go right ahead….”

“So you can see where we are—-as you heard on the news our motion to put the question for a vote at the General Assembly was scuttled by American opposition and the Secretary General acquiesced by shunting the program off to a sub-committee for endless ‘further study’” Sartorius continued, “and I quite agree with your sentiments about moving the appeal into the streets with People Power and the media, which is why we have brought us all together here today. So let’s hear from around the table your proposals for where we go from here.”

“Right,” echoed Dr. Gysin. “Andreas, perhaps you can begin by giving a summary of the latest developments, and since there appears to be strong sentiment for the concept of a worldwide public appeal based on mobilizing People Power perhaps you can give us an update on our resources and capacities for a global media appeal. Let me introduce Andreas Sarkozy, our Executive Director based for the last three years in the Berlin office and now just transferring over to head up the global campaign at the new London worldwide Campaign Headquarters of the Committee…………Andreas…………..

As Andreas Sarkozy, a young man of thirty-three with closely-cropped reddish-brown hair rose to address the assembled working group he felt a bit unsure of himself. He was comfortable in roles of responsibility in small-scale groups, such as his office which contained twenty-four persons, full and part-time, but now he was pushing out into a wider and bigger world, addressing faces he had seen only on the television as a teen-ager, and he felt a bit unsure of his footing. He was OK in the low to mid-level business, professional and academic worlds of his background but now he felt he was getting into different dimensions altogether. True, his life had always been international, but he felt like a small-town boy moving to the metropolis. His father had been Hungarian and a communist in his youth during the war,  but became disillusioned in the repressive environment of Stalinist Hungary, fleeing after the uprisings in the fifties, first to Paris, then to Hamburg, and finally to South Africa. He married Andreas’s mother in Hamburg and Andreas was born three years later in Johannesburg. Andreas grew up during the racial conflicts of the apartheid government during which he was forced to do military service, greatly disillusioning him. After his father died he and his mother returned to Germany where he could claim citizenship through his mother, and living with his grandparents in Hamburg where he worked as an assistant manager in an export company he attended a German adult night high-school until he received a certificate equivalent to the Abitur, allowing him to enter the university in Tübingen. He studied law, specializing in International Law, and during that time got involved in student politics, the environmental Green movement and worked with the campus student-branch of Amnesty International. He later joined the organizing committee for the campaign for the International Criminal Court, and, leveraging his campus-based support from student politics, stood as an unsuccessful candidate for the Bundestag for the Liberal Party in his university district. As a young student of international law he became involved in the United Nations Millennium Summit activities where he met Professor Sartorius, who became his mentor before recommending him to become the first Executive Director of the Committeee. Now the work of the Committee was moving beyond the office and the university and into the wide, wide world.

“Yes Theo, and I would like to welcome you all on behalf of the Committee headquarters staff based in Berlin as well as the new Global Campaign Headquarters staff just opening in London, and begin by saying that we are all available to all of you for administrative back-up and support in all the ongoing projects. To summarize developments to date, we began the Committee around the time of the Millennium Forum of the United Nations in the year 2000 when much of the energy of the UN was focused on the long-term horizon of the evolution of the UN into the new millennium. Professor Sartorius’s famous 2000 article in the Asia Pacific Law and Policy Journal of the University of Hawaii ‘Towards a United Nations World Parliament” was seminal though a lot of work had been done along parallel lines by the World Federalist Movement and many others….

 “As Professor Sartorius pointed out in his article, perhaps the most important factor leading up to the Millennium Forum proposals was the successful evolution of the European Parliament, the first embryonic institution of international democracy, with the directly elected representatives of 27 nations meeting to give voice to their common peoples and to work to ensure the accountability of the increasingly powerful institutions of the European Union to their peoples directly, and not only to their governmental and economic elites. This flesh-and-blood working reality generated an almost ineluctable momentum towards the extension of the model to the United Nations family of institutions of global governance, as was evidenced by the development of similar regional institutions across the globe, such as the Pan-African Parliament of the African Union, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the League of Arab States in the past several years……

 “We formed the Committee and provided an administrative center in Berlin to regularize its work, with an Executive Board and administrative staff headed by me. The formal decision-making institution is the elected General Council, headed by Dr. Theo Gysin and including Professor Sartorius, to which I am formally responsible, and we also have an Advisory Council of noted experts, generally interacting over our website and by e-mails across the world. We have been engaged in membership recruitment, fund raising and setting up regional networks as well as planning for a global media appeal and Conference to launch the formal campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, both at the governmental level and at the public and media levels, spearheaded by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the former Secretary General of the United Nations……

 “We have completed our global website platform, and let me observe in passing that the revolution in global consciousness brought on by the media, sometimes referred to by the McLuhanesque term of ‘the Global Village’ comprising both Internet and the new media—-social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as the global extension of old media such as CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera have been key enabling forces, not only for our organizing work, but for the very growth of a new Global World Consciousness which the UN Parliamentary Assembly physically incarnates…..

“In recent years the momentum has accelerated rapidly for the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA), and many of the key backers, not surprisingly, are themselves MEP’s or Members of the European Parliament, with the European Parliament itself endorsing the concept in a resolution on UN Reform. Many of them have also been active in the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a precursor organization dating from the last century, which is nonetheless inadequate as only an occasional club-like group of assorted national legislators without the necessary coherence and focus of a global institution.  The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has called for the UNPA’s creation, as have the parliaments in Canada and Switzerland and many other countries. Recently in Buenos Aires the Association of United Nations Associations called for its creation as did President Dr. Gertrude Mongella of the African Union’s Pan-African Parliament, or PAP. The gist of our practical proposal is to create a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in two steps, first by sending delegations from existing national parliaments and congresses to meet in a single unified body in New York alongside the General Assembly and Security Council, and in a later second step to implement a system of direct elections to the new Assembly on the model of the European Parliament. The UN Parliamentary Assembly can be created under the existing United Nations Charter under Section 22 without the need to call a new international conference for a new UN Charter, by a simple majority vote of the General Assembly, which is already empowered to create subsidiary institutions. Initially, like the European Parliament, the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly would be a weak advisory body, limited to discussing and advising on matters within the responsibility of the United Nations under existing international law. It is important to state what it would not be, and that is it would very definitely not be a world government, or a world-wide law-making body that would supersede or usurp the powers of national law-making bodies. While that may be a conceivable ideal in the longer-term the world is clearly not prepared for it now and the existing institutions are not appropriate for such a role. Instead, the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly would function much like the European Parliament, advising international institutions and providing democratic oversight, feedback, accountability, and legitimacy to the increasingly powerful global international institutions that more and more affect every aspect of our lives. It would largely be a ‘talk-shop’ at first, a forum for people-based dialogue and sharing of concerns, dreams and goals, points of agreement and disagreement. But that is not to minimize its role———-for all systems of government, law and power ultimately rest on a common shared consciousness and it is just such a global consciousness as a foundation for all further evolution that the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is created to build…. 

“At this point in time our short-term goal is to get that vote in the General Assembly under Article 22 by convincing a majority of the governments of the world to vote for it. The governments will only vote for it if they are pressured by their peoples’ demands for it. The way forward can only lie in a global mass movement of People Power in parallel with a professional lobbying and diplomatic effort reaching all the governments of the world……………. Thank You.”

            Osiris rose again and addressed the group, “This is going to be big, teriffically big. To reach out to the peoples of the whole world and mobilize the People Power to move those governments is bigger than anything we have done before, including Band Aid, Earth Day and Rio, Live 8 and African debt relief, bigger than anything that’s ever been done before. The only way to reach out to billions of people is to mobilize the power of the mass media and the new media…..This is going to be the fuckin’ Tweet heard round the world!………..”  he paused a second as he took in the faces of the “suits” that were not used to his show biz exuberance, then continued.

“…………If we are going to get anywhere we will need the very best professionals to manage the PR, old media and new media campaigns. I’ve brought down from London our band’s media guru, Lucien Jung of Jung Communications, the absolute best there is and I want to say importantly he is a good friend and is as committed at the personal level as I am to the importance of our cause for human history. For any of you who don’t know him, he is our band’s PR handler, also ran the media for the Prime Minister’s last campaign, and was at the controls for many of the Live Aid and Live 8 media events and lobbying efforts around the world for African aid, which would have gone nowhere without him. Osiris put forth his lace-cuffed bejeweled hand across the rising back and well-shaped shoulderblades of a man in a black jumper, black casual trousers and black boots as he stood up to address the small assembly………. Lucien…………….”

Though Sartorius recalled a well-known BBC TV presenter interviewing Jung live the night before alongside the Prime Minister at the gala closing dinner party of the Davos World Forum conference, quippingly describing him on the air as the most exhausted-looking person in public life, this morning he looked in better shape, more relaxed, fresher faced, younger even than he had appeared on worldwide television screens the evening before.

 Sizing him up as he spoke at length about what would be needed for a global media campaign on behalf of the UN Parliamentary Assembly program, Sartorius noted that he spoke in the West London Demotic common to thrusting media and music executives, a kind of downbeat earthiness peppered with a Transatlantic professional marketing and sales jargon from the marketing and business world stretched between London, New York and Los Angeles, energized by the conversational tic and sales-driven rhythm of asking rhetorical questions to which he himself then supplied pithy answers.  Although he was semi-famous as the grandson of a world-renown psychologist he seemed to Sartorius rather merely bright than intellectual, and he noted that he had by design or influence of environment successfully shed most vestiges of his prep and public school education, most likely deliberately by design to better fit into the rock and media milieu.

As Jung spoke about assembling celebrities and superstars for the upcoming needed media campaign Sartorius perceived and pieced together that there was nothing starry-eyed about Lucien Jung’s working relationship to the world’s most famous people. He was too clever for that. He talked about celebrity dispassionately, in terms of “brand equity” and “leverage.” His expertise, he explained, lay in encouraging a brand to buy into the equity of a celebrity’s fame, thus allowing Jung to leverage editorial exposure for both the celebrity and the brand. The World Parliament as a brand could be promoted along the same principles of synergy, building brand equity for the great cause and adding and re-cycling brand equity to the “personal brands” of the participating celebrities, with the amiable by-product of mobilizing mass exposure and public support for the campaign.

It was not for nothing that Jung was known as the “King of Spin.”  Of course there had been celebrities in and around politics since time immemorial, but before Jung celebrity and show business had been a distinct enterprise. Now, in a moment of insight akin to Einstein’s discovery of relativity and the seamless time-space continuum in which mass could be seamlessly converted into energy and vice-versa, Jung had revolutionized politics, brand advertising and show business into a seamless web of fungible celebrity within a politico-theatrico-marketplace Post-Modern continuum in which everything was interchangible and at play in the universal marketplace of human values and identities…………Voila!………..Vanity Fair! 

He was famous for the seismic debut of megacelebrity in his creation of “Planet 365” a rock and entertainment franchise chain in which celebrities gained equity ownership of the enterprise convertible into cash at IPO in exchange for their active celebrity promotion of the new enterprise at gala openings all over the world…….…the Spinmeister’s Alchemy!………….….Perception is Reality!……………… He was a force in the media world, and his recent wedding to the daughter of the number one global media tycoon, Baron Rupert Maddox, seemed to propel him into the upper stratosphere of public influence. 

“Does this high humanistic crusade to realize universal civilization’s most yearned after and beloved ideals need to concern itself with mere marketing savvy, brand building and celebrity equity management?……………………………………. Fuck Yes!”  he ejaculated.

  As Jung continued in his outline for an action plan, Sartorius shuttled over to the coffee table refilling his cup alongside Günter Gross,  asking him under his breath “Well what do you make of him Günter?” 

The Nobel-prize winning author answered with a gentle smile, “Well, we have to assume he knows his business and we do very much need the media if we are going to break out of this ivory-tower moonbeam-chasing crowd and get a tsunami groundswell of People Power to pressure these pusillanimous purportless politicos!………………………….But it is a curious phenomenon that he has become such a celebrity of sorts himself, independent of his semi-implication in the influence and peerage peddling scandals around the Prime Minister. It is quite curious, a sort of Gresham’s Law of the inevitable devaluation of the currency of celebrity in which we seem to have reached a state of Celebrity Overload cheapening the currency value of mere celebrity…………………… Its as though people have suffered such a saturation of media personalities crossing and imposing themselves between advertising, show business, sport and politics that the famous, with a few exceptions, have really become boring———— Its like the Wizard of Oz where people in the end are only fascinated by the little man behind the curtain pulling the levers, whom they romanticize into the real wielder of a reality and power only lipsynched by the actual air-brushed public figures foisted upon them in the mass media. Of course behind every curtain there is sure to be an infinite mise-en-abime of curtains behind curtains behind curtains behind curtains……….…little men behind little men behind little men………….reductio ad absurdam………..……..the infinite onion-skinned veil of Maya…………………………Eternal Mother of Tears and Nothingness……………” answered Günter, a little pleased at the opportunity to indulge himself in a bit of friendly armchair conversationalism.

“………..Ah, but don’t trouble yourself with too much depth psychology about these public figures and social shakers,Sartorius. I was trained as a psychiatrist and I often learned the mistake of over-psychoanalyzing when I was young and intimidated by them. I’ll tell you, a depth psychoanalysis of public persons is seldom useful, with some exceptions of course, as in the end there so very often, in the phrase of your fellow American Gertrude Stein, ‘there’s no there there.’ Instead, if one has a passion or a compulsion for analysis, it would be better put to use by analyzing the mask which each one wears and polishes, and give proper accolades to those most adept at the art of façade management! In truth it is this which is the only interesting aspect of these sorts of persons in ‘good society’ nine times out of ten, not anything that might chance to lie behind it…………“

Then they paused a moment to thank the young intern college girl who scooted along the outer aisle, her body noticible in a tight black turtle-kneck sweater and close-fitting jeans as she attentively squeezed down the cramped outer aisle of the overfull room, silver pot in hand, swinging her hips around the occasional outjutting chair to refill their coffee cups.

“………………….But I will tell you, Sartorius, it does seem sometimes that our work is kind of like being in a novel or a myth, or perhaps a children’s book…..We have this utopian dream and we make our journeys out there in the low light of the future, like H.G. Wells in his Time Machine or the Wizard of Oz, and then we return to the bourgeois day and its mass delusion of safety, to report on what we’ve seen, and we are treated like Cassandras with disbelief and denial. What are any of these “Utopian Dreams” but defective forms of time travel?” observed Günter.

“Well, in that case, back to the future!” quipped Sartorius, motioning Günter back into the meeting room.

Julian Jung wound up the tail end of his presentation, imperturbable, even smiling slightly to himself, calming his agitated supporters, holding court with a show of equanimity, placing embarrassing matters in perspective and mapping strategy with a showman’s verve:   “In short, ladies and gentlemen, we CAN successfully leverage the model and the network of contacts of the Live Aid and Live 8 campaigns that were so successful in African debt and AIDS relief to take us to the next level of creating a credible and legitimate forum where the concerned voices of the peoples of the world can be heard on a permanent basis, not just in the streets of Seattle or camp-following G-8 summits. The only way to move the political inertia and reactionary opposition is with a broad united front of mobilized People Power that will not go away, backed by a universal media campaign of celebrities and NGO’s worldwide that can credibly represent itself as the voice of the peoples of the world. We have the networks in place from our past efforts, and Sir Osiris, Sir Bob and myself and our collective organizations are pledged to make it happen. I am now pledging my own services pro bono for the Media Mobilization Committee to do the detail work of getting the campaign off the ground and to recruit the personalities to our effort. I think the first step is to set a target time-frame so that we can focus our efforts down to the level of reality.”

Dr. Gysin led a round of applause and resumed his persona as the chair of the meeting: “Thank you very much Mr. Jung and I am sure we will be very dependent on and thankful for your expertise and influence in these matters. Let’s get a quick update and status report from the regional committees around the world and their recommendations for venue options for the regional events that will link with the central concerts and rallies in London and New York.  I would like to introduce Mr. Pari Kasiwar of the South Asia committee. Like most of our regional coordinators, he spends about two-thirds of his time on the ground in his region and about one-third of the time at our headquarters in Berlin and London, working under our Executive Director, Andreas Sarkozy………….. Pari”

“Thank you Dr. Gysin. And I want to begin by saying I very deeply appreciate the honour of working with all of you, and I hope we develop a close sense of comradeship and friendship. As to our activities in South Asia we have been working at the latest ASEAN conference and in our networks throughout the region. We have conferences planned in India in Mumbai and New Dehli in October and November, and a regional meeting of the national Committee heads in Singapore in November. I would have to say that awareness in Asia generally has lagged behind the awareness of the campaign in Europe and in Africa, perhaps because of the absence in Asia of such regional institutions such as the European Parliament of the European Union, the Pan-African Parliament of the African Union, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the League of Arab States which provide a model, both as a stimulus to further imagination and as a practical foundation to demonstrate the ‘do-ableness’ of the concept of a World Parliament. I am afraid Asian thinking is still rooted in the concept of the nation state still clinging to its de-colonized independence, and has lagged behind in the evolution of a Post-Westphalian consciousness. Nonetheless, the concept of democratization of the system of global governance and of the international institutions of the United Nations system has growing and natural appeal to many persons of good-will and as a means of redressing the weakness of the South in North/South issues and because of the obvious fact that in a democratic system Asia’s billions of people place it in an enhanced position of potential power. The South Centre meeting in Doha, representing 48 developing nations of the south endorsed the principle of democratizing the United Nations system. These are strong potential selling points to both the peoples and the elites of the region. We do have many strong supporters such as Supreme Court Justice P.W. Sawant who has advocated a World Parliament, and Mulayam Singh Yadav, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh,  and even the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has called for efforts in this direction, citing the strong internationalism of modern India’s founder, the great Jawaharlal Nehru.  The list of Indian lawmakers that have endorsed the proposal is nevertheless impressive, and includes current union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, union ministers of state Saugata Royand Dinsha Patel as well as former union ministers Mani Shankar Aiyar, Saifuddin Soz and Shashi Tharoor, the latter of whom served as junior foreign minister in Manmohan Singh’s cabinet from 2009 to 2010. Shri Deshmukh, union minister of science, technology and earth sciences and Shri Tharoor have stated that in principle the government of India could support the UNPA proposal in the United Nations.  Shyam Benegal, the renowned director and screenwriter who is a member of the Rajya Sabha, declared his support of a UN Parliamentary Assembly recently. “When India was granted independence, skeptical observers said that so remarkably diverse a country in terms of religion, language, and culture could not maintain a representative democracy.Yet, despite these doubts, that is exactly what India has done. Today similar doubts are often expressed with regard to global democracy. Based on our experience, I believe that obstacles can be overcome and that first small steps to build democracy at the global scale are now necessary and possible,” Former union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar added that “at Independence, Jawaharlal Nehru said, ‘We look upon the world with clear and friendly eyes.’ One proof of that would be Indian support to a World Parliament.” Supporters of the appeal for a UN Parliamentary Assembly from India also include BJP vice president Najma Heptullah who served as a member of the Rajya Sabha for four terms and who was president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union from 1999 to 2002, the worldwide umbrella organization of national parliaments, and eminent individuals such as Professor M.S. Swaminathanwho was considered by Time magazine “one of the most influential Asian people of the 20th century” and Ela Bhatt, founder of SEWA and a member of The Elders.

We need to work at the educational level to develop consciousness, but I am very hopeful, and I think our global campaign will catch fire in South Asia in the long run after it builds momentum world-wide. We can set up the concerts and marathon appeals in Mumbai, Dhaka and Singapore linked live with the main events in New York and London, and we can mobilize our Bollywood network. We should try to bring in some big international names as well.”

“Thank you Pari. Now Christina. Next is Christina Senghor of our African committee.”

“Thank you Dr. Gysin. We have a very strong network in Africa which grows out of a variety of sources such as the recent innovation of the Pan-African Parliament in connection with the African Union and the legacy of the Band Aid, Live 8 and other global African relief efforts…..Through those efforts we have achieved many successes such as the G-8 debt relief measures. We all know that Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations from Egypt has been the World Parliament’s most visible advocate at the global and regional levels. Africans see more and more clearly that any sustainable solutions to the immense problems of the continent must be rooted in the realities of the global economy, global trade and investment, and global governance. Perhaps because Africans are so poor and powerless they are acutely aware of how difficult it is for their voices and concerns to be heard in the global arena. Therefore there is a strong interest in a World Parliament as a means of African peoples speaking for themselves directly to the peoples of the world, rather than merely being ventriloquized through media celebrities. The President of the Pan-African Parliament, Mrs. Gertrude Mongella has endorsed our concept, as has Rwandan Chamber of Deputies’, Alfred Mukezamfura, South African Parliamentarians such as Kogoshi Mokoena, Ugandan MP Fred Jachan Omach and many others too numerous to recite. I think we can envisage concerts and media marathon events leading up to and synchronized to the global broadcasts in Johannasburg or Cape Town, Dar es Salaam, and Lagos, and can coordinate local celebrities and leaders along with shuttling in international celebrities and speakers for the events. Of course local African musical groups want to utilize the big broadcasts to showcase African music to the world audience and perform alongside the big international names.”

All right, thank you very much Christina. How about Anna Maria, is she here?  Oh yes, now Anna Maria Iglesias from our Latin American regional committee:   “Like my colleagues I am highly optimistic for the campaign in Latin America. Interest in the concept has been widespread since the Millennium Summit and the Cardoso-panel on reform of UN-Civil Society Relations, led by Former President of Brazil Cardoso. Important authors have endorsed the proposal such as Vincente Garcia-Delgado and Fernando Iglesias. Interest in strengthening international institutions also dates from the creation of the International Criminal Court, which many activists in Latin America saw as vital to curbing human rights abuses, “Desaparecidos” and death squads. In Buenos Aires the Latin American United Nations Associations joined in the worldwide declaration of the Association of United Nations Associations in favor of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. Even former United Nations Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar has been supportive and stresses that UN reform must be much deeper than just Security Council reform.  It is seen as a powerful means to strengthen North/South Dialogue and curb the sometimes aggressiveness of the United States in the region. We have a network developed from past international appeals and we could put on events with Latin American celebrities, music groups, soccer and sports stars, leaders and intellectuals in Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo and Mexico City in the months leading up to and coordinated and satellite-linked with the global synchronized broadcasts from London and New York.”

“Many thanks, Anna Maria. The next would then be Mohammad.  Let’s everyone welcome Mohammad Ala Rushdie and Mustafa bin Salman al Khalifa, the co-chairs of our Middle-East bureau………..Mohammad……………………”

“It is very much my pleasure to be with all of our distinguished colleagues. In the Middle-East we have a mixed situation with some strong assets such as former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s strong advocacy of the UN Parliamentary Assembly and the recent convening of the Arab Parliament representing 22 member nations associated with the Arab League. The Arab Parliament, based in Damascus and scheduled to evolve to a fully and independently elected international Parliament on the model of the Strasbourg parliament of the European Union, is widely seen as heightening the perceived feasibility of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly at the global level. We can envision a series of conferences, concerts and events in Doha,  Cairo and Jerusalem with supporting events in Muslim cities such as Karachi, Kuala Lampur and Jakarta. I have spoken with Boutros Boutros-Ghali and he is confident he can leverage his network to provide a robust level of support from governments and civil society. At the street level, of course, we need unending education and consciousness raising around the concept.”

“All right. That would leave Yoriko Oe of the East-Asian committee………..”

“Thank you Dr. Gysin.  Our committee is new and we are just beginning our work. Of course you have heard from Professor Sartorius and he has been doing some important work introducing the concept of the UN Parliamentary Assembly to China, where he has given numerous programs at Tsinghua University, Renmin University and Peking University in Beijing, but our work is only just beginning across the region. There is strong interest in Japan and Korea, building on the peace movements and popular movements and some remnants of the People Power movements in the Philippines. But in general I would have to be a little realistic if not pessimistic in that we don’t really have much Post-Westphalian consciousness as of yet and most official instincts are focused on the sovereignty and autonomy of the nation state. In Japan there is a strong interest amoung the young, and Japan’s bid for a Security Council seat has introduced some openness to further reforms, though mostly people follow the sovereignty based orientation of Washington. In China we see little internationalist sentiment and in some ways they are as sovereignty oriented as the Americans.  Though they have a history of isolationism they have also some internationalist traditions from the legacy of international communism and also from their successful integration into the UN and the world economy in their post-WTO era. The Olympics in Beijing, the World Expo in Shanghai and thirty years of Kai Fang are slowly making them more internationally minded, particularly amoung the young and educated and generally their pivotal position as a veto-wielding member of the Security Council has made them generally responsible members, but their instincts are still largely conservative and cautious. Perhaps they are wary of the impact of the democratization of the UN on demands for further democratization of their own one party-based government, particularly with the eventual demand for direct election of UN Parliamentary Members from the general public. But, as Professor Sartorius points out with his ‘1.3 billion reasons why international democracy would be good for China,’ the enormous fact that the Chinese people constitute 22% of all the people of the world and that they would eventually hope to approach that percentage of representatives in a democratically proportionate assembly is a strong selling point, exactly as it is in India. In East Asia we can organize supporting events in Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong in the months leading up to the world-wide television link-ups out of New York and London.”

After hearing from all the regional co-coordinators the Committee finished up its preparatory discussion and set forth and voted a unanimous approval for their working agenda regarding their efforts pending the next meeting to be convened in their new Global Headquarters just opening in London, and a pro forma vote approved the relocation from Berlin in aid of the newly intensified world-wide effort. Günter Gross was called upon to make a final inspirational speech and he called upon everyone to redouble their efforts and not lose hope in the long and seemingly unendless struggle for the UN Parliamentary Assembly: “Have faith, Comrades!….” he summed up, “after setback upon setback it may seem that we are wandering in the desert wilderness, but we shall not perish there. Either we, or our children or our children’s children will reach the promised land. Mark my words: the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is not just an idea, it is a destiny. Here in Europe the European Union with its flagship European Parliament has step-by-imperfect-step realized a destiny of peace and international democracy after two millennia of strife. We call the European Union a “Shicksalgemeinshaft,”—–an inevitable and unavoidable ‘Community of Destiny.’ But if the idea of ‘Europe’ has been a destiny for this continent, it is a thousandfold more obvious and vital that our precious Earth as a whole, inhabited in common by the peoples, no say the ‘People of the World,’ embracing all humanity in a common and democratic stewardship over the environment and history of our fragile planet—this shall constitute the real and ultimate ‘Shicksalgemeinshaft’ that is truly unavoidable. There is only one question left, and that is by what path do we get there from here. And the establishment of the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is but the first step in that magnificent journey, equally glorious and equally forefated.”

Upon adjourning each of the participants made their separate ways, sometimes alone or in knots of smaller groups, some scurrying to the airport for their late departures and some retiring to nearby restaurants and hotels to rest and recover themselves until the next day swept them on their varied ways.   

IV.             London                                    New Beginnings


     On the morning after the final Geneva meeting Eva Strong found herself alone in her half of the London flat she shared with her cousin Vanessa and their two respective children Sarah and Robby. She had been surfing the Internet and looking at the BBC news clips of the interviews at the Davos meeting attended by the Prime Minister and his circle. Eva had at one time worked for an MP but after her divorce she had dropped out of that scene and in the interim had published several marginally profitable children’s books and was struggling against the current of downward mobility with the payments from her alimony and child support and the proceeds of her writing and occasional and part-time work and by cutting down on expenses and by sharing her rather large ex-family flat with Vanessa, who was separated from her American film director husband, and their boy. In the process she had been first a volunteer at the UNPA Committee office, and then progressed to a part-time office support role, dividing her time between the office, her family and her children’s books. The office this day would be mostly closed down in the morning while the principal staff were off to the conference in Geneva, and she would go in later in the afternoon to meet them as their flights returned from Geneva.  

After checking the news summary and her e-mail box she wearied of the computer and began to fill the watering can and give nurture to the forest of plants scattered throughout her rooms, watering, fertilizing, cutting and trimming here and there, and rotating plants out towards the slanted sunlight streaming from the balcony and large windows. She liked and regularly added to the plants and even enjoyed the increasing bother of their care as a kind of therapeutic support in a wavering struggle against a sense of cumulative fatigue and incipient nervous exhaustion into which she often collapsed behind the door of her large room, the former master bedroom she and her ex-husband had inherited and occupied briefly prior to moving to Hong Kong and before its award to her in the divorce proceedings.   As she did so she began to overhear the voice of her cousin entering the flat on the floor below growing rather louder shouting into her mobile phone——apparently another argument with her estranged husband Jason. Eva continued her watering and nurturing alone in her upper flat until she heard Vanessa’s footsteps insistently mounting the long staircase to the upper story. It was only the second day she was in the house after being absent over a month on holiday in Italy and Greece with her theatre friends, leaving Eva behind with the two children.

Vanessa threw herself into the large overstuffed chair next to the larger frond plant and let out in a burst of exasperated breath——“Impossible!—honestly I don’t know why I even go on trying with him or anything else anymore——–it’s so bloody futile—I honestly don’t see the point of trying at damned anything anymore!”

“The point is” Eva said, looking out from behind the large bang of palm leafs hanging from her indoor tree, “as far as I can see everything is cracking-up and the world is whirling the bits off into empty space past our poor cringing heads.”

“Damn” wheezed Vanessa, as her head sank further into the padding and cushions of the chair.

Eva slid over behind the chair and stroked Vanessa’s hair asking “Is he in town then?”

“Yes, for some production conferences on some new movie, and he’s staying at the Threadneedles with his latest little tart. He’s taken Robby up to Surry for an outing at the Shepperton Studios without a thought to me or Robby’s school—and he’s behind on his payments–getting himself buried in debt over his latest little dream project and who knows if it will end up any better than the last fiasco. How about Sarah?” 

“She’s stayed a few extra days at the girls school for some field hockey contest and social dance or something. I honestly think she’s becoming some sort of Tory up there at that snotty school after all our non-conformist free-style living down here. I think its some kind of anti-rebellion-rebellion—she is positively reveling in staid conservatism and snobs and old school tie and all that!”

“Well they need something to rebel against even if its rebellion———I’m sure it is a phase she will pass through.” added Vanessa.

“Perhaps….. I wasn’t so keen on that kind of school and I have always lived with her close to me, but when she enthused so about riding horses and uniforms and all, like it was a grand cinema production for which she had been chosen to play the starring little princess part, and when the bit of extra money came to her from her grandfather’s inheritance and from her father in Hong Kong then I decided I had to let her go. After all she can’t stay a mother’s child for ever and has to find something of herself, whatever it is, and to tell you the truth being Mummy has just about used me up——–but how about Robby———–?” she tossed back.

“Well he’s always torn apart around his father————loves him, hates him, needs him——-sees through his phoniness—-wants to and doesn’t want to be like him———-but he hasn’t found himself yet———doesn’t know where he is going—————just mopes around, closes himself off, and escapes into the Internet————-and locks himself in his room all night————-must be surfing the porn sites and doesn’t want me to know!—-but I hope he will find some direction over the summer.”  replied Vanessa pouring herself a drink of rumcoco from the bottles on the table and pondering over the swirling glass.

“Oh God Eva I don’t see how I can take it again———-I feel like I just want to go away and never come back again—-I really can’t face it all again, though I suppose I shall……….I surely wouldn’t if it wasn’t for Robby———but that is all rubbish anyway—-where could I go at my age and situation?………..but it was really harder than ever coming back this time and facing the utter empty hopelessness of it all and all the people putting on a face and averting their eyes from the shit of it all!” ………..and with that they were both a bit embarrassed into a lapse of speechlessness for a half minute until Vanessa renewed friendly contact with……..”and you Eva Penny—–how have you been this past month?” ‘Eva Penny was a pet name only Vanessa used nowadays for Eva—-Eva’s middle name was Penelope and her mother’s name was also Eva, so Vanessa and her family would always use Eva to mean Eva’s mother and ‘Eva Penny’ to refer to Eva, the daughter, Vanessa’s cousin.

Pausing to consider which way she should turn the conversation, Eva began——-“Sean came to see me two weeks ago……..” then fell into an indefinite pause. Eva had lived with Sean off and on for three years when Sarah was eight years old—-several years after returning to London after divorcing her husband Richard in Hong Kong. Her marriage had been a clear mistake in her mind—a run for freedom at nineteen with a man ultimately incompatible but the object of a sexual infatuation lasting a year or so and producing as its primary legacy the existence of her daughter, Sarah, born when both had come to realize they did not love each other and he had moved on to a series of other conquests making continuation mutually impossible.

With Sean it had been different. By the time she had met Sean in London she had seen a bit more of life and thought she could feel and act as a mature woman in contact with a love real and central to her life. She had hoped that her life with Sean would redeem the past. She learned that Sean was married and separated from his wife after the third time they slept together. This seemed not to matter and her eyes were closed as the dream continued. After they lived together a year she found out he was also sleeping with his wife and perhaps others. He and his wife had two children. Perhaps it had been the children that drew him back, or perhaps it was something else. The dream faded but lingered on in her mind mixed with a hopeless hope. In any case after three years of intermittent co-habitation Sean accepted a diplomatic posting to Brazil. Eva hoped he would send for her and Sarah from South America to start the new life she had dreamed of. Instead he took his wife and children and Eva received a letter two weeks later telling her that it was over between them. With her divorce she recovered after a few months. With Sean she felt she never really recovered. She felt broken in some way that never properly healed over.

“And how did it go?”  said Vanessa, delicately nudging the conversation to the next point further while testing the figurative stones beneath her feet.

“Oh in some ways it was as if nothing had happened after all these years…………….”

“Of course when you have known each other so closely….” offered Vanessa supportively…………………. “And?”

“And………..nothing…………….I suppose……….he’s going on to a new posting in Japan and in another year his wife and children are going to return here for school………..and he admits he has been involved with a third woman…… plus ca la change!………….…one thing we have always had between us is a certain honesty which maybe is why I can’t stop loving him some which way…… He tried to act like a considerate old friend and behaved impeccably, but I suppose he came to see me to see if an irresistable moment would come and we would end up in bed together again but somehow it didn’t——–I think I would have maybe but it just didn’t happen…….…he’s in Tokyo now……………so there you are!” 

“So here we are!”……….smiled Vanessa wryly into her rumcoco………… “And what a feedlot of bastard swine men all are!” she chirped cheerfully in a tone calculated to make Eva laugh.

Then jumping up she blurted out into the glass past Eva “Oh Good God Eva Penny this is Friday!——-I’m late———I forgot all about it!—-I have to go for a first reading rehearsal— at the Adelphi Theatre—-I’ve got to run—-Oh Eva could you get the usual from the grocery for me?—- There’s nothing in the house and I’m too rushed—and whip something up for Robby if he comes back–I’ve stashed some money in the usual place—-Thank You Darling!—Bye-bye!” and rushed down the staircase below.  


Eva took a dress out of the closet and set it on the ironing board to press. She put it on and looked at herself in the long mirror attached to the inner door of the closet. She was dissatisfied with her appearance. She wanted to look especially good with the new staff joining the office from the consolidation of the old Berlin office and the new expanded London office, and there might be a dinner or party for those coming in from Geneva. She took the dress off and tried on another. Again dissatisfied. She re-ironed the first dress and put it on again. She had never much liked the dress———–she had plenty of clothes in her closet but did not like any of them———–she grimaced and sighed out that she hadn’t anything to wear. She fixed her face and hair———-again not right————she re-did her eyebrows. She had long purchased all the accessories to make herself really attractive—–her features were good if slightly worn for age, with a feminine face but with a rather too-long nose. Vanessa always told her “If you would do yourself up right you would be like one of those knock-out French girls” Yet Eva always failed. Her dress was a simple black wool that looked like it should go on sexily, but didn’t, at least not on Eva. She fixed her hair——–at first letting it fall—-then tying it tightly in the back————-she looked pale, almost severe.

She looked out the door of the balcony and down to the corner grocery———she would have to rush if she was to buy in the groceries and get them home before she headed to the office. While Sarah was living at home her life was a constant rush——home to school and back——-from kitchen to grocer—grocer to kitchen——kitchen to dining room———-dining room to tube———tube to office———–office to shop——shop to grocer——grocer to kitchen……… Now that Sarah had begun at the boarding school things had slackened but the old patterns still dominated—-and Eva was often left to care for Robby since Vanessa’s schedule in the theatre life was so irregular. She would rush down and purchase the needed things, beef, milk, potatoes, vegetables, soup, mix, spaghetti then would fix something up before leaving and leave it in the refrigerator in case Robby got back before she could get back from the office. With the Committee leaders coming in from Geneva she would probably have to work late. She wanted to get off on a good footing with the new office leaders who were just moving from the old headquarters in Berlin to the expanded London office in preparation for the worldwide campaign that was to start after the Geneva conference.

After a half-hour at the antiquated old iron stove she placed the still warm pot in the large fridge and put a note on the door of Robby’s downstairs bedroom telling him to eat and not wait for her as she would likely be late at the Committee office.

She rushed down the block to the tube station at Ladbroke Road and in twenty minutes entered the office, settled into her cubicle and sped through the e-mails, picking out anything that looked urgent to important. Seeing that the office was still largely empty in her area she ventured a quick cigarette and opening a window emptied a quantum of stress into the room along with a relaxing exhalation of whitish smoke.

Clearing the e-mails with relevant replies, she then set to work on some of her longer-term projects, including some brochures of the UN Parliamentary Assembly campaign….People began filtering into the office, some she had known for years and some newcomers transferring from the Berlin office, and some of the returnees from Geneva began to arrive, exiting their taxis encumbered with luggage and she occasionally went down to help carry up some of the boxes of materials from the Conference, greeting and smiling from side to side as she worked her way through the corridors and aisleways.

Settling back in her cubicle she glanced at the snapshot of her “family”—her daughter Sarah together with Vanessa and Robby. Gazing at the photo she ventured another cigarette, looking about to see if anyone “environmentally oversensitive” might be around to trouble her about it and opening the window to dilute the trace scent in the air.  She looked at the smiling eyes of Vanessa with some contemplation following a drifting chain of thought……..they both considered themselves normal women, so to speak, with conventional emotional reactions. Many others considered them non-conformists from the fact that their lives never ran smoothly along conventional lines and they were often involved in “the movement”—or movements—-environmental, socialist, African-aid, human rights, Palestinian, and now UN Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA), and the fact that they had no conventional family life—a condition blamed by Vanessa on the fact that they never met normal unmarried men of conventional sexual orientation who were capable of seeing and valuing what they really were, or appreciating a woman past that prime age of youthful sexual blossoming embedded in their masturbation dreams.  As somewhat older women with children but without conventional husbands and families they were caught in a kind of “no-mans land” where they didn’t fit into the world of conventional couples and family life nor did they fit into the free-for-all worlds of young detached single life, one-night stands, alternative sexual orientation or of rampant success and money chasing. She felt she loved Vanessa but was uneasy with her, afraid perhaps of sinking into a negative bubble world of recriminations against men leaving them trapped behind the isolating force-field of the misery-loves-company lobster-pot of mutual old-maidship.

She thought of Sean and clicked open a file in her computer containing a photo of them embracing. Even now years after the realization of the total hopelessness of her attachment to him she was acutely aware of how she involuntarily limited her reactions to any man other than Sean. She puzzled over herself, wondering if this was a woman’s heart or merely the fear of another rejection. In many ways she felt herself to be a woman of traditional heart and temperament——she had not dated other men until a year after her divorce became final and she was faithful to Sean even when she knew he was not faithful to her—–she felt the abstract concept of feminist rights and independence alien to her——she was a woman who longed to merge herself with a man she loved and to belong to him…bear his children and his love. She recalled how Vanessa often upbraided her for this———chiding “why don’t you just live for yourself and stand up for yourself?”———-with Eva answering back—-“I guess I’m still trying to find the whole that I am a part of.”

She looked long into the photograph——-what did she have in life?——-she had her child, of course——Sarah, though that was destined to grow up, grow apart and depart at some turn in the forseeable future;—–she had her self-respect at a superficial level—-which was about all she had been able to salvage from an unsatisfactory past;——and she had her future———-a future of what?——an unanswered or unanswerable question no doubt—-but she could not——–nor wanted to———-imagine that future without a man. A future without some form of union with a man seemed for her a form of death of the soul as well as death and withering away of the body. But how?—-of course she had men and boys come to her from time to time—–offering the occasional ‘transaction” or unhealthy dependency—-but none with the right potential energies of mind and body.

She felt unwell and decided to go home early. She picked up her coat from the coatrack and laid it on the side of her desk. While she waited to gather herself together to go home she found herself instead making changes to the brochure on her computer screen. She was chagrinned to observe that someone—something—not quite herself had decided she was staying, even while her conscious mind had decided to leave!———she worried about herself in a half-exhausted, half-amused fashion wondering what other decisions “it” would make for her. After a short spell of this state she lost herself in her work, making some substantial progress on the brochure.  

As she noticed the light beginning to fade against the outside window she saw the familiar face of Maureen, the office Manager,  appearing over the cubicle wall, and the drawl of her voice intoning:  “EEEva, finish up!—we’re all invited to a dinner party for staff at Back to Basics over in Bloomsbury–we’re to celebrate the Conference and get to know the new people transferring in from Berlin HQ.”

After an excellent seafood and salad buffet the office crowd congregated around the reserved open bar in the lounge, and Eva made small talk, drank gin and tonics, and observed the comings and goings. The crowd congregated along two axes centered on the one hand on the two London/Berlin groupings, and within and between these the sex barrier, with males and females in their respective nooks and corners, albeit with a smaller stream of axis jumpers and host/esses trying to get people to mix and meet. A few speeches and introductions aided in partially perforating these invisible dividing lines and new people started to mix with the old faces.

I wish I hadn’t come, Eva thought, and now there is that long way back again and so late. Just then a man left his seat at the opposite side of the lounge bar, walked across and sat beside her. Her first impression was of a young athletic reddish-brown haired man talking with a slight German-sounding accent to the four or five Britishers in her sofa area. He introduced himself as Andreas, Andreas Sarkozy, formerly of the Berlin Office and now crossing over to London to head up the administrative end of the International Campaign in the wake of the Geneva Conference. His slightly nervous smile had moments of sweetness as he made good humoured small talk, and as she realized that she was smiling back at him she looked more closely at him and discovered she had been mistaken and that he was not quite so young as he first appeared but in his thirties, a bit younger than herself. A slightly nerve-stretched face she noted, as he talked, which he did well in English, but in a somewhat self-conscious way as if he were watching himself. His submerged self-consciousness made her a bit self-conscious and as she became so she reacted at times towards and at times away from him, just as before she had responded to the unconscious warmth of his smile.

Those were her initial reactions to the presence of the man she was later to love deeply. When they later talked and joked about their first meeting he pooh-poohed the suggestion that she loved him at first sight and observed “Only in the Retroscope of the Rear-view mirror!—-Caution: Objects May Appear Larger Than They Actually Are!”

Perhaps because he was younger than she, as he talked to her and those around her her impulses ran back to thoughts of her ex-husband when she was herself younger and more inexperienced. He had made a strong but draining impression on her, and she married him in a state of near exhaustion after he pressured her and courted her for many months. Perhaps she realized at some level that she shouldn’t have married him but he wore her down, and her exasperation with her life and parents pushed her over the edge into making a grab for freedom and the chance of a new start and a new life, especially with his posting out to Hong Kong with the bank, which offered the prospect of a whole new world of beginnings.  Unfortunately, the sexual attraction burnt out after about six months and was replaced by a physical repulsion which she could not conceal from him in bed. Maybe it was her fault in that way but he reacted, first with withdrawal, then with a contemptuous pleasure in violating her repulsion of him. Each time he returned he found her suffering from a sadness without a name. Which was why he dreaded returning and avoided her while he could.

Her pregnancy only compounded their problems, becoming a barrier to the sex, yet not bringing them together otherwise. Everyone said motherhood was sacred. But all the everyones were men. She prayed the baby would hurry and be born so she could have her body back. She would break down in crying fits. “Not again” he would complain and ask her again and again “Why?”—what is it?” only to meet silence. How could she explain to him it was more than a loss of control over her body, but also a loss of control over her life? Nonetheless she later came to thank God for bringing her daughter Sarah to her, the one wonderful thing to come out of the debacle of her marriage and bouy up her life.

When the labor pains began and she arrived at the hospital she felt her body lurch and launch itself forward of its own accord like a piece of heavy machinery. There was no going backwards, no changing your mind. It was all going forwards to whatever its end would be or whatever beginning, however that might be, and there was your life, helpless, like a rag caught in a hurricaine, fluttering for dear life in the unforgiving gale.

Finally, after a brief interlude in which they acted out for each other’s benefit the false roles and idyll of the soap opera of a happy new household, he struck back by seeing other women, which she tolerated as long as it did not become an open issue between them. In fact at that point she had been too much of a coward to make any move towards ending it all, preferring the drift of inertia to cataclysm. In a way she couldn’t blame him, but she couldn’t control her physical aversion to him either, which only increased after the childbirth. Finally, after things escalated into public view and it became flagrantly known that he was seeing another woman, she put on a false mask of morality and announced that she could not tolerate such a violation of marital duty and respect towards her person. In fact this was not her moral code, and she could accept the superiority of the claim of love or even passion over conventional marital duty but again it gave her the conventionally acceptable excuse to take the step of getting out of the moribund marriage.

As Andreas continued speaking, through this moment of abstracted recollection her attention was going away from him. She became aware that she was nervously twisting her body in reaction to his presence, as if to escape, and he too became aware of this and showed a heightened level of concern, directing his face more forcefully towards her as he spoke in an attempt to communicate a desire to keep her.  As a woman she could sense that his sexual pride was affected by her response to him yet she felt momentarily trapped in the prospect that her past would resurface in his presence. The awkward moment passed, however, in a wave of laughter of the group over one of Andeas’ wry jokes. She was able to relax again, he regained his confidence and good humour, and things flowed in another direction.

Finally, quite late, Eva announced that she was going to call a taxi and head home. Andreas’s eyes swung up, very green and very startled at the realization that she was leaving. He followed her to the coat check and announced that there was no need for a cab as he had his car outside and was going in her direction, and if she would be so pleased he would be happy to take her home.

“It would probably be miles out of your way” responded Eva, with the submerged confidence that this weak objection could be easily overcome.

Andreas had a weakness for sports cars, and he had purchased an old Triumph Spitfire after graduation which he reconditioned and maintained himself in Berlin, and which he had transported over recently through the Chunnel. The London of the car driver is a very different London from the London of the tube rider, and Eva was exhilarated as Andreas drove very fast and very well through the now fog hazed but luminous city that seemed new and newborn to her. He beamed as he saw her respond to the acceleration of the motor and to his presence in the night air. They chatted above the noise of the motor and learned more about each other’s backgrounds. He shouted out “They tell me you write children’s books……….I fancy myself as a bit of a writer too……I would like to see your works sometime.” Her smile warmed as she realized that he was more sincere than not. As he continued a longish flow of chat she realized that she was not listening, could not quite remember what exactly he said but was responding to the tones of his voice as they changed—delicacy, sympathy, strength, humour……..”

At her door he made the expected courtesies and compliments and kissed her gently on the cheek, taking care to appear a gentleman and turning to leave. Then he pulled her hand back from inside the door and said “Tomorrow is Saturday, since you love driving so much how about coming with me up to the countryside and we’ll get out of the concrete jungle and commune with nature?”—–he looked up at the sky which had cleared of fog and announced “I think is should be fine!”

Eva was forced to laugh at the expectedness of the overture, but her laugh and the good feeling it created caused her to say yes.  When she said yes, which was by no means a foregone conclusion, she saw his face lighten up from a release of nervous tension, and then radiate out a beam of triumph. She smiled back into his face wryly, and then took in good nature that she was also happy for his small victory. Then she also realized that she hadn’t been out of the city for months and added “Yes, I think that would be wonderful Andreas, I think I really need it!”


     When Eva closed the outer door and proceeded through the entrance to the lower-story she found Vanessa was still up and apparently waiting for her return.

“Well, how was the party?” she enquired, reading Eva’s mood from her appearance rather than her words.

“Boring, I got a lift back from one of the office staff…..” Eva lied, committing an act of exclusionary aggression against her cousin, “…….and did Robby get home and have his supper?” with which question she returned the conversational serve.

“Yes, very late, and I warmed it up for him…..thanks so much my dear.” she responded.

“Well good night Vanessa, its late and I’m all out…..sweet dreams.”

“Good Night!”

As she mounted the stairs to the upper-story apartment Eva felt intensely guilty about snubbing the intimacy of her cousin, but she reflected to herself—–“Well Vanessa is a sort of mother figure to me and we do mother each other all the time, but I don’t need a mother hovering over me all the time!….I don’t see why I need to play up to it forever!…….anyway I’ll make it up to her later!” and with that she revelled in the courage to hope for something better.


The next day Andreas was late, apologizing that he had overslept. Though she conventionally dismissed it as of no matter, she was secretly more pleased than not that he was late, since being late in her code meant that he did not care for her so much, and that released a bit of the overwrought tension of things proceeding so quickly and allowed her to relax and enjoy herself.

That morning the sunlight flooded the sky gloriously, and as they motored up M1 passing Edgeware and then the M25Ring and out into the open countryside Eva’s spirits soared. As the oppressive gray of the ubiquitous city pavement gave way to the green of a resurgent nature Eva’s anxious ambivalence of the previous evening melted into a flow of enthusiasm. Then she understood from the rapid and upward flight of her spirits that she must have been more depressed than she had realized and she realized that she had been sensually deprived of contact with nature more deeply than she had previously appreciated.

The powerful throb and throating of the shifting gears of the engine of the older sportscar affected her in an almost erotically powerful way, and she was aware of being lulled into a kind of torporous state—-she listened to Andreas’ full manly voice rising and falling over the noise of the motor and wind and she was not conscious of the meaning or content of what he was saying as much as the mere tones of his voice, rising and falling, alternately humorous, ironic, enthused, compassionate. She had remembered this sensation from the previous evening but was pleasantly surprised when it continued and heightened rather than fading in its significance. Eva’s spirits rose to the level of an intoxication, and she began to sing softly to herself under her breath as Andreas spoke—–she knew then that he would become her lover from the pleasure that his voice gave to her. His smiles and glances broadened and deepened as he took in and responded to her deepening delight.

As they continued on up M1 and then onto the by-roads Eva felt more and more well as the heaviness and dreariness of the seemingly endlesse conurbation gave way by progressive degrees to a reborn greenness. She felt an unnamable chronic unhealthiness slowly lifting from her spirits. As they approached a ridgeline she looked back at the ugly sprawl below and behind them, the amoeboid mass of semi-detached housing tracts and mock-Tudor suburban villas stretching back into the urban haze, houses along the fringe under construction blotting out the last stands of oakwood, which must have formed the park of a country Hall still to be made out amoungst the encroaching suburbs. At the other end of the valley was a long-closed colliery pit, long bankrupted and abandoned. The mines had made the hall wealthy and paid for the extension of the Park; now the pseudopods of the suburban sprawl blotted them both out, and cleared away all but the last stands of the Park, just as before they had blotted out and fenced away the old cottages and cottagers. Industrial England had blotted out agricultural England, and now financial England and middle-class service England had blotted out industrial Engand.

Topping the ridge Eva gave a shudder at the shear ugliness of what lay behind, even as she thrilled to the enveloping greenness into which she and Andreas descended. The tragedy of England was the tragedy of ugliness, she felt, even the suburban ugliness that flowed outwards in its attempt to escape the greater ugliness behind. The green, lush country was so beautiful, as beautiful as life itself, but the man-made England which so heavily blotted it out from her eyes was so vile. The recurring tragedy of England was the tragedy of ugliness, she felt—–one meaning blots out another, a new England blots out the old, that blotting out an older, and people still talked as if there was something called progress. As they descended, she tried not to think these thoughts. She tried not to think at all, but tried to lose herself in the rush of growing greenness and the throbbing of the motor, the gearbox and of Andreas’ voice and laughter, which shifted also with the terrain.  

When they reached the forested river and drove upstream looking for an appropriate picnic spot she felt more at ease and uninhibited. The talk between them became easier as the barriers dissolved and their natural sympathy flowed forward. He parked the car up a narrow logging road leading to a half-hidden glade bordering on a small brook. They strolled together, then she ambled alone down the small streambank stroking the leaves and branches of the fronds, trees, bushes and grasses and smelling the leaves and occasional flowers, taking off her hat and allowing the sun to fall full across her face and into the open cleavage of her light dress. When she had returned he took out of the trunk a large Persian throw-carpet and spread it out over a patch of soft and deep grass and unloaded the picnic basket with wine, strawberries, cold chicken, sandwiches and iced beer, which they enjoyed over their flowing conversation.

The afternoon sun settled in the treetops yielding a dimming hush to the surroundings. Andreas kissed her full on the lips for the first time and she responded warmly, laying on her back on the thick blanket below which she felt the thick plush of the country grass. The sun broke through the forest branches in radiant warming patches over their bodies moving in harmony with the rhythmic rush and flow of the warm afternoon wind through the bowing and bobbing treetops and they heard the occasional singing of full throated birds rising in counterpoint to the rushing of the warm wind.

For a long time they lay there on the wide blanket with eyes closed, then open and then Eva propped herself up on her elbows as she felt her full breasts shift pendulously under her dress to the other side of her shift. She stared across the glade and the underbrush of the streambank to see a tractor ploughing a field below them perhaps a mile distant, the closest intimation of any other human presence.

She felt the strength of his arm across the small of her back and felt his leg move gently but firmly nudging his knee between her two knees and thighs. “Oh my God, she thought inwardly to herself—-he wouldn’t do it so soon, two days after meeting me would he?—No he wouldn’t, not yet. He was working up to it but wouldn’t go so quickly, no not yet”——and she was content to lay entwined with him sharing his increasing kissing and the voluptuousness of the moment, and was happy and content to let things take their course.

Months later, when they discussed in bed how it had happened and came about that first time he would joke and say she planned it all along and had intended to seduce him from the beginning. She would protest that it was the precise opposite and that she suspected that he had taken similar little motor jaunts out into the Berlin countryside in that car with other girls—she knew the devious mind of the male well enough!—-Sans Souci and all that!

She remembered that she knew from his voice in the car that he would be her lover—because she loved and trusted it.  But when?—-it didn’t matter when——He would know the right time, she sensed,—even were it but their second day, then that was the right time.

He made love to her on the warm picnic blanket, and she thought it was the right time because he knew it and wanted it, and it was so beautiful and they were so close and understood each other so well. She felt she was not very good at the love-making and that she had not exorcised the memories of her ex-husband’s sex making nor of her abandonment by Sean five years ago and that she could not release her body from those memories so simply, but that that would come with time she hoped.

She knew she did not know him well but she felt their bodies understood each other well and sometimes you had to trust your body more than your mind. She liked her naked body and felt its ample sexuality as her hand ran across her breasts and abdomen, but she often felt underbuilt and wished to be fuller and more ample for her man, but usually a man’s lovemaking would erase such anxious thoughts from her mind. She felt the fullness of love and wellbeing laying against Andreas’ athletic and well-muscled flank.

But when she opened her eyes after it was done and looked up into his eyes she saw a hard and almost ugly look. She pulled down the skirt of her dress and looked back at him and saw that he was averting his eyes, then insistently looking into her eyes to cover up. She instinctively turned away from his full face but his strong arm held her across her belly and she couldn’t move. “You’re lovely” he said, but it seemed a word to fill a void. For a long time they were silent. Then he lit two cigarettes and placed one of them between her lips.

“So do you do this sort of thing very often?” she queried, exhaling a stream of white smoke across the distance that had grown between them.

“Well, if you must know the truth, probably more than is good for me.——-I’m supposed to get married in Berlin but I’m running away from it.” he let out, turning his eyes away as he took a drag on the fag end of his cigarette.

“And why is that?” she responded.

“Well of course I’m here for the work and that is all overwhelming, but I suppose you could say the real reason is that I’m running away—I can’t stand to be a woman’s pet, I feel trapped, imprisoned—-and God she is so jealous—-spying on me all the time—I don’t want to be owned and caged like an animal in the zoo—-“

“Perhaps you don’t love her?”

“I expected that———–no, you could say I loved her as much as I was capable of—–but she’s no monster—–I know it’s my own fault—-she’s jealous and I have given her good cause—I’ve been with quite a few others and she knows about it—–I just can’t stand being caged up—I guess I’m just not a domesticated animal——You see, I was born in Africa and I know what it is like to be a lion roaming free on the veldt—–In Europe I always feel like a caged animal trying to break out……so I have to give you fair warning that I may not be able to fulfill any dreams you may be having of a picture of domestic bliss”

Furrowing her brows she laid her head across his bare chest nestling her warm breasts against his arm and well-muscled shoulder and stared with glistening open eyes across the streambank and out over the farmer’s fields below the knoll, pressing her lips together and saying  “Let’s not talk about it now——-God it’s so beautiful here…..”

V.              Berlin              Republic of Letters    


After the Geneva Conference Dr. Prof. Sartorius, as he was referred to here in the European fashion, changed his travel plans and accepted an invitation from his old friend Günter Gross to spend the weekend at his villa at Potsdam, on the outskirts of Berlin. Sartorius had often travelled to Berlin before reunification, but very long residence in China had left him behind in the astonishing transformation of the city since the time of the fall of the Wall. The two friends toured about the city and reflected on the great changes since Sartorius used to visit his old friend the writer Christa Wolff intermittently, crossing over the border check near the Brandenburg Gate. China might have been as much or even more controlled at some points in its Communist history, particularly during the Cultural Revolution, but those times were long past and throughout the times Sartorius lived and worked there after Kai Fang, or the reform and opening-up policy after 1979, it had never reached the pitch of surveillance and repressive control of the east-bloc DDR under the Stasi that he recalled from his visits prior to Wiedervereinigung. In fact, the apparatus of control in Beijing had remarkably relaxed into a kind of modus vivendi with the general population whereby most individual expression and private individual behavior was relatively free and relaxed, so long as one did not cross the unspoken invisible line of open and public rejection and advocacy of overthrow of the powers that be that would cause them to lose public face and force a reaction. This “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy of mutual tolerance allowed most people to arrive at a mostly comfortable point of stasis, with the state tacitly not troubling them so long as in the reciprocal bargain they in turn did not trouble the state or party. Only a very few with an idealistic inability to compromise their social idealism and integrity, or psychological discontents found it necessary to violate this tacit social contract, and perhaps only the truly ambitious within the apparatus would feel the sharper necessity of total conformity to orthodoxy, trading a mind-numbing loyalty for rewards and power.  Sartorius recalled that the DDR was far more intrusive and corrosive under the Stasi overlordship, as revealed in his treatment during his many visits and in the states of mental inversion and paranoid self-defense of his acquaintances, as well as the Stasi file on him that he had a chance to peruse years after the events recorded. Thus the change in both the physical cityscape of Berlin, but also in the mindscape of its people was a remarkable change that Sartorius slowly took in its reality, though he had read reports of it for quite some time.

After resting a day and taking a restful afternoon stroll about the grounds of Sans Souci at Potsdam, Gross chauffeured him about in his old Mercedes introducing him to the new lay of the city, including taking in the new panorama from the top of the old Fernsehturm at Alexanderplatz, a stroll from the Brandenburg Gate along Unter den Linden and around the Mitte;  they visited some successful journalist friends at newly fashionable Prenzlauer Berg, as well as some unsuccessful writers and collegial café bums around Friedrichshain; and of course they took in the obligatory view of the Norman Foster dome atop the Reichstag. In the evening they went to meet their old friend Wolfgang Spitzer, of the Sinologie department of the FUB—Freie Universität Berlin/Free University of Berlin, at a fashionable restaurant in the Schöneberg District, and were joined by Sartorius’ two young friends and colleagues from the UNPA Berlin office, Pari Kasiwar from Bombay/Mumbai and his new Chinese-American girlfriend Jennie Zheng, who worked with Yoriko Oe and Sartorius in the Asian UNPA committee.

An effeminate waiter served their table and minced back and forth bringing delectables and wine, and after a quite large meal of Sauerbraten, salad and oysters and assorted hor d’ourves the glasses and bottles began piling up as they sank into a comfortable liquid conversation.

Wolfgang drew Sartorius out into conversation——–“Well Robert, you must have noticed quite a few changes since your last visit here?”

“Incredible!—-I haven’t been back for quite a long time while I have been immersed in China and its almost unbelievable———–we sat at a café at the Alexanderplatz after strolling along Unter den Linden and I told Günter I couldn’t adjust to the fact that the wall was gone, still couldn’t take it in psychologically”  Sartorius replied.  

“Yes, we’re all like that at least a bit——-the ‘Mauer im Hirn’——the Wall in the mind that is perhaps surprisingly even harder to erase than the wall in concrete—–Ossies and Wessies and all that—-one adapts to change by necessity…but never completely. Perhaps only the young kids can take it in as ‘natural’ now….. Because they’ve never seen or felt the world the way it was before.”

“Plus ca la change….!”  chirped in Günter, “…..Robert perhaps you are not aware that one of the founders of the city. Friedrich Wilhelm I—the Soldatenkönig….our Soldier King….was so mad for collecting young boys for his army that 17,000 young boys fled the city to dodge his draft, and not to be foiled in collecting his favourite playthings, in response in 1734 he built a wall around the whole of Berlin—not to keep out invaders but to keep in the draft dodgers! Two hundred and thirty years later we then have another wall to keep the comrades from escaping their ‘liberation’ in the DDR. But I am afraid all the Humpty Dumpties have fallen off all the falling walls of the world and All the Kings Horses and All the Kings Men are not going to put them or their walls, their peoples or their Kingdoms back together again, neither here nor as far as your Great Wall of China out there!”

“Yes, even the Chinese are getting ambivalent about their walls” Sartorius responded,—–“one of the best loved popular novels in China is the Wei Cheng—‘The Beseiged Walled City’ by Qian Zhengshu—-taking off from the French proverb it likens marriage to a besieged walled city in which the wall lies between the two contending armies—–those outside trying to break in, and those inside trying to break out!—–or like the English parable of the Gilded Cage of gold in which the poor free birds are trying to enter and those trapped within trying desperately to find a way out!—– It’s now a common joke in China if someone is about to get married you smirk at him ‘Ah! You are ready to enter the Wei Cheng!’———-and now there is the ‘Wei Cheng Xian Xiang’—‘The Wei Cheng Phenomenon’ all over the Chinese Internet—-for instance there is the sudden rush by young college graduates having a hard time finding first jobs to take the civil service exam to get relatively secure government jobs, countered by the press of those veterans trapped in exactly those same bureaucratic jobs to escape the suffocating boredom and depression and get out of them!” 

Homo duplex, Homo duplex, ha, ha, ha!” chortled Günter——-“Concurritur: horae momento—-where there is life, there abide the contradictions of the human heart!”————-he sipped a small thimble glass of green Chartreuse and calculated how to set the conversation in the direction of his personal and professional interest—-Literature—–saying then to Sartorius “so what are you reading of Chinese Literature these days and are you finding anything there that they may have to contribute to the wider world?  I have to confess I know only a small amount—–perhaps our generation did not have linguistic or cultural access to that world early enough to get a proper handle on it or judge anything about it very fairly—just a few of the Classics in translation—Confucius’s Analects, the I Ching, Lao Zi’s Dao De Jing, Lin YuTang, The Good Earth, the Dream of the Red Chamber, Lu Xun—a curious Taoist book on alchemy—The Secret of the Golden Flower—–and of course Gao Xing Jian since he won the Nobel Prize—–but we’ve always been waiting to see if something valuable was ever going to come over that wall.”

“Well there is certainly some passable writing” ventured Sartorius, “….but nothing very earth shaking….who would I say?—I’ve read recent writers such Mo Yan, Wang Anyi, Jia Pinguo…..and the Chinese Modern Classics….Ba Jin, Cao Yu, Lao She, Lu Xun, Mao Dun, Zhang Ai Ling, Shen Congwen……many are credible enough to include in the minor pages of an anthology of modern and contemporary World Literature……but I haven’t been overwhelmed by anybody and in recent years the output has been a bit disappointing!”

“Disappointing is a gross understatement!” savaged Wolfgang, “Who are the hottest writers in China today, even taken seriously by the literary establishment?—-we have the pretty-girl writers like Mian Mian and Wei Hui—-Sugar and Baby this and Baby that!—and the epicene boy writers like Han Han—–that is not Literature that is trash!”

“Even offerings like Wolf Totem, the social fable-allegory is mediocre and panderingly Fascist,” he continued  “……..They should open their eyes and have the guts to admit that from the international literary perspective they have been hopelessly backwards for decades……….they are really in a hellish no-mans-land caught between the stultification and corruption of the Communist publishing establishment and its moribund Chinese Writer’s Association and the equally corrupting and pandering influence of the capitalist publishing marketplace…..pandering after glossy sex or violence laced non-entities such as Shanghai Baby and its ilk!”

“But Wolfgang, have a little compassion for the young……” chimed in Günter, after all, all over the world the contemporary writer acutely in touch with life is forced to start from scratch—-reality doesn’t exist. God was the omniscient author, but he died; now no one knows the plot!”

“Quatsch and cant……” Wolfgang retorted as he thrust his body forward as a soldier bracing himself for battle, “…….though thou leadest me into the Valley of Artlessness I shall fear no evil!”

Sartorius smiled to Günter as it became apparent that they had struck a nerve in Wolfgang’s sensibility and that he was going to continue at length on a subject that he had thought through in his professional capacity as a Sinologist and as the writer of a ten-volume history of Chinese Literature in German. Because they respected his mind and his integrity they prepared themselves with a shared smile and the pouring of an additional glass of cognac to listen with interest as well as amusement to his verbal histrionics and demands for attention attached to the very definite opinions over which he was ready to mount his tilting horse…..

But if the passion of old men and academics for their theories and literary lore was apt to rise to flood over their aperitifs and cigars the passions of the young were turned in a completely otherwise direction. As the distinguished literati pursued their academic hobbyhorses and apercus, Pari, nodding and smiling in response to the points of discussion raised by the professors slipped off his shoe, conveniently an Oxford loafer, beneath the complete cover of the red floor-length table cloth and thrust forward his foot, clad in a fresh grey cashmere sock, and finding his girlfriend Jennie’s knee, began to rub into it his big toe and lift her skirt beneath the table. Jennie, after a slight muffled shock returned the smile of Günter as he made his comment about the necessity for a little compassion for the young. She then maintained a remarkable womanly sang froid as she studiously not looking at Pari’s face lurched her chair forward closer to the table, resting her elbow upon its edge as she pressed her lips to her cocktail glass with an elegantly smooth movement and measured smile. Pari then lifted the hem of her skirt with his toes, enabling his entire inhabited sock, which luckily he had put on fresh after showering before dinner, to wander about between her stockingless thighs. Professor Spitzer felt a surge of his amor propre as he sensed from the beautiful girl’s eyes, focused in his direction, an attention keyed to a new intensity in response to his exposition. His impression of the effect of his display of erudition upon the young Indian was, however, opposite and otherwise as he noticed the young man slumping backward slightly in his chair, in apparent disinterest. The professor was, nonetheless, slightly disappointed that he could not draw the young beauty further into the discussion, which touching so on Chinese letters might have been expected to engage her closer interest, but in response to his most brilliant points she could not to be induced to comment further than a curt “Yes” or “I see.” But had he known what he did not he might have been more impressed with her presence of mind, as through the course of the longish discussion the woolen provocation beneath the crisp tablecloth, accompanied by the sprightliest of talk, extensively reached a silk-covered point rarely referred to in polite mixed table conversation.  

“………But why are contemporary Chinese writers hopelessly underdeveloped from an international literary perspective?” Professor Spitzer asked rhetorically, keying himself up to a heightened effort, “Fundamentally because they have been sitting behind the Chinese Wall intellectually for so long, not to mention being behind the Iron or Bamboo Curtain—-they have been isolated linguistically and culturally—–or stifled by conformism to either ideology or to ethnocentric nationlist sentiment—–they don’t have the serious intellectual challenge of multiple perspectives on their own culture—standards and traditions that can force them into critical thinking and growth beyond their own cultural blinders and conformities——too few of them read in foreign languages beyond the few syllables necessary to pass their Gao Kao and Band 4 exams to get through school—and too few of them are immersed in the intellectual challenges of international literary currents which shake off one’s own self-satisfaction and stimulate growth………

“Chinese writers are backward because of their style, their world outlook, and because of the literary forms they make use of…..They should either stop writing or start reflecting on the one and only medium they have to work with: language.”

“I hope you are not going to get too Post-modern on us” Sartorius quipped.

“I will tell you that Chinese writers’ ignorance of foreign languages at literary levels of competence is the greatest barrier to their producing work which might be revered outside the Chinese mainland or its cultural appendages……..All the great writers that I know were either translators or could handle a lot of different languages……Goethe, Rilke, Celan, even respectable Chinese writers like Lu Xun, Lao She, Dai Wangshuo….The critical thing was that they not only knew and used foreign languages but they were able to encounter and respond to new ideas coming from beyond their own culture and to new and original perspectives on human life which stimulated their own growth and creativity.”

“Well, Wolfgang, it sounds like you are being a little hard on the younger writers—it seems at times that you academic critics hold the same view of writers that the US Cavalry held of Indians—that the only good one is a dead one!—Sorry about that Pari!—-Wolfgang, I agree with the thrust of your ideas,” said Sartorius, “but to be fair not all great writers have been great linguists, Shakespeare apologized for his “Little Latin” and we Anglo-Saxons and Americans are notorious for our linguistic backwardness despite producing some great writers like Hemingway, Mark Twain and Dickens…..and your criterion might exclude the bulk of the working class…writers like Jack London or Gorky…who don’t get an international upper-class education or any chance to take on several languages—-from literature as well….but I agree with its desirability in principle, certainly…………”

“Yes, I see your point, but those authors welcomed international perspectives whenever they had the chance, and picked up foreign languages in the course of their development, instead of cocooning themselves willfully within their own limited background—-for instance Gu Cheng and Zhai Yongming once told me that learning German or English would destroy their mother tongue. But if there was any truth to this ridiculous assertion they why did Zhang Ailing, Lao She, Lu Xun, Lin Yutang, Yan Fu and many others write many of their best works after working in foreign languages or even writing books in foreign languages?—-many of the Chinese writers are provincially blindered like a workhorse and carry on with a naive and closed-eyed belief in their greatness but cannot rise to world-class standards.”

“And another problem,” Wolfgang continued with unimpeded momentum on his chain of performance of his set of ideas on the subject,  “….is the inability to foster a supportive writing community with a sense of dedication to the craft of writing…..Of course the established Writers’ Association is out of the question and completely useless, self-satisfied, co-opted, bureaucratized, corrupted and stultifying..…Literature is fire!—-it needs to be provocative and raise a ruckus in the stolid institutions at times……..but writers also need the sense of belonging to a community of comrade craftsman who pride themselves in their craft, as well as an independent literate branch of civil society comprising a reading and writing community which shares a sense of nurture and responsibility towards literature, language and society…….”

“Genau……exactly!……” broke in Günter, “………….It is the life of the mind that concerns me. The life of the mind is something that society needs to nurture, examine and support. I don’t just mean the work of the mind—-problem solving or academic toil—-the mind does not live to work but rather works to live, to serve the greater life beyond its work. No, it is not the work of the mind but rather the life of the mind which is holy——-the organic life, health and vitality of the mind—the mind in its perplexities, its dreams, its hopes, its joys, its unfolding contradictions, its  passions, fears and obsessions and in its shear exuberance of life—–in its onward evolution, maturity and growth, both within the single individual and within the community of minds alive together or drawing on living traditions. In this respect the imaginative arts, including writing play a decisive role in exploring what it means to live, what it means to be human.”

Wolfgang then, hanging fire during the interruption, continued with his broken chain of thought without attempting to elaborate on Günter’s:  “………..Of course we all know of the corruption and corrosion of the Republic of Letters by the money marketplace anywhere in the world, but in China’s volatile conditions we find too few of the writers have a professional commitment to their craft and integrity, and many write for money and then “xia hai” or jump into the sea of business and abandon their craft when more money beckons elsewhere. And a parallel corruption is that of the commercial publishing industry on the critics and commentators, where the magazines give a fat “hong bao” or red envelope of bribe money to reviewers to give favourable reviews to authors they are promoting. In this regard perhaps it is the very commercial isolation of the young Chinese poets and their realization that they will never get rich from their efforts which reinforces the integrity and commitment to craft of poets like Zhai Yongming, Xi Chuan, Wang Jia Xin and Ouyang Jianghe.”

“And there is a similar hypertrophication of the antagonism between writer and writer and writer and critic———–this is the lobster-pot-mentality of pulling down anyone getting ahead of oneself and in so doing destroying any kind of nurturing literary community or culture——Cao Pi—the son of the ancient great ruler of China Cao Cao of the San Guo Yan Yi and a great poet and literary critic said ‘wenren xiang qing’ meaning scholars and writers despise each other. They are forever criticizing others but never criticizing themselves on a principled basis….

“……..Don’t take me wrong!———I’m not saying there is any insurmountable barrier to Chinese writers developing to produce a world-class literature and individual genius is always possible, ——-and even in many areas recent progress has been significant—-not to mention their great literary heritage of the past—remember Goethe observed to Eckermann that Chinese were writing great poetry when our German forefathers were living in skins in the forest!—-but on whole there is a fair way to go yet——and when they develop the international quality of their writing it will also help in being able to communicate to the world what is unique and uniquely valuable within their own culture as well.”

“But do you think China and the outside world can comprehend each other, particularly the Western world?” asked Sartorius.

“Never completely—-but I tell you there are also benefits of misunderstanding. You could say there are two types of misunderstanding between great cultures: the stereotypical and the creative.—-The latter is not detrimental, indeed can be a jumping off place for creative dialectic or synthesis. China’s assimilation of Western culture is mostly a process of misunderstanding, misreading—-and vice versa. European interest in contemporary Chinese literature so far arises from curiosity about China and the increasingly imposing fact of China’s presence on the world scene, not, unfortunately, out of any intrinsic value or interest derived from that literature, which has not yet developed anything of world-class value, as for instance the counter-case of European interest in Latin American literature following “El Boom”—for Europe Chinese contemporary literature offers a window on the world but has produced no masterpieces, though without doubt its historical literary classics—the Hong Lou Meng and Xi You Ji—Dream of the Red Chamber and Journey to the West, I Ching, Dao De Qing, etc. are an undoubted part of the canon of World Literature. But we shall be hearing more from this dialogue by and by, I suspect—A shrapnel of voices follows on the explosion of culture.”

Günter Gross drew off a thimble-glass of Chartreuse and broke in on the line of conversation………”Robert and I have discussed all of this many times and we are now thinking of collaborating on a book—–I go back to the Gespräche of Goethe and Eckermann not far from us in Weimar—-and I think in this era of economic and cultural globalization and the advent of the shrinking technological world of the Global Village of satellite television, jet travel and the Internet, Goethe’s concept of ‘Weltliteratur’ or World Literature as you say in English—-grows more and more valid as it grows more and more necessary and unavoidable as the peoples of the world strive by inextricable necessity to build a common culture and a quantum of mutual comprehension, tolerance and understanding as a sustainable means of living and co-existing together on this fragile planet without annihilating ourselves in ecocide, environmental meltdown or irrational nuclear catastrophe…….

“You know Eckermann in his Gespräche was our Germany’s equivalent of Boswell in his Life of Samuel Johnson and he as Goethe’s personal secretary and out of a great love and reverence for Goethe recorded many of his conversations—-one of the most notable apropos of our conversation concerned his reflections while reading a Chinese novel at Weimar—-Goethe concluded: “I am more and more convinced,” he continued, “that poetry is the universal possession of mankind . . . the epoch of World Literature is at hand, and everyone must strive to hasten its approach.” And in this he was seconded in his opinion by Marx and Engels in their Communist Manifesto in 1847 when they from their scientific socialist perspective also maintained:  ‘National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures there arises a world literature.’ For Marx and Engels, as for Goethe, World Literature is the quintessential literature of modern times, and for us in the age of the Internet it has become a palpable if unformulated reality.”

“Precisely….Yes……Absolutely!” interjected Sartorius  “……….and Günter, as you go back to Goethe, Marx and Engels, so I am drawn back to the touchstones of my own intellectual development from the English-speaking tradition—-I am reminded of  my graduate school reading of Matthew Arnold’s Function of Criticism at the Present Time and T.S. Eliot’s Tradition and the Individual Talent……Matthew Arnold maintained that the function and highest ideal of criticism and literature was ‘to make known and accessible the best that is thought and felt in the world’ and that necessarily requires an openness and attention to the best masterpieces of any and all nations and languages of the world as well as the classics of their literary and cultural traditions, past and present. T.S. Eliot similarly saw the reading of any modern work taking its place in the corpus of “the Tradition” encompassing the community of consciousness of past ages reflected in its literature, as well as his drawing on the diverse traditions of the world such as the Fire Sermon of Buddha and the Bhagavad Gita in the Waste Land….today the ‘best that has been thought and felt’ and ‘the Tradition’ is more and more globalized, and the fruition of the great conversation of our civilizations depends on our common sharing of these global touchstones, yet our institutions and our awareness of this lag far behind the new reality……”

“And if I may be allowed to second the opinion of my brother Laureate, V.S. Naipaul, in his Wriston Lecture…..”  injected Günter, “…….our common heritage and our common work in literature is to serve the construction and preservation of ‘Our Universal Civilization,’ a framework and foundational common culture of mutual comprehension, tolerance and conversation enabling the aspiration, nurture and self-realization of individuals within the diverse but common heritage of mankind.”

“Well Robert…..” said Pari Kasiwar drawing the smoke down a long Benson & Hedges cigarette and exhaling it slowly as he rose to the vertical in his soft chair, speaking over his glass of rum coco on ice, “… sounds very noble and humanistic and all, but if I might with due respect be allowed to play the part of the Devil’s Advocate, isn’t this all a bit too romantic and overambitious, like building the Tower of Babel, and isn’t it similarly likely to dissolve into a ‘global babble’ of incomprehensible tongues in a dialogue of the culturally deaf?—–and after all who could possibly read all the literature of the entire world or have a shred of hope to comprehend it out of its cultural context?——aren’t we in danger of entering a kind of paper-thin poseur world of Literary Jet Setting and airport bookstore marketing?——-and aren’t we as likely to experience a ‘Clash of Civilizations’ as any harmonious or universal civilization?” 

“Well those are very real dangers, certainly,” responded Sartorius. “……..which is exactly why our work is more vital and more important—–if we don’t build and maintain this common culture—a World Literature as well as world art, world music, world cinema, world media etc. providing the global common touchstones to build a common language and common consciousness then the world is heading for a certain crack-up. All the institutions in the world such as our UNPA will be meaningless and dysfunctional without a common language and new global consciousness to support them and a common culture to serve as their foundations……….that is why Günter and I are researching and co-writing our joint book on World Literature together…… and we are interviewing and collecting the multiple perspectives of anyone and everyone we run into in the process to sharpen our focus………………”

“Hear, Hear!” seconded Günter.

“But I do think your point about modern post-modern novelists being shallow and commercial is a significant danger. Many of the young post-modernists are part of what I term “Rafflesia Literature.” continued Sartorius.

“What?” asked Jennie.

“It’s a term I picked up on a trip to Singapore and then down to Sarawak in neighboring Borneo. You see the Rafflesia flower is the largest flower in the world, with a single blossom exceeding a meter or yard across, so it is a rather dramatic flowering that attracts a lot of attention. But if you go to look at a Rafflesia flower you must go quickly, because the Rafflesia flower, big and dramatic as it may be only lasts a day or two and then begins to rot and decay away. You see the Rafflesia plant is a rootless, stemless, leafless parasite which consists almost entirely of the flower. It survives by attaching itself to the Tetrastigma plant, which is a vine related to the grape family, from which the Rafflesia sucks out prodigious quantities of nutrients. The Rafflesia will rot away to death in a few days! This is a kind of metaphor for many of our recent popular post-modern writers. Their work is also rootless, stemless, leafless and parasitical. A real writer must be at least doubly rooted—rooted in his own deeper personal experience, observation of the world and consciousness, and rooted in his literary tradition as well. Many young writers are neither, and they reproduce what the marketplace demands, a kind of “McLit” as you say of cheap cultural relativism and deconstruction of tradition spiced with a yuppyish Jet Set international or cross-cultural lifestyle that exhibits neither deep personal experience nor rootedness in either of their cultures. The idea that a text is only a text and writing only about writing not about life and the world—there is no reality and no truth, a storytelling entertainment rather than a serious engagement and criticism of life, legitimatizes this superficiality. But ultimately these authors are a mere flash in the pan, like the Rafflesia flower and begin to rot! They deconstruct themselves and soon there is nothing left of permanent value” he explained.

“Writers!—–I believe the more people write the less they think, much less feel, until they fall into babbling cant and self-indulgence!…………” said Pari, slumping to the left of his high soft armchair while crossing his legs and exhaling smoke across the cluttered table,  “Anyway, Robert, you know a good part of me wants to be convinced, I’m a frustrated writer myself so I have an egotistical interest in deluded hopes of becoming the new messiah as well as a soft heart for the Respublica Literaria so go on, please go on—tell me about your idea of World Literature…I am interested…..what would it look like and what do you mean by it exactly?”

“Ok, Pari………..….how would I put it….…..let me see……………….…..all right …………I would take world literature to encompass all literary works that circulate beyond their culture of origin, either in translation or in their original language. In its most expansive sense, world literature could include any work that has ever reached beyond its home base……………a focus on actual readers makes good sense: a work only has an effective life as world literature whenever, and wherever, it is actively present within a literary system beyond that of its original culture. Perhaps you are right in saying that the ambition to read everything ever published in the world would be a superhuman and impossible feat, but you could say the same thing of any national literature—–nobody could ever read all of it or all of its books, authors, periods or movements—-the key is like Arnold emphasizes, to make out the common touchstones, the island peaks prominent above the shifting horizon of the seas of space, time and culture, with a special but non-exclusive emphasis on the cultural classics and masterpieces of each major culture, made mutually accessible so as to develop common reference points for development of a common language and to enable a common conversation of ideas, values, sensibilities…between cultures and civilizations as well as of individuals as to the values, beliefs and assumptions discovered and shared which may make possible their sustained and sustainable living, working and aspiring together in our inescapably common world.”

“………..To my mind Pari, any idea of World Literature I would be interested in could be been seen in one or more of at least three basic ways: as an established body of world classics, as an evolving canon of masterpieces, and as a shifting selection of multiple windows on the worldand we can and should approach or teach, read or write about each of these validly in each way relative to our particular situation, goals and needs……  

 “…..So what do I mean by this?……..The ‘Classic’ is often what is taught in a conservative or culture-building context like public schools—-it can be seen as a work of transcendent, even foundational value, often identified in the West particularly with Greek and Roman literature—-still taught today in our departments of Classics—–and often closely associated with the totemic values of each civilization. Here we have two modern difficulties;—the first being what we just talked about—-the needed effort to broaden the Classics to include the international foundational classics of other civilizations alongside the established classics of the West.  Yes every educated person anywhere in the world should have some familiarity with Homer, Plato, Aeschylus, Vergil, Dante, the Bible, Don Quixote, Voltaire, Faust, Flaubert and Shakespeare but they should also have some minimal familiarity with Confucius, Lao Zi, Li Bai, Du Fu, the Arabian Nights, Kalidasa, the Mahabarata of Vayasa, Popul Vuh, the Koran and Hadith, Tale of Genji, Gilgamesh and the Bagavad Gita. The classics inform us about works so deeply embedded in great civilizational cultures that familiarity becomes necessary to understanding not only their literatures but also their peoples, cultures and cultural perspective as a whole. Yet the true classic also bears the value of a degree of universal validity, as a classic is a book that tells not merely the story of what happened at a certain time or place amoung men and women of a certain society, but rather it shows us what happens whenever there are humans. All educated persons, as “citizens of the world” should have a superficial acquaintance with them and specialists and professionals can take and develop such knowledge broader and deeper as needed.

The second major problem with regard to the classics is the prejudice against them in modern popular culture and the need to broaden horizons not only between cultural heritages but also between periods of history. Part of the modernist legacy of breaking with the past is an unhealthy tendency to overvalue and privilege ourselves and the present time over the peoples, cultures and insights of past times, often conveyed through the classics. I call this ‘Presentism’ or ‘Nowism’ which is a prejudice and parti pris of our age.  You can accuse me of being a prejudiced old man, but really I find today’s young people so unbearably provincial—-their live out their lives within the miniscule horizons of the Lilliputian Province of the Provincial Now. And because they don’t read, except on their iPhones or websites, they have almost never been outside that backwater in their whole lives. They go through life taking their latest Pop and sports stars as the fixed gods and constellations of their heaven, and they are all forgotten by the next decade, by which time the sky has fallen in on their little world completely. A healthy world literature is rooted in the classics and past masterpieces of all world cultures and grows, as Eliot observes, out of the long tradition from which it flowers and evolves.

 “The ‘masterpiece,’ on the other hand, can be an ancient or a modern work and need not have had any foundational cultural force but is celebrated for its artistic excellence and the delight and meaningful experience it gives.  Goethe clearly considered his own best works, and those of his friends, to be modern masterpieces and we could say the idea of “the masterpiece,” indeed, came into prominence in the nineteenth century as literary studies began to deemphasize the dominant Greco-Roman classics, elevating the modern masterpiece to a level of near equality with the long-established classics and following up on the Renaissance development of refocusing literature on the vernacular and the people as a whole rather than the classical literature of the educated elite.  You might say the shift to the masterpiece paralleled the shift from an aristocratic to a more democratic, middle class order and assumed masterworks could engage in a “great conversation” on an equal footing with their aristocratic forebears ‘the classics,’  a conversation in which their culture and class of origin mattered less than the great ideas and sensibilities they expressed anew, especially in the new genres of the broader middle-class populace such as the novel, the essay, and the modern theatre and opera as epitomized by such greats as Cervantes, Goethe, Montaigne, Rousseau, Flaubert, Dickens, Mann, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Lawrence, Joyce and Hemingway.” continued Sartorius.

“And the Masterpiece can be either long or short……” introjected Günter, “Robert here is addicted to the massive tomes such as Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks, Magic Mountain, Joseph and his Brothers and Tolstoy’s War and Peace.  He has two unpublished novels that rival War and Peace in shear heft and so frighten away any publisher. But I have become more of a minimalist in my old age, attracted to the short and powerful works such as Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby or the Greek tragic plays.”

“Yes, I have a weakness for what you might call “The Total Novel,” or “Total Fiction,”  a species of the “Gesamtkunstwerk” like Wagner’s orgies of form, which combines realism and fantasy, myth and psychological verisimilitude, and which unfolds all the potential manifestations of reality and history…like Vargas Llosa’s La Casa Verde…and the Latin American savage baroque” rejoined Sartorius,

“……..Or what he really means, Ha. Ha! is that he has a weakness for Absolute Fiction…..” Günter cut back in, “………..where the fictions defeat all attempts to comment upon or clarify them!….Ha, ha, ha!……………..”

 “…………or perhaps I have overlearned the lessons of your German model……alles gründlich machen, while you have ironically overlearned American economy in words……….but that is a matter of individual taste……some like the geometrical simplicity of Bach’s counterpoint in the Little Fugue, while others like the comprehensive development of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony……..both long or short are undoubtedly Masterpieces……….” said Sartorius,  “……..but anyway for me all that’s neither here nor there: the ultimate measure of the value of a book remains not in its form or fame but in its ability to affect the living of life—“Has it helped any human soul?’”

“Finally…..” continued Sartorius, “……. Goethe’s disquisitions on Chinese novels and Islamic literature such as Firdausi and Hafiz, interest in works that would serve as windows into foreign worlds, whether or not these works could be construed as masterpieces and regardless of whether these differing worlds had any visible links to each other at all leads to the third major branch of our world literature—works of art as ‘windows on the world.’ Our modern potpourri of third-world novels is often of this nature, often perhaps not being of the highest artistic caliber but giving us a new perspective and window on the world that had not been brought to our attention before or people or peoples whose stories had not yet been told to the wider world.  You might poo-pooh it as literary jet setting, but that is not so bad after all is it? —- especially as more and more people have opportunity and it may be a crude but useful first step in a further and deeper process of understanding. And encountering the new, strange and novel may be a great stimulus to our growth of comprehension as we find experiences that are vitally the same but not the same as our own……

………Of course as you know, these three conceptions and categories are not mutually exclusive, so there is really no good reason why we shouldn’t allow all three categories their ongoing value and include them all in various mixes,  particularly as a single work may effectively be classified as a classic, a masterpiece and a ‘unique window on the world.’ I mean you can take Virgil’s Aeneid is the very type of a timeless classic, but it is also a masterpiece of its genre, the epic…… stage of development in the long series of works from Gilgamesh and the Iliad up to Joyce’s Ulysses and Walcott’s Omeros. Equally, the Aeneid is a window on the world of imperial Rome—-even though it is set before Rome’s founding—in its underworld scenes of katabasis and epic similes it opens out with unconcealed directness toward Virgil’s contemporary world…….

“……….If you ask me the simplest question, ‘What is Literature” a propos of Einstein who maintained the simplest question of the child is most difficult and most theoretically complex to answer, I would fall back on his concept of relativity and say I have relatively little interest in attempting any firm definition of literature as such, since this is a question that really only has meaning within a given literary system. Any global perspective on literature must acknowledge the tremendous variability in what has counted as literature from one place to another and from one era and stage of cultural development to another; in this sense, literature can best be defined pragmatically as whatever texts a given community of readers takes as literature—meaning how and where diverse communities and their cultures habitually look in the course of their lives for spoken or written forms of meaning and understanding of their human condition and in their personal and social lives in a comprehensive way…………”

“But you know one thing that worries me is the rootlessness and superficiality of these ideas of a global culture and literature…..” chirped in Jennie Zheng, overcoming her initial accustomed posture of a tentative respectful deference to the elders around her and throwing back her long black trail of hair behind her head to break in a wave of rising self-confidence,   “…Look……..From New York to Beijing, via Moscow and Vladivostok, and on to Jakarta and Mumbai you can eat the same junk food, watch the same junk on television, and, hear the same junk pop and rap music, and increasingly, read the same junk novels . . . Instead of ‘socialist realism’ we have ‘market realism’ and the books in the airport bookstores seem to be dumbed down and culturally and commercially correct so as to be saleable to prejudices of the newer Net and Jet Set…It’s often based on marketable formulas involving disembodied people whose lives and stories change as little from country to country as the décor changes from the Jakarta Hilton to the Istanbul Hilton—a kind of Disneyfication of the literary marketplace…….it seems like so much global local-colour pablum and not really worth the effort of reading it—-a kind of McLit!”

“Ha!—that’s the modern international market aesthetic for you……..L’Art pour le Buck” quipped Pari.

“Who is there to tell the truth anymore?” asked Jennie

“Truth!……Try to get a living from truth and you’ll end up standing in the soup lines!……….” Pari retorted, “……….and the writer who aims for intellectual prestige, formal originality or artistic merit is likely to have a day job!”

 “Well, I do think it is a hard dilemma to resolve for a young international writer ” inflected Wolfgang drawing down on a Cuban cigarillo and adjusting his overtight tie and collar, “—-of course there are those who are only after commercial success and see a market niche of writing ‘ready-mades’ as pablum in a Post-Colonial voice cum Third-World pet for the Western market—giving them what they expect to hear—-But if you are a writer from a small country or a Third-world developing country with some imagination and integrity what are your options?—- The writer from a marginal culture is in a double bind. With little to go on at home, a young writer can only achieve greatness by emulating desirable foreign models—possibly only by studying and writing in an international language such as English instead of his own vernacular—–‘the need for an intercourse with great predecessors is the sure sign of a higher talent,’ Goethe said, and advised ‘Study Molière, study Shakespeare’ –yet these models can have a crushing weight even for the natives of their own country with a rich in-depth tradition, let alone for someone coming from a land and vernacular with a thin development of modern literature——–so let’s say he does study and benefits from the best quality models he can find in his own provincial country and from the world at large at a metropolitan center—and struggles to develop his own voice, perhaps succeeding after some time——then all of the sudden he is damned from all sides——his countrymen damn him for selling-out and being co-opted by the metropolitan center and its material and non-material rewards—-and his contemporaries in the international center condemn him for being derivative of their own culture, lacking the authenticity of his own culture and re-serving up a weak second-hand hash of his own Western education with an oversprinkling of cosmetic local colour!—-He’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t!  If he is a man or woman of wide sympathies and international civilization or develops universal themes he’s accused of being a sell-out for having the courage to develop beyond the provincial prejudices of his culture of origin—I think we have to cut young writers some slack and give them the freedom to be both citizens of their own home culture and with equal validity and acceptance, citizens of the world and of the Republic of Letters at large……

“…….In my own field of Sinology we have an example in Bei Dao.  He is a Chinese poet who attained prominence in the West after moving to exile abroad following the Tian An Men incident in Beijing in 1989.  Now I would call him a respectable if not great writer and poet, but we have some people like Stephen Owen writing in the New Republic saying that Bei Dao is mere fluff and rehashed Anglo-American sophomoric Modernism re-packaged in Chinese as a niche-market literary boutique product for a progressive Western market looking to invent a martyr to blacken their preconceived idée fixe of a totalitarian China, and of course he is politically under the thumb in China, so where does it leave him as an artist and author? —-it leaves him with no growing room to develop his talents in either direction, and I don’t agree that he is a mere derivative nullity and so I think is a damn shame!”

“Yes, I see what you mean and it’s a difficult yet universal problem”  drawled  out Günter Gross downing a Brandy Alexander and scarfing up on the corn chips and salmon-cream dip,  “…..Contemporary poets who write in the “wrong language,” even like Chinese with hundreds of millions of speakers but without international currency abroad or acceptance at home, not only must imagine themselves being translated in order to reach an audience of an adequate magnitude, they must also engage in the extraordinary act of imagining a world poetry and placing themselves within it. And, although it is supposedly free of all prejudicial local history, this “world poetry” turns out, unsurprisingly, to be a version of Anglo-American modernism or French modernism, depending on which wave of colonial culture first washed over the intellectuals of the country in question. This situation is often perceived as the quintessence of cultural hegemony, when an essentially local tradition (Anglo-European) is widely taken for granted as universal, perhaps by accident of the legacy of the distribution of power over past two centuries of history; but we can’t forget that it is a universal problem even in present-day metropolitan centers.  No country is intrinsically and irrevocably the center of the world and cannot remain the center of the small part of the world it has become accustomed to be forever—- and metropolitan status can be gained and lost—-Perhaps China had metropolitan status during the Tang Dynasty when scholars from Japan, Korea, Vietnam and the environs traveled to Chang-an and wrote poetry in their home countries not in their native language but in classical Mandarin Chinese—-and lost it thereafter—and we can think of the Alexandria of the Greek Empire and the Baghdad of the Abyssid Caliphate.  We think of London, Paris, and Berlin as metropolitan centers, but prior to the Renaissance who ever wrote or read a book in English, French or German outside their home countries—themselves very small with only a handful of millions in population?——–perhaps it is only after the Renaissance and Reformation that writers and scholars stopped writing in Latin and began to predominantly write in English, French, German and other vernacular European languages. Latin was the lingua franca and the ‘international language’ or ‘Putonghua—common language” of its time and London, Paris and Berlin were mere provincial outposts where a vernacular book could only reach a few hundred thousand literate and interested persons at best compared to the whole of Europe for Latin, including the educated of one’s own country as well, all arguing for utilizing Latin and the benefit of two thousand years of cultural, linguistic and literary history and models. As you said of Goethe Wolfgang, the Chinese were writing world literature in the Tang dynasty when Germans were living in skins in the forests—I recall Conrad in the Heart of Darkness observing that England for Caesar was a kind of primeval jungle like Kurz’s Congo —should we not equally say English, French, Spanish and German are all ‘Post-Colonial’ subaltern languages to Latin and Latin to Greek ad infinitum?—-and if everyone is a subaltern in the wider scope of things then the category loses its validity— what is the point of being ever a victim if everyone is a victim and no one, or at least no one still alive can be said to be responsible except the human condition ?  It’s simply a generalized universal problem—–if  you wanted to speak to your civilization up to the 17th Century —the whole of Western Europe—you wrote in Latin—as did Sir Thomas More, Erasmus, Copernicus, even Milton and others and Latin contained the accumulated intellectual capital of the cumulative evolution of international civilization up to and including its time. Even Dante was somewhat revolutionary in choosing to write in his native Tuscan Italian—choosing to reach a much smaller audience geographically, but to reach all classes of his own native countrymen. ————-Vernacular nationalism changed the writer’s audience by focusing his energies on mobilizing the consciousness of all classes of his own national people and relying on translation for addressing his wider civilization. In short, even if we put aside or solved the questions of political, military and cultural hegemony, most writers of most countries will still have to choose whether to write in the lingua franca—-the international language of their day or in their own limited national vernacular—Joseph Conrad chose English to reach the wider world—yet with the extraordinary facility of translation in modern times, even a writer from a small nation can be translated into twenty or thirty languages if he is prominent—-but probably has a serious marketing problem in trying to attain such stature outside his own small linguistic domain—in contrast to Conrad, Czeslaw Milosz attained world-class status in his own Polish, but it took the Nobel Prize to solve his marketing problem.

But fundamentally there can only be a limited number of international languages and metropolitan centers due to the limited linguistic capacities of human beings—-each person can only master a handful of languages at best, yet in a globalized world of hundreds of languages we all need to agree on one or a small number of languages as a common medium of communication accessible to all directly or indirectly, ——and the wider world by right of necessity and convenience has the privilege to adapt itself to the richest and most convenient metropolitan language and culture to serve as lingua franca—a shared international intellectual currencyand shared banking channel for the shared intellectual capital of its era, though we know the choice is often forced by the inescapable legacy of past history.  Greek and Latin served these purposes in the ancient world long after the political power or imperial domination of those empires was reduced to dust and nullity, and the same could be said for Arabic and Persian at many points of history—–Undoubtedly much of our so-called Renaissance derived part of its intellectual capital from recovery of lost Greek and Latin classics retranslated from Arabic sources via Ibn Sina and Ibn Sind—Avicenna and Averroes——so I think the rhetoric of ‘Neo-colonialism’ is exaggerated—as are occasional calls to cease writing in English or French from writers such as Ngugi wa Thiong’o————If America and Britain disappeared from the map in a geological cataclysm English would continue to be the lingua franca and international language of the rest of the world for three generations at the least simply because it is really the only language they all have in common—-every people and every writer must simply adapt to the fundamental reality that they exist in a much wider and older world than that of their contemporary home milieu—and every speaker and writer must simply grow up and adjust to the reality that they are but a small part of the multi-linguistic community to which they address themselves, now and for the future—-and they must adjust accordingly.”

“Well I can only speak as an Indian” lilted Pari in his Sub-continental high-tones, “—— From my perspective any possible solution needs to recognize that we don’t face an either/or choice for world literature and the use of English itself is constituted very differently in different cultures. A culture’s norms and needs profoundly shape the selection of works that enter into it as world literature, influencing the ways they are translated, marketed, and read, and as a by-product creating a great variety and flexibility in the ways this emerging World Literature will be manifested in various nations and national contexts—-which I think is a potential strength not necessarily a weakness—— In India, for example, world literature takes on a very particular valence in the dual contexts of the multiplicity of India’s disparate languages and the ongoing presence of English in post-Raj India.——to my way of thinking English can be seen in comparative terms as three distinct entities in India: as the language of the British Literature that featured so prominently in colonial Indian education; as the worldwide phenomenon of contemporary Global English; and as Indo-English, with its ambiguous status somewhere between a foreign and a native language. But fundamentally I think the whole world, and particularly the home metropolitan centers of America and Britain have to wake up to the fact that English is the common heritage of mankind and doesn’t exclusively belong to England or America as its proprietary chattel.  We could say that English has passed the critical quantum threshold and we have entered the Age of Global English as a language and international lingua franca, and to a much lesser extent English Literature by extension at least partially has become a sub species of World Literature rather than a national literature of Britain or of America—-let’s call it World Literature in English—-take Salman Rushdie as an example. ———–The reality is that you have perhaps three to five hundred million people speaking English as their native language in their home countries—mostly in America and Britain—but you now have well over a billion and a half people speaking English as a second language and still rising rapidly as international education penetrates more deeply to lower social classes and more widely geographically, particularly in the former Communist bloc and China—non-native users of English already outnumber native speakers two or three to one, not to mention the pre-existing reality that American, Canadian, Australian, Scots, Irish and other native speakers have already outnumbered the English themselves for more than a century. What is the net result?—-English—both as a language and partially as constituted in its Literature—has become both an international language, a multi-national language and an extra-national language—-perhaps similar to the examples of Greek and Latin and perhaps Arabic we were just talking about where many more persons outside the home country spoke the language than within the country, which became but a province of the internationalized linguistic and cultural community. I think we have to re-conceive our notions of what a Global English language and a quasi-internationalized English Literature has become as well as make way for the new and emerging category of World Literature in all languages.—-But I think this is unsettling to the dons in Britain and America because though they are naturally proud and flattered at the global importance of their language and literature they have not psychologically adjusted to the fact that they are not the sole proprietor of their language or its associated culture anymore as they may at one time have imagined.—-To use the modern corporate and political analogy we could say the English and English Literature, not to speak of World Literature in English now has as many ‘stakeholders’ as it has shareholders. I think the dons in America will wake up one day and find that the best American writers have turned from the great quest of the last hundred years to write the “Great American Novel” to the new quest of the next one-hundred years to write the “Great Global Novel!”—————-But if we think of how India would relate to this emerging World Literature you are conceiving, let’s remember India’s twenty-two principal literary languages themselves form a plenum comparable to that of all European literature, and the different Indian literatures are always strongly colored by the other languages in use around them.—– As a result, no Indian literature is ever itself alone: Bengali will be Bengali , Panjabi Panjabi , and Tamil Tamil —Hindi Hindi, Urdu Urdu——–. In a multilingual situation there cannot be a true appreciation of a single literature in absolute isolation——We might say the very structure of ‘Indian’ literature is comparative, and its internal comparative literature merges into its external comparative literature, at the same time that its Indo-English Literature merges into this idea of an emerging World Literature or you may say World and Comparative Literature if you like.”

“But doesn’t anyone of you think it would better for a writer or artist or reader to belong to some particular culture or tradition of his or her own rather than trying to become a ‘world writer’ and to belong everywhere and nowhere at once?” —-retorted Jennie with a rhetorically plaintive smile moving around the small circle of intent friends—–seemingly grateful for the physical relief of the surrounding masculine attention focusing on her ample if intelligent eyes and slightly poutish lips.

Sartorius responded to her, saying  “Yes, Jennie, I think the question of rootedness and rootlessness is one of the key questions of our time, and our rootlessness, from broken families to nomadic lifestyles is one of the great causes of personal and social suffering and of mental dissociation and disease. Somehow we seem to have lost our souls and need to reroot and refind them. Perhaps we are reliving the alchemist’s delusions, projecting our lost soul onto the material world and seeking hopelessly to regain it in the accumulation of consumer goods, possessions, powers, pleasures and ownership in our materialistic culture. Perhaps we can seek reintegration and wholeness following the path of Jung’s archetypes and re-integration of a broken consciousness and becoming re-rooted within our own deeper psyches and unconscious life………..I don’t know………..Yet there is no way to turn back the clock to a simpler imagined arcadia even if we wanted to. And despite all our literary theory and theorizing we know the great lessons given by the great novels of all literatures is that the human person is precious and unique; but we seem unable to set it forth except in terms of ideologies and abstractions, and so the great novels will always emerge idiosyncratically rather than by following any theoretical program…,,,,,,,,,,…I’m not a postmodernist or post-humanist in that regard—-I still believe in the possibility in literature of a model of reality—a deeper mimesis if you will,—-that is to say a theory and practice that represents things themselves, lived life and experience itself, and not merely their linguistic or cultural representation………………..As far as languages, literatures and nations are concerned there is no way to unglobalize the world………….and there is no way to unglobalize literature even if we had the desire—-as far as I can see as in much of life it is a question of striking a healthy balance or equilibrium between competing valid values—“

“…………..So you still think a World Literature can be rooted in real lived experience…..” she queried.

“——–For any given observer, or creative writer even a genuinely global perspective remains a perspective from somewhere—no one can observe the world from nowhere or everywhere and remain human. The human being is a “somewhere being.” The “Nowhere Man” of the Beatles, or the postmodern Whatever Man—or the postmodern Nowhere or Whatever Writer—- is a man in danger of losing his humanity, his individual “Somewhere Dasein,” his commitment to the potential value of his own life, his rootedness—‘being in’—-the living world of his living and livable life,—-and his vital connectedness thereby to something greater. But his Somewhere Life is also a journey—from a Somewhere to an Otherwhere and towards an Everywhere. Though he lives in and imaginatively contemplates a universe, a spacetime, that is “everywhere and everywhen,” he must encounter and experience the world within a given particular existence, a lived life and death, and see it with his particular eyes and communicate it with a particular voice rooted in a particular language and particular experience. Thus, though rising to approach a universal vision and voice through the writer’s living imaginative participation in the whole of the creation, the writers’ or artists’ contributions to the global patterns of the circulation of world literature take shape necessarily through, though may partially transcend their local manifestations. ———————-I am attracted to the expression of Leopold Senghor, the Senegalese leader and poet who was associated with Aime Caesaire in his youth in the negritude or black consciousness movement in France———-yet in later life he tried to strike a balance between both cosmopolitan and African life—-between rootedness and openness————he advised the writer and culture to be rooted in its own soil, people, family, history, even race———–but, be equally open to the whole world and enthusiastically welcoming of the best of that wider world——to live and grow best the plant should be rooted in its own soil but should send out branches, vines and crawlers far and wide in every direction to catch the most nourishing sunlight, not only at home but abroad in the wider and cosmopolitan world———the ideal being to be both individual and universal——–rooted and yet open to the entire world——–rooted in one’s own identity, one’s own lived experience and one’s home and what one belongs to as well as rooted in one’s own personal consciousness and unconsciousness————-as well as the collective consciousness of one’s community and the universal collective conscious and collective unconscious life of humanity and the human spirit——I would hope such an ideal would prove possible——-I am still pursuing it but without much apparent success.”

With that the small circle of friends overheard the proprietor at the bar shouting out over the murmur of the thinning evening crown in high tones “Feierabend!………..Wir machen Feierabend……….Bitte, Meine Damen und Herren wir machen Feierabend!” and the friends realized that they had been talking for several hours without realizing how late it had become. They lingered and continued on with some late small talk and well wishes while every ten minutes the manager intoned  above their heads  “Feierabend!………..Feierabend!”  and Sartorius had involuntarily called to his mind the echo of the words from T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land “Hurry up please…..its time!……..Hurry up please………….its ti-ime!” as the friends wound up their pleasant symposium in Greek fashion by finishing all the bottles of wine and liquor they had liberally ordered.  And then, being the last party to exit the restaurant and exchanging hugs and farewells, each returned to their particular lives in their particular direction, traveling apart together in ones or twos and ones again through the fog and darkness of the Berlin evening.


After the dinner and long discussion in the Schoeneberg restaurant Günter and Sartorius drove back to his Potsdam villa in his old Mercedes, weaving a bit unstablely on the Autobahn as Günter showed more than slightly the effects of the ample amount of alcohol they had consumed. The two old friends chatted a bit about some of the friends they had just left and others and waxed lyrical about their old friendship and the great time they had had getting drunk at the end and passionate about their joint and mutual support in developing their pet ideas and theories in the long conversation———Sartorius feeling the heat of the wine and alcohol under his skin flushing to the surface, loosened his collar and rolled down the front seat passenger-side window, taking in the delicious cool night air and settling against the worn leather seat and the side of the door, and in a good-humoured self-mocking tone broke out into some of the old lyrics that popped up into his somewhat fuzzed-over stream of consciousness——–“We belong to a myuchoou-u-u-u-al admir-ray-tion so-cy-it-tee!——–My Baby and Me!” he crooned out, smiling up into Günter’s receptive face, warm but pale in the moonlight————-and with that the two friends then celebrated their liquid evening in lyrical tones breaking out into singing a capella some of the old Cole Porter lyrics they had been fond of in the revelry of their younger years, taking turns completing the half-stanzas they could still remember. Sartorius started off on ‘You’re the Top,’ which he loved, grinding out a poor imitation of Louis Armstrong’s gravelly voice, slightly the worse for wine:

You’re the top!
You’re the Coliseum.
You’re the top!
You’re the Louver Museum.
You’re a melody from a symphony by Strauss
You’re a Bendel bonnet,
A Shakespeare’s sonnet,
You’re Mickey Mouse!

And as Sartorius savoured his pleasure in calling Günter ‘Mickey Mouse”—Günter answered back in song with the second-half of the stanza:

You’re the Nile,
You’re the Tower of Pisa,
You’re the smile on the Mona Lisa!
I’m a worthless check, a total wreck, a flop,
But if, baby, I’m the bottom you’re the top!

Sartorius couldn’t remember the next stanza…………something about…pathetic…poetic or something, so he skipped to the next full stanza he could recall to continue the pleasant game, drumming with his hands on the dashboard in imitation of a Gene Krupa flourish:

You’re the top!
You’re Mahatma Gandhi.
You’re the top!
You’re Napoleon Brandy.
You’re the purple light
Of a summer night in Spain,
You’re the National Gallery
You’re Garbo’s salary,
You’re cellophane!
You’re sublime,
You’re turkey dinner,
You’re the time, the time of a Derby winner
I’m a toy balloon that’s fated soon to pop
But if, baby, I’m the bottom,
You’re the top!

Günter, from childhood and youth rather introspective and inhibited in his friendships with men, was hardly likely to fall into drunken revelry and party song; in his older age, however, he had metamorphosed in the opposite direction, particularly after deliberately overdrinking with a few good friends, an ‘enantiodromia’ as he loved to phrase it with his literary showmanship, that he drew pleasure from of late as a kind of means of escape and compensation after the many decades of inhibition and concentration in the lonely and solitary craft of writing.————In his present state, like Sartorius he could not recall the complete lyrics, but not to be out done and in a warm offering he trotted out the next full stanza he could recall, the last, remembered mostly because it had the word Berlin in it:

You’re the top!
You’re a Waldorf salad.
You’re the top!
You’re a Berlin ballad.
You’re the boats that glide
On the sleepy Zuider Zee,
You’re an old Dutch master,
You’re Lady Astor,
You’re broccoli!
You’re romance,
You’re the steppes of Russia,
You’re the pants, on a Roxy usher,
I’m a broken doll, a fol-de-rol, a blop!………………..

And with that as Günter drew out the last line in a higher tone giving Sartorius the cue for the finale, they chanted in imperfect harmony the final line word for word together in a crescendo of bonhomie:

But if, baby, I’m the bottom,
   You’re…..the…….. top!

They rambled on with the broken lyrics of a few bits of song they could call to mind, finally ending up with a back and forth rendition of  ‘Anything Goes!,’ Sartorius starting off with:

In olden days a glimpse of stocking below the knee
Was considered quite shocking,
But now, God knows,
Anything Goes!

Good authors too who once knew better words,
Now only use four letter words
Writing prose, Anything Goes!

The world has gone mad today
And good’s bad today,
And black’s white today,
And day’s night today,
When most guys today
That women prize today
Are just silly gigolos
And though I’m not a great romancer
I know that I’m bound to answer
When you propose,
Anything goes!

And Günter chortled back:

When mothers pack and leave poor father
Because they decide they’d rather be tennis pros,
Anything Goes!

If driving fast cars you like,
If low bars you like,
If old hymns you like,
If bare limbs you like,
If Mae West you like
Or me undressed you like,
Why, nobody will oppose!
When every night,
The set that’s smart
Is intruding in nudist parties in studios,
Anything Goes!

And once again the joined together in brotherly unison for the crescendo of the final lyric:

The world has gone mad today
And good’s bad today,
And black’s white today,
And day’s night today,
When most guys today
That women prize today
Are just silly gigolos
And though I’m not a great romancer
I know that I’m bound to answer
When you propose,
Anything goes……..
And though I’m not a great romancer
I know that I’m bound to answer
When you propose,
Anything goes…
Anything goes!

                        After that they played the radio overloud and opened all the windows wide to let the colder night air blow strongly in their faces to make sure they stayed minimally alert and awake driving without cracking-up in the final stretch to the Potsdam villa, upon which they controlled their boisterousness and conspiratorially snuck up the stairs in stocking feet to keep from waking up Ottilie in those wee hours of the approaching morning.


                        To Sartorius’ mind Günter Gross was a man of paradox. In one sense he was an individualist, a great eccentric. In another sense he seemed to Sartorius a living embodiment of the universal man. He strove to realize in his human life his full potential; but he was determined, at the same time, to live in an uncompromising and unique way, though of course no one could succeed in either completely. If this meant upsetting people, as was often the case, he did not, on the whole seem to mind. “To be normally successful” he once said to him, “is the ideal aim of the unsuccessful.” He had set aside a promising medical career in a mid-life crisis of the soul, had wandered, decades before it became fashionable and comprehensible, across the globe in inner and outer searching, savouring its many cultures and the products of their diverse minds and sensibilities issuing, as he later conceived it, from the common womb of the collective unconscious of mankind, and turned to writing and literature with amazing success and depth of contribution.  They had met when Gross was a laureate guest professor during a year’s sojourn at the University of California at Berkeley, and Günter befriended him and took him under his wing as a mentor in things cultural, academic and literary. When the young Sartorius was granted tenure as a full professor a Günter took him out for an all night bash, toasting his success with a playful, knowing quip, making him kneel and then touching him on both shoulders with the golden Schaffer pen he always kept on his person and with which he had signed the roll as a Nobel Laureate, chanting:  “Arise Doctor Professor Sartorius, arise an official member of the Guild of Whores!”  Later, when they were on a more equal footing they traveled together and often stayed for extended visits at each other’s homes, occasionally collaborating and always, if sporadically corresponding, in recent times usually by e-mail.

            While Günter was residing in Berkeley Sartorius asked him if he would consider staying permanently in America, like others of his countrymen such as Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein, and if he was not attracted to the American Dream. Günter responded: “Well if you talk about Thomas Mann and Einstein I think that while indeed they were attracted by and admired America, the root of their emigration was less the American Dream than the European Nightmare—particularly that of Hitler. If you ask me about the American Dream though, I would have to confess only an ambivalence towards it—while I think it is a fine dream as far as it goes—a dream of freedom, self-realization and self-fulfillment—your famous “pursuit of happiness”——I think it is an incomplete dream—offering less than is necessary for the deeper life. You see the American Dream is a dream of the future, of a Promised Land, where the country and the individual becomes all that it should be, but is now not. You go forth across the Frontier and conquer the wilderness, leaving behind the old country, and perhaps society and history itself with some kind of new beginning. It assumes that this future to which you are venturing will somehow offer life’s fulfillment.

            But to my mind where you come from and where you will return to is more important than where you are going. Making peace with the past is just as important as rushing forward into the dream of a promising future. Where you have come from, your origin, includes those things most fundamental to healthful psychic life—–home, family, your self and your soul, that to leave them out of the dream is to risk having it turn to nightmare. Your American Dream is a fine dream of the future and the man of the future, as is your science fiction and your eternal cowboy and eternal venturing. I wish to be part of the American Dream, but I am also a man of the Old World as well as a man of the New World. I wish to travel forward through the American New World and reunite again with the Old World. I admire your American Literature, but I am more at sympathy with its T.S. Eliot of the Four Quartets, the old man in the lamplight rediscovering his origins and his true self for the first time, than with your Leatherstocking and John Wayne cowboy hero on the high frontier. But, don’t get me wrong—-I am not a reactionary who wishes to throw up the great American Dream and the adventure of modernity and return to an ever so flawed past. No, I am not a man of the Old World or of the reactionary old order, rejecting your American New World—-I am rather a man of the Whole World—I want to move through and beyond your New World and your Modernity to reunite with the Old World, the world of origins, of family, of home and of history and of authentic self and psyche and soul—even revisiting the Heart of Darkness, the savage jungle cradle of our so-called African past, and I speak here purely metaphorically, before returning sane to the present to begin anew.  I want to complete the global circumnavigation of our human world, its conscious and unconscious wholeness, and thus I will not settle here in your California, but I will push on to complete the Magellantic voyage. I have a bone to pick with this American Dream. Yes, I think it is a fine and inspiring dream. But I think it is also an immature and incomplete dream. In a sense the American Dream is an extroverted and youthful dream of a bright and inspiring future. It is the Dream of Morning in the life of man, and a fine dream for inspiring a strong and vigorous life in reshaping the world. But in the larger sphere of life, we must include not only the Morning of Life, but also the Evening of Life.  Instead, I am attracted to the Universal Mythic Dream. A man’s life includes success within the world, subduing the world to his will and building a civilization out of the wilderness, yes, but it also includes decline, growing old and death, along with reconciliation with nature and the past, with soul and the spirit. This also includes and implies the inner or spiritual life, which becomes increasingly important as the high noon of life is passed and we begin to face our own decline and awaiting death.  Today we speak of the Environmentalism, but environmentalism cannot be limited to our relationship to the outer, physical environment. This Mythic Dream is part of the newer movement of what I term “Inner Environmentalism,” a renewal and reformation of relationship and conservation of our most vital spiritual roots and equilibrium within the psychical biosphere, to complement our renewal of relationship and conservation of the physical biosphere. The Mythic Dream is the dream of the Evening of Life and of Life’s Night, to complement the hero’s dream of success and assertion in this world, the ethos of the Morning and Afternoon of Life contained in the American Dream. Thus, the Mythic Dream is more complete than the American Dream. It sustains life not only in its growth from strength to strength in the successes of the Morning of Life but also sustains life spiritually and psychologically when individual life comes to its time of decline and death, followed by renewal. We need a dream valid for both the morning and for the evening of life, for the brightness of success, but also for the darkness of death and dissolution. It addresses not only the promise of a fulfilled future but also the vital life of the present moment and reconciliation with the past, as well as with tradition and eternity. Myth is truer than history—it is a life above life; and it is rooted in a truth far deeper. Beyond even your British historical realism or American pragmatism the mythic artist must dramatize the oneness of human experience and the common focus of man’s multiple vision. The American Dream discovers a new continent of the future on which dreams can be built, but the Mythic Dream goes beyond it by completing the global voyage, circumnavigating the human psyche as well as the globe, a Magellantic circumnavigating of the twinned lobed hemispheres of the conscious and unconscious mind, of nature and culture, and of reintegrating them through the never-ending cycle through a return to its vital, archetypal and life-giving origins.

            ……..And though I do admire the American Dream, particularly as it has given new life and hope to those crushed by the oppressions of Eurasia, I am also forced to observe that it can become easily corrupted. Too often the American Dream shapes the frontier of the future as a realm of unbridled subjugation to the unlimited desires of the Id, or the vanity of the Ego.  Too often the American Dream sorrowfully unveils itself as the egocentric dream of a “Paradise of Me!” blind to either the wider responsibilities or deepest bonds of the individual to human society or to the deeper claims of the inner spiritual life beyond the quotidian ego and the workaday world.”

            As a physician who had turned writer, Günter found himself straddling two worlds insecurely: the realm of science and the realm of the spirit. Sartorius, having befriended such a unique person as this Nobel-prize winning author, and sublimating a fair amount of hero worship, read everything he had written and often followed up with him in conversations, sometimes playing Boswell to his Johnson, or Eckermann to his Goethe in their relations. Once, following up on their prior conversation on the American Dream and the Mythic Dream, and both men facing what Günter termed “the Evening of Life,” he asked him to expand upon what he thought of old age and the prospect of death.   Günter responded: “As a man of science I must recognize that aging is the programmed obsolescence, or the sloughing off of the individual human body, an evolutionary choice of the species in investing greater biotic resources in reproduction, rather than in repair and maintenance of the individual. Thus we in the greater scheme of things accept senescence and death as part of the greater scheme of life. Eros and Thanatos are not chance acquaintances but are the different sides of the very same coin: life. In terms of biological theory, the result is a higher lifetime reproductive success through an intimate combination of reproductive prodigality and individual senescence, the collective sunrises of life balancing out the sunsets. This I term the “Disposable Soma” theory of things. At the same time, we must accept that part of our responsibility to life is not only to accept our part in dying on cue when our hour upon the stage is over but to perfect and realize the full spiritual potential of our existence while we are alive.”

            “But as a man of science, can you say there is a ‘spirit’—-in terms of science what is it or what can it be?” Sartorius asked, playing the devil’s advocate, and trying to boost his somewhat adolescent standing in Günter’s paternal mind by showing himself serious enough to pose the hard questions, and no mere intellectual dilettante. “Today science imposes itself on the public mind with the claims of ‘the environment” as if it were a being, an organism, a coherent whole. Yet is there such a thing as “the environment?” or are there simply a jumble of chaotic atoms and energies without system or sustainability? Yes, we come to recognize “the environment” as a systemic whole, delicate in its equilibrium, which much be regarded with care. In terms of science, what is the spirit, spirituality? It forms our Inner Environment, our biological Collective Unconscious, if you prefer such terminology, and we must learn to live within our Inner Environment as carefully as we must learn to live within the Outer, to preserve the life-giving balances, inner and outer on which our existence depends. In terms of evolutionary biology and our highest science, human life is part of these inner and outer ecosystems. Lifelines are not purely homeostatic. They have a beginning at conception, and an end at death. Organisms, and indeed ecosystems develop, mature and age. As Heraclitus and Darwin would tell us, all is “a flowing” a mutable process of change and development. The setpoints of homeostatic theory are not themselves constant, and even our outer environment is in constant evolution, as must be our inner, spiritual environment. Thus, during this evolutionary trajectory, responding to the flow of change, the organism resets its own thermostat, readjusts its onward equilibrium. No, Sartorius, I am a man of science but not a fatalist determinist as some would believe science requires. Organisms are active players in their own fate and not simply the playthings of the gods, nor the epiphenomena of their environments, nor still the playthings of nature or of an inevitable fated summation of replicator-driven natural selection. There is something in life which is evolving onward from within, tenaciously reshaping its future and destiny, and you can call it spirit if you prefer that language. To understand lifelines, and the presence of the spiritual within organic life, therefore, we need to replace homeostasis with the richer concept of homeodynamics. The spiritual life of man is part of the homeodynamics of evolutionary nature.” Sartorius was not sure if he understood, but he was impressed and exhausted enough to let the matter rest until it might sink in further.

            Although as a physician Günter Gross considered himself a man of science and rationalism, he was willing to apply scientific methods to the frontier areas of psychiatry, anthropology and social psychology where it fared less brilliantly than in the areas of the “hard sciences.” And he was willing to acknowledge the limits of science itself as a methodology for the human comprehension of the universe and of human experience. Growing up as a child and young man in Nazi, wartime and post-war Germany he was very early immersed in the irrational impulses of the human community beneath the thin veneer of what ordinary common sense commonly understood as civilization and the seeming yet dubious solidity and unity of individual self we imagine ourselves to be. As a medical student he had studied the works of the three great masters of psychology of his day—–Freud, Jung and Adler and took them as one starting point in his spiritual and intellectual journey. After the war he was able to make the personal acquaintance of C.G. Jung and was deeply affected, becoming for a short time a part of his circle in his younger days, though ultimately he did not continue full-time into psychiatry and in later life practiced medicine but sporadically, devoting the great mass of his energies to literary and cultural pursuits instead. In this he was not so unusual, as the number of medical men who later turned to literature includes many prominent examples, such as Rabelais, Ibn Sina, Maimonides, Lu Xun, Somerset Maugham, William Carlos Williams and many others, perhaps providing a healthy rivalry to the illustrious list of lawyers or law students manqué who turned to writing, such as Goethe, Wallace Stevens, Bacon, Thomas More, perhaps Dickens, Kafka—–and not to mention the innumerable numbers of ministers of the cloth making the same transformation such as Donne, Sterne, and many others. And perhaps in this he echoed Lu Xun’s decision to abandon medicine, feeling that to save a few thousand human bodies from their physical infirmities and suffering was but a miniscule and evanescent accomplishment in light of the much greater pandemic of the loss of soul of the remaining six billion human subjects, which required administration of a much deeper and as yet undiscovered form of therapy.

            Or perhaps Günter Gross’ willingness to uproot his profession and strike out in a novel direction had much to do with his reaction to his father’s perceived cowardice in refusing to give up his own profession.  In his talks with Gross and through reading his autobiography and related works over the years Sartorius was able to piece together a mosaic picture of the main features of the main directions and impulses of development in his life, and the positive and negative influences of his parents, as with most of us, were strongly present. Günter Gross’ father, Friedrich Gross, had been a lifelong minister in the Lutheran Church and Günter’s upbringing was strongly influenced by the religious orientation of this home environment. Günter’s father was a kind and tolerant man, but Günter experienced him, perhaps from his own exaggerating and unsatisfied needs as a boy, as powerless, weak, and emotionally and intellectually immature. Quite early in his father’s ministry he seems to have lost any real conviction or faith in the message or validity of the church. But with a growing family and lack of any other professional training he saw no alternative to carrying on as a minister and keeping his doubts and uncertainties to himself. The emotional strain of this exercise in façade management concealing a lack of religious conviction destroyed much of his will and self-confidence and left him mouthing platitudes and conventionalities to most people, counterbalanced by the natural kindness of his heart in rendering personal help, which allowed him to achieve a passable acceptance albeit mediocrity in his work. Indeed one might say that he positively fled any deeper introspection or philosophical questioning which might prove too painful in its result, and he stayed on the safer ice of extroverted pastoral social welfare work, and generally avoided mirrors, both physical and intellectual.

                        Günter’s own character as a child, however, was much more severe, emotional and demanding of inquiry and forthrightness——and this brought him into an early and continuing conflict with his father, steering him inwardly in precisely the opposite direction from his perception of what his father was.  Indeed, in his later writing including his autobiography Günter would refer to this phenomenon with the beloved word, taken from Heraclitus, of enantiodromia, by which he took the intrinsic and somewhat mystical process by which all dynamic systems tend to metamorphize and transform into their opposite, a concept related in the East to the opposition of Yin and Yang, or the Male and Female principles in Chinese tradition. Thus he saw the human family and community as such a dynamic system motivated by such phenomena as the tendency of children to grow up and transform themselves in compensation for the perceived failings of their parents. This he observed in such literary works as Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks in which the family follows a progression over three generations, from crude and rude beer brewer businessmen, to simultaneously more sophisticated yet less vital politicians, and in the third generation of family ‘decline’ to the hypersensitive, hyperperceptive yet unvital, effete and ultimately unhealthy generation of artists and eccentrics. Thus it came to pass, at least in the understanding of Gross himself and derivatively of Sartorius, that Gross’ life unfolded in many ways as an effort to make good his father’s deficiencies and weaknesses.

            Perhaps the differences with his father might not have developed so severely had his mother been more capable of helping establish a healthy compensatory balance—–but sadly this was not the case. Günter Gross’ mother, Verginie, came from an old Franco-German family long resident in Berlin since the 1690’s, when tens of thousands of French Huguenot Protestant families fled France for Berlin and London following Louis XIV’s revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Indeed it is said that by 1700 the French Protestant population of Berlin exceeded 20% and some neighborhoods spoke almost exclusively French with but little German but for external relations. Verginie’s family was early influenced by the mystical Gnosticism of Swedenborg and her grandfathers had a tradition of serving as protestant ministers with this mystical tendency. This seemed by inheritance, tradition or environment to have passed to her the family tendency to emotional volatility and imbalance in extremes, and when Günter was only five his mother had what might be today termed a ‘nervous breakdown’ or crisis of mental illness and Günter’s father in the high visibility of serving as pastor to his congregation felt it necessary to quietly remove her from sight to an asylum for more than two years.

            This break was of deep significance for Günter as it seems his grief and terror at the abandonment and loss of his mother’s affection made him withdraw defensively into himself and he seemingly developed an ambivalence and mistrust towards the love of the opposite sex. At the same time it overstressed his dependence upon his father and his sense of frustration and disappointment in his father’s perceived weaknesses and inadequacies.

            Sartorius recalled from reading Günter’s autobiography how this separation from his mother was a cause of or deeply reinforced his deep introversion and withdrawal into himself in adolescence. He described the atmosphere of his home, even after his mother returned, as “unbreathable” with feelings of death, unease and melancholy pervading the household. In his mother’s absence he would sometimes stay for a week with his uncle Eugene and their family, who was a minister in the Swedenborgian church in Berlin. During such visits Uncle Eugene would lecture him and his daughter Helene, Günter’s cousin, in his study on the mysteries of the Swedenborgian relationship to the divine and they would look at the immense bound old illustrated books of the church rectory.  In school he felt isolated from his fellow classmates, and oppressed by the enforced expectations as a minister’s son that he should serve always as a model of behavior and conventionality for the other children. This rift was further heightened when in school he was falsely accused of plagiarism in a composition on which he had worked particularly hard, and the other children sided with the teacher despite his protestations and sent him to Coventry for a time.

            He withdrew step by step into a world of fantasy. His favourite and recurring fantasy through most of his childhood and early adolescence was to be transported to a mythic kingdom centered on a kind of seemingly inert volcano, the central crater of which within was so filled with water to become a very large lake, and at the center of which was a large island on which was built an immense castle keep. At the top of the castle keep was a large filament-pronged antenna extending upwards towards the sky, which connected to a laboratory within. Günter occupied the castle keep as its master and magus, or magician. The antenna extracted by an alchemical process known mystically only to Günter, ‘the spiritual essence of the world’ from the upper atmosphere and an apparatus in his laboratory converted it to gold and crystallized it into precious gems. This realm was ruled over by Günter who presided over a council of elders, or wise men. The process by which this alchemical transformation took place was a secret of nature discovered only by Günter and kept by him an inviolate secret, not only from the outside world and even from the Council of Elders, but in a sense Günter kept the secret even from himself. This citadel was guarded from the outside world by an immense fortification paid for by the immeasurable quantities of wealth generated from this secret. It was surrounded entirely by water and connected with the outside world only by a narrow causeway with a drawbridge which could be instantly withdrawn in case of threatened danger, like the causeways of Tenochtitlan on which Cortez fought in conquering the Aztecs.  Huge battlements were built up around the summit of the extinct volcano and within the castle keep based on the plans for Medieval and Renaissance fortresses which Günter had studied in the large books of illustrations in the city library, rendering the citadel absolutely impregnable.

            Within this impregnable fortification Günter continued his alchemical researches into the ultimate secrets of nature and its vast hidden forces throughout the time of his later childhood, puberty and early adolescence.  Günter experienced himself made up of two distinct personalities which instantly transformed themselves from one to another. The first personality, which he labeled “Number 1” was the son of his parents who went to school daily and seemingly fulfilled the obligations of this dreadful existence so incomprehensibly imposed upon him. The second personality, however, whom he labeled as “Number 2” seemed to be much older, an ancient magician or shaman possessed of the secrets of the universe and nature’s hidden powers. He was antiquus dierum, the Ancient of Days, who had sojourned over ten thousand years on the face of this earth. He seemed to have no fixed personality but was a kind of Proteus of powers, a kind of man-God, Merlin or Nietzchean Superman or demi-urge, close to animals and plants and even stones with whom he could converse at will in a secret language of fraternal speech, being neither alive nor dead, but born, living, and dead all at once in a blurred dimension of mystical and eternal powers transcending categories of space-time and the limitations of mere human mortality. Günter also called him: Psothem Phanech—the revealer of secrets.

            He believed that his No.2 Personality conferred powers on him denied to his unfortunate father, namely direct access to the mind of God. His No. 2 personality would often confer with a descending siderius nuncius, the angel Gabriel and with him he travelled down a secret staircase from within his castle keep and explored a vast internal domain leading towards the center of the earth at the very center of which correspondingly was situated an immense temple on an island within a vast internal sea crowned with an immeasurably tall ithyphallic lighthouse spire on top of which whirled a green light rotating and beaming into the surrounding blackness. This chthonic temple was occupied by an immense phallic god from whom he learned the powers of creating, destroying and transforming life and all living beings, and from whom he received a magic talisman of immense powers housed within a golden tube which he tied around Günter’s waist with a red cord and with the admonition never to let this cord be severed. Upon the golden tube were engraved in raised gold letters the words ‘Passportout,’ which after drenching Günter’s head in the christic oil contained in a baptismal fount of exquisite marble on which was engraved in letters lined with gold the words ‘Entheogens liberata,’ and which were to become Günter’s newly anointed baptismal name and secret Password hereafter to be used whenever he revisited this nether under-realm. Completing the ritual he circled the ithyphallic temple eighty times in a counter-clockwise direction followed by a train of ecstatic bacchantes singing dithyrambic songs in ancient Greek while performing mad dances of orgasmic revelry, then re-entering the huge Rodinic doorway of the temple he mounted the winding spiral staircase within the ithyphallic spire, emerging from a small slitted opening at its top on which was mounted an immense crystal ladder, visible intermittently in the flashes of green light coursing out into the infinite blackness from atop the lighthouse spire. Following the winged messenger Gabriel he perceived a set of wings upon his own two ankles in the style of Hermes and together the two travelled with incalculable rapidity up an immense ladder from the center of the earth, breaching its surface atop an immense mountain topped by a luxuriant but unpeopled garden, the gates of which were guarded by two angels facing to the East and to the West. Here the angel Gabriel stopped at the center of the garden before an immense tree, its roots reaching far below into the chthonic subterrestrial realms from which they had just ascended, and above which towered its immense expanse, extending upwards into the blinding sunlight as far as the eye could see towards the infinite upwards. On the largest branch of the tree was another angelic presence, powerfully winged but standing radiant with his arms outstretched at right angles to his body, perched in readiness for the further ascent in a cruxiform uprightness, but seemingly more rough and muscular than the smooth angelic, almost feminate presence of Gabriel, and full of potent and uncontrollable energies which swirled around him. Günter, intrigued, noted that even angels have a sex. Gabriel announced that he could proceed no further and that a new guide would take Günter to surmount the tree and follow the ascent of the crystal ladder for the rest of the journey. Gabriel announced him as William Blake, poet and demiurge, who took to wing as they proceeded up the crystalline ladder or cosmic escalator as it continued its near infinite extension upwards from the surface of the earth into the night sky, the garden atop the mountain grew ever smaller below, and the presence of an immense and radiant whorling galactic spiral grew ever larger as they moved forward. Entering an immense celestial theatre occupying the black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy which was occupied by immense throngs of angelic beings and the souls of the elect, they continued along its crystal aisle to the point at the center of which was the throne of God himself. This throne, however was of a peculiar construction as it resembled a radiant toilet bowl, upon which God sat, his face hidden behind the pages of a heavenly magazine printed in Hebrew letters and glossy photographs, the nature of which was impossible to make out exactly in the glare of the lustrous emanations of the divine presence.  God was engrossed unfolding from the celestial magazine an immense glossy fold-out behind which Günter heard occasional mumbling and groaning noises. From time to time an immense giant, whose name was Pantagruel, would reach up and offer the divine presence radiant cups of liquid refreshment in an immense coffee cup. Beneath the transparent toilet seat upon which the divine buttock was comfortably nestled beneath the folds of a gown of perfect white and at the base of the divine commode Günter perceived a small building which as he approached it further proved to be his father’s Church, and from within which, in the half-darkness he thought he could make out his father’s face half-hidden behind its half-opened door. From time to time Günter would hear the immaculate plop of an immense divine turd landing upon the slated grey roof of his father’s church followed each time by a chorus of Hallelujahs from the surrounding throngs! After an interval the divine Blake spoke to him in Greek, telling him “Come, we must return to the world of ongoing life below, the Revelation has ended and the Chronoi tes Agnoias, the Time of Ignorance has passed.”  

            Having completed this Nekyia, Katabasis and cosmic Odyssey Günter became increasingly intolerant of his father’s apparent intellectual perplexity, evasions and hypocrisy and this gave rise to heated discussions between them. Whenever Günter tackled him with religious questions the pastor became irritable and defensive.

            “You always want to think and know,” he complained, “One ought not to think but to believe!” his father impatiently shouted out at him.

            Inwardly and tacitly, the boy reflected protestingly to himself  “No! One must experience and know!”  But out loud he said back to his father “Then give me this belief” whereupon his father merely shrugged and walked away.   

            This conflict came to a head with Günter’s confirmation for which his father prepared him. He was appalled that on reaching this pinnacle of religious initiation he experienced nothing whatsoever. An unbridgeable gulf opened between himself and his father for whom he felt “a most vehement pity.” He all at once understood the tragedy of his profession and how he was entrapped in the empty ritual, pretense and form of the Church. In his autobiography he wrote “I now found myself cut off by the Church from my father’s and everybody else’s faith.” Inevitably, this confirmed him not in the Church but in his isolation.

            Whereas other boys in similar circumstances might turn to their school friends for comfort and support, Günter felt he had no friends, and turned back to the No. 2 personality of his inner world and throughout his adolescence he experienced No. 2 as God-like and a source of immense strength, and his commitment to this internal ‘other’ took precedence over all external relationships. He did not feel himself to be amoung people but alone with God. At length he wondered to himself, “Why has no one else had similar experiences? Why should I be the only one?”

                        He read widely, returned to school and applied himself to his studies. Lacking communication with like minds he turned to literature, philosophy and the history of religion. In Heraclitus he found a lifelong friend—–“all the world is a flowing” was a watchword and from Heraclitus “enantiodromia” became a password, he read the I Ching and in the concept of Yin and Yang and of the Dao, (the Way, or the Cosmic Process) found a correspondence to his beloved Heraclitus. On occasional visits to his Uncle Eugene in Berlin he would borrow Swedenborgian books, and found kindred spirits in Goethe’s Faust and Meister Eckhart. He was much excited by Schopenhauer’s Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (The World as Will and Representation).

            During this period he developed a particular hatred for the middle classes. The locus of his complaint against them was in their abject fear of being alive and in the ineffable consequent clumsiness of their behavior arising from their inner emptiness of any deeper vitality. His values at this time veered towards the aristocratic and his complaint the vacuity of any nobility of spirit in their souls or fundamental character, a fatal vacuity in what they are, most especially in contradistinction to what they may possess or perform or seem to others. Later this aversion to the spiritual mediocrity of the middle classes veered towards attack from its underside, influenced by communist enthusiasms, and it later morphed into the aesthetic hostility of the artist. Leading a demonstration of students at his Gymnasium protesting the banning of several controversial novels from the school library he raised his fist and led the students in chanting: “L’imagination au pouvoir!” Nevertheless, his hostility always remained ambivalent, as he also admitted freely the great contribution of the middle classes in their applied work that built and preserved the valuable material institutions and foundations of civilization, including the family and creative economic enterprises, albeit at too high a spiritual cost.  

            When he enrolled as a student in Göttingen Günter furthered his tendency towards enantiodromia and rebellion against his father’s weaknesses. Whereas his father was spiritually timid, incurious, inclined to accept dogma and ducked the major issues of his life, Günter became a notable presence at his university in displaying spiritual courage, demanding answers and explanations, resisting unsupported dogma wherever he found it, and refined techniques for confronting the issues of head, heart and society. He became something of a communist, though a maverick freethinking one, and embraced aspects of sexual liberation. He studied all areas of human knowledge in his university years, and settled on the career of medicine, the same as his grandfather who had been a well-known neurologist.  Above all he sought out new avenues for the full development of the individual personality, and this brought him into contact with the legacy of Freud, C.G. Jung, and Adler.

            His cousin Helene, in the meantime had grown up in the Swedenborgian tradition of her mother’s family and became a well-known “medium” of the New Age tradition known for spiritualism and communication with spirits, trances and dream interpretation. Under her influence at the university he began to study neurology and psychology and he read works by Kraft-Ebbing, Erich Fromm, Wilhelm Reich, Havelock Ellis and many others. He became interested also in mythology, anthropology, and cultural history, reading works such as the Golden Bough, Jung, Joseph Campbell, Claude Levi-Strauss and many others. His work in neurology and the influence of his cousin Helene inclined him to the study and practice of psychiatry which he took up after medical school and internship.

            He also pursued various forms of Eastern and Western meditation, including disciplines of breathing, concentration and yogic posture. For him meditation was more than reflection: it is communion, participation—an act of amplified presence beyond common egoistic consciousness. It was the only way to master the contradictions and the oppositions of discursive thinking and renew a vital contact with the “now.” Later this discipline of meditation influenced his writing. Only through participation of the greater self will the word have life, he came to believe, and only through the written word can life, in its onward flowing and transient experience, be immortalized.  

            After finishing his medical studies and attaining the independent practice of medicine he married Emmanuela, a gifted and intelligent woman who reminded him of his mother. He undoubtedly loved her throughout their years together. He had three children, his favourite of which was his youngest daughter Otillie, who continued to live with him after his wife died. Their marriage was a reasonably happy conventional marriage and they undoubtedly loved each other, but shortly after his marriage he acknowledged the powerful presence of “polygamous components” within himself. He wrote in a letter of the time included in his autobiography “It seems to me the pre-requisite to a good marriage is the license to be unfaithful.”

            While he loved his wife and his children he always felt the lack of what he called a “femme inspiratrice.” When his mother had been absent during her confinement in the mental asylum he had a close relationship with the nanny his father employed, Eugenie, ten years older than himself. She later initiated him into his first sexual experience, and unfortunately this became the subject of suspicion and gossip in his father’s congregation and she was quietly dismissed. Later he was attached to his cousin Helene, who attended his university, and their relations were perhaps platonically leaning towards the incestuous though they remained chaste in physical terms. After his marriage he occasionally was attracted by some of his female colleagues and an occasional patient of character and beauty, and had periodic affairs. He developed an attraction for an American female professor of literature, Antonia Englehart, at the university in Berlin after the war and they had a long-standing and to be on-again-off-again sexual and intellectual relationship. But if the body, like the poor, was always with us, it was nonetheless the life of the mind that most gave him pleasure—such a pleasure that pleasure was not the word.  During this time he began to channel his long standing occasional writing of poetry, essays, and other literary works into a more developed corpus and he began to receive some recognition for some of his short stories and poems. His wife Emmanuela learned of these sexual diversions and initially vehemently protested, but out of perceived necessity and her unbroken love for her husband and family, she came to accept it. It caused a major scandal when Günter insisted on bringing his lover, Toni, to a major international writer’s convention along with his wife and sleeping with both of them in alternation. Emmanuela appeared to have given way to his desires as much for fear for her own sanity should he leave her, as well as to preserve her marriage in conventional terms with a man she still was deeply in love with. This state of affairs was deeply traumatic for all three and may have precipitated the stresses leading to Günter’s own mental breakdown and years of depression in his forties, which eventually led him to abandon his medical practice, spend several years wandering the globe in a state of prolonged depression, and his eventual recovery and turn to writing as a profession, when he became world renown for explorations of his powerful vision of the archetypes of the collective unconscious and of the psychological roots of the human personality, its afflictions and its struggle for development towards wholeness and psychic and spiritual health, culminating in the award of the Nobel Prize, which catapulted him into global celebrity.

            In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech he pointed his message: “Only Connect!” That was his whole sermon. —-Only connect the prose and the passion, the head and the heart, the conscious and the unconscious life—-and both will be exalted and human love will seem at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die, and a new spiritual wholeness, whole, healthy and humane, will arise from their ashes. There was in his books an implicitly Christian defense of memory and emotion, of the moral necessity to feel life, whatever the content or pain of that feeling.  “Connection” also implied for him a renewed connection with the world at large, and it was his belief that the novelist teaches the reader to comprehend the world as a question, and to search within himself for its answer.  His message of “Only Connect!” extended also to the connection of the hitherto separate domains of the humanities and the sciences, where, like C.P. Snow he sought to bridge “the two cultures,” especially through psychology and in alliance with the work of C.G. Jung, exploration of the archetypal science of the spirit and the collective unconscious. That his scientific principles did not totally displace the spiritual dimension with souless materialistic causation and mechanistic determinism was reflected also in his Nobel acceptance speech, in which he iterated his reflections on death: “Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation. Everything science has taught me, and continues to teach me, strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death.”

            From beginning to end, Sartorius found Günter a man instressed of contradictions, yet capable of transcending them. He constantly juggled opposites, the world of the real and the world of the imagination, the world of the Here, and the yonder world of the There.  And he constantly struggled to throw bridges across that abyss that ever separated them—to reincarnate himself as a newer pontifex magicus.  For Günter art and literature were not mere consolations, they were the chief value and civilization bearers, the chief life-bearers and meaning-bearers; they contended with, defeated, chaos and darkness not by evading but by assimilating and finally transcending them. Thus he had worked feverishly on his writing steadily even through the silenced time of the Nazis, maintaining in his autobiography that the arts are not playthings to be flung aside when crisis strikes; they are the highest and deepest work of man, and even in time of war, catastrophe and social upheaval, humanity needed poets and creators more than they needed warriors and kings.

            At the time Sartorius met Günter at Berkeley he had not yet received the Nobel Prize and been cast into the persona of the Grand Old Man of literature that surrounded him in present time. Yet even then, when he was only moderately well known in America as a noted author, excitement attended almost everything he did or wrote. It was the excitement of the man himself, his urgency and his cantankerousness, and above all his virtuosity. Also, he had authority. Not the authority that the reception of the Nobel Prize inevitably gives, and later gave him. But before that he carried with himself the more irritating authority of the self-appointed leader. Everyone around him felt it, whether they loved him or detested him, there was no getting around the force of his presence and the invasiveness of his influence. Sartorius then, a much younger man and relative neophyte, was drawn, perhaps too boyishly, to idolize him, and play the Boswell or Eckermann to his Johnson or Goethe, and thus when Günter took him under his wing, he had both the opportunity and motive to observe him closely, sometimes also recording his impressions in his journal in imitation of the great biographists. This authority and virtuosity, Sartorius felt, and recorded in his journal, was inextricably bound up with accompanying negatives—–egotism, almost a megalomania or near-schizophrenia, which Günter had to and did struggle against, and these positive dimensions of his personality were in turn from time to time undermined by this flawed psychological instability, almost amounting to a manic-depressive cycle at times, alternating manically unsustainable binges of virtuosity with periods of collapse and dejection.

            At the more conscious level, however, Sartorius also attributed Günter’s instability to the sheer weight of the burden, the mission, he imposed upon himself; his ideal in turn a reflection of his disproportionate ego.  In conversations regarding the role of the writer or poet, Sartorius learned that Günter felt that the poet, artist or writer, his model and standard,  had to strive to be some kind of superhuman combination of cultural savior, but also a kind of public tribune or civilizational statesman at large, a burden Sartorius feared none could hope to approximate.

            Asking for clarification in numerous conversations of which he kept a record, Sartorius recorded Günter‘s beliefs and declarations: “Stated or unstated, the poet, artist or man of letters bears the task of cultural salvation on his shoulders. In our times, we appear to have lost that radiant world where one thought cuts through another with a clean edge, a world of moving energies, magnetisms that take palpable form, that are seen or that border on and receive upon them the imprint of the invisible, the spiritual aspirational energies of Dante’s Paradiso, the reflections gleaned in the submerged and aqueous mirror of our souls. It is the poet’s calling, as seer and prophet to recall to mind this greater living world and point his people in its direction, from its deathwards drifting and back towards life.”  To recall humankind to this world of greater life the artist had also to teach a blinded mankind to see again, to open and heal their scarred and dimmed eyes as the jammed sluicegates of of the soul; to enable man to see again the calling of the artist, Günter held, borrowing the words of Leonardo Da Vinci, was “saper verdare ”—–to know how to see, and to communicate that vision through art.

            And if it were not enough to take on the calling of visionary and prophet, savior and redeemer, Günter also insisted on the writer’s role as a public tribune, or statesman of letters. He had an antique, almost Confucian conception of the poet and writer as the public trustee and safeguarder of language and culture: “Has literature a function in the state?…………….” Günter asked rhetorically upon reflection on the debasements of the Nazi era at a salon party during the early days at Berkeley, “It does. It has to do with the clarity and vigor of each and every thought and opinion shared in the culture. It has to do with maintaining the very cleanliness of the tools, the health of the very matter of thought itself…..The individual cannot think and communicate his thought, the governor and legislator cannot act effectively, mobilize public action, or frame his laws, without words, and the solidity and validity of these words is in the care of the damned and despised litterati. But when these cultural trustees betray their trust, when their work goes rotten or they accept their silencing, when they allow their very medium, the very essence of their work—-the application of words to things—the application of words to things experienced and lived—-to go rotten, to become slushy or inexact, or consciously or unconsciously dishonest, then the whole machinery of social and individual thought and order goes to hell. This is the lesson of our unfortunate history.”

Thus too often Günter would burn himself out ranting against the debasements of the times, and make himself a nuisance in the press only to slump into dejection when he was cursed or ignored, often falling into weeks of clinical depression from which he emerged only with difficulty. Sartorius felt he too often had set himself up to fail, taking on too superhuman a load, impossible for for any single individual whatever his talents or force of will. And he felt, this deep schism was symptomatic of, at a certain level, a willful refusal to compromise, which was the bafflingly common characteristic both of genius and psychosis, and which closes off all possibility of ordinary reconciliation with a world which cannot respond to him on his terms, and which he will not serve on its terms.

            After several days of rest and relaxation, bummeling around Potsdam and Berlin, and working conferences on the joint book on modern “Weltliteratur” they were collaborating on, the inevitable day of Sartorius’ departure arrived and Günter drove Sartorius to the Berlin airport for the Lufthansa ride to Beijing. After seeing him through the terminal gates Günter waited on the floor of the lobby as Sartorius mounted the escalator to the higher level of the boarding area. Then he looked back from above for a final good-bye. He took in Günter’s figure below with a smile: He waved. He gave him the boomer’s highball and the thumb’s-up. He made one last signal. Sartorius waved back. As Sartorius watched him from above, suddenly he bent to his life and walked quickly out of sight. Sartorius gaped into the bleakness of his own. He had an awful long way to go.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

VI.                        Washington, D.C.                   Fathers and Sons

     Jack Sartorius was spending his last two weeks in the office breaking in his replacement. He had spent about two years on the Analysis side of the counter-terror unit at the Langley CIA headquarters, and was set to move outside on his first assignment into the Operations side. He was breaking in a new trainee Myron Greenberg, fresh out of spook boot camp on the Analysis side after just finishing his degree in International Business at NYU.

Myron looked over the wall of the cubicle of the three-man office and commented to Jack:  “They’re that good?”

“What’s that, Myron?” tossed back Jack, briefly cocking his head away from his oversized computer screen within his grey-hued cubicle.

“NSA intercept.” He handed the print-out to Jack across the cubicle-panel. The NSA intercept summary identified a KAT, “known associate of terrorists”——-exactly what function he performed was not known yet, but he’d been positively identified from voiceprint analysis.

“Yeah, could be something” snapped back Jack “It’s the digital phones. They generate a very clean signal, and it is easy for the voiceprint computer to ID the voices, even if they are playing catty and using codewords or false names and handles, using a throw-away cloned phone off the street to play safe. I see they haven’t ID’d the guy at the other end of the wire.” Jack handed back the sheet.

The original conversation had been in Arabic, the two cell phones located in London and in Istanbul, and the NSA signals weenies had gotten a quick translation and summary cross-decked up across the microwave feed between Fort Meade, Maryland—-NSA headquarters, and Jack’s office in the bureaucratic bowels of Langley, across the Potomac River, home to the CIA, all in less than ten hours. In the counterterrorism unit in the Digital Age the problem was often not lack of data but to keep from drowning in the immense flood of it coming in off the signals intelligence channels and the various global networks and Humintel—human intelligence. Jack’s job for the last eighteen months on the analysis side of the agency had been to fight the undramatic battles of information sifting, cubicles and computer screens, shaking out endless drifts of incoming data, intercepted cell phone conversations, legally or illegally gleaned records of money transfers and credit card transactions, e-mail key-word intercepts or known associate intercepts and try to understand, interpret, spot associations and movements of known, suspected or possible terror network cadres in a Sisyphean effort to discover, predict, and possibly prevent acts of terrorism in the age of anxiety following the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.

All this was supposed to be part of the below-the-horizon “War on Terror” at the pinnacle of priorities of the security and defense bureaucracies of Washington, D.C., and the allied capitals of the Western World and across the globe since 9/11.  Jack felt half-suffocated in the trenches of this cubicle-to-cubicle info-combat, but here at the hidden front of the endless rows of cubicles which often to Jack’s mind reminded him of the dug-out trench shanties of the movies of the first world war in which the shell-shocked huddled waiting for harm to pass over their heads, but reduced to the world of the mundane, boring office cubicle and digital screen.  He struggled as many young men of ambition, drive and imagination did at his age, to master his craft and serve his time, punch his ticket and pay his dues, in hopes of moving on —–someday and somehow—to something bigger and more exciting around the next corner of life’s possibilities, should he get the opening to move from the minor leagues to “play in the bigs.”

As he glanced over the pages of the print-out and handed it back over to Myron he went over in his head his chain of thoughts:  The nature of the phone conversation was innocuous, but so much so that one would wonder why the phone call had been placed all….But then again some people just like to talk even if there was nothing important to say………on the other hand maybe they were talking in code, using some innocuous phrases to refer to some operational details the Agency would be interested in…..some plans for a biological warfare attack on London or a campaign to set off bombs in Jerusalem……..Perhaps…..Perhaps not……..It was like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, you never knew whether you were distorting or creating what you were looking at by wearing counter-terrorist painted glasses to look at the world and cut out everything in the desired shape of the analytical cookie-cutter, or whether you were looking at anything real at all…….. More likely they were just passing time on the phone—–there was a lot of that in the Middle-East—they had developed out of an oral, perhaps at root a tribal culture and chatter was also a kind of way of life. What impressed both Jack and Myron as well was that the cell-phone conversation half-way across the world in an incomprehensible language, was picked up in real time and fed into the signals intelligence flow, even after a side-trip for translation, in the course of less than a day….almost real time.

Jack pulled the file Myron had flagged up on his extra-wide landscape-shaped computer screen. The subject of the intercept was a man called Mohammed on a cell phone in London. They had opened a file on him after the Echelon system at NSA had flagged him and after he had been recorded as having received e-mails and cell calls from suspected players in the counter-terror computer banks. Nothing definite on him…Name: Mohammad Ala Rushdie…Nationality: Egyptian….Education: Cambridge graduate…M.A. in International Relations….undergraduate in Comparative Literature Family: Wealthy Father in oil trading and shipowning interests, close to  Mubarak—Mother—distant cousin of Anwar Sadat……He was just a watch file……travelled back and forth between London, Berlin and all across the Middle-East…..was supposed to work for some kind of NGO promoting United Nations reforms…..could be a cover handle or could be legit…………Jack recorded his comments on the intercept in the file log and punched in the tags.

“How many phones do they keep track of?”  asked Myron, trying to build up a picture of how he fit in to the sprawling new environment of his new job.

“Several hundred thousand….” answered back Jack helpfully…..he had been a rookie himself not so long ago and sympathized with Myron “…..and that is just out of Southwest Asia and the Middle East and their outgoing contacts. Most of them are just dry holes, except for the one in ten thousand that counts—and sometimes when the lines of inquiry start to converge they can show real results.”

“Then there is Echelon of course——the name for the immense computer search and surveillance system operated by NSA out of Fort Meade, Maryland—-It constantly searches the Internet for codewords in dozens of languages and flags e-mail—–also pulls out messages to and from known suspects—trouble is there isn’t enough manpower to deal with a fraction of the possibilities.” Jack mentored on.

“But wouldn’t the bad guys just use encrypted e-mails? I hear there are some pretty good encryption systems out there, off the shelf and customized?”  asked Myron a bit diffidently, a little unsure of how much he should appear to be a newbie or try to pretend to the knowledge of the initiated.

“NSA has been able to crack most of them, and if a bad guy uses them it might just as well flag the communication for special watch at NSA, or the allied equivalents, British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) or France’s Directorate General Security Exterior (DGSE). With most of the public programs the programmers have been recruited to include hidden ‘trap doors’ in the code to provide hidden access to the security agencies. Hell, most of the commercial encryption program programmers are graduates of work at the security services and their basic loyalties are on the right side—otherwise a little top-up bonus of a million or so can generally persuade them to play ball—a little stimulus package for the real estate market in Marin County north of Silicon Valley!—Anyway if a file is especially vital the Supercomputers at NSA can usually brute force it within a few days.” Jack offered in a friendly way, glad to get a bit of an ego-boost by showing off his accumulated tradecraft to the newbie.

“Then on the financial side we follow up with the STR’s and the like.” Jack added.


“Suspicious Transfer Reports—we follow-up on unaccounted for movements of funds around the world—sometimes drug money, black money from official corruption, sometimes tax evasion and sometimes terrorist movement related.”

“I see” said Myron.

“And we can cross-check the feed through the Banzai Tree at NSA.” added Jack.

“The Banzai Tree?” Myron asked back diffidently, looking up at Jack with a muted quizzical smile.

“Yeah!—the Banzai Tree is an immense network of servers actually consisting of carefully designed traps—they also work internationally with the Japanese and British who are especially good. They incorporate multilevel quad-check honeycombs established in all the domains, business, academic, etc. This allows them to track backwards from servers to users with a 93% success rate. They have baited the net, first with ordinary feeds and then with the juicy bits. The goal is to identify and isolate the bad guys manipulating the net for their own projects and communications. It’s a game of cat and mouse, spider and fly—-its netwar!”


“Yeah!—-in the last fifteen years of the Internet the bad guys and terror-spooks have gotten incredibly sophisticated—-sometimes with the connivance of some of the hostile governments—the Iranians and Chinese or Russians—-then there are the cyber-rogues, yahoos and out of control Net-radicals on pirate operations. In addition to their internal operational communications these guys are attacking firewalls, raiding top-secret databanks, setting Trojans, wild spiders, and so forth—a regular Netwar—sometimes cold war and sometimes hot. We’ve got a disseminated adversary, or many adversaries really–you shouldn’t get into the paranoia of thinking there is one evil mastermind or masterplot behind all the complex reality of the real world. Even where they are linked they work in cells that don’t know each other’s identities for security reasons and link up through codes and protocols. They are often working behind netnanny firewalls, or use AOL accounts with teen ratings to imply they are juvenile pranksters or kiddie scripters. But they are nothing of the sort. They are well organized, patient, often hubristically brilliant and unrelenting. But we are more unrelenting than they are—-we’ve beefed up our honeynet with exponential stickiness, baited traps for them to go after, and we have filters to identify smees and high-performance clients. They do this work with neural-network pattern-recognition computers that search for regularities in great masses of data. But it’s not all so technical—-there are still a lot of amateurs, copycats, newbies and wannabies out there, who foul themselves up by stupid mistakes and human mistakes, but behind them are the real pros who are much rarer to catch—the big fish and the nemeses. It is constant evolution and mutual adaptation of the predators and the prey—offense and defense—-just like the viruses adapting and mutating to bypass the defenses of the human body’s immune system—H1N1 and all that.”

“It’s a bit overwhelming.”

“Yeah, at first, but like anything, once you acclimatize to the environment it all becomes manageable—don’t worry Myron—I know—you’ve got what it takes!—buck up!——in a few months you’ll be talking it all up just as the same ol’ same ol’!”

“Thanks Jack” Myron replied a bit diffidently, swiveling his chair back into his own workstation to work on his files and insecurities.  

Turning back to his own screen Jack checked over the Flash Traffic cross-decked between NSA and Langley for any relevance to his files—-Jack was overseeing over a hundred active files and a lot more inactive. Myron’s question set off a chain of reflection in his mind as he keyed in the routine operations on his keyboard. ‘It was impossible” he thought it over, “for even a mega-funded top level government organization like NSA to search all of the messages that flowed through Cyberspace every night, and so the agency used programs such as Echelon to look for and pull out keywords in various languages. The e-mail addresses of some known or suspected terrorists or suspected stringers had been identified by surveillance over the years and these provided a trace to others, which were watched by the computers and the flag-outs reviewed by human analysts such as Myron and himself when relevant to the files they were pursuing. These were watched as were the server computers of ISP’s or Internet Service Providers. All in all it used up incredible amounts of bytes and storage space, with a constant flow of delivery trucks bringing new storage devices to the subterranean and walled caverns at Langley and Fort Meade, where they were kept in the ‘fridge’ where they could be accessed if a new target suspect was identified—-then his e-mails could be searched dating back months and months. It was a game of cat and mouse, and like all such games in the real world it unleashed Darwinian processes on both sides in the interests of survival.

The bad guys, of course, knew all of this far better than the man on the street, and they knew that Echelon and other screening processes looked first for specific words and phrases, and so they studiously avoided these and took to inventing their own innocuous code words and phrases, generating a kind of shifting argot which the analysts at Langley sought to unravel. The use of code words could be its own trap however, since the codes gave a false sense of security, one that could be exploited by agency pros with decades of hands-on experience in reading the minds of its enemies—the process had its limits, however, and too free a use of the signals intelligence tipped-off the adversary as to their existence, sources and methods, causing the targets to change their methods, and change their system of coding and encryption, compromising the process, or maybe driving the big fish to abandon their electronic devices altogether and fall back on trusted face-to-face couriers for the top guys. Using it too little, on the other hand, would make it useless and uneconomic to have and invest huge sums in in the first place. Usually, from organizational pressures and the cover-your-ass mentality the tendency was to overuse rather than underuse—doctors had the same problem with anti-biotics and some strains just kept adapting and getting stronger and stronger—more and more resistant. The NSA’s principal means of communicating with the CIA would be to flag-up some intercepts and cross-deck it to Langley saying “isn’t this interesting?” and wait for the CIA to use their deeper analytical back bench to give it a response and backup. This was because the two agencies had different cultures and corporate ethoses. They talked differently. They thought differently. There was the same ‘clash of civilizations’ between Foggy Bottom and DOD. But at least their thinking was in a parallel direction, and amoung the more talented, they could learn to translate the language and culture of one organization into the other and overcome the inertial frictions……’ Jack slumped down in his chair with a heavy feeling of unease weighing on his limbs. He was glad to be out of this virtual unreality—yeah, he had learned a lot and some of the guys here were incredibly talented in the brains department but seemed to be wasting their lives away in a bureaucratic virtual-unreality. He didn’t know exactly where he was going or where he would end up, but he did know one thing—he didn’t want to spend his life and die in a cubicle in a workstation. In two weeks he would be out testing his wings on the operations side—-nothing spectacular or 007-ish of course—a buried asset—as a cover he would join a Public Relations/Government Relations firm in the K-Street Corridor with an international clientele that would give him the cover to develop his sources and contacts across Europe and Asia. He had worked in lobbying work on the Hill after doing internships in the House and Senate during his college years, so he knew the ropes. He smiled over to Myron and hoped the new kid would do well—he was glad to be getting out of here!——at the end of the day he packed up his bag, did the ritual salutations, and headed back to his car for the drive from Langley across the river back to his apartment in DC-land.  

VII.           Beijing                        Ulysses: Blogo Ergo Sum    

     Professor Robert Sartorius awoke late in the morning in his compact Beijing apartment, his eyes still closed beneath the thick beizi twisted up upon his bed, his face half hid in a large soft down pillow, and rubbing his bare feet together against the slight chill he felt across his toes as the beizi which he had involuntarily pulled up to cover his eyes against the light of the window left his two large feet sticking out into the cold draft insinuating itself through a crack in the window of the oldish foreign teachers building. He scratched a small itch at the bottom of the inward curve of his scrotum sac, then rubbed his left thumb and forefinger into the fret lines at the corners of his eye sockets, next massaging his eyeballs, working the thumb and knuckles over the pupils of his yet-closed eyes. Floating in the black heaviness beneath his eyelids loomed the subliminal almost-warm presence of a woman’s vulva nestled within a broad well-formed pelvis, whose cleft receded into a pleasant darkness beneath an ample mons of black pubic hair…. ‘uuuunhyhwonduurhooosheezzaht’…. arose as a kind of smeared thought or surfacing dull ache as he rubbed deeper into his eye sockets trying to draw out from the compacted blackness whatever it was that he might have been dreaming about before.  Reaching across his body with his left arm he groped for the alarm clock and turned its face towards the slightly raised drooping eyelid of his left eye….cjeezpastuhleven…..hhwynoalarm?…..He wondered if he had forgotten to set it or turned it off without waking in his sleep, which he suspected himself of sometimes doing. He swung himself up out of the bed and nestled his feet into his tuoxie and made for the toilet to piss…..Christ, how many times he had to get up and piss through the night!……..…goddamnedsonofabitchprostateneeerlyfifty……he winced at the sweet-sour whiff of the staleish urine….he didn’t flush after every piss….sympathetic to the city campaign to save water during the drought…….and he shook himself for a full minute after to keep the post-piss leakage down.

He was still jetlagged down as he made for the small kitchenette and watched the two eggwhites flow into a white coagulation, with the yellow yolks spiraling into the fields of each others’ whites mimicking the whorled sign of the yin and yang, which was their fate on the hot surface of the encrusted iron frying pan whose inner surface he had just cursorily wiped to an approximate clean, now accompanied by the sound of a pleasant slight bubbling sizzle of vegetable cooking oil. Of late he had become accustomed to doing his own shopping in the small famers’ street market next to the Beijing campus, and his taste for local cuisine and cooking had widened under the cumulative influence of his years in the oriental capital. He now ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls, which he hardly would have touched at home in America. He also got used to cooking for himself, though he had at times hired an ayi to come in and cook the local food for him and teach him the local techniques. He learned Chinese grandmas’ recipes for Xian giblet soup, Lanzhou nutty gizzards, and Kashgar stuffed roast heart. Most of all he liked the Xinjiang grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate an oriental tang and slight hint of faintly scented urine.  

Kidneys were in his mind as he rummaged through the back of the small fridge and pulled out a plastic bag of assorted giblets. He moved softly about the kitchen, making a cup of American coffee and savouring the oil and spice laden scent of the cooking eggs and meat, laced with paprika, sesame and oregano. A set of steamed mantou buns with a small saucer of sweet condensed milk.…right…..and a plate of left-over huashengmi which he pecked at with his chopsticks, tossing the roasted salt-sweet peanuts into his mouth. He piled the grilled kidneys on top of the eggs and headed for the small breakfast niche of his university supplied apartment. The cat arched and rubbed her raised back, tail erect, against Sartorius’ leg as he walked, holding the plate of eggs and kidneys in his right hand and the coffee cup and a pair of ivory kuaizi chopsticks in the left.


—–Fair weather friend!—Sartorius chided out to the fresh feline and smiling into her eyes as he stroked her back and dropped a bit of kidney on the ground for her to eat.

He ate with relish, tearing into his kidneys with knife and fork and mopping up the streaming orange-yellow egg yolk with bits of mantou held in his chopsticks. The cat rubbed persistently against his leg and the legs of the table and chair setting off alternating rounds purring and mewing plaints, then impulsively jumped up atop the table next to Sartorius’ plate.

—-Down Mephista! …..and he shooed her down to the floor while taking another bit of kidney in his chopsticks and tossing it down to her.

Sartorius watched curiously, kindly as he tossed her down odd scraps….the sure lithe black movements—-the green eyes—–the pink button under the butt of her tail—-the smooth gloss of her fur.  He watched her dark eyeslits narrowing with greed as she minced through the kidney scraps with her sharp white teeth. The cat prrrrrrrrred and rubbed her whiskers and the tip and side of her face against Sartorius’ hand meowing up to him with seductive greenish sloe-eyes.

—-Das Ewige Weibliche!……he said out loud to her as he bent down placing a saucer of milk beside his chair……zieht uns hinan!……….

——Pgrrrrrrrrru! she fibrillated as she happily lapped at the white liquid.

—-I can see she already has me well trained, he thought to himself…..They understand us better than we understand them!…….I wonder what I look like through her eyes………..the little lady of the evening makes sure she gets paid for her pleasures!…………..and they have those sharp claws hidden in those lovely soft paws!…….. killed a bird and a Gecko on the balcony…….the little love can be a vindictive little bitch on an occasion!…….have to keep her locked away from the doorlady—-adopting her against the building rules…….Naa, they won’t enforce…….just keep her clean and quiet…….

He regarded her again as she jumped upon the dish-laden table and meowed at him imploringly, rubbing her back against the side of his sleeve. Sartorius playfully rubbed the tip of his nose up against her wet cold nose and fibrillated a meow back to her, taking in her sloe-blinking eyes. He had a strange feeling about the dumb things as if they wanted to speak and it vexed them because they couldn’t……..they may well have more in them than they know how to make us understand, for we can’t say half of what we feel, with all our words, he thought.    

Having breakfasted Sartorius showered and sat down to his laptop—–a Dell Inspirion 1525 which he had purchased over the Internet with an English operating system instead of a Chinese so that he could troubleshoot it more easily when things fouled up. He lit up his computer with the appropriate password and logged on to check his e-mails……..nothing pressing………..then the news headlines on Yahoo.  Luckily he did not have a class until four that afternoon so he has some slack time to try to pull himself out of the jet lag…..he felt a bit depressed as his breakfast digestion set in and he began to feel the downward pull of the jet lag……….he missed his son and felt a twinge of dull pain verging to a small headache, so he poured himself a glass of sweet China Red Wine and cut it down to a Sangria by adding fruit juice……..he poured and drank another……straight……he remembered from reading Plato’s Symposium how the Greek symposium so revered by the dry academics had actually been conducted in a wine parlor of low couches on which the participants partied and gossiped, drinking wine as they passed from subject to subject, served by slave girls who would bring carafes of wine to all the guests and sing or dance or play the aula…………

….… was the duty of the host to gauge the level of alcoholic dilution of consciousness and adjust the strength of the wine by varying an admixture of water to set the proper tone of the festivities and inquiries via the proper adjustment of blood-brain chemistry—-calibrating the rites of Dionysos—–bacchic singers and dancers and manly discussion—–occasionally homoerotic but the men mostly also married with children——-and an occasional sophic courtesan………….

——Plato’s Symposium!…..A Discourse on Eros…..Agathon adjusting the strength of the wine to the strength of the conversation——-1:1—–1:2——1:3——–Socrates, Aristophanes, Alcibiades, Pausanius—–each to take a turn talking of Eros—-Aphrodite Pandemos—of noble love and base love—manly love, love of man to man—and of man to woman—of soul to soul and flesh to flesh!……………..

———-Agathon chides the assembled friends that they have not honored the Gods—Eros was the youngest of the gods and was the enemy of old age——Socrates being the oldest should be ineligible for love!—love only comes to budding youth not the sobering senility of philosophers and of old men!—where there is no longer any bud to bloom!……….’That is no country for old men, the young in one another’s arms, …fish, flesh and foul commend all summer long…..caught in that sensual music….. all neglect……’

———–Aristophanes and the story of the Severing of the Hermaphrodites!——God Zeus severing the Hermaphrodites into male and female to prevent them from acquiring and retaining a universal wholeness with which they would aspire to attack and displace the Gods!—the Eternal Quest thereafter for the severed and Missing Other Half of the Soul—Anima and Animus—-the yearned for Face of the Soul!——

 —–and Socrates’ tale of Diotima and the Ladder of Love! —-a story within a story within a story within a story within a story—–the Gnostic courtesan!——-all procreative love a striving after immortality and the eternal!—–Love is Virtue!—climbing the ladder from the love of bodies to the love of ideas——-ignorant youth begetting babies and philosophers begetting ideas…’gather me into the artifice of eternity’……Platonic love….. the fruition and realization of the soul………Is love of somebody or of nobody?

     As this chain of thoughts coursed through Sartorius’s mind he refilled his glass with the sweet cheap China Red Wine. He reflected gloomily on his own fleeting life and feelings of personal uselessness. With a heaviness of mixed jet lag and depression he logged into his Blog page on his laptop and began to write:

Sartorius’ Blog:

     “Between twenty and thirty I gradually became more and more agnostic and irreligious, yet I cannot say that I completely lost that indefinite consciousness of what has been oft described as ‘the Absolute Reality behind phenomena.’  For me this Reality was not the Pure Unknowable or Ding-an-Sich of Idealistic philosophy, for although I had ceased my childish prayers to God, and never prayed to Itin a formal manner, yet my more recent experience shows me to have been in relation to It, which practically was the same thing as prayer. Whenever I had trouble, especially when I had conflict with other people, either domestically or in the way of business, or when I was depressed in spirits about affairs, I now recognize that I used to fall back for support upon this curious relation I felt myself to be in to this fundamental cosmical It.  It was on my side, or I was on its side, however you please to term it, in the particular trouble and it always strengthened me and seemed to give me endless vitality to feel its underlying and supporting presence. In fact it was an unfailing fountain of living justice, truth, and strength to which I instinctively turned at times of weakness, and it always brought me out.

I know now it was a personal relation I was in to It because of late years the power of communicating with it has left me, and I am conscious of a perfectly definite loss. I used never to fail to find it when I turned to it. Now, at nearly fifty my power of getting into communication with it has entirely left me; and I have to confess that a great help has gone out of my life. Life has become curiously dead and indifferent.”

After finishing his blog entry Sartorius glanced at his watch and saw he had only twenty minutes until his four o’clock class and so he shoved his books into his book bag and hustled in the direction of the Weiminghu Lake and towards the teaching buildings.

VIII.          London                       

   Frequently Asked Questions


     Ten O’clock found Andreas Sarkozy deep at work in his small private office in the new Committee headquarters in the Bloomsbury district of London. The nature of his most recent work project was to complete an FAQ, or series of Frequently asked Questions and appropriate answers for use on the website of the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, and to be printed and distributed for use in meetings and conferences of the Committee, in lobbying activities, and especially for the upcoming Global Appeal Campaign.

Andreas considered how to attack the problem, turning over what he should write in his mind and felt blocked—nothing flowed—-In such cases he found it best just to start……whether he had anything in his mind or not…… he fingered his keyboard and set out the title:

                             A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly

Frequently Asked Questions

So far so good, but still nothing more flowed—–so Andreas tried revving the engine like he did before setting off from an inopportune red light in his Triumph Spitfire, mimicking a drag race driver poised to jump-start…

Frequently Asked Questions……FAQ…..…fak-que….….fuckyou………fakeyou………..forkyou

Fugueyou……….fructyou…….…Frenchyou……FAQ…….effayque……..afakeyou……Ifakeyou….Frequently Asked Questions…….frequently asked questions……….wasn’t life itself an unending question?—were the frequently asked ones ever answered?——-were there ever any real answers?……and what about the infrequently asked questions?……the ones we are too afraid to ask?…..Andreas made a mental note to write a sequel—-‘Life—Frequently asked Questions’ good title, but wherefrom the answers?—- Andreas tried to shake off his digressiveness and dithering by rubbing his fingers into his eyesockets and massaging them, then breaking off by going across the room and pouring himself a new cup of hot coffee, coming back and sipping it slowly, breathing in the rich scent of the Columbian beans……

…….Golden Rule of Speaking and Writing—-put yourself in the position of the listener/reader………….Imagine what it would be like to hear of all this for the first time……………what would your reaction be?……..Incomprehension probably……..confusion, disbelief……….what are you talking about?……… is that possible?…………’Is this a joke or are you for real?’……..he guessed would be going through Joe Blow’s, Jennie Six-pack’s or John Q. Public Official’s mind if they first heard somebody speak out for it……….Come to think of it how do we ever know what is going on in somebody else’s mind, anyway………………wasn’t it all just a hypothetical guess anyway?——-you could just assume that their minds worked the same as yours and then watch them or talk to them to see if your idea of them added up to what you would expect from it or not?—–scientific method—-or maybe there is some way of direct knowledge—-or maybe we only are lucky enough to know because we are of the same substance with what we know or think we know?

He thought of Eva and how he could know what she was thinking—-he thought of running his fingers through her long russet hair and looking into her eyes after making love, and of watching her sleep after making love, the scent of her and the feel of her pliant fine body and his running his lips upon her skin from her nipples to her closed eyelids……of course he could watch her and talk to her, but that only went so far——through love, or making love?………..if you were that close would you ever become the same thing or know her mind or body as well as you knew your own?—Ah! But there’s the rub!—we know so little of ourselves let alone others—‘I’ but the tip of an iceberg floating in an endless sea…..Titanic……..let’s say intuition or a merging of psyches at a level below consciousness?—-or say you were already one before—two branches off the same tree feeding from the same root that reencounter themselves high in the tropical canopy?—-some trees can fertilize themselves incestuously or some fish can change their sex—-groupa—-anything to keep life going!—War Movie leader: ‘They Were Expendable!!!’—are we all expendable foot-soldiers in life’s eternal crusade of survival? —Yet why survive?—Survive for what?—–To be or not to be—worth the slings and arrows?—-can you ever either get outside yourself or into another person?—-orgasm?…………..Ecstasy…………etymology….. let’s see….Greek…ex…out of…stasis…to make stand… stand outside of yourself……for a man obviously…..but for a woman?……trapped inside themselves with no exstasis?…No Exit?….Huis Clos…no—they come too–but not like a man comes…a man comes inside of them…or at least in the optimal case!…….is it the same ecstasy?……or do you really get outside yourself when you come?—or is it you coming or going?—of course for the woman the baby comes out eventually—but that’s not the ecstasy—pain rather—but are pleasure and pain the same—get to the east by going west…..BDSM….In Heaven for every sadist a masochist?… heaven….coming….the second coming….O Lucky Man!….the jizz!—hot white semen—out it spurts!….God!…is it God?……you black out……is that you coming out or the essence of you going?—-some call it a kind of momentary death——do you stand outside yourself when you are hard—-or maybe it is life itself that stands outside you that was in you but is now moving onwards without you?…….and what is left of you when it is gone?……..are you still you or something new or something old and used up……the story starts over again…the neverending story…..the new plant rises from the rhizome each new season….what are we?……..but a single season’s blossoming on an eternal deciduous tree?…….and when the petals and leaflet’s fall from the tree?………life of significant soil?………Eliot……Four Quartets………in the end we are holy mulch and fertilizer for other lives…a culture in a Petri dish…….….Got to shake this off…….Back to Basics…….the restaurant where I met Eva….terrific seafood…….Let’s, go—–OK—Just do it!—–Back to Basics………………………

1.1. What is a parliamentary assembly?

An international parliamentary assembly is a consultative body attached to an international organization. It is usually composed of parliamentarians appointed by the parliaments of the organization’s member states. Examples of existing parliamentary assemblies include: The Pan African Parliament, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie. A Parliamentary Assembly may also be constituted by direct international elections, as in the case of the European Parliament of the European Union, and may evolve to assume the greater powers of a true constitutional Parliament.  However, as yet no parliamentary assembly exists on the global level. For a fuller discussion of the concept of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly see:

Good! Now we’re getting somewhere! So far so good!—Let’s see…. one down and only a zillion to go…..OK, what’s next?………………..Let’s see……What…….W……..the Five W’s…….Who, What, When, Where, Why……………….that’s it…..Why?……..Why do we need it?………….

1.2. What is so important about a UNPA?

Currently, the governance of the international system is a process exclusively between governments. An international representation of citizens or parliamentary control of international governmental action and international organizations as such, does not exist. A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly would address this democracy deficit by introducing the voice of the citizens into the United Nations and international politics. The membership of the assembly would reflect the composition of national parliaments and thus would also include members of opposition parties who are not participating in government. Furthermore, in contrast to government diplomats, members of the UNPA would be free from instructions, free to take a global perspective and to represent the world community as such. In addition, a UNPA would be an important link between the citizens and the United Nations; step by step it could be vested with information, participation and control rights and therefore would act as body for international parliamentary oversight; could serve as parliamentary umbrella for international cooperation; By addressing issues concerning global governance and United Nations reform, could become a political catalyst for further development of the international system; eventually could be transformed into a principal organ of a reformed United Nations.

     Furthermore a Parliamentary Assembly is increasingly necessary as a matter of efficiency to provide a permanent and continuous forum in international treaty negotiations such as the Climate Change conferences in Bali and Copenhagen and to make them more democratic. The experience of the Climate Change, WTO and other specialized international conferences, notably the unsuccessful Copenhagen COP 15 Conference, is that it is simply not workable to merely convene a treaty Conference every two, five or eight years for two weeks to deal with these subjects. There needs to be a permanent assembly with specialized committees working continuously on these matters with continuous dialogue and feedback between governments and civil society to avoid the too sporadic, short and demonstration disrupted plenary conferences which are now far too slow and obsolete, not to mention non-transparent and unresponsive to civil society.

OK!—–now we’re on a roll!—-let’s go with the flow while the flow is going and flowing!—-what’s next?…..OK…………….Golden Rule……put yourself in the place of the reader….Hypocrite Lecteur! Mon semblable, Mon Frere!…….reaction?………..Level 1: Sounds civilized and sane—go on oh great sage one! Lead me to deliverance oh my Messiah!…………..Level 2: What the Fuck are you talking about?…….this idealistic Bullshit isn’t going to work!—–what are you smoking man!!!!!!!!!!!…………….OK!—-let’s hit Level 2 head-on!…………………

1.3.  Isn’t this idea simply a pipedream utopia?

The idea of a world parliament directly elected by the world’s population with plenary legislative powers embedded into an effective system of global governance—-a true and comprehensive World Parliament in a legally constituted and fully functioning constitutional World Government certainly still is an utopia today and the Committee does not advocate or go so far at the present time, which would most likely be unworkable. Instead it advocates a first, but limited step in that direction, creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly of an advisory nature based on already proven models such as the European Parliament of the European Union.  In practice, the concept of a unified government of the world, or a “United States of Earth” would face insurmountable difficulties because of the extreme social and economic disparities in development, political differences and disparate interests in the world which exist today.

Starting from a broad notion of democracy, encompassing both political and social participation, the concept of international democracy cannot be reduced to merely establishing a new body. This approach could even corrupt the actual intention. The concept rather includes comprehensive questions of human development as well, such as how to create fair economic opportunities for everyone, thus taking on the challenge to reduce extreme poverty and to bridge the wealth divide within as well as between countries. The basic precondition for a world parliament therefore is a minimum of common economic and social welfare in the world which does not yet exist.

On the side of political participation, there are similar problems. The direct, democratic election of delegates to a world parliament in undemocratic states, for example, is simply not possible. Thus, the creation of a fully democratic world parliament, in addition, depends on the development of stable democratic systems at the level of nation states as well. These issues in mind, however, the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly believes that first steps are possible and urgently needed. Given the already proven success of the European Parliament, an advisory assembly of analogous limited powers on a global scale is not at all utopian anymore. This is why the Committee advocates the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.

OK………..reader’s reaction?………….Naaaaa…..still disbelief……..dreamers are dreamers… can there be any real hope this thing would work?…..where’s the proof?……OK, let’s hit it!……………………………….

1.4  What makes you think this would really work?—–Are there any successful real world experiences to draw upon?

When imagining the possible development of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly one can draw upon the successful example of the European Parliament (EP). Developing out of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community, founded in 1952, the consultative function of the early European Parliament, set up in 1962, was widened to include the right to be heard in legislative processes. Since 1975, the EP has been allowed to “co-decide” with regard to the budget. At the beginning, the EP consisted of representatives of national parliaments. In 1979, direct election of EP parliamentarians in the EC Member States was introduced. Politically strengthened in that way, the EP rejected the draft budget of the European Commission for the first time. Today, the European Parliament has the same rights as the European Council with regard to three quarters of all legislative projects in the European Union.

So, Mon Semblable, Mon Frere—-convinced already?—–No Way, Hose!—-never underestimate the power of resistance…..especially anything new or novel——-would hate all politicians in high places……..too many already……..why create more long noses to look down at me?……OK, let’s see a little mental jujitsu is needed……………….use the weight of the opponent’s own argument against him……………the UN not a bloated giant—-but a dwarf!………hit ‘em with facts—figures don’t lie!……….

1.5. Don’t we have enough bodies and bureaucracy already at the international


It’s true that the UN system embraces a multitude of programmes, funds, specialized

agencies, institutes and other entities (see chart: While there certainly are opportunities for more efficiency and streamlining, one has to keep in mind that the UN system is designed to take care of the wellbeing of 6 billion people on the international level. Given the growing tasks transferred to the UN by its member states, the UN Secretariat as the core of the system, for example, is very modest in size and budget.

In fact, it cannot fulfill its functions properly because it is not financed and staffed well enough. It has a total staff of about 7,500 and a budget of about 1.4 billion US Dollars. The New York City Fire Department’s staff alone, for example, is more than two times larger. The combined expenditures of the complete UN system, including, for example, peacekeeping operations, was at 12.3 billion US Dollars in 2001 – less than 2 US Dollars per world inhabitant and year (figures: The City of New York, in comparison, currently has an annual budget of 52.9 billion US Dollars and thus spends about 6,500 US Dollars per inhabitant and year.

How are we doin’ coach?——OK, a little progress——he’s backing up on the ropes—–but No!—he’ll find another rationalization!—-the Protean face of resistance, denial and inertia is everchanging and resourceful!—–thinking is always a last resort!——-we have faith humanity will turn to reason and justice!——–after all else fails!!!——–sounds too good to be true it must be impossible right?  It only stands to reason it would be too hard to do…………..OK, what to hit ‘em with next?

2.1. Wouldn’t a UNPA be too hard to establish?  Is a reform of the UN charter needed to establish a UNPA? Wouldn’t some big country just veto it?

No.  A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly with consultative functions vis-à-vis the UN General Assembly can be established by a simple majority vote of the UN General Assembly according to Art. 22 of the UN Charter which says: “The General Assembly may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions.“ No veto right applies, because under the UN Charter, Art. 22 the Security Council need not be involved in the decision making reserved exclusively to the General Assembly.

Besides, a UNPA could also be established by a standalone international treaty and a cooperation agreement with the UN. A reform of the UN Charter, however, might at a later stage be necessary should the UNPA once established be subsequently transformed into a principal organ of the world organization with greater general legislative powers at a later stage.

2.2. Which are the steps to be taken for the creation of this new body?

Politically, the most important step is to secure considerable support by national parliaments and governments. Eventually, the proposal needs to be scrutinized and debated in detail by like-minded governments, ideally in cooperation with parliaments, international organizations and civil society.

Depending on the results, these deliberations then would lead to the introduction of a Proposal introduced into the relevant committee of the United Nations General Assembly or, for example, or to a genuine treaty negotiation process.

3.1. How many members will each country have?

The Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (CUNPA) recommends that the determination of the number of delegates per country in the UNPA should be left to the political negotiations of the governments during the preparatory process. The basis of the negotiations should be a commitment to a graduation in representation oriented according to population size, corresponding, in principle, to existing parliamentary assemblies. Beside the population size, other criteria could play a role, such as the equality principle (one member one vote) or the financial contributions to the UN system. However, the calculation should and can be made in such a way that huge countries, such as China or India, are not overrepresented and small countries have also some weight. A graduation constitutes a perfect means for achieving this. Furthermore, CUNPPA recommends an upper limit for the total number of delegates between 700 and 900.

4.4. What is the ultimate aim of establishing a UNPA?

The creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly will be an ongoing long term process which will continue even after it is once established as a consultative body in the first step. Connected with globalization, this process will be closely interlinked with the continuing evolvement of an ever closer world community and a growing need for effective global governance. A UNPA is the embryonic starting point for the creation of a world parliament in the long-term future in order to guarantee the involvement of the citizens in international affairs as closely as possible and to support a sense of the global common good and democratic legitimacy and oversight as globalization requires more and more powers to be transferred to international bodies to deal with the ever more internationalized problems of a globalized world. It is also designed to provide a permanent and continuous forum to replace or supplement the obsolescent and sporadic international treaty conference system.[1]

Andreas thought he had set down a good skeleton outline of the main points and felt tired and heavy…………..he needed a rest……his battery was run down and needed recharging….….now to go further he would have to put in a lot of technical content and support materials………first a break for lunch………then he would need to get some help for the research part and fact gathering and for the formatting to put it on the website………who could he recruit into the project team to be his research and support assistant?………Of course!……..should have thought of it earlier………….and he needed somebody to give some “man or woman on the street” reactions and feedback to the questions and answers with some good commonsense judgment and a native command of English………Eva would be perfect!……………………….he’d speak to her office manager and have her detailed to the FAQ project……………..


     Earlier that morning had found Eva in a rush. Sarah had returned home on holiday from her boarding school the night before. She found herself again thinking for three. She washed her face and pulled out the black and white wool dress with the small white collar from the closet, because Andreas likes it and she might see him at the Committee office. Then she went to the bathroom and washed herself between her legs before going in to see her daughter Sarah, who was still asleep. She doesn’t want to disturb her with the scent of love-making still on her, even though she doesn’t understand what it is.

She thinks to herself  ‘I want very much to protect her from the pressure, to postpone it,’ and then she finds herself self-realizing she wants to protect her from everything—which is nothing, this need is really Eva wanting to protect Eva—-to make sure nothing ever happens to her child!—to make sure nothing ever happens to herself through her child——what kind of a wish is that?—-nothing ever happen to her!—–a neurotic mother’s wish!—— She looks at Sarah’s face half-buried in the pillow and strokes her hair gently enough to keep from waking her. Yes, she hopes that something will happen to her that she can’t protect her from, but God just let it be the good kind of trouble she can bounce back from—providence—nobody can protect us from life……but postpone it a little…….a right to a little childhood first…..enjoy while it lasts…… She feels a feeling of intimacy and exclusiveness, a feeling that began when she was born, and before that in the nine months of the sharing of her body. It was a warm, fuzzy intimate joyousness. She writes a note and leaves it on the pillow, hurrying out. She must rush to get to the butcher and the grocer around the corner and leave the things for Sarah before dashing off to the office….. veal, potatoes, onions, lettuce, milk, yogurt, bread, microwave pizza. Returning with the groceries she stores them in the fridge and cupboard.  

 She goes into Sarah’s room and finishes unpacking her loose clothes from her suitcase….of course she brings the dirty ones home…..a fine present for mummy!…….you’d think they enjoy making you do these little chores……like it’s a proof of her mum’s love to see mum scrubbing up her soiled panties!…. putting the dirty ones in the laundry hamper, and laying out a clean dress for her to wear. …..She takes the laundry hamper out of the room and dumps it into the washing machine on the back porch. Then she goes to her own room and strips off the sheets to wash them at the same time. Pulling off the sheets she notices a stain of blood. But surely it’s not time for her period? She checks the calendar on her cell phone and realizes, yes, it’s today.

Suddenly she feels tired and irritable, because such feelings always accompany her periods. She chides herself at her instinctive feelings of shame and modesty—no emotion for a modern woman you would think?—-and then slipping a tampon with its string dangling up her vagina and gathering herself together rushes down the stairs. She stops short, realizing she had not packed away a supply of tampons in her purse, and scampers back to the bathroom again. She was short of money so she decided to take the bus to the office rather than the convenience of a taxi. That meant she would have to leave half an hour early. In the mirror again she re-adjusts her hair and makeup, hesitates before rushing off.  

She feels a slight twinge of disappointment with herself—-‘I might as well take the taxi anyway, maybe it will steady my nerves’—she tells herself as she glances at her watch telling her she has already missed the corner bus and the taxi has become a fait accompli. She looks back at herself in the mirror with half amusement, wondering what “It” would decide for her. “It” was whatever it was that decided whatever it was she was going to do, which she would find out ‘in due course’ wheneverafter it was that it had been decided.  Was she going crazy when “It” turned her life into a kind of weather….It’s raining, It’s snowing…It’s windy……It’s taking the taxi…It’s going to meet him…….and she peers up helplessly at her personal sky and waits to see which way the wind was blowing her?  She tells herself that if she had not discovered her period starting she would not be getting into this state. Suggestibility—self-exaggeration!  She feels too tense and looks for ways to reduce the tension. Instead of rushing out she moves the potted plants and flowers over towards the East window for some sun, smelling the damp-musty soil-smell of the black earth of the pots of creeper. Then a glance at the watch and she is blown down the stairs, past Vanessa in a dangling green robe, slippers and mop of unkempt hair, shouting after her——–“Why in such a hurry?”

“I’m late!”  she shouted back.

Now sitting in the taxi she felt a dull drag at her lower belly, ‘Not too bad at all’ she thought. ‘If the first pang is this slight it will be over in a day or two—why do I bitch so much when I ought to be grateful to have it so much easier than other women?——Vanessa, for instance—-hear her moaning and wallowing in complaint behind the bathroom door for four or five days at a throw—savours her martyrdom!—Sarah not started yet, thank god……..All the same I must control myself now, or I’ll find myself cracking-up into a bad temper at the office. With the taxi I should get there ten minutes early and have a chrysanthemum tea and meditation to calm myself.’   

She remembered a book review she had been reading two days before, in which a reviewer had said that he felt revolted at the description of a woman defecating. Why? —–wasn’t it part of life?—-She remembered in D.H. Lawrence—which book?—-he says to her fingering his lover’s asshole, he is glad she has one, wouldn’t want a woman who didn’t have one!—-still she knew what he—the reviewer meant—–meant it would shatter his romantic image of a woman to think of it——-keep that part of life out of the frame, pleeeease!—-She thought of how Vanessa would say to her with her loud jolly laugh “I’ve got the curse!” and even she herself had to suppress the distaste—-even with them being two women together—and to become conscious of the possibility of bad smells and discretely avoid them.

Making her way out of the taxi and disappointing the driver with the small tip, she made her way upstairs. Sipping her chrysanthemum tea in her chair, she began to worry:

‘Am I smelling?’ she asked herself as passersby brushed along the aisle. It was the only smell of herself she knew that she actively disliked. She didn’t mind her own toilet smells, and she liked the smell of sex, of sweat, of the loving skin and hormone-drenched hair. But the dubious, staleish smell of menstrual blood she had to admit she hated……it seemed something imposed on her from the outside……not of her but of something beyond her…..not me but it……we women’s cross to bear…….eternal woman…..eternal victim!……….The Eternal She who Suffers!………got to shake it off……..being a man’s not so easy either……shaving and nicking your face every morning!……..dying for one’s country….…why do I have to think these things always?   She went to the office washroom to check herself and wash up again, and put on a strong dose of scent to cover the traces. Then she sat back in her workstation and settled in to the work on the design for the campaign brochures.

 She was glad she had a project of her own she could work on alone until her ‘time’ had passed. She worked on her Mac computer and Photoshop doing the graphics and lay out for the rest of the afternoon, taking a long lunch alone at the fish & chips down the block.

Around four o’clock Eva had to go to meet with Jonathan Benn, her supervisor, to coordinate on the copy for the brochure. Old Johnny Benn was ‘Old Labour’ from the hard Old Left before the era of Margaret Thatcher and New Labour and the fall of the East Bloc. One of the “Angry Young Men” of his times, he came from a working class background and had pulled himself up by his bootstraps, working in the TUC labour union hierarchy and getting a late education at night on the run while being a dedicated communist until the collapse of 1989 and the rise of ‘New Labour’ made it unpopular. Eva took a bit long in printing out the mark-ups—then she rushed to the washroom, quickly because she was late—and examined herself—she then poured cup after cup of warm water between her thighs to defeat the sour musty smell, replacing the old blood-soaked tampon and napkin with new ones. Then she re-dosed herself with a heavy application of sweet smelling scent and rushed over to Johnny’s office. Eva got there a half-hour late for the meeting.

“No need to apologise………” Johnny joked, “……………You are a part-time staffer in the great tradition of British upper class noblesse oblige, the armies of the upper crust ladies doing their obligatory social welfare work to salve the consciences—we can’t expect too much discipline from you—-after all we of the working class have been conditioned to accept that the clock stops for the queen and she can never be late.”

     “Get off it Johnny” Eva retorted, “I’d like to see you keep up my schedule as a single working mother doubling-up trying to do her extra bit for the good cause.”

     “By the way you look and smell lovely today……….……Since you brighten up this dreary office so much I think we proletarians can forgive you this once.” he responded smilingly, and Eva felt at ease and confident she could handle the situation. She looked at the creaking Jonathan Benn, an elderly man with all of his juices gone dry, and remembered how Harriet had told her that in his youth he was gay, brilliant and witty and a working class firebrand—–a brilliant public speaker in the TUC councils and Labour Party run ups of his day, but that the years of reaction and Thatcherism, then the anti-left reform of Labour and the fall of the Soviets had worn him down to a dry-as-dust apparatchik of the Old Labour rump-hard left, living in a closed group of his own ‘true believers’ cut off from everything happening in his own country, and withdrawing behind an impenetrable wall of left-intellectual-organizationalism and a personal biting-cynical humour. She wondered if it was a sign of a broken personality in his failure to adapt or an admirable integrity in the face of all odds. They worked amiably for another hour and made good progress on the brochure mark-up, letting down their barriers little by little and feeling more and more accustomed to one another.

Eva looked up from her side of the markup and gazed at Johnny Benn’s face, intently fixed on correcting the proofs of the mark-up, peering over his glasses, which he had pushed down to his nose from want of a better focus of his age-squinting eyes. Eva’s eye was arrested, not by the face as a picture, but by the face as a page; not by what it was, but by what it recorded.  “Johnny,” Eva put forward with a tone suggesting an invitation to a greater friendliness, “do you mind if I ask you a question of a personal sort?”

“——-Certainly Eva if you like……”

“——-Do you think it is all worth it after all?——-I mean you have been chasing after these causes for the last forty years—–Old Labour, the Socialist International, before that the Communist Party, then human rights, the Greens, and us here now, and where has it gotten us?——I mean the dreams of a better world and the hope that it would somehow be changed and yet it goes on and on and on in its endless and nauseating cycle of exploitation, ignorance, fear and dehumanization of man by man for the petty and empty gains of money, pleasures and power and vanities people are so desperate to chase after at the big and little levels, and all the while the few would-be heroes and heroines are left behind so unappreciated like so many Jeremiahs in the desert—-I mean, you have been at the good cause or causes for such a long time, so much longer and more seriously than me certainly, and where has it gotten you or me or any of us?—-Don’t you just feel like giving up with the utter futility of everything and calling it quits sometimes?—-I mean not to mention the harder times when people like you were blacklisted, beaten, jailed or killed——I mean, here we are trying to put together the consciousness of the peoples of the world to take the very first itty bitty baby step of simply coming together face-to-face just to talk in one physical place and feebly begin the process of sorting out their conflicts and contradictions and mutual homicidal fantasies and delusions of splendor and power and persecution and fear—–one little place we call a Parliamentary Assembly which can hardly solve all of those problems in and by itself anyway, and we can hardly get one government to back us up—most of the time we are lucky if people have the patience to give us a condescending smile of empty good wishes to our seeming childishly naive hopes and dreams—–are we all just Don Quixotes tilting at delusions to pump up our own sense of egotistical self importance?—–I mean at a personal level do you feel it is worth the heartache and pain and disappointment of it all—what do you think?”

“Well you know Eva, the things we do are little things and fall on their faces, but they do a lot of good for a lot of people in the short-run,——and we have to take a longer view of things—–you know I was brought up in the old Party and we had to trust in the dialectic, and that history was on our side in the long run………”

Eva quipped sarcastically , “Yes….in the long run…… and as Keynes said, in the long-run we will all be dead!……I know all that theory….but even there since 1989 and the fall of the Soviet bloc can we be sure that history is on our side or another side?…..but leaving that aside do you think at the personal level it is worth it to you or to me or to any of us?—isn’t all that theorizing evading the question at the personal level?——–I mean wouldn’t it be more honest just to say that we’ve been defeated and ignored and abused and chucked in the dustbin of history and get on for ourselves as best as we can without wasting our breath on unwanted dreams people keep pushing back in our faces……..” Eva heard her voice shrill and she stopped herself. She realized her period had caught up with her and that there is a moment every month when it does, and when she gets irritated beyond herself because it makes her feel helpless and out of control……..she directed her eyes downward from Johnny’s clear blue eyes peering out beneath his arching gray eyebrows and over the bi-focal glasses that slid down to the tip of his nose….then she pursed her lips in a small pout and rested her chin on the palm of her raised hand, elbow on the mark-ups lying on the table.  

“Well Eva, I don’t really know how to put it…..If you ask what do I get out of it or we get out of it….of course bloody little in material terms……and bloody little in appreciation……Of course I don’t delude myself that because I work and fight for some good causes I am any better than the next man……I know I get my rocks off feeling smug, self-righteous and self-important and in my time I enjoyed a bit of personal power in all of this, and in that I am no better than the capitalist boss I rail against——–maybe I was just dealt a different hand to play and played it differently for my own self-centered ends all right—I don’t have to apologise for that nor be proud neither—–What you get out of it?—well maybe each gets paid in his own coin at the ego level and there is no avoiding that—and ultimately naked came we into this world and naked we’ll go out, that’s for sure, so what we get out of anything is only temporary—–but as I get older, maybe you could call it a question of faith—–I mean I was brought up in the old party and the last place on earth you would find me would be the C of E down on my knees with that kind of faith, but young or old everybody has to proceed on faith of a sort, unreasoning or reasoning—I guess you could say life itself is an act of unthinking faith—at the most basic level you have animal faith—the instinctive faith of all life and living creatures—–faith in self-preservation and reproducing and the value of going on day by day, religion for some—-though I can’t abide the old kind what I can’t find the truth in or use in—–but you have to have something worth living for—–maybe for most it is a kind of animal faith in themselves and the children of their bodies—sexual faith—–family faith——-tribal faith——“

“————-Jeremiahs?—‘the broken-hearted Prophet?’ yes we are all voices in the desert and we all have our hearts broken—–it’s a heartbreaking world of heartbreaking realities——but throughout history, there have been maybe five, ten, or fifty people whose consciousness truly matched their times. And if we dreamers and Don Quixotes or would be prophets find ourselves by the roadside because our consciousness of reality doesn’t fit our own times, what’s so terrible or unusual about that? Our children, or our great-great-great-great grandchildren will look back and see that how people of our times saw the world was false, and that a few people saw it small bit better and made some contributions that built something for them and made their lives more endurable and they will thank us for it——-maybe!——-but even if not the gesture is its own reward in the end——–and there is some honour in the mere trying——”

“———-in the end I am chagrinned to come back to faith—-in the end the question for a man is: ‘are you part of something bigger and more important than yourself or not?—-are you part of something potentially infinite or eternal as life itself or not?’—-If so you have the capacity to be human in contributing to that part of yourself that is rooted in that something greater that will live on in spirit when you die—just as your children live on after you biologically—-in the old party we put down faith as superstition and we wanted to replace it with science of course—-scientific history and communism and all that——what you can prove rather than what you blindly follow because someone rotten in your society told you it was right and true you were too afraid to disbelieve and which comes back as a pumped-up bloated self-congratulating mirror image of yourself or of those who hold power in your society and aim to keep it—–communism was also in a way a faith in the unproveable—-the dialectic leading to an end of history with a socialist heaven at the end of the dialectical rainbow and all that——-in the end maybe we have seen all the faiths torn down but one——the faith in life itself in all its powers, forms and manifestations……and a more fragile faith in the precarious possibility of the full power of that life realized with a human face and heart and mind……..beyond that I haven’t gotten Eva, so I don’t have the answers for you……….”

Eva smiled at Johnny and put her hand on his, saying “Thank you Johnny, I’m glad we had this talk…….I’m sorry I’m a little beside myself right now, but I’m glad I had a chance to hear you…I think we understand and appreciate each other a little better now…..But I have to run now and circulate the mark-ups for comment before everyone goes home……we’ll have lunch together sometime soon!”

As Eva stood at the printer Harriet, the office manager, walking down the hallway with two young girls in tow barking out instructions poked her head in Eva’s door and chirped in—“ Oh Eva, tomorrow afternoon after you finish up the brochure go up to the top floor to Mr. Sarkozy’s office—-you are to help part-time as the administrative assistant on the FAQ project for a few days—Ta, Ta—have a good evening!”  


            Nicholas Oblomov was difficult to work with. Though he was highly talented and imaginative as a graphic artist he was unpredictable and unreliable in the extreme. Sometimes he would simply disappear. Now that Eva’s deadline was fast approaching she couldn’t contact him and so she had to go to track him down to get the brochure graphics she needed. After leaving Old Johnny Benn’s office she looked up his home address and grabbed a taxi, hoping to catch him at home before he might slip off for the night somewhere out on the town.

            He lived in a dismal basement room beneath a widow of a solicitor who used to make an occasional contribution to the Committee. Eva walked along a filthy cheap coconut-fibre runner that ran the length of the hallway towards his door, number 4,  which was half-buried in unemptied garbage bags. At the sound of her heavy heels approaching the door but before she could knock or speak a voice intoned itself slowly, as though dictating, through the opaque frosted glass of the closed doorway: “Would you be so kind as to bring me some water?”

            It occurred to Eva that the man must be sick and unable to fetch water for himself. Perhaps he was dying. The thought raced through her head as she called back through the glass pane “Yes, hold on…..I’ll fetch some directly…..Are you all right? Do you need anything else?”

            “No, just water, thank you.” he replied.

            Eva went out the outer door and up to the ground-floor door and knocked, asking for a pitcher of water for Mr. Oblomov. The widow answered, saying “Oh! Is he out again? He hasn’t paid his water and electric bill for two months and they shut it off. I brought him some yesterday but he must have gone through it.” She returned bringing me a large pitcher and a pot brimming with water from her tap.

            Eva knocked again and then opened the door. She was hit by a smell so overpowering that she stopped in her tracks and winced. To call it acrid would overlook its density and its sweetness. Looking over to the body lying on the bed opposite she would have supposed that it was a corpse in the process of decomposition. To call the odor sweet and sour would also be misleading. It was somehow the smell of a corpse, not at all dead, but which was continually smoking cigarettes, sucking peppermints and eating garlic and tomato paste. Laying in this aromatic bath atop the leftovers of a bed, the sheets yellowing towards a brown that went well with the tobacco stains on his fingers and quietly puffing away at cheap cigarette after cigarette, ashtray overflowing onto the floor with gray powdery ash, was the cheerful corpse which gave Eva a gesture of thanks. Within reaching distance of him, arrayed on a long coffee table stretching half the length of the bed lay a baroque-looking hurricane lamp fed by kerosene, a kerosene camp-burner on which sat a blackened pot encrusted with half-burnt foam, a dozen packets of spaghetti and macaroni, a half-full decanter of olive oil, six cartons of cigarettes, six empty and three unopened tins of sardines, a gallon jar of industrial-strength spaghetti sauce, a lump of salt and a bowl of sugar, and half a dozen heads of garlic. About the floor lay the greenish expanse of over thirty beer bottles. About half of them proved unopened and contained the advertised content of Beck’s beer. Another third of them, however were carefully laid beneath the opposite window. They appeared full, but were carefully segregated from the fresh lot, and their paper labels had a strange discoloration about them. On inquiry it proved that these non-conforming beer bottles contained urine, the remains of slight leakages from which also showed themselves in the deeper stains of yellow which appeared to have dried on the sheets of the bed approximately halfway along its length where it proved on Oblomov’s own admission, that he was wont to relieve himself from the edge of the bed without the dire inconvenience of having to walk the length of the outer hallway to the communal basement toilet, or after some practice, to even shift from the prone to the vertical.  After thus perfecting the process of recycling the production of the Beck’s company in such an eco-friendly way, Oblomov would be careful to re-cap the greenish receptacles from which it had originally come and segregate this reprocessed substance to the other end of the bed until a date uncertain.

            It seemed that although the room did originally have a sink with running water, since this supply had been severed by an unfeeling municipal servant, either pique or mere lethargy had moved him to sever all connection with the outside world, and even the effort of walking to the other end of the room to piss into the sink was an ordeal which he felt distinctly unworthy of him.

When the door opened and he perceived Eva entering with the pitcher and pot of water he immediately made up his mind to arise and assist her, but first perceived the necessity of finishing his cigarette and bottle of Beck’s beer that encumbered his hands. Therefore he did as he had decided; and when the tobacco and beer had been consumed he raised himself upon his elbow and arrived within an ace of getting out of bed. In fact, glancing at his slippers, he even began to extend a foot in their direction, but presently withdrew it. When Eva made a motion to pour water from the pitcher into the unwashed beer glass Oblomov insisted that she stop, saying he never drank the stuff. Instead he made a supreme effort to raise himself thirty degrees from the horizontal and prop his head on his elbow, motioning with his other hand that she might pour the contents of the pitcher in her hand into his spaghetti pot.

            It proved upon later conversation with Eva that since Oblomov was able to cook his spaghetti repeatedly in the same spaghetti water on successive occasions, guarding this liquid treasure as if it were the nectar of the gods, given his supply of stores and the efficiency of his model of living, that it was possible for him to lay abed flat on his back, or occasionally shifting upon his side or stomach, for upwards of four days at a time. This he assured her was the undoubted lifestyle of the aristocracy of the spirit. Today, however, after almost a week of heroic endurance, his spaghetti water had finally evaporated into nothingness, forcing an existential crisis upon him. Did the world external to his mind in fact exist? If so, was it worthy of his efforts to resume contact with so questionable a domain? True, Oblomov could have simply lain abed until he starved to death and passed beyond such questions. But death was such a discomforting phenomenon to contemplate, let alone undergo, and he reassured himself that his true genius lay not on the plane of the ascetic but on that of the aesthetic. Hence when he heard the sound of heels outside his door he moved himself to the supreme effort of asking for more water.

            Then it happened. What Eva had feared but hoped might somehow be avoided. Oblomov smiled at her gratefully and said “My dearest lady!—-won’t you join me in a plate of spaghetti!” There was no help for it. She had brought the water herself, so how could she possibly refuse such graciousness? Eva thought of offering to give his paste-encrusted cooking pot a scrub-up first, but was intimidated by his atemporal presence from imposing upon him. She watched as he slipped the stalks of spaghetti into the now boiling water and stirred them as they melted into the murky water. Oblomov rolled over in his bed, and with the assured movements of a somnambulist executed the steps of preparation, mincing the garlic into the spaghetti sauce and then draining the spaghetti water from the pot into a large but empty industrial-sized can for spaghetti sauce under his bed. Then without notably altering the position of his body upon the sheets he reached under the bed and produced a large dinner plate encrusted with grease and dried tomato paste. Again he reached under the bed and drew forth a month-old newspaper and proceeded to wipe the plate ostensibly clean with it. Then he turned off the burner, handed Eva the plate and said “Help yourself!”

            Eva looked at the most loathsome dish she had ever seen and handed it back to him saying “After you!” But Oblomov being the perfect host would have nothing of it and insisted that she eat first. He plopped a massive glopping portion of spaghetti upon her plate and dolloped out the spaghetti sauce on top, handing her a fork and spoon produced in the same manner as the plate which were still tacky enough to stick to her fingers. He poured some olive oil upon the concoction and smiled at her to begin.

            He himself ate out of the pot. Pouring the remains of the spaghetti sauce into it with a dash of olive oil he mixed it and then lifted it by the handle onto his sheets and proceeded to wolf it down with the cooking fork. Then looking up he apologized “I am so sorry I have run out of Parmesan cheese powder—nonetheless Bon Appetite!”

            Eva did not know how she had the courage to apply the fork and spoon to the repast and raise it towards her mouth. Nonetheless, looking back she recalled it as the best plate of spaghetti she had ever eaten and afterwards tried to emulate it in her own kitchen as a kind of elusive ideal.

            Over the spaghetti and Beck’s beer Eva and Oblomov made conversation. Did he believe in predestination? He did. Did he believe in heaven? He did, but by the look on his face he seemed to be plotting indecent enterprises he would undertake in that location, assuming he got there. Could the hour and day of his own death could be known? He believed science would progress to such a state, but that he was too preoccupied to take up the problem. Half-past nine struck, and Oblomov gave himself a shake. “What is the matter?” he said vexedly. “In all conscience its time that I were doing something! Would I could make up my mind to—to—” He broke off with a shout of “to rise!” He rose almost half way to the vertical, then evidently had better thoughts as he slumped back onto his elbow and took another swig of Beck’s, rubbing the mouth of the green bottle on his pyjama before offering it with a gesture to Eva. 

            Finally, Eva screwed up the courage to pop one last question. Had he by any chance finished the paste-ups for the Committee brochures that were due last week? He continued sucking up his spaghetti, then motioned with his fork behind the headboard of the bed. Eva rose and looked. Under a towel lay the graphic boards. She moved towards the window to look.

            “This is marvelous Nick!” she ejaculated, “…… never occurred to me to do it quite this way…..this is really something to remember!”

            “You are exaggerating.” he replied.

            “Not at all…..this is marvelous!……but why didn’t you bring it in last week?”

            “I hadn’t decided if I was going to go on living last week.” he replied.

            “Nick, don’t talk like that…..With your talent you have got everything to live for.”

            “On the contrary….I am convinced that I was only born by an unhappy accident. I should have stayed in the sidereal realms. ‘Never to have been born is best ancient writers say; Second best’s a gay good-night and quickly turn away.’”

            “Nick, stop wallowing in self-pity and pull yourself together. You have got so much to give to the world.”

            “And what has the world given to me that I should be so eager to give to it?” he asked, “……and if I did what good would come of it?”

            “Life, Nick, ….Life.” she retorted.

            “Well, I am not sure that is a blessing or a curse. The whole thing is probably a mistake from the get go.”

            “Stop it Nick. Anyway I am leaving your last month’s pay on the table here and when you pull yourself out of your funk come down to the office and we’ll put you to work again.”

            “Work? I haven’t finished working on myself. That is the great unfinished job.” he replied.

            “All right, Nick. All right…… Well take care of yourself.” she said as she walked out the door, the graphics rolled into a tube under her arm, leaving him a kiss on the cheek before she departed.

            “I love you too Eva” he yelled after her from his pillow.


     That next morning Andreas worked slowly in his office, gathering facts from the Internet and trying to push on beyond what he had written the day before. He added in sections on the Global Marshall Plan and on the fulfillment of the goals of the Millennium 2000 Summit in New York, at which he had met Professor Sartorius, who was to become his mentor and chief sponsor in the organization and who had induced him to become deeply involved in the work of establishing the Committee. He dashed off several e-mails to Sartorius asking for advice and suggestions for the FAQ. Though he had become highly accustomed to it, it still contained an element of romance for him that he could send off e-mails, documents and MSN Messenger chats to Robert in Beijing from London and have the answers back from half-way around the globe half a second later in real time, not to mention the occasional Skype and Messenger online audio chats and even the video hookups with his new laptop.

 He recalled his own father had been a “Ham” or amateur radio enthusiast and he had had a battery of radio equipment in Capetown, South Africa before he died, on which he had used key code and voice to communicate to comrades in Japan, Canada, Australia, California, Hungary and the East Bloc and the Soviet Union. He also collected stamps from around the world in dozens of large albums——it was some of the global romance of the Internet in the pre-Internet age——a way of being connected to the wider and glorious world. He remembered how his father, extremely intelligent, but whose education was disrupted by the dislocations of the Second World War, had self-educated himself in many technical areas such as radio and then television, sailing, home repair, printing, construction, and buried himself in his workshop in the guest-house of their bungalow—-he would work for hours and hours, sometimes inventing impractical contraptions or talking on his ham radio——one thing he wasn’t good at was emotional communication with his family, and his endless busyness and business, admirable in itself was an evasion of psychological reality and feeling—–a sign of a broken personality that never healed——Andreas felt like crying when he remembered his dead father and all the things he wanted to say to him that he would never be able to say. Death had its finality and closed off long-deferred and unexpressed feelings pent up over years of non-communication.

Andreas remembered how as a boy he had spent hours in the radio shack with his father in their home in Capetown, desperate for some love and recognition and how his father would constantly attack and criticize him—–what he would later recognize as a defense-mechanism—–his father was deep down a vulnerable man afraid of anyone getting close enough to him to hurt him, and so he magnified his authoritarian father-figure role into a constant barrage of threats and browbeating—-Andreas saw now that he had been as desperate for love as he himself had been but had run away from his need into his radios, engines, power saws, drills, auto repairs, inventions and technical books and magazines.  Andreas had picked it up from this environment, and though he was later to turn to his mother’s influence on the side of literary books and ultimately to the study of the law and international relations he retained a keen interest in the technological dimension of things.  Out of this he had served as a signals officer in the South African army and gotten pulled into the campaigns in Angola and Mozambique, following the mobile commando units with his communications equipment and calling in helicopter and air and logistic support as needed. His feelings had always been profoundly mixed, as his father was an ex-communist, active in the party in the early years yet having it all crushed out of him in the Stalinist purges and repressions in the fifties in Hungary and then refugee life in Germany and then finally South Africa.  His mother too had been active on the left in Germany before they moved to Capetown, in her younger days in Germany teaching Germanistik and participating in many of the student demonstrations.

Andreas had not been “a political” in South Africa, that was to come later back in Germany with his college education and law studies. He remembered with fondness his high school classmates and the comradeship of the military camps and the fascination with the weapons and technology of war. He remembered especially the extreme beauty of the land, and the manifold life forms of the veldt, rolling hills, deserts, grasslands and jungles where his unit operated. He remembered the cynicism and nervous energy of the drinking and soldiers’ parties off duty in the towns around the camps, young men drinking themselves blind.  Nothing was more powerful than this nihilism, an angry readiness to throw everything overboard, a willingness to become part of the general dissolution. To Andreas it was one of the strongest reasons that wars continue. Despite the frustration and senselessness of it all he had felt free and acutely alive on convoy across the vast expanses of Namibia, Angola, Rhodesia and Mozambique riding under pale moonlight across vast tracks, past the blue mountains, kopjes, and endless banks of black trees set against pale light. He recalled one night sitting up atop his communications van watching a pride of lions through his field glasses chase a herd of water buffalo across a wetlands, taking a small calf and an older lame bull.  As a communications and logistics officer he was not deeply engaged in frontline combat, but had killed a black guerilla in an ambush along the river in Mozambique. He often had flashbacks and occasional stress attacks from that time.  It was enough to fill him with revulsion at the futility of it all, and after he mustered out of the service and his father had died, leaving the family with a considerable estate and life insurance award, he was glad to get the chance to follow his mother back to Germany, where she had retained her citizenship and where he could claim a European Union passport and after a spell enter the university and begin a new life and new existence. It was there that he really began to become an inward and thinking being with a literate consciousness and acute social conscience, trying to put himself and the world together again anew.

As he got back more responses and e-mails from Robert he set back to work again, intermittently writing and intermittently pausing to pace across the room to the large picture window of the top floor where he could see below the expanse of tiled rooftops the black London taxis queuing up and departing in the street below, their red taillights merging into the long slow flow of traffic sluggishly insisting its way in the direction the British Museum, matched by the slower but steady pedestrian pace of walkers, who seemed to have somewhere to go, adjusting their umbrellas against a misting hint of coming rain across the dull gray London streetscape.

Robert’s e-mail suggested a question on ‘subsidiarity’ and a question on representation of undemocratic nations in the Parliamentary Assembly——–from the European Union experience people were worried that government was getting too far from the people—–the European Commission and WTO seemed too out of communication and unconcerned with people’s day to day lives——-we needed to assure well-wishers on the soft and fuzzy Green side that our programme was people-friendly and user-friendly——–Andreas worried that people would be lost in the haze of fuzz-word buzz-word abstractions such as ‘subsidiarity’—-but he accepted Robert’s judgment———

1.7. Following the principle of subsidiarity, government should be brought as near to the people as possible and people should enjoy maximum freedom within the law to run their own lives. Would a global assembly really help to advance such freedom in any significant way?

Yes. A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) would help to solve global problems which by their nature cannot be dealt with effectively on a local level but affect people’s daily lives. By bringing the voice of the people into the UN system and international relations, a UNPA would contribute to a better understanding and awareness of such global problems. Creating fair economic and social opportunities for the people, for example, is not only a matter of national, regional or local concern. It is also a matter of global economic and financial relations in the world. A UNPA therefore is very much in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity since its aim is to enhance the possibility of the citizens to influence the international environment which has an impact on their day to day lives. Subsidiarity means that problems should be dealt with on the level as near to the citizens as possible. In case of global problems no such lower level is available. Thus, citizens need an international body to represent them more directly.

Then the objection about how non-democratic countries should be treated in the new Parliamentary Assembly—should they be included or excluded even if their representatives don’t truly represent the free choice of their peoples?—-Andreas set to work:

3.3. How can one have free elections for the UNPA in countries that do not

allow free elections for their citizens at all?

In undemocratic countries which do not allow for free, open, equal and secret elections at all it will not be possible to have democratically legitimate delegates for the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in the short term. Pseudo-parliamentarians coming from such undemocratic states actually would be subject to the instructions of their home government and ruling party. CUNPA has dealt with this problem in its strategy paper, para. 32: There are objections that the participation of such pseudo-parliamentarians could undermine the legitimacy and moral authority of the assembly altogether. This opinion contradicts the fact that the affected states are already represented in the United Nations with equal rights according to international law. In view of this, excluding these states from a participation in a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations could hardly be explained.

Furthermore, to draw the line between the criteria for an inclusion and those against would hardly be possible in a convincing way. An exclusive membership would undermine the global perspective and would make it implausible.  Having said this, it certainly is important that the clear majority of the membership is democratically legitimate. Since the majority of the UN Member States are democracies, this would be the case. It is hoped that over time the non-democratic nations would evolve towards greater democracy and that eventually elected or otherwise democratically legitimate representatives would gradually replace such pseudo-parliamentarians.

OK!—–that seemed to cover it——Hopefully!—We can touch it up and improve it later—-He forwarded the draft to Robert attached as a Word file to his e-mail——-Andreas looked at his watch——past twelve——–he felt hungry and hoped a little R & R would get the juices flowing again——sometime later in the afternoon he would see Eva and she would stimulate the work with a new man-on-the-street/woman-on-the-street perspective and they would think of some new approaches———Andreas would eat Indian and get some curry, chutney and Tandoori chicken down the block—–


            When Andreas returned to the office it was well past two-thirty——-he had had a leisurely lunch and then had worked at his table with his laptop and a wireless connection, enjoying a glass of Beaujolais and sneaking a cigarette when the lunch hour rush had subsided and there was no-one near to complain. Opening and closing his office door on his return he found Eva seated at his desk looking over the drafts of the FAQ.

“Hi Beautiful!” he crowed out as he swung around the back side of the swivel chair setting down his laptop carrier case and overcoat and kissing her neck, brushing her russet hair aside with his fingers, and looking down the front of her dress to see the two ample hemispheres pushing out beneath her V-cut blouse and the expression of two nipples clear even through the bra and fabric of her unbuttoned sweater.  “I wish I had known you would be here. A pleasure not savoured in anticipation beforehand is half-wasted—–to anticipate and dream of it while it approaches and looms nearer is to double it, and the actual moment is a thing too soon gone…” ——–he told her in an over-elegant petting flattery, in response to which she smiled back at him mutely with a return and acceptance of his pleasure——-“did you get a chance to look over the drafts for the FAQ—–I want to get your suggestions from the reader’s perspective and then your help on some of the research and editing work.”

She beamed. ——-Forty-five minutes before she had plucked up her courage and entered his office, preparing some appropriate opening dialogue in her mind to set the conversation and the continuation of the relationship on its course. Not finding him there she walked about, did some small reconnaissance of the little objects of the office to savour the presence of him, then plopped down in his chair, looking at the drafts of the FAQ project scattered across his large desk. Eva knew she would love this man but did not know what the outcome of that would be. In the first place she was seven years older than he was, though she was considered good looking and was in good shape —-people often took her for being younger than she was——in the second place she had a daughter, was divorced and had had a series of relationships with men, generally older than herself or married, which had led to no lasting future—-and he was young, footloose, promiscuous, supposedly engaged to another woman in Germany but eager to escape………….but all young men were like that to one degree or another and not necessarily inalterably so………Where was life taking her in this newfound love for Andreas?

What made her feel terrible was that after each of the phases of her life was finished, she felt left with no more than some banal commonplace that everyone knows: in this case, that women’s emotions are all still fitted for a society that no longer exists and that their emotions—-her own emotions, to be precise—-are to do with her relationship to a man—–One man——-but she didn’t live that kind of life and didn’t know many of her friends who did—even the conventionally married ones——-So she was always coming to the conclusion that her real emotions were irrelevant and silly—–and in the end rather foolish——she was always having to, as it were, cancel herself out—–as she looked down at the FAQ drafts she thought to herself—‘I ought to be more like a man, caring more for my work than for other people; I ought to put my work first, and take men as they come, or just compromise and find an ordinary comfortable man for support, bread and butter…….’ But she knew wouldn’t do that—-couldn’t—-she couldn’t be that kind of a person——it wasn’t Eva————–

Now, since Sarah had begun at the boarding school Eva’s life was heading for yet another a new turning. Whereas before she had been all in all to Sarah and had bathed fulfilled in the mutual feeling of their all-pervasive closeness, now Sarah hardly listened to her mother talk over dinner and sought out excuses and opportunities to break away or avoid her, seeming to nurse some latent repulsion or dissatisfaction in her presence and style of life. Moreover, Sarah seemed more and to embrace the gentrified values of her girl’s school—horseback riding, parties at country clubs, entry to the more elite London social circles, and advantageous marriages, which Eva from her bohemian youth to present had so visibly rejected.

Family closeness often has a deep sadness to it, which seeped more and more often into Eva’s feelings. Nature, that great tragic dramatist, knits us together by chromosomes, genes and the common lines of the family face, and divides us by the subtler web of our contrary brains; blends yearning affection with wedded repulsion, and ties us by our heart-bonds to the beings that chafe eachother at every movement. We hear a voice echoing with the very pulse and timber of our own, uttering the thoughts we have come to despise. We bristle for decades at the hypocritical imprecations of the father or the irrational insistences or anxious clutchings of the infrustrate and overreaching mother, until having struggled or rebelled to make our separations and separate lives, we at long last begin to see their fading faces withering into our own images looking back at us in our midnight mirrors. More and more often Eva could not escape the force of such reflections.  

Eva found herself in the grip of a sense of mood which, when she examined it turned out to be loneliness. It seemed as if she moved between the groups of people at her work or home through a space of cold air, an emotional vacuum. This sensation was heightened by the cold gray weather of the London overcast that day and the light drizzling mist of rain. Her sensation was of physical cold, of physical isolation. She was thinking of Sean again, her last, at least temporarily long-term full-blooded relationship with a man. She remembered their long love-making and it seemed as if he might walk through that door instead of Andreas——–but that was long over now, but still a part of her——she fantasized about Sean coming through that door——then she thought in a panic—–if she didn’t stop this madness she would never become herself again—–she succeeded in banishing the ghost of Sean——–she had made love to Andreas twice since the first time on the picnic—-always on the run——-and he was always traveling on this damned Campaign business——–not to mention other women whom she suspected but didn’t know——-She read through the drafts of the FAQ, checked her watch, then settled back in Andreas’ soft-leather ergonomic swivel chair——–her eyes closed and in her mind’s eye she found herself back at the countryside picnic wood where she had first made love to Andreas—–she felt the warm, warm sun upon her bare breasts of that day, nestled against Andreas’ muscled flank———‘so beautiful!’——–She could feel the cold that surrounded her melting and thawing in the powerful belief that Andreas would soon be with her—she sat with her eyes closed for several minutes until she heard a click——lifting her eyelids she saw the door opening—————————

“Hi Beautiful” she heard as she composed herself and felt him brush her hair from across her neck and kiss it.

“I’ve been waiting for you” she smiled back to him, turning her face up to kiss the curve of his cheek, nestling down next to her own.

As they began to work on the FAQ Eva made some editorial revisions and started to work on the layout and design. Then they discussed what further lines of questions they needed to add. Eva thought a bit of the history of the idea would help people understand it better, and help displace their skepticism.——— If this is such a wonderful idea why hasn’t it been adopted already? she thought they would wonder.————-Andreas set down the next pair of the questions and answers:    

1.11. What’s the history of the idea of a world parliament going back to WWI and earlier, and why hasn’t it been realized since that time?

The idea of a world parliament was introduced initially before the First World War. However, at that time, no international or regional organization existed. The paramount thrust of many proponents of an international organization was to introduce some institution which would control national state behaviour at the international level. Thus, they saw an international organization—first the League of Nations, after the Second World War the UN itself—as a kind of parliament which would control states behaviour. That this would not work as long as there was no democratic control within the organization was for a long time not recognized, especially during the time of the Cold War where the UN also took on the role of a mediator. Therefore, the democratic deficit and corresponding legitimacy deficit of the UN was only widely criticized after the end of the Iron Curtain, i. e. the 1990s.

Moreover, there was another, even more important reason why a UN Parliament was never realized. For governments, it was already a huge concession to set up an international organization after the First World War. They were not prepared to give up their sovereignty to an organization which the idea of a parliament would entail were it  implemented, i. e. if and when it were entrusted with genuine democratic rights of control and lawmaking.

Nevertheless, one government, namely, Germany, tried to introduce a World Parliament as part of the new League of Nations after the First World War. However, Germany could not impose itself since it had lost the war. Major decision makers at that time, especially the US President Wilson, the instigator of the League of Nations, were against the idea. This was also the case after the Second World War and continues until today. However, meanwhile, the UN itself is coming under more and more pressure because it demands national democratisation, but is not democratically organized itself.

Then Andreas suggested that they had to give people a clearer idea of what exactly a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly would do——-what would be its functions?——For that he had Eva write down some of the functions he pulled out of some documents for the European Union’s European Parliament and mixed them with some of the functions of the General Assembly and other sources, and then wrote them up:

4.1. What would a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly do?—–What would the main functions of a UNPA be?

The populations of the UN member states have to be better and more directly included into the activities of the United Nations and its international organizations. This can be achieved by setting up a parliamentary assembly. Possible functions a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly could be vested with have been named in CUNPA’s strategy paper (para. 5) to include the following:

1)     Submission of its own opinions/resolutions to the General Assembly, ECOSOC, the Secretary General, the Security Council, and to the organs and other institutions of the UN system;

2)      consultation by the General Assembly, ECOSOC and by organs of other institutions of the UN system with regard to important questions;

3)  the right to address questions to the Secretary General, the Presidents of the General Assembly, of ECOSOC and of the Security Council as well as to the heads of other institutions of the UN system;

3)      rights of information and participation in relation to the activities of the

institutions of the UN system including the still independent Economic and Financial Institutions;

4)      readings of draft resolutions of the General Assembly and of ECOSOC with the right to submit suggestions for amendments;

5)      the right to submit to the General Assembly and to ECOSOC draft resolutions for further negotiation and adoption;

6)      Co-decision with regard to the adoption of the UN budget;

7)      Co-decision with regard to the election of the UN Secretary General;

8)      the right to be integrated into all treaty negotiations which are conducted under the auspices of the United Nations including those to establish or modify international institutions;

9)      the right also to be integrated into multilateral treaty negotiations at the international level not under the auspices of the UN;

10)  the right to submit, in accordance with Article 65 of its Statute, legal questions to the International Court of Justice.

11 )  Furthermore, a UNPA must have the right to establish inquiry committees which may summon testimony and evidence on global problems, and to summon functionaries of the UN institutions to ensure fulfillment their duties and to conduct comprehensive oversight of their performance. In line with a comprehensive reform of the United Nations in the future, the UNPA could be transformed into a UN main body and become part of a global legislature

Eva suggested that many people, including most women, decide on complex questions not on the basis of intellectual study and analysis but rather “by association” based on the movement’s support or opposition by notable persons or groups whom they have come to know and trust as authorities, opinion formers or persons of respect. She suggested that a list of Testimonials or Statements of Support by persons and organizations be included to lend credibility and trust to the proposal. Accordingly Andreas drafted a new entry and included it towards the end of the document:

5.5 What Testimonials and Statements of Support has the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly received from Parliaments, NGO’s and notable individuals?

“The European Parliament calls for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) within the UN system, which would increase the democratic profile and internal democratic process of the organisation and allow world civil society to be directly associated in the decision-making process”

European Parliament, June 2005


Former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Butros-Ghali Calls for Establishment of a United Nations    Parliamentary Assembly (16 May 2007)

“States and societies everywhere in the world increasingly confront forces far beyond the control of any one state or even group of states. Some of these forces are irresistible, such as the globalization of economic activity and communications. In the process, problems which can only be solved effectively at the global level, are multiplying and requirements of political governance are extending beyond state borders accordingly. Increasing decision making at the global level is inevitable. In this process, however, democracy within the state will diminish in importance if the process of democratization does not move forward at the international level. Therefore, we need to promote the democratization of globalization, before globalization destroys the foundations of national and international democracy. The establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations has become an indispensable step to achieve democratic control of globalization. Complementary to international democracy among states, which no less has to be developed, it would foster global democracy beyond states, giving the citizens a genuine voice in world affairs. As the Campaign’s appeal rightly implies, a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly could also become a catalyst for a comprehensive reform of the international system. In particular, I would like to point out, it should become a force to provide democratic oversight over the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO. We cannot just dream, or wait for someone else to bring our dream about. We must act now. In this sense, I strongly encourage you in your struggle for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. Once established, this new body will be a decisive contribution to strengthen democracy at all levels.”


“…the Latin-American Parliament declares … its support to efforts towards the creation and establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly of the United Nations Organization (UNO) with the purpose of strengthening the effectiveness, transparency, representativeness, plurality and legitimacy of the international system”

24th Ordinary Assembly of the Latin-American Parliament, Panamá, December 2008

 Pope Benedict XVI published his first social encyclical called “Caritas in Veritate”, charity in truth. In this writing, the Pope contemplated on the nature and consequences of globalization, the global economic crisis and the world order. Benedict XVI stressed the importance of a reform of the United Nations Organization and of international economic and financial institutions. “There is urgent need of a true world political authority,” the Pope proclaimed. According to a study published today by the Committee for a Democratic U.N. (KDUN) in Germany, “it is possible to derive from this Catholic social doctrine the creation of a democratic world legislative which, in particular, has the task to exercise oversight over the executive world authority.” The establishment of an effective political world authority has been continuously advocated by the Holy See since Pope Pius XII in the 1950s and was now again reiterated by Benedict XVI.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his first Social Encyclical called “Caritas in Veritate“, Charity in Truth


“The method of representation at the UN should be considerably modified. The present method of selection by government appointment does not leave any real freedom to the appointee. Furthermore, selection by governments cannot give the peoples of the world the feeling of being fairly and proportionately represented. The moral authority of the UN would be considerable enhanced if the delegates were elected directly by the people. Were they responsible to an electorate, they would have much more freedom to follow their consciences”

Open letter of Albert Einstein to the UN General Assembly, October 1947


 Former WTO Director-General Mike Moore Endorses Creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly

In a comment published today, the former Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mike Moore, has spoken out for the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA). “The global architecture is in need of refurbishing. It is necessary to build democratic principles into global governance,” said Moore who was also Member of Parliament for the New Zealand Labour Party for over 20 years.


“A parliament at the U.N. would symbolize the notion of humanity as a community of world citizens.”

Günter Grass, Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature (1999)


“The United Nations would probably have to rest on two pillars: one constituted by an assembly of equal executive representatives of individual countries, resembling the present plenary, and the other consisting of a group elected directly by the globe’s population in which the number of delegates representing individual nations would, thus, roughly correspond to the size of the nations.”

Václav Havel President of the Czech Republic (1993-2003) at the Millennium Summit of the United Nations, New York, September 2000


 “The call for a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations has my support”

Emma Thompson, Actress, Academy Award recipient


“I support the call for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, and believe that a more democratic United Nations as envisaged by this campaign will strengthen the accountability and legitimacy of the UN”

Ken Livingstone, 2000-2008 Mayor of London


“A UN Parliament would be an epiphany. By contrast to the UN General Assembly which is driven by the narrow interest of government representatives only, a UN Parliament would truly reflect the world’s public opinion.”

Akbar Alami, Member of the Islamic Consultative Assembly


PACE: Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Calls for UN Parliamentary Assembly

In a resolution on the reform of the United Nations which was adopted today(1 Oct), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has called for “the incorporation of a democratic element in the United Nations system.” While the assembly reiterates its “unabated support” to the UN and multilateralism, it also stresses that “the United Nations is in urgent need of a far-reaching reform in order to make it more transparent, accountable and capable of facing the global challenges of today’s world.” The resolution states that the assembly regrets that although numerous reform proposals have been advanced over the last years in the UN none of them aimed at “improving the democratic character of the United Nations.” This could be done, according to PACE, through “the introduction of a parliamentary element in the structure of the UN General Assembly.”


“A long-term Green goal is overcoming the international democracy deficit. This includes greater democratisation of the UN and other international institutions. Among these reforms, Greens support the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) as a parliamentary body within the UN system.”

Global Greens Second Congress, São Paulo, May 2008


“The Pan-African Parliament … notes that in a first preliminary step the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly could be composed of national parliamentarians, but that eventually it should be directly elected by universal adult suffrage in the UN member states. … Stresses that a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly eventually should haveparticipation and oversight rights, in particular, to send fully participating parliamentary delegations or representatives to international governmental fora and negotiations and to establish inquiry committees to assess matters related to the actions of the United Nations, its personnel and its special programmes”

Pan-African Parliament, October 2007


“The World Federation of United Nations Associations supports the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly as a consultative body within the United Nations system as a voice of the citizens and calls upon the governments of the United Nations member states, parliamentarians and civil society representatives to jointly examine possible steps and options to create a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly”

38th Plenary Assembly of the World Federation of United Nations Associations, Buenos Aires, November 2006


“Whilst international organisations and negotiations will remain essentially the domain of intergovernmental co-operation, the democratic accountability of existing organisations should also be improved through the increased participation of national parliaments in global economic management. This calls for increasing the role of national parliaments in monitoring and mandating the work of their governments in international forums as well as for strengthening existing and creating new forums for inter-parliamentary co-operation in different international organisations.”

Report from the Helsinki Process on Globalisation and Democracy, co-chaired by Foreign Ministers Jakaya M. Kikwete from Tanzania and Erkki Tuomioja from Finland, August 2005


“In the belief that the principles of separation of powers and democracy should be made beneficial on the international level … the Liberal International calls on the member states of the United Nations to enter into deliberations on the establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations.”

53rd Congress of the Liberal International, Sofia, May 2005


“A Parliamentary Assembly at the UN would encompass a number of advantages. Representation of the population and participation of civil society within the organization would promote the faith of citizens in the UN and increase its acceptance and legitimation. … peoples and minorities could introduce their concerns more efficiently within a Parliamentary Assembly at the UN, ultimately promoting the preservation of global diversity.”

Open letter of a majority of 101 members of the Swiss National Council to then UN-Secretary General Kofi Annan, February 2005


“Parliamentary oversight of the multilateral system at the global level should be progressively expanded. We propose the creation of a Parliamentary Group concerned with the coherence and consistency between global economic, social and environmental policies, which should develop an integrated oversight of major international organizations.”

World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization established by the International Labour Organization, April 2004


“Better-structured democratic control and accountability is needed if the world’s democratic deficit is to be addressed seriously. At some point, contemplation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly will be needed. … Such an Assembly should be more than just another UN institution. It would have to become a building block of a new, democratically legitimate, world order”

22nd Congress of the Socialist International, São Paulo, October 2003



“The Forum urges the United Nations to consider the creation of a UN parliamentary body related to the UN General Assembly. One proposal that should be considered is the creation of a consultative Parliamentary Assembly”

Millennium Forum of Civil Society, United Nations,  May 2000


It has also been suggested that [an assembly of parliamentarians, consisting of representatives elected by existing national legislatures] could function as a constituent assembly for the development of a directly elected assembly of people. We encourage further debate about these proposals. When the time comes, we believe that starting with an assembly of parliamentarians as a constituent assembly for a more popular body is the right approach. But care would need to be taken to ensure that the assembly of parliamentarians is the starting point of a journey and does not become the terminal station.”

Report of the Commission on Global Governance, co-chaired by Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson and former Foreign Minister of Guyana, Shridath Ramphal, 1995


“The feasibility of a parliamentary chamber or assembly complementing the present intergovernmental structure should be seriously explored, as it might enhance the political legitimacy of the organisations and strengthen accountability of organisations and governments”

High-Level Expert Group of the InterAction Council, chaired by Andries van Agt, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, May 1994


“[The European Parliament] wishes consideration to be given to the possibility of setting up within the UN a parliamentary consultative assembly to enable the elected representatives of peoples to participate more fully in the work of UN bodies”

European Parliament, February 1994


“A World Parliamentary Assembly would enable national parliaments to become better acquainted with the work of the United Nations … The establishment of a second body in which the major nations would have an added weight would bring the United Nations closer to the one man, one vote ideal”

Twentieth Report of the Commission to Study the Organization of Peace, New York, November 1969



“There should be a study of a house directly elected by the people of the world to whom the nations are accountable”

Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1945-1951), Speech in the House of Commons, November 1945


An international Parliament elected by the Peoples should replace the assembly of delegates proposed in the Paris text [of the Statutes of the League of Nations]. This Parliament should have full prerogatives and legislative powers”

International Conference of League of Nations Societies, Berne, March 1919


  “I support the efforts of the Committee to establish a parliament at the UN because with this the world community would clearly commit itself to common democratic action.”                                                                                                                                                     Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Minister for the Environment, Germany

     Next Eva suggested that as a volunteer she needed to see how doing something at the “me” level would make a difference. ‘What can I do that would make a difference?’ She asked. She suggested adding a section on ‘What You Can Do!’  Andreas talked it over with her and mapped out:

5.1.  What can I do to support the campaign?

As an individual citizen you can do one or more of the following:

1)      Sign the international appeal for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly published in April 2007.

2)     Write an email to your friends and colleagues and invite them to sign the appeal as well.

3)      Subscribe to our newsletter in order to be up to date on current developments

4)      Write politely to the member of parliament of your constituency and ask him/her to support the proposal to establish a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. Should you get an answer, share it with us!

5)     Help us with a donation to the Committee for a UNPA. Any amount counts!

6)     Become a supporting member of the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly

7)     Volunteer your professional skills. The campaign is largely based on volunteer collaboration. We need translators, web programmers, graphic designers, lobby assistants, research assistants and volunteers with other skills which are necessary to build an international campaign of this kind.

8)     If you are member of a civil society organization or a political party, campaign for its support of the establishment of a UNPA.

9)     Write a carefully drafted letter to the editor of your newspaper if an article invites a comment touching upon the UNPA proposal. Maybe it will be published!

     By the time Andreas and Eva had finished this section of the FAQ it was already nine-thirty, and most of the building was already emptied of workers. Eva had skipped lunch and was feeling desperately hungry.

Did Eva express her condition of extreme hunger to Andreas?

Eva being mentally inebriated by the immanent and pleasurable presence of her male companion had lost consciousness of the arbitrary customarily behaviorally prescriptive relative rotational locations of the radially circumrevolutionary indicators affixed to the discoid facial surface of the circiform and flexiform metal band circumscribing the ulna, radius and carpals of her left forearm customarily referred to with regard to identifying appropriate times of partaking of nutrition, and the force of this attractive masculine presence, accelerated by the influence of the olfactory reception of male pheromes precipitating the overimmersion of the limbic receptors of the amygdala, pons, hippocampus and other neural organs associated with emotional response and bonding with a supersaturation of oxytocin, dopamine, estrogen and other naturally occurring psychotropic neural agents, an interruption of the awareness of the higher organs of consciousness, viz., the cerebrum and cerebellum, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, dorsilateral prefrontal, orbito-frontal, temporal, anterior cingulate cortex, ventral prefrontal, Broca’s area, premotor, primary motor and dorsal and ventral lobes and cortexes, of the caloric deficit affecting the circulation of the agents of energy, glucose, fructose, glycogen and monosaccharides for the sustained cellular glycolysis producing sufficient quantities of adenosine triphosphates for circulation along known metabolic pathways for purposes of sustained metabolic equilibrium and locomotion, occurred. Her hypothalamus in due course, however, triggered by diverse enzymatic agents communicated her condition to the relevant gastroduodenal and intestinal tissues triggering responsive abdominal muscular contractions and release of organic acids and digestive fluids causing the audible rumbling, grumbling fricative noise phenomenon commonly associated with hunger and appetite.

Did Andreas hear her stomach growl?

He did.

What was his response?

Andreas, being born into the culture of the Judeo-Christian heritage, conditioned by feudal idealization of the feminine condition associated with customary gestures of chivalry towards the opposite sex or compassion towards the plight of the sufferings of persons in need, particularly those of the beloved object of sexual desire, and accustomed to associate his elevated image of self with the status of gentleman (from Latin gentilis, belonging to a race or “gens”, and “man”, cognate with the French word gentilhomme and the Italian gentil uomo or gentiluomo), in its original and strict signification, denoting a man of good family, analogous to the Latin generosus (in its invariable translation in English-Latin documents), in this sense the word equating with the French gentilhomme (nobleman), which latter term was in Great Britain long confined to the peerage, and this term “gentry” (from the Old French genterise for gentelise) conveying much of the social class significance of the French noblesse or of the German Adel, but without the strict technical requirements of those traditions (such as quarters of nobility), and correspondingly associating his self-esteem with the obligations of the tradition of courtly love, amour courtois (“courtly love”) given its original definition by Gaston Paris in his 1883 article “Études sur les romans de la Table Ronde: Lancelot du Lac, II: Le conte de la charrette“, a treatise inspecting Chretien de Troyes’s Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart (1177), Paris saying amour courtois was an idolization and ennobling discipline whereby the lover (idolizer) accepts his devotion to his mistress and tries to make himself worthy of her by acting bravely and honorably (nobly) and by doing whatever deeds she might desire, he invited her to have dinner.

Did she accept his invitation?

She did.

What parallel courses did Andreas and Eva follow upon exiting the Euston Street Committee offices in Bloomsbury ?

Exiting their Euston Street office entrance roughly opposite the British Library united in normal walking pace they proceeded in a NNE direction along Euston Street before diverting their path ninety degrees to the SE, turning right into Belgrove Street; Proceeding at a reduced pace, each bearing left, they proceeded along Belgrove Street approximately two blocks until diverting approximately 120 degrees to an approximate easterly course along Argyle Street, passing Argyle Square in the direction of Gray’s Inn Road, in expectation of encountering and crossing which they proceeded at a desultory pace punctuated with intermittent interruptions of halt, including one inadvertent erroneous turn into Birkenhead Street in consequence of excessive mutual visual, mental and auditory absorption, then bearing right, until arriving at the Acorn House restaurant, 69 Swinton Street, London WC1X 9NT, United Kingdom, approximately situated in the neighborhood of Camden to the south of Britannia street in the environs of Gray’s Inn Road.

Of what did the duumvirate deliberate during their itinerary?

Music, literature, Africa, Berlin, friendship, woman, the weather of London, taste in clothes and fashion, taste in food and wine, last seen movies, the European Union, prospects for a UN Parliamentary Assembly, the international character of London, the necessity of improved rubbish collection and street sanitation, the differences in British and continental education, the events of the past day and the beauty of Eva’s eyes.

What were their respective postures and interactions of bodily contact on their way to the Acorn House?

During the ambulation from Euston Street to Argyle Street their respective postures were parallel upright and perpendicular to the pavement with occasional contact of the right male palmar surface with the left female triceps and elbow.  From Argyle Street to Grays Inn Road the female vertebral axis shifted from the perpendicular with respect to the pavement to the oblique, canting in the direction of the male;  the male right palmar surface and thenar surface was translocated to the right female latissimus dorsi, and thereafter intermittently to the gluteus medius, finally arriving at a place of rest midway between the right female gluteus medius and the right female gluteus maximus; the left female palmar and thenar surface correspondingly translocated to rest upon the left male latissimus dorsi.

What were the reasons Andreas chose the Acorn House restaurant?

Four:  Being respectively Ethical, Geographical, Habitual and Sexual.   

To Wit?

With respect to ethical desiderata, Acorn House had been advertised on under the rubric:  “Eat Well…….Guilt Free!——— The Acorn House Restaurant at the King’s Cross area in London is an environment friendly choice for those who believe in all things organic! A portion of the proceeds are forwarded to charitable ventures for ecological welfare as well as the well-being of local producers.”

Did Andreas observe strict ethical and organic guidelines in selecting and partaking of his customary cuisine?

Occasionally. Such occasions arising primarily when eating with colleagues of slight acquaintance associated with liberal, radical, alternative, countercultural, vegetarian, vegan or eco-friendly organizations and movements, naturally allied in sympathy and lifestyle with the work of the UNPA Committee with whom bonds of sympathy were advantageous.

On other occasions?

On other occasions Andreas exhibited the ethical standards of a strict omnivore, partaking regularly, inter alia, of:  Baskin Robbins Large Chocolate Oreo Shake, 2,600 calories, 135 g fat … more than a day’s worth of calories and three days worth of saturated fat, and, worst of all, usually taking less than 10 minutes to sip through a straw; Quizno’s Tuna Melt (large), 2,090 calories, 175 g;  T.G.I. Fridays Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad, 1,360 calories, Fat unknown; Chili’s Smokehouse Bacon Triple-The-Cheese Big Mouth Burger with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing, 2,040 calories, 150 g fat …… Two-and-a-half day’s worth of fat—a full third of which is saturated; Hardee’s Monster Biscuit 710 calories, 51 g fat (17 g saturated) 2,250 mg sodium; Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch
2,030 calories;
Jack Daniel’s Sampler (Jack Daniel’s glaze over fried shrimp, Sesame Jack Chicken Strips, and Baby Back Pork Ribs)
2,330 calories; Pizza Skins (full order) 2,400 calories,155 g fat (50 g saturated),3,600 mg sodium; Bob Evans Slow Roasted Chicken Pot Pie, 13 g trans fat, 908 calories, 60 g fat.


As the Acorn House restaurant was located on Swinton Street, closely proximate to Andreas’ rooms at The Arriva Hotel, situated at 47-55 Swinton Street, London GB WCIX 9NT, the said rooms supplied via negotiated budget discount per diem by the Committee pending location of permanent London housing and the said restaurant being geographically situated in an intermediate location between the referenced hotel and the locus of the Committee offices, and within reasonable walking distance from Euston Street, considerations of geographical convenience were satisfied.


The aforesaid Acorn House restaurant being located at 69 Swinton Street and his Ariva Hotel rooms being located at 47-55 Swinton Street, opportunity afforded many occasions for his resting and dining there en passant. Additionally, its ethical advantages were repeatedly useful when entertaining colleagues of the left-eco-consciousness school of sympathies.


As the Acorn House restaurant was located at 69 Swinton Street and his principal place of sleep located at short remove at 47-55 Swinton Street, experience had proven that the receptive mood induced in suitable females of ample potential procreational pulchritude, enhancing and reinforcing preexisting psychological, physical, hormonal and intimate conversational affinities by means of post prandial imbibition of appropriate quantities of wines, liqueurs, cocktails, spirits, ales, lagers, Beer, Barleywine, Bitter ale, Mild ale, Pale ale, Porter, Stout, Cask ale, Stock ale, Fruit Beer, Lager beer, Bock, Dry beer, Maerzen/Oktoberfest Beer, Pilsener, Schwarzbier, Sahti, Small beer, Wheat beer, Witbier aka White Beer, Hefeweizen, Cauim, Chicha, Cider, Huangjiu, Kilju, Kumis, Lappish Hag’s Love Potion, Mead, Perry, Pulque, Sake, Soju, Sonti, Tepache, Tiswin, Table wine, Sangria, Sparkling wine, Champagne, Fortified wine, Port, Madeira, Marsala, Sherry, Vermouth, Absinthe, Baijiu, Kaoliang, Maotai, Brandy, Armagnac, Cognac, Cachaça, Gin, Damson gin, Sloe gin, Rum, Mezcal, Tequila, Vodka, Whisky, Bourbon, Scotch, Akvavit, Pisco, Palinka, Schnapps, Slivovitz, and Rakia—–could directly lead to desirable sexual pleasure and fulfillment.

Was there another reason?

Yes. He thought the number 69 was sexually suggestive and subliminally reminiscent of the graphic interpenetration of Yin and Yang, the spiraling gravitation of the male sperm towards its enfated egg, and the act of procreation, and therefore lucky.  

What did Andreas and Eva read from the menu and what did they order?

The Acorn House offered food made from fresh, seasonal produce, an on-site water purifier and a health conscious menu leaving a strong mark with soups, sandwiches, meat and fish mains, cured meats and lots more featured on the menu. In addition the menu stated the restaurant’s Green philosophy:  Acorn House wants to demonstrate that a top commercial restaurant doesn’t have to be wasteful and environmentally damaging. There is a compost and wormery in the back to process raw waste, and they are creating a vegetable and herb garden on the roof; They are working with a non-profit recycling company to develop recycling processes for glass, plastic, raw and cooked food; Eventually they hope to take away and recycle waste from other restaurants as well; They want it to be “seasonal, sustainable and simple”. It is locally sourced, but not all organic.

   The menu featured winter vegetables: onion squash, curly kale, Swiss chard and Jerusalem artichokes. As diners can order their dishes in any size to minimize wastage, Andreas ordered large and Eva ordered medium.  The Celeriac soup was hot and tasty, and the Italian pancetta added a bite to the parsnips. The pumpkin ravioli was delicate, and the steak from Yorkshire delicious. The table next to them had a wooden platter of Italian salamis and cheeses that looked delicious, so they ordered a large to split between them.

            What did they order to drink?

                 Andreas asked Eva to choose the drinks, and after perusing the list of organic and Italian wines, she chose a large bottle of in-house organic wine. As Acorn House serves its own water, purified on site they indulged in a bottle as well.

What were their topics of conversation over their meal?

     The respective and reciprocal characters of the male and female members of the human species, the desirability of healthful eating, the necessity of occasional and complementary unhealthful eating and drinking, the corresponding necessity of vigorous exercise, the condition of the London real estate market and the possible locations of a longer-term arrangement for housing in London within the budget of underpaid workers in non-governmental non-profit organizations, the extent of validity of horoscopal and astrological guidance, the beauty of Eva’s eyes and Andreas’ positive assessment of her figure obviating excessive and obsessive concern with limiting caloric intake.

Did Eva discover common factors of similarity between their respective like and unlike reactions to experience?

     Both were sensitive to artistic impressions in the pictoral and visual in preference to the musical. Both preferred a cosmopolitan to an insular manner of life, European to an American place of residence. Both conditioned by early conflicted experience and inherited tendency of heterodox resistance professed their disbelief in many orthodox religious, national, social and ethical doctrines. Both admitted the alternatively stimulating and stifling influence of heterosexual magnetism.  

Were their views on some points divergent?

On the necessity of Eva’s continuing to diet, Andreas’ opinion being in the negative and Eva’s opinion decidedly in the positive.

Was there any point on which their views were in apparent verbal disagreement but in covert tacit and affectionate harmony?

On the beauty of Eva’s eyes.

Was there one point on which their views were equal and negative?

On the validity and effectiveness of astrological prediction.

Had Andreas discussed similar subjects with different female companions in the Acorn House on previous occasions?

Andreas had successfully broken bread and shared organic wine and assorted post-prandial cocktails and pursued analogous though dissimilar tête-à-tête at the Acorn House with one Brazilian stewardess and one Australian-born and trained court reporter resulting in successful sexual liaison in his living quarters in the neighboring Arriva Hotel. He had unsuccessfully similarly entertained and begun overtures towards the possible seduction of one Committee secretary, two female students of the University College of London, and a female docent at the British Museum. He had correspondingly and inversely dined with and declined the unanticipated advances of one male advertising copy editor employed in the London offices of the Greenpeace organization.

What were their respective postures and interactions of bodily contact during and after their dinner?

During the interval of the mutual imbibing of the first glass of organic wine the male and female vertebral axes remained parallel and perpendicular to the leather surface of the U-shaped private booth with drawn oriental silk curtain in which they were seated, with the right male palmar and thenar surfaces pronated to rest upon the correspondingly supinated female left palmar and thenar surfaces and forearm, from which position the left female distal phalanx of thumb responsively stroked the dorsal indentation between the fourth and fifth metacarpals on the back of his hand while the corresponding male left and female right hands intermittently brought the glasses of organic wine to their respective oral apertures.

     Thereafter, the male and female vertebral axes mutually inclined in a decreasingly acute angle of intersection, the female left zygomatic prominence resting intermittently upon the right male deltoid and pectoralis. Subsequent to the second and third bottles of organic wine the position of Eva’s head drooped successively from the male trapezius, to the pectoralis and subsequently to the abdominus. Her right index and forefingers tracing the progression of the right male Sartorius muscle along the inside of the right inner thigh. Andreas had inserted his right hand beneath the back of her wine-purple-reddish panties and skirt, gently massaging the warm interbuccal skin from the female sacral spine to the coccyx. 

Upon which protrusion did Eva’s obnubilated vision intermittently fixate?

Upon the proximate intumescency of the erectile member of male reproduction.

Did Eva become drunk?

Eva’s proximately cumulating alterations of behaviour included slurred speech, impaired balance, poor coordination, flushed face, reddened eyes, reduced inhibition and uncharacteristic behavior, euphoria, lightheartedness, joviality, and sexual disinhibition; alcohol being considered a “mood potentiator”, meaning it will enhance the prevalent mood the person already has, ie. if one’s mood is sadness, it will worsen; if happy, it will typically increase, some of these effects being often thought to be desirable, but in increasing doses, increasingly problematic, Eva’s sexual disequillibrium inclined increasingly in the directions of heightened arousal and incitation. Increasingly, the waiter and busboy on opening the curtain of the private booth to deliver or remove additional Cranberry Vodkas and food, observed in Eva and to a lesser extent Andreas the traits of slurring words, rambling or unintelligible conversation, incoherent or muddled speech, loss of train of thought, not understanding normal conversation, difficulty in paying attention, unsteadiness on feet, disequilibrium to and from the washroom, lack of co-ordination, spilling drinks, dropping drinks, fumbling change, difficulty counting money or paying, difficulty opening doors, loud, incoherent and slurred singing, unconcealed and prolonged kissing, petting and sexually suggestive bodily contact, inability to find one’s mouth with a glass, confusion, disorderly exuberance, over friendliness to strangers, loss of inhibition, poorly concealed sexual advances and euphoric disequilibrium. Other than this there was no evidence that Eva was in any way under the influence of alcohol.

Were the mutual paths of ambulation of the disequilibriated duumvirate from the Acorn House restaurant at 69 Swinton Street to Andreas’ principal place of sleep and bodily repose at 47-55 Swinton Street parallel and trabeate or digressive and indirect?

Digressive and indirect.

Did the night clerk greet the mutually supporting and caressive couple upon their entrance to the hotel?

The night clerk, mid-way through his thirty-seventh viewing of Casablanca within his ostiary cubicle, had succumbed to an unpremeditated somnabulance.

What action did Andreas take upon reaching his second-story hotelroom door?

He reached mechanically into the side pocket of his trousers to obtain his roomkey.

            Was it there?

It rested in the corresponding pocket of the soiled pair of trousers which he has discarded into the laundry hamper within the room on the preceding morning.

Why was Andreas triply irritated?

Because he had previously deprived himself of his means of ingress on an earlier evening a week prior and had had to request the night clerk to let him in, because he had reminded himself not to repeat the same error, and because his state of sexual expectation and arousal was heightened and his tolerance for frustration diminished by reason of the mutual interplay of alcoholic disinhibition and extensive foreplay.

What were then the alternatives before the inadvertently keyless couple?

To enter or not to enter. To awaken the somnolent and probably discontented ostiary or to alter or abandon their inrooted liminal and subliminal plans and expectations of orgiastic bliss and otherworldly forgetfulness.

Andreas’ decision?

A stratagem. Exiting the fourth story window of the staircase and resting his feet on the dwarf wall separating the ledge from the balcony of the rooms adjoining his own he climbed over the arrestive railings, grasped two points at the lower union of the rails and stiles, and lowered and extended his body in free space by its length of six foot, two inches onto the tiles of the balcony neighboring his own. Thereafter, taking care to minimize the transudation of noise, he repeated the procedure, to clamber over the opposite railed partition, transit a second section of protruding ledge and corresponding partition, extending approximately ten feet in concave indentation along a surface protruding approximately one-and-one-half feet from the vertical wallface separating his own balcony from the immediately accessed neighboring one, knowledgeable of the circumstance that he had left the sliding glass door of his own balcony unlocked.

What factors entered into his calculation of the positive probability of success of the maneuver?

The successful completion of basic training and urban warfare training in the South African military forces, the magnanimity in the face of danger induced by alcoholic disinhibition, the prospect of enjoyment of heroic fascination induced in the sexually desired feminine object by demonstrative and overtly machismatic conduct, and the heightened intensity of expectation induced by the temporal and spatial nearness of expected sexual gratification.

What was Eva able to observe from her field of vision arising from the extension of her neck and torso from the window-frame of egress?

Leaning outward from the open window-frame and resting her abdomen on the sill, heart in throat, Eva observed successively the left-lateral cross-section of Andreas’ body, back-to-wall, shuffling in a sideward’s motion, a dorsal muscular extension of his back and arms clambering over a grated partition, the disappearance of the beloved object behind the partition, the reemergence of the dorsal male body mounting the opposite partition, the disappearance of the figure within the concave recess, and the mounting of the final partition, followed closely by the re-appearance of Andreas’ beaming face atop the partitioning wall of his own balcony, accompanied by a broad grinning male smile and celebratory waving arm.

With what corresponding reactions and contemplations did Eva meet the aforereferenced visual phenomena?

Upon each successive disappearance of Andreas from the female field of vision, there occurred passing before Eva’s eyes in rapid succession—–the extinction of the earth by collision with a dark sun; the regression and subsidence of the Eurasian landmass into the earth’s mantle by reason of a cataclysmic rupture and collapse of the tectonic surface; the permanent submergence of the Island of Britain beneath the unfathomable salt waters of the Atlantic Ocean, recapitulating the fate of that ocean’s eponymous forefated islandic member; the extinction of all known life forms consequent to nuclear Armageddon and radioactive global sterilization; global warming culminating in complete desertification of the earth’s surface, global pandemic by antibiotic resistant supermutating pathogens, Megatsunami, permanent submergence of the earth’s surface by reason of the rise of oceanic sea levels consequent to the collapse and complete melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet; the reoccurrence of the Holocene Extinction Event, the recurrence of the Ice Age burying the earth’s surface beneath miles of deadening glacial ice; the extinction of life resulting from the accumulation of industrial poisons and disruption of the process of DNA expression by reason of aberrant by-products of experiments in genetic and nanotechnological engineering by evil genius producing across the surface of the earth a ubiquitous and lifeless grey goo;  the extinction of the Western Honeybee from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) resulting in the prophylaxis of all vegetal pollination; the abrupt disappearance of the Milky Way Galaxy beneath the event horizon of an errant and unimaginably massive black hole;  the collapse of the universe into nothingness by reason of exhaustion of the incipient energy of the Big Bang and its gravitational implosion into its point of origin; the eruption of a Supervolcano, the magma and ash from which caldera burying the surface of the earth in an eternal lifeless darkness and volcanic winter; the explosion and extinction of the sun by Supernova sterilizing all life forms in lethal Gamma Rays and plunging the solar system into abysmal eternal darkness; the prophetic appearance of beasts, collisions of malign galactic bodies of unknown nemesis including the Sumerian rogue planet Nibiru, Planet X and Ecris with the earthly globe—-the threatening existence of which had hitherto been kept secret for a century and a half by universal worldwide conspiracy of all known political, religious and academic powers and institutions to prevent panic; the crystallization of the world’s oceans by Ice-9 transition; an abrupt shift of the earth’s magnetic and rotational poles resulting in an associated extinction event;  the inundation of the earth’s surface with a sea of blood draining from the battlefields of Armageddon,  the immanent End of the known Universe by apocalyptic cataclysm and the breaking of the seven seals of fate and emergence of the devouring Anti-Christ; the recapitulation of unnumbered wars, famines, earthquakes and other heavenly signs of the End of Days, the Piktun Ending of the Mayan Long Count, the final deep impact of the nemesis planet Nibiru: the consummation of the vision of the Seeress and the tearless eye of Loki in the final redemption of the blood of Ymir through the triumph of ice and death hailed by the harrowing of the halls of the dead by the Valkyrie for the fulfillment of the Armageddon of Ragnarok; the Koranic eschatological scourging of the earth by Gog and Magog; the fulfillment of the Acharit Hayamim; the Qiyamah, the Tribulation; the extinction of the fifth and final Sun of Tonatiu; the scourge of the sea of blood of Hathor, eye of Ra, the destruction of the world by Kalki, tenth avatar of Vishnu, nadir perigee of the Kali Yuga.

And upon his reappearance?

The enraptured visage of the faces of Lif and Lifthrasir upon their emergence from beneath the sheltering Tree of Ygdrasil upon the cessation of Ragnarok; the greeting of the souls of the dead upon the appearance of Christ the Savior at the Harrowing of Hell; the kissing of Noah of the ground upon Mr. Ararat; the grounding of the Ark of Manu atop the Mountains of Malaya by the Great Horned Fish Matsya, avatar of Vishnu; the greeting of the Mahdi of the souls awaiting Quiyamat and Jannah; the ecstatic joy at the appearances of Aushedar, Aushedar-mah, Soshyant, Maitraya and Guan Yin; The Rapture; the ecstatic sensation of sympathetic participation in the resurrection and triumph of life over death immantized in the in rising from the dead of appolonius, osirus, mithra, phoenix, krishna, sakia, thamuz, wittoba, Iao, hesus, quexalcote, quirinus, prometheus, thulis, indra, alcestos, crite, bali, atys, mithra, appylonius dionysus, attis, horus, & lao zi…………..  

What were the relations of Andreas and Eva subsequent to ingress into the quested bedchamber?

The mutual divesture of impedimentary and supererogatory articles of clothing: the oral and atavistic communion of male manchild with the female mother and mammary organs; the physical and symbolical migratory return of the anadromous male organism to its place of origin, completing one circuit of its neverending cycle of odyssey; the prolongation of sexual euphoria by protean and perverse-polymorphic variations in mental and physical coupling; the adoration of the overwhelming libidinal and muscular power of the adult healthy male by the amorous and hormone enchantéd female;  the joy of female surrender to an overpowering yet loving male presence; the gentleness of mutual appreciation; the addictive compulsion for maximizing the immersion of sensate neural organs in oxytocin, estrogen, testosterone, dopamine, adrenaline and other naturally occurring hormonal psychogens;  the depositing of seed of generation in the female womb; the further supererogatory deposition of the male sperm in the female oral and esophageal cavities pursuant to the frictional stimulation of the male glans, testes and phallus consequent to momentarily uncontrolled female oral enthusiasm; the real or imagined conscious or unconscious consummation of potentially infinite manifold possible intertwinings of flesh, mind, psyche and spirit as described in the Kama Sutra, Joys of Sex, Jin Ping Mei, The Perfumed Garden of Sheik Nefzaoui as translated by Sir Richard Burton, and innumerable associated Guides for the Perplexed and Apoplexed,  including but not limited to the missionary position, doggy style, pillowed pelvis, spoons position, cowboy and corresponding cowgirl positions, male and female pronated and supinated, reverse cowboy and reverse cowgirl, the lateral coital position as recommended by Masters and Johnson, the Pounding on the Spot Position immortalized in Burton’s translation of The Perfumed Garden, the assorted positions of Xi Men Qing in the Jin Ping Mei; assorted positions for the fondling of both breasts and buttocks, the lapdancing position accompanied with various items of music or a capella, the standing position with female legs locked about the male pelvis, for use in bedroom, alleyway or shower, assorted receptive variations involving male penetration of the female, vaginal, oral or anal apertures, prolongued French kissing and stimulation of any and all bodily surfaces by the male or female tongue; G-spot and genital rubbing, rubber necking, abrading, abrasive friction, brushing, detritions, gauging, gouging, grating, grinding, gripping, pureeing, rosining, scraping, scouring, smearing, smudging, smutching, smearing, sponging down, sponging off, straining, traction, wiping and worrying;  the spontaneous momentary and enduring erasure or all bodily and mental distance and distinction between the male and female bodily spirits; the alternative crescendo and diminuendo of thrusting penetrations, the T-Square position, Modified T-Square position, top-to-bottom thrusts and bottom-to-top thrusts, simultaneous epileptoid mellifluous orgasm; savage orgasm; sacred and profane orgasm; The Seventh Posture of Burton’s translation of The Perfumed Garden; the Piledriver position, the use of erotic furniture including erotic trapezes and fisting slings, table-top missionary and chair-top missionary, desk, chair and table-top doggy, intercrural sex, flagellation and enactment of corresponding fantasies of sadism and masochism; dry humping, enactments of tyrannization and enslavement, golden showers, humiliation, bondage, BDSM, handjob, footjob, titjob, Irrumatio, skull-fucking, face-fucking, pedicatio, axillary intercourse, Frot and Tribadism, foreskin, docking, docking skin, Cyberskin, fellatio, deep throat, autofellatio, cunnilingus, face-sitting, Cybersex, phone-sex, standing on hands-fellation, 69-position, Standing-69-Position, Standing-on-Hands-69-Position, anilingus, the rusty trombone, the Shocker—featured in the Story of O, the Female Shocker, woman-on-top, man-on-top, side-by-side——–Coniunctio——-The adoration of the beloved in all their manifestations, the recognition of one’s soul in the eyes of the other, the endless beauty of the gaze of the soul manifest in the eyes of the beloved—nihil humanum alienum est—Kyrie Elieson.  

In what mental state did the above mentioned conjunction leave them?

In the ignorance that implies impression that knits knowledge that whets the wits that convey contacts that sweeten sensation that drives desire that adheres to attachment that dogs death that bitches birth that entails the ensuance of existentiality that overwhelms the consciousness that leads to forgetfulness that enables rebirth….

IX.                        Beijing                                    In the Middle Kingdom  


                        Late that afternoon Sartorius was scheduled to give an important speech on the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in the great auditorium of Tsinghua University, next to his own university, Peking University. The two universities were nestled next to each other in the Haidian northwest college district of Beijing——considered a kind of complementary-twin-elite-pair like Harvard and MIT or Oxford and Cambridge—–Peking University (Beijing Daxue or Beida) was considered the crowning jewel of the Chinese academic world in the area of the humanities and all-round academics, while Tsinghua (Qinghua Daxue) was the ultimate institution for the hard sciences and engineering.  People’s University (Renmin Daxue), considered number three in the pecking order, was a smaller pocket-battleship kind of school, famous for eminence in the social sciences, law, economics and related areas—-having had its origin in the ‘liberated areas’ of northwest China where the Eighth Route Army had ended up under Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai after the ‘Long March’ and during the Anti-Japanese War of Resistance—-it was well reputed as often turning out many of the top technocrat-bureaucrats of the Chinese government establishment. Tsinghua enjoyed an additional fame as an elite ‘party school’  in the power structure—–meaning not what the term might mean in the US, being a school for drinking, socializing and sexual adventure, but rather as the place where often a third to a half of the top members of the ruling Communist Party Politburo, often originally educated as engineers, went to college, including such notables as President Hu Jintao, and former premier Zhu Rongji. President Clinton had as President of the United States given a speech at Peking University and President George Bush had spoken in the same hall at Tsinghua in which Sartorius would speak during a similar visit as President. Slightly less prestigious, second-tier notables such as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown would often speak at the main auditorium of People’s University.  Sartorius had taught as a Professor and given speeches at all three, and additionally in the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Science (CASS) in its Graduate School and Law Institute.

            Radiating out in all directions from the two great universities was the dizzying array of universities, colleges, institutes, think tanks, technological academies and institutes. Independent or connected with particular government departments, and most recently the fast-growing Zhong Guan Cun, considered China’s high-tech ‘Silicon Valley,’ all of which comprised the Haidian District, the intellectual and technological nerve center of China. The Haidian was located to the northwest of the center of Beijing, which was laid out in a grid pattern centered on the north-south axis of the Gu Gong, or Forbidden City—the ancient residence of the Emperors dating from 1428 which was the focus of all things in the traditional city, and extending out beyond the two universities further to the northwest, taking in the Summer Palace (Yi He Yuan) of the former Emperor and the Yuan Ming Yuan Pleasure Gardens of the Emperor, destroyed and looted by the British and French expeditionary forces during the 1860 Second Opium War. The Haidian district also contained a large amount of the Chinese national government’s sprawling and expanding central offices and bureaucracy of all types and descriptions, extending northwestward from central Zhongnanhai, the residential compound for the top party and government officials near the Forbidden City, including such agencies as the State Intellectual Property Office and Patent Office and extending outward as far as the Xi Yuan (Western Garden—sometimes called the Chinese Langley), complex of the Ministry of State Security (MSS/Guojia Anquan Bu/GuoAnBu), the Chinese CIA, its central complex located near the Summer Palace and the complex of related intelligence facilities in the Summer Palace area such as the PLA (Army/Ministry of Defense) Institute for International Relations, the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) 2nd and 3rd Departments focused on military intelligence and espionage and located between the Summer Palace and the Fragrant Hills park, and the University of International Relations near the Summer Palace, reported to be a training facility for language and cultural skills for espionage and intelligence agents, (though not a training facility for Bond-like spycraft and intelligence fieldcraft, which training facility, the Institute of Cadre Management, was located instead in the southern city of Suzhou).

The venue of the Committee programme  would be inside the Great Hall of Tsinghua University, itself a remarkable specimen of both architecture and of history. Like most of the older sections of the University the Great Hall it was built with donated American money, or perhaps to speak more truthfully with subvented Chinese and American money. After the abortive Boxer Rebellion (Yi He Tuan) in 1900 in which the lightly armed ‘Boxer’ rebels motivated by a patriotic xenophobia and supernatural Taoist belief in their own invincibility were defeated and suppressed by the united expeditionary forces of the Western powers after slaughtering 18,000 Chinese Christians and foreigners resident in China, an indemnity was imposed on the complicit Qing court.  China was fined war reparations of 450,000,000 tael of fine silver (around 67.5 million pounds approximately US$6.7 billion today) for the loss that it caused. The reparation would be paid within 39 years, and would be 982,238,150 taels (US$14.6 billion today) with interests (4% per year) included. To help meet the payment, it was agreed to increase the existing tariff from an actual 3.18% to 5%, and to tax hitherto duty-free merchandise. The sum of reparation was estimated by the Chinese population (roughly 450 million in 1900), to let each Chinese pay one tael.  Chinese custom income and salt tax were enlisted as guarantee of the reparation. Russia got 30% of the reparation, Germany 20%, France 15.75%, Britain 11.25%, Japan 7.7% and the US share was 7%.  China paid 668,661,220 taels of silver from 1901 to 1939. The reparations paid to the United States were in substantial part diverted to pay for the education of Chinese students at U.S. universities under the Boxer Rebellion Indemnity Scholarship Program. To prepare the students chosen for this program an institute was funded and established to teach the English language and to serve as a preparatory school for the courses of study chosen. When the first of these students returned to China they undertook the teaching of subsequent students in their major areas—–from this institute was born Tsinghua University. Some of the reparation due to Britain was later earmarked for a similar British program.

Architecturally, the Great Hall building at Tsinghua was also remarkable. Entering through the famous Tsingua Gate, one’s eye was greeted by a splendid classical dome and graceful Greek columns at the far end of a quad reminiscent of an Enlightenment era American university. In fact the plan for the building was based directly on the design of Thomas Jefferson for the Rotunda of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, and Tsinghua thus appeared as a brave outpost of the American Enlightenment.

Today’s program was considered an important event for the UNPA Committee on a worldwide basis since for the first time it was expected to be attended by a number of senior Party, governmental and academic notables, including some of the mid-to top level staff of the Guo Wu Yuan, or the State Council, analogous to the American Cabinet, with a rumor that even the Premiere himself, Wen Jiabao might pay a surprise visit if he could snatch away the time and make a flying stop-through with his motorcade. The top Politburo would often entertain its (sometimes superficial) academic yen for useful knowledge and bring in famous professors to lecture them in private on emerging and complex areas, such as the series of Law Lectures which Sartorius’ colleagues Wang Jia Fu and Zheng Cheng Zi at the Law Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (with whom Sartorius had once shared an office) gave to former President Zhang Zemin and his top Politburo members. Andreas Sarkozy as head of the Global Campaign had flown in from London to participate, as had several top Asian regional members of the CUNPA Committee staff including Pari Kasiwar for India and South Asia, Mohammad Ala Rushdie and Mustafa bin Salman al Khalifa, the co-chairs of the Middle-East bureau, and Yoriko Oe of the East Asian bureau. They had spent the previous day preparing the program and talking shop and this morning was to be their chance for a bit of relaxation and sightseeing prior to the program in the late afternoon and evening, inevitably followed by a dinner banquet and entertainment by the hosts.

Sartorius this morning was taking the whole group for their first strolling look at Tian An Men Square and the neighboring environs, including the Forbidden City, or emperor’s palace , where they would meet Sartorius’ friend, fellow Peking Univerity professor and former United Nations colleague Zhou Tie Ya acting as a guide, and then relax for a leisurely luncheon of pleasant friendship and conversation thereafter. Sartorius parked his car in a small lot alongside the Zhongshan Park (Sun Yat Sen Park) and strolled with the group down to the big square, crossing through the underpass under Chang An street and emerging at the national flag facing the famous Mao portrait which hung over the Tian An Men gateway to the Gu Gong, better known as the Forbidden City or Emperor’s palace. The weather was glorious and scores of people flew kites in a light wind or strolled across the square between the Mao Mausoleum and the Forbidden City.

“So here we are my good friends and colleagues,—the largest public square in the world—–at times during the Cultural Revolution more than a million have gathered here. You know, for years I watched the films of the big military parades at Red Square in Moscow, and when I got the chance to go there I was shocked to see how small it actually was and how the Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral seemed a miniature out of a theme park—the camera eye giving you a sort of optical illusion of its imagined hugeness—-but this square and the Forbidden City give you a proper sense of the true vastness of this country as a whole, especially considering they date back to 1428 or so when China’s geographic and architectural scale dwarfed anything at that time in the West, though the square itself was expanded in modern times with the construction of the National People’s Congress building and the Mao Mausoleum there. On the whole you might say the combined public area is comparable in size to the Mall in Washington, D.C., though technically you wouldn’t count the Mall as being a square.”

“So this is where it really happened” Andreas somewhat rhetorically queried Sartorius.

“Oh you mean 1989—–yes this is the place where the events unfolded, with the student sit-in and encampment just here across from the National People’s Congress building, the Ren Min Da Hui Tang, and here is where the students assembled the statue of liberty. The bigwigs like Li Peng and Deng Xiaoping wouldn’t have been in that building, however, but rather further down the road to the west in the gated leadership residential compound in Zhong Nan Hai, about a mile over there to the west.  In the West it is usually called the Tian An Men Massacre, though as the Chinese are prompt but misleading to point out few people were actually killed here in the square, but that is largely irrelevant as some hundreds were killed down Chang An Street just to the west of the square as the armoured columns broke through the barricades of overturned buses leading up to the western approaches to the square, around the Muxidi area and troops fired on the crowds.  The top leadership under Li Peng and Deng had ordered the Beijing troops to clear the square but they refused to obey, a dangerous moment for the Party, so they broke the stalemate by calling in fresh troops from the provinces who hadn’t any chance to become sympathetic with the locals, and they functioned as they had been trained, to obey orders unquestioningly……The famous photo of the man with the shopping bag stopping the four tanks took place further down that direction…. But that was a long time ago, almost twenty years now……..a lot of water under the bridge……….still it’s a funny thing……it seems for the outside world that moment seems frozen in the public mind a timeless symbol of a sort of China, while inside the country life has gone on and the world has changed radically but world consciousness has lagged behind. It’s like when Americans go to Berlin and they have the dated image in their minds of Hitler and the Berlin Wall of the Cold War and their consciousness has to overcome the time lag to catch up with reality.—-It’s like the title of the Tom Wolfe’s book ‘You Can’t Go Home Again,’—–if you have been away from your home a very long time the picture of home preserved in your mind isn’t there anymore—-reality and real people’s lives have moved on and changed, but the picture in your memory and in your mind is frozen in the past and you will be painfully disappointed if you go home and expect to find it there waiting for you. It seems our pictures in our minds of various historical places far from us are frozen in a time warp somewhere in the collective public mind, fixated on the last momentary event that stands out as our superficial idea of their history—-it is a curious phenomenon.”   

“Yes, looking across to the McDonald’s and KFC and the kites and the kids on rollerblades it’s hard to imagine that past——I get a similar disorientation when I go back to South Africa and I try to recall my times in the army and the world of that time.” reflected Andreas.

“Carpe Diem” interjected Pari Kasiwar, let’s cross over under the Mao Portrait and take a look at the Forbidden City——-“Built in 1428 you say?……..let’s see, that would be about the time Tamerlane was sacking Delhi and building his pyramid of hundreds of thousands of skulls—the last of the Roman Empire was falling in 1453 when the Ottoman Turks took Byzantine Constantinople and renamed it Istanbul—Joan of Arc in France crusading against the last of the British Raj in France—God Bless Her!—Gutenberg in Germany and the Medici in Florence—– here in China I get a sense of a history that is of similar length, depth and breadth as our own back in India.”

The circle of friends made their way into the Forbidden City, entering across Tian An Men where they met Sartorius’ friend Professor Zhou Tie Ya, and on through the Meridian Gate, passing the smaller inner square where he pointed out how condemned convicts would be brought to be beheaded or otherwise executed upon a signal from the mandarins atop the high walls. They passed by the Translation Office and Imperial Diary Office, formerly guarded by the Imperial guards who would record all entries and exits beyond that point towards the Emperor’s inner compound, to which ordinary people, even the Manchu nobles, never had access—–hence the name ‘Forbidden City.’  As they moved along together chatting and making observations they then entered the Hall of Martial Valor, where Zhou Tie Ya told the story of how at this place the leader of the great peasant rebellion Li Zicheng was crowned as Emperor after overthrowing the Ming Dynasty which last Ming Emperor hanged himself in ignominy on Coal Hill,  only to be displaced shortly thereafter by the successful invasion of the Qing Manchus establishing the Qing dynasty in 1648. They proceeded to the Tai He Men, the Gate of Supreme Harmony, where the Emperor would hold his morning court.

Walking forward chatting and observing the artwork and bronzes in the pavilions the curious colleagues arrived at the Bao He Dian—the Hall of Preserving Harmony—where the most successful candidates from all over the empire would gather from the reign of Qian Long in the 1750’s to take the Palace Examination, Dianshi, for the highest honors and official positions. Civil Service examinations were another of the great items of global heritage the great Chinese empire bequeathed to the world. Then heading forward towards the inner sanctum of the Forbidden City they passed the Junji Chu, the Office of the Grand Council, where the Emperor would meet his highest officials or a kind of cabinet to discuss important matters of state and governance. From there a short jump lead to the Hall of Mental Cultivation, which was the sleeping place for eight emperors and the place where, in the years leading to the final collapse of the two thousand year history of the Chinese empire,  the Emperor Dowager Cixi would give audience from behind a screen——as a woman it being culturally improper to gaze on her face directly, a practice observed by Mohammad ala Rushdie as being similar to purdah in the Islamic tradition and Hindu traditions. They passed through the Changchun Gong, the Palace of Eternal Spring, where Cixi often slept and where large murals depicted the story of the Hong Lou Meng, or Dream of the Red Chamber by the great Qing dynasty novelist Cao Xue Qin, tracing the story of the decline of the Jia family and its youngest heir, Jia Bao Yu in his dissipations and loves. They strolled through the Palace of Earthly Honour where Emperor Guangxu chose his Empress, and then to the Palace of Gathered Elegance, where as a young girl the to-be Empress Dowager Cixi entered the Forbidden City as a low-ranked concubine before rising to the pinnacle of intrigue and power, shortly before precipitating the final collapse of the Imperial family.

“Cherchez la femme” joked Yoriko Oe, as she smiled at Andreas.

“I think you have been reading too much Tanizaki!“———quipped back Andreas.  

     Next they visited the Palace of Universal Happiness, where the emperors would keep their favourite concubines, and were reminded by Zhou Tie Ya at the exhibit depicting the lives of the concubines that whatever happiness may have existed was far from universal, the concubines often being collected as sexual bric-a-brac and left to decay on the shelf as the emperor’s fickle fancy ended with boredom or shifted on to newer titillations.  They rested in the Imperial Garden, reserved exclusively for the imperial family, where Pu Yi, the Last Emperor made famous in the Bernardo Bartolucci film of that name, played and frolicked, unaware of his impending doom by the Revolution of 1911 led by Sun Zhongshan, (Sun Yat Sen) which would institute a Republic and set China on its modern course of history, consigning two thousand years of emperors to the dustbin of history.  They passed out the Gate of Heavenly Purity, where the Emperor’s morning audience was often held and took in the Hall of Ancestral Worship, where imperial ancestors were honoured and prayed to for guidance and inspiration.  Following on they then passed the Treasure House and along one of the nine Dragon Screens, to enter the eastern chambers and the Pavilion of Pleasant Sounds, where the emperors would often watch performances of Chinese opera, acrobatics, singing, magic and all manner of entertainments. Professor Zhou explained how in traditional Chinese culture the number nine was considered numerologically auspicious and like most of the very best things, was monopolized by the emperor, the doors of the Palace having rows of nine gold balls, a privilege denied to all others, and the completed Imperial Palace having 9,999 rooms.

About this time the small entourage of friends and visitors was getting quite a bit “knackered.” as Andreas put it in his newly acquired, and flaunted British idiom as a newly minted Londoner, so they decided to take a break over some iced cappuccinos at the Starbucks inside the Palace Museum, a franchise later expelled from the historic site in a spasm of native patriotic feeling. While the others cooled their heels and recovered, Sartorius and Andreas separated themselves off at another table and hunched down over Andreas’ laptop to work out some of the bugs in the FAQ, or Frequently Asked Questions they were drafting for publication by the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. At first they settled some simple problems, and then turned to some of the thornier theoretical and political questions such as to how non-democratic and one-party nations such as China without open and free elections in the Western tradition might be represented in the Parliamentary Assembly without defeating its democratic legitimacy. The two had often worked intimately together this way on difficult questions, and found that they stimulated each other in both brainstorming and on to deeper analysis when they put their heads together. They had begun this habit of close collaboration in the early days of the Campaign when Sartorius had first recruited Andreas as a rather youthful executive director and sponsored him for the post despite his age, but lately, unfortunately, they had had but little opportunity to do so being separated by half a world, so they seized even these off moments to take advantage of each other’s valued presence.

As Sartorius summarized the dilemma of democratic and non-democratic representation Andreas listened intently, fully absorbed. Then Sartorius sat silent and smiling as Andreas twisted his finger in a lock of hair above the temple of his left ear, lost in meditation. Sartorius look on at him exactly in the way a father looks at a particularly beloved son—full of confidence that the youngster will crack the nut he has given to test him, but eager to see just how. Suddenly, Andreas’ head jerked upright joyfully: he had it! He made a suggestion to Sartorius, who responded with a half-feigned resistance, raising some weak objections with an exaggerated importance. Still a bit of afterplay to Andreas’ eureka moment followed, a bit of give and take, each interrupting the other, a partial disagreement, then a quick clarification and finally complete mutual understanding and assent. Then both men raced, taking turns speed-typing sections and revisions into the proposed text, then looked at each other with beaming eyes over the newly born creation, just in time before being hauled away by the others having returned to them after a free saunter, impatient with their abandonment.

Next, they trooped into the Hall of Joyful Longevity, the place where Professor Zhou pointed out how the Emperor Qianlong slept there after his retirement from office and the world——Yoriko pointed out how that practice of withdrawal from the world was also common in historical Japan, her home, amoung Japanese emperors and many others,——following the Buddhist tradition of withdrawal from and retirement from the illusions and suffering of the world, particularly at old age. She reflected how much of Japanese culture was rooted in the assimilated culture of the ancient Chinese Empire, particularly that of its cultural zenith at the time of the Tang Dynasty marked by its assimilation of Buddhism from India subsequent to the journey of Xuan Zang to India to find and translate Buddhist texts into Chinese, just as much of German culture had been rooted in its cultural assimilation to the Roman Empire following its conversion to Christianity. In both cases the countries were never completely conquered or completely belonged to the empire but moved in synchronous tributary orbit like a cultural moon. Andreas smilingly agreed with her, pointing out how in the German case for a millennium the Germanic peoples were obsessed with the concept of the near-oxymoronic ‘Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation—Heiliger Römisher Reich Deutscher Nation’—which for centuries prevented Germanic consolidation as either a nation or an empire. Pari quipped that the German Holy Roman Empire shared in being the butt of the joke about the British Raj—–in the one case the joke being that the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor German nor an Empire, and how similarly it was said in the India of the British Raj that the Indian Civil Service, the supercilious British colonial bureaucracy, was neither Indian, nor civil nor a service!

 Trailing along the halls and observing the narrative mini-murals painted across the lintels, the sauntering group of friendly colleagues peered into the Well of the Concubine Zhen of the Guangxu Emperor who was thrown into the well and drowned in a conspiratorial intrigue over the Emperor’s favors and production of heirs, and walked down the Long East Corridor entering the Hall of Abstinence, where the emperor would fast on required occasions. Then on into the Six Eastern Palaces, such as the Hall of Eternal Harmony—-where the Emperor kept a large assortment of Imperial concubines and where their lives were ordered for them by attending and supervising eunuchs, often passing time in luxurious loneliness, paid attention to by the emperor on only a handful of occasions and forbidden to have contact with any other male thereafter. Occasionally a sympathetic emperor would arrange their marriage to suitable lower members of the court if he did not include her in his personal inner circle. They finally finished up passing through the Taoist chapel, exiting the Palace through the Gate of Divine Prowess in the north.

The visiting friends then returned to their car to seek out a restaurant featuring the traditional Qing dynasty cuisine of the Emperors. In so doing they passed ‘The Egg,’ the nickname of the National Opera Theatre one of the innovative new works of architecture introduced for the 2008 Olympics, being a modernist geometric egg-shaped pavilion with a swirl faintly reminiscent of the classical symbol of Yin and Yang. Professor Zhou related how the Egg excited considerable controversy amoung the local and national Chinese residents—–some objecting that it was too modern and too Western and in conflict with the traditional architectural style of the Forbidden City or the Socialist Realist style of the government buildings—-though the National People’s Congress building and neighboring Museums were of very mediocre and uninspired visual quality to begin with—–and others saying it was just what was needed, jerking Chinese consciousness into the present and towards a future driven by science and high technology, innovation and internationality, and awakening it from its centuries old slumbering and stultifying dream of the past. To some it wasn’t Chinese enough—-didn’t have the ‘Chineseness’ that ought to be on display visually and symbolically at the heart of the Chinese capital city. Aside from the fact that inconvenient for breast-thumping chauvan-patriots, it like much of the innovative architecture of Beijing Olympic era having been designed by Western architects chosen after an open bidding competition rather than Chinese—in this case the French architect Paul Andrieu—it raised a bone of contention that stuck in the throats and in the collective conscious and unconscious mind—-namely, what is ‘Chineseness’?  Does Chineseness mean an endless repetition of the patterns and motifs of the past as preserved in the Forbidden City, or does the consciousness of the Chinese people have a vital and innovatively creative future and lively present as well as a rich past?  Would the past always be Chinese and the future always Western and ‘Modernist?’ or would there ever be a Chinese future including a Chinese innovation growing out of but at least partially breaking with and eclipsing the glorious Chinese past? And would the Chineseness of the future turn inwards again after it had learned enough from the West to attain technological, scientific and economic sustainability and go back to recreate a more sustainable version of its imagined walled-in happy past or would it continue looking outward as a part of the world community of peoples, innovations and ideas and perhaps take its turn as its future leader as well? Similar debates were heard with regard to the latest Olympic generation of architectural innovations, including the ‘Bird’s Nest” National Stadium, the unique Rem Koolhaas ‘Big Shorts’ CCTV building straddling the Central Business District, the Water Cube, and many other futuristic cityscape symbols of a new emerging China, whatever that might prove to be. Thus, the debate over architectural taste, often expressed over the Internet—(which now had over four hundred million Chinese users—more than any other nation)—– delved into unexpected depths and contradictions in the public psyche, uneasily yet dynamically straddling the past, present and future.  

Reaching their restaurant destination their car was flagged down and guided into a rear parking lot by a long line of parking attendants dressed in the traditional garb of the Qing dynasty imperial retainers, a sop to the touristic Disneyworld-esque theme park marketing strategy honed for the Olympics. In Veblenesque fashion, the restaurant was populated by a hoard of superfluous attendant staff whose only apparent function was smiling and greeting and standing in obsequious lines—–the show of purely waste obedient human presence attesting as conspicuous consumption to human luxury, indicative of the elite status of both the hosts and guests.

Settling into a comfortable private room the entourage of friends loosened up with a bottle of Maotai liquor as a constant stream of waiters and waitresses entered with Chinese hors d’oeurvres and a train of dishes shared on a circular revolving platter in the center of the circular table, from which each person in turn selected their desired delicacies in a kind of rotary buffet.

Sartorius raised a small thimble glass of the potent Maotai and offered a toast, first of all to warm friendship, and secondly to Professor Zhou for his kindness in guiding the group through the centuries of Chinese history at the Forbidden City. Yoriko Oe seconded the toast, especially thanking Professor Zhou for his elucidation of the artworks depicting the famous Qing dynasty novel by Cao Xue Qin, the Hong Lou Meng, or the Dream of the Red Chamber.

“I have always loved that novel……”  volunteered Yoriko,  “…………..Growing up in Japan it is a classic alongside our own great Japanese traditional novels such as the Tale of Genji by Madame Murasaki Shikibu, and as a young girl I was influenced by the love stories of the novel such as the ill fated love of Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu, a fated pair in the tradition of Liang Sanbo and Zhu Yingtai and of Romeo and Juliet in the West.” confided Yoriko further to Professor Zhou.

“Thank you, my dear…..and I have been touched by many of the tragic love stories of Japanese literature, such as the story of Jihei and his Courtesan in the Love Suicides of Chikamatsu Mon’zaemon, probably written around the same time as Cao Xueqin’s great novel, but in that case interestingly enough for the Puppet Theatre in Japan. Pari……I am afraid I am not too knowledgeable about Indian literature, though I should be…seeing what a great influence Indian Buddhist religion and culture have had on China—what are the great love stories of Indian classical literature?”  asked Professor Zhou, trying to act the good host by hospitably generating a topic of conversation, literature, that would draw all of the guests into the conversation and make them feel included and appreciated for their contributions.

“Innumerable!…….yes, in Indian literature the love stories are innumerable and of all varieties, as you might well guess from the home of the Kama Sutra! In terms of the Sanskrit classics, there is the Sakuntala of Kalidasa, which begins with the love of the king Dushyanta for the pure and spiritual Sakuntala….. of course the great Ramayana of Valmiki, and every schoolgirl in India grows up with this story as much as she might grow up with Romeo and Juliet in the West, showing the enduring love of Rama for Sita and his rescue of her from the clutches of the villain Ravana. Every good girl in India grows up chanting ‘Always like Sita, never like Ravana!’”  

“Yes…..I’m surprised Teddy” interjected Sartorius, using the English first name for Professor Zhou Tieya he had become accustomed to when they worked together as younger men at the United Nations in New York, “……..Teddy I’m surprised you haven’t heard of the Ramayana of Valmiki, as it is the origin of one of the most beloved figures in all Chinese culture, namely Sun Wu Kong, the Monkey King in the great fantasy classic of Wu Cheng’en, The Xi You Ji, or The Journey to the West. You may be interested to know that the Monkey King-scout-magician Hanuman in the Ramayana is enlisted to use his magical powers at the service of Lord Rama to defeat the villain Ravana and save Rama’s beloved Sita from abduction and imprisonment on the isle of Ceylon. The figure Hanuman, an embodiment of the heritage of  the trickster archetype, was then subsequently reincarnated as the Chinese Monkey King Sun Wukong in the oral storytelling tradition of China concerning the travels of the Chinese monk Xuan Zang with his legendary companions Zhu Bajie the pig, Sha Wujing or Sha Hesheng and Sun Wu Kong journeying to India, along with Bai Ma, their White Horse, to secure and translate Buddhist classical books to return to enlighten Tang Dynasty China, all of which Wu Cheng’en later transformed and used as material for his later book.”

“Well, one is never too old to learn, Robert!….and remember I have been shut up for thirty years in the rather stultifying world of Chinese Foreign Ministry bureaucracy and haven’t had the luxury you have had of a literary career……well, we don’t hear anything of that here, unless you are an expert specialist perhaps……. probably it has been conveniently forgotten by those who would rather believe the Xi You Ji all comes exclusively from our own native national genius……Its like the English who conveniently forget that half of Shakespeare’s stories are gleaned from Plutarch, or reworked Plautus and Aristophanes, and from popular tales from the continent such as Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet……..similarly Goethe picks up a German folk story…that of Faust…….and refines it into a classic even after it had circulated orally for hundreds of years and been treated by the likes of Marlowe in Elizabethan England…….and you Mohammad, what  famous love stories do you have in the Arabic and Islamic tradition of literature?”

“Well, like Pari says of Indian literature, the number of love stories in Arabic, Persian, and other Islamic literatures is beyond counting. But some of the famous and influential ones would include the tale of Layla and Majnoun, also known as Layla and the Madman, attributed to Qays ibn al-Mulawwah in Arabic and reworked in Persian by Nezami Ganjavi. It is a tale of frustrated love where Majnoun, a young poet falls in love with his idol, Layla, who is however promised by her family to marry another richer man.  He gives up the vanities of this world yet remains spiritually devoted to Layla. Some people say Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet owed its origin to a Latin translation of Layla and Majnoun circulated in Renaissance Europe…..I don’t know if it is true or not, but it is possible. Of course many in the Islamic world believe that Islamic tradition had more than a little to do with the rise of the Renaissance in Europe, as many of the lost Roman and Greek works of Aristotle, Plato, and many others were recovered after being re-translated from Arabic—-and such philosophers such as St. Thomas Aquinas openly declared their debt to Ibn Rushd and Ibn Sina—called Averroes and Avicenna in the West—and not a little of the Troubadours and Minnisinger traditions might well be traced to the secular and divine love poetry of Al Andalus. But the celebrated Arabic and Islamic poets and writers associated with love in its endless variations would beggar enumeration, including the greats such as Abu-Nawas—associated with the adventures and dissipations of the legendary Caliph of Baghdad Harun al-Rashid, Ibn Zaydun of Al Andalus and his love of Wallada, Ibn-al Rumi……we have the great love poets writing the ghazal…a beautiful form of lyric poetry carried over into Persian lyric by later writers such a Hafiz……….of course you have the poet associated with ‘wine, women and song’ in the West, Omar Kayyam and the Rubiyaat…..and if you want something to compare with Pari’s Kama Sutra, or the Chinese bawdy Jin Ping Mei, you can always refer to the Perfumed Garden, of Sheik Nefzaoui as translated by Sir Richard Burton, and the immortal love stories that are embedded in such works as the Thousand and One Nights, so I hardly know where to begin and where to stop!”

“Yes, it is eternal and endless in all literatures”  followed Sartorius, “ … the West we have the loves of the mortals and Gods in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Art of Love, Sappho, Capellanus, Gottfried von Strassburg’s Tristan, Abelard and Heloise, Dante’s Beatrix and the Vita Nuova, Petrarch’s Laura, Shakespeare’s Dark Lady, Horace’s Pyrra, Byron’s tales of Don Juan,  Lady Chatterly and Her Lover from D.H. Lawrence, and it goes on endlessly……”

“Yes, Robert and Günter Gross and I had a good long discussion in Berlin a few months ago on their concept of World Literature——Robert and Günter are working up a joint book on it—–and we started out from the vastness and richness of the world’s literary traditions that make up the common heritage of mankind——they are trying to develop a world canon to fulfill Goethe’s dream of a Weltliteratur, or Matthew Arnold’s vision of literature and criticism making accessible to the peoples of the world ‘the best that has been thought and felt in all the world’—-joining it up with an internationalization of T.S. Eliot’s Tradition, Marx and Engel’s vision of a World Literature in the Communist Manifesto and other approaches by sharing the national traditions through shared touchstone classics, masterpieces and ‘window on the world’ books globally.”

“Oh, really?” interjected Yoriko, “I find that really interesting as I always feel my own education has been really bad for understanding the cultures, history and literatures of other peoples, especially as I’ve gotten involved in the Parliamentary Assembly work and am thrown into contact with so many people from so many different lands I don’t know much about…….I am always trying to dig myself out of a hole of ignorance…….but there is so much!………anyway Robert I would like to hear about your ideas of what should be included in World Literature and how to put together the traditions from many different civilizations——if you were to outline what the minimum an educated person should try to read as a foundation to be a literate citizen of the modern world what would it be?—I mean we hear about the clash of civilizations—what should we read to understand the major civilizations of the modern world and their literatures to make our civilizations more likely to ‘clasp’ than to ‘clash’?”   

 “Well that’s a big order Yoriko—-I think we all need a basic minimum acquaintance with the major cultural traditions of the world and that includes the best touchstones of the major literatures and literary traditions of the world——-perhaps a few scholars can become truly expert and writers and cultural workers can attain an intermediate familiarity with the canon, but every educated person needs a minimum familiarity——we need that just to function in the modern world and we need to rebuild our schools’ and universities’ curricula to make them truly international and global in perspective—as V.S. Naipaul puts it—part of our ‘Universal Civilization’——-our work in the Committee is an extreme case in point but most people work in multi-national companies or their work touches people from hundreds of countries and several civilizations—and they need to be able to understand multiple civilizations and their manifold and various ways of looking at the world as well as, ——as Matthew Arnold says, to have access to ‘the best that has been thought and felt in the world’ to best realize their personal development.

“So you ask—–what should be included as World Literature——what should we put in the global canon?—or really what should we identify as being part of the canon that already exists embedded and interwoven in the cultures, consciousness and archetypal unconscious of the cultures and peoples of humanity—we don’t and can’t put it there by fiat by putting it in an anthology if its not there inchoately already—-I think we have to move beyond a few token contemporary writers from a few continents for international marketing spice and seriously seek to become familiar with the classics and masterpieces that have shaped the cultural heritages of the major civilizations for centuries down to their outlooks at the present time—–and the important thing is to see them in global perspective at the various stages of their common development not just in cultural isolation or as superficial literary boutique consumer niche products in a contemporary global marketplace——I mean here in China naturally everybody has some familiarity with Lao Zi and Confucius, but few understand them in comparison to Aristotle and Plato, the Buddha and others worldwide of the same era or cultural and literary development ………………

“So I would say we need to look at the ancient and classical literature across the board as well as the modern—–in the West for most ordinary people the foundational text is the Bible, and for the more educated this is supplemented by the Hellenic and Roman classics, The Iliad and Odyssey, the Aeneid and other accounts of the origin and creation of the human race, and of one’s own people. And I mean we need to comprehend them regardless of religious belief, since even if one is an atheist or agnostic these works still remain the foundational texts of our cultures.  Some cultures have a sacred book and some an epic narrative. When we read Genesis in the Bible, we should also read The Sacrifice of Primal Man from the Rig Veda, which is also the origin of Chinese legends such as Pan Gu, and other myths of origin such as the Babylonian and Memphite Theogonies, the Egyptian Pyramid Texts of Unas and the Book of the Dead—and add in the accounts of the Popul Vuh of the Mayas. We need to widen this vision of the ancient and classical common heritage of mankind to include classics such as the Theogony of Hesiod, Hymns of the Rig Veda, the Enuma Elish, and the Epic of Gilgamesh. From India we need to include the Ramayana of Valmiki, a bit of the Mahabarata of Vyasa and the Bhagavad Gita, a bit of the Upanishads and Ashvaghosha, and some familiarity with the Sanskrit classics such as Kalidasa’s Sakuntala…and some of the Tamil tradition such as Hala and Amaru….From the Chinese tradition every educated person in the world should be familiar with and have the possibility of saying something intelligent about the major classics—the Shi Jing—Book of Songs—similar to our own Song of Songs from the Bible—the Analects of Confucius, Dao De Jing of Lao Zi, –Zhuangzi—-and historians such as Sima Qian, the Shi Ji, Records of the Historian—similar to our Herodtodus, Thucydides, Plutarch, Tacitus and Seutonius—not to mention some of the later novels recreating the historical past, such as the San Guo Yan Yi, Romance of the Three Kingdoms—From the Arabic and Islamic tradition of course everyone should read the Koran—it’s really not very long after all—and seventy percent of its content is shared with or a recapitulation of the Old and New Testaments—–but most outside people are ignorant of it—–and we and those in Islam should read the pre-Islamic literature of Babylon, of Zoroaster in Persia and of Egypt. For poetry Archilikos, Sappho, Pindar, Chu Yuan, Horace, Catullus, Ovid, the great playwrights—Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides and the comic Aristophanes. For the sacred we need Augustine’s Confessions and for Pari to keep him awake we have Vatsyayana’s Kama Sutra! What do you think Teddy, anything else we should have from China or elsewhere?”    

“Well if we are talking about the Chinese ancient classics we could put in the I Jing, Book of Changes——we have other creation myths besides Pan Gu, such as Hou Yi and Nu Wa, but I am not sure if they belong just in our own national literature or in World Literature. It seems to me we can’t put in everything from every nation, and who could ever read it all except a professional scholar? I think we need to limit it to those things which are absolutely foundational to their own civilization’s culture such that those inside or outside those cultures cannot understand them without them, or things which are unique enough to be of interest and give new ideas or perspectives to the peoples of the world as a whole.—-I think scholars and the most accomplished writers or literati, wen ren as we say here in China, citizens of the Republic of Letters, can have a go at reading them or about them in the course of a lifetime, and ordinary educated people should at least have a passing familiarity with their existence and possible meaning, even if they haven’t read them. “  reflected Professor Zhou Tie Ya.

“Ok, that might do for the ancient world from a global perspective,” continued Sartorius, “……..Next when we get to the Medieval Era I think we begin to see the dominance of the Arabic and Islamic worlds, along with that of Tang Dynasty China, and the beginnings of great contributions from Japan, Yoriko, and the West needs to surrender pride of place and open its field of vision, —–kai yan jie, as we say here in China and include more from them in the global World Literature canon. It may well be that in the Western Dark Ages the cultural centers of the world were more in Baghdad and Changan or perhaps Kyoto than in Rome or Paris.  In terms of lyric poetry every citizen of the world should have at least a passing familiarity with the great Tang Dynasty poets, Li Bai (Li Bo), Du Fu, Wang Wei and Bai Juyi—-uniting and emphasizing in varying individual degrees the three major cultural traditions of medieval China—Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism—and such later scholars as Zhu Xi, who like St. Thomas Aquinas sought to integrate a Neo-classical perspective including and integrating both the two religious and the secular-cultural traditions. For specialists maybe Tao Qianand Cao Pi….What do you think Teddy?….anything else from medieval China?”

“Well, maybe Li Yu and Li Qingzhao for song lyric, Lu Ji and Liu Xie for discussions of the nature of literature, or What is Literature?—–writers that focus on the experience of women of the era—-Liu Xiang, Ban Zhao, Yuan Cai and others—-it all depends on where and how you want to draw the line.” said Professor Zhou,  hospitably refilling everyone’s glass with Mao Tai or fruit juice.

“Ok. —Now here is where I will need some of your help, Mohammad, Mustafa and Yoriko…..I think here is where there is a great contribution by Islamic and Japanese literature, and maybe you can supplement my knowledge in these areas…….let’s make this a collective effort to pool our minds here—-I’ll make some notes and it can be our collective project for the afternoon……….Ok. I would say from the ‘Medieval period’, if we can meaningfully translate that term originally of Western periodization into a more or less useful global marker—-and I still feel it makes useful sense at the global level, though imperfect, given the global similarities of historical and literary development, I would say at a minimum, as I said before, every really educated person anywhere in the world ought to read the Koran just as they ought to read the Bible—minimally Genesis and the Pentateuch, Psalms, Job, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, at least one of the four Gospels and Revelations,  and the famous Sutras of the Buddhist tradition such as the Fire Sermon. In addition a bit of the Hadith, or stories of Mohammad’s life is necessary—–on the poetic side I think we need to include some familiarity with Abu-Nawas, Al Buhturi, Ibn al-Rumi,  and with Goethe I would enthusiastically include in our East-West Divan the name and poetry of Hafiz, and most mandatory on the prose side is at least partial familiarity with the Alf Layla wa Layla, Thousand and One Nights. I would also include the Parliament of Fowls, by Farid al-din al-Attar, and from Persian at a minimum the Shahnama, Book of Kings by Firdawsi. Ok. Mohammad, Mustafa, what is important that I have left out?”

Mohammad looked at Mustafa and tried to think for a few moments, collecting his thoughts. Then he started in “I would say from the point of view of understanding Islamic traditions of Sufism, Asceticism and Wisdom we could put in Al Hallaj and Ibn Arabi. Other important Muslim writers of the time would include Jalal Al-din Rumi in poetry and in prose Al-Jahiz—his works such as the Book of Misers, Book of the Singing Girls, and Man is a Microcosm-–these would be important. And you could include an early Arabic woman poetess Al-Khansa—If you go to al-Andalus—that is the Medieval culture of what is now modern Spain, Portugul and Iberia—then you have a special case where you have a meeting of three worlds—Muslim, Christian and Jewish—and you have such writers as Maimonides, with his Guide for the Perplexed, the Mozarabic Kharjas, a Romance vernacular, Ibn Rushd, Yehuda Ha-Levi, Dom Dinis, King of Portugul and Solomon Ibn Gabriol—and I think we can’t ignore Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa which might or might not be included under Islamic literature—but there maybe we need to take in oral traditions where there was no written language, and I don’t know how to do that, but from the Islamic sub-Saharan Africa point of view we should include the Epic of Son Jara, from the Malinke Empire of the Mali around the 1300’s—–but I am not sure how we decide what is of historical and local interest and what would be of global interest—-I’m just beginning to think of these matters, though I have been interested in literature for a long time——– Mustafa—what do you think?”

“Well literature is not my strongest point. I don’t know if you would count it as literature or philosophy, but in my mind the great Islamic writers of the era would include Ibn Sina, Ibn Rushd, and Ibn al-Arabi—I think in the West you refer to them as Averroes and Avicenna—-“ said Mustafa, a bit embarrassed by his lack of poetic background.

“All right now its your turn Yoriko, since you started us on all this you will have to help us on the classical side of Japanese literature in the later Medieval Era, a period when Japan is coming of age on the world stage.” intoned Sartorius with a smile and appreciation for sharing in her feminine warmth as relief after so much intellectualism.

“Cherchez la femme…..”  joked Yoriko.  “Ok. You begin and I will try to think of anything else.”

“Well from the world perspective I would say there should be general interest in of course The Tale of Genji, by Madame Murasaki Shikibu, arguably the first novel in world literature some six hundred years before Don Quixote, and not to mention both a wonderful contribution to understanding the world of women in the medieval court and a very early precursor contribution, like that of Dante to Italian vernacular literature, to the rise of the Vernacular Revolution which will impact the West after the Renaissance and Reformation, —and impact China after the May 4 Movement after WWI led by Hu Shi and Lu Xun. Another remarkable woman writer would include Sei Shonagon and The Pillowbook. To that I would add the works of Zeami, the father of the Noh Drama, and the Tales of the Heike, historical and personal narrative. Now Yoriko, what would you add from Japan in the medieval era”

“Well Robert, I think you got the big ones,” she offered smilingly “….let’s see….if you want to add to the myths of origin to read alongside Genesis, Pan Gu and the Rig Veda’s Primal Man you could include the Kojiki, Record of Ancient Matters, and you have the Man’Yoshu, Collection of Myriad Leaves, written by many Emperors and others educated in the Classical Chinese tradition. There are accounts of Buddhist experience and enlightenment, such as The Account of the Ten-Foot-Square Hut by Kamo No Chomei, and The Lady Who Preferred Insects and other lovely stories…….I really can’t remember all of them, its been a long time since I was in school!”

“Alright, if you don’t mind I will pick your brains a bit and write down a few notes for me to follow up on later”—Sartorius added, “… let me see, from the Western perspective I can speak for our canon and say we need to include of course Dante, and the Divina Commedia—Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso for the classical Christian worldview of the Middle Ages, Abelard and Heloise,  then the Troubadors and Trobairitz and Minnisingers—-Walther von der Vogelweide, Bertran de Born, Marie de France, and the English Romance classics—Sir Gawain and the Green Knight—-then we need the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, Mystery, Miracle and Morality Plays such as Everyman and The Play of Adam, Mystical writing such as Bernard of Clairvaux, Hildegard von Bingen and Mechthild von Magdeburg, then perhaps François Villon to balance it off on the worldly side.

“All right I have written some notes on the Medieval Era, which then takes us on to the time of the Western Renaissance, or sometimes generalized to the Early Modern Period. So here we have of course the classics of the Renaissance, Shakespeare, John Donne, Sir Thomas More’s Utopia in England, Cervantes’ Don Quixote, arguably the first Western novel, and Lope de Vega in Spain, Erasmus in the Netherlands, Camoes and the Lusiads in Portugul, Montaigne, the father of the essay, and Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel in France, then of course the origins of the Renaissance in Italy with Petrarch and the sonnet, Canzoniere,  Boccaccio’s Decameron,  Macchiavelli’s The Prince, perhaps some religious writers such as Martin Luthur, St. Theresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, —–and I think here we need to include the Vernacular Revolution—the switch from Latin to national languages in Europe—Luthur, the King James Bible, Montaigne…we could include Milton—Paradise Lost and other sonnets as very late Renaissance or perhaps the following era…..all right that would do it for the West……..well I think if Baghdad and Changan were the dominant cultural centers in the Medieval Era then with the Renaissance and Reformation pride of place comes back to the West…….every dog has his day as we say!……So Pari, what would you say for India during the Renaissance Age in the West?”

“Well Robert, you mentioned the Vernacular Revolution in the West and the shift to use of the national vernacular in place of the classical languages of Latin and Greek. Of course this didn’t only happen in the West, and in some places, such as Japan’s Tale of Genji, it happened a good deal earlier, maybe a half a millennium, though perhaps more in the womanly world excluded from classical Chinese written culture and relegated to the use of the more ‘lowly’ Japanese vernacular. But in India we also had some of the same phenomenon—-vernacular writing in the Indian Subcontinent would include Basavanna, Mahadeviyakka and the great poet of tolerance, Kabir. I think Kabir would be a good candidate for his reasoned tolerance in relations between Islam and Hindu traditions in India, as would reference to Akbar the Great, the enlightened Muslim Mogul sultan.

“Ok—-now here in China and reflecting the vernacular storytelling tradition we would necessarily include the Xi You Ji, by Wu Cheng En, the creator of the beloved Sun Wu Kong Monkey King and his companions Xuan Zang, Zhu Ba Jie, Tang Zeng and the White Horse seen every day in cartoons and films here……

“Though we don’t have a Latin American representative here—–we’ll have to talk to Anna Maria next time we see her—–we should include something of the traditions prior to Columbus, such as the Popul Vuh, The Mayan Council Book, which includes some myths of origin like our Genesis like the tales of Hunahpu and Xbalanque, and the Songs of the Aztec nobility preserved from Nahuatl—-and some accounts of the discovery and conquest—Columbus, Bartholome de las Casas, Bernal Diaz—-and the remarkable woman Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz……..

“All right……now the plot thickens as we get closer to the modern era and we get a lot more activity on all sides….so if we look at the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries from a global perspective we need to appreciate the resurgence of the Islamic world in the great Ottoman and Mughal Empires as well as the Enlightenment in Europe.  So I would include Mughal writers such as rulers Akbar, Babur and Jahangir, and writers such as Mirza Muhammad Rafi ‘Sauda’ and his wonderful prose Satires—-like our Juvenal or Samuel Johnson in spirit, and Mir Muhammad Taqi, and add Banarasidas…..then we need the Ottoman greats, Mihri Khatun, one of the great Ottoman woman poetesses, Fuzuli, and Nedim, poet laureate to the Ottoman Sultan as well as the honourable mention of Lady Mary Wortly Montagu, wife of the British Ambassador to the Sublime Porte and noted writer……..and here we probably need to include the genre of travel writing or memoirs of exploration and include Evliya Celebi, sometimes called the Turkish Marco Polo.”

“Well, wouldn’t you also need to include the real Marco Polo then?” queried Andreas, who was just then pouring out an additional thimble glass of Mao Tai for himself and Yoriko, offering up a private toast between the two.

“Yes, I suppose we would, I guess I had forgotten that…..assuming Marco Polo really existed, which a recent book disputes, but I would agree that he really did exist and that he should be included as having brought about a major shift of global consciousness that would make him of enduring interest as well as ushering in an exploration of intercultural consciousness relevant to our own times.” conceded Sartorius.

Here Mustafa sat bolt upright and for the first time made a heated contribution to the discussion——“You Westerners talk about your Marco Polo but you have left out an even greater traveler—-the great Muslim explorer, Islamic judge and adventurer Ibn Battuta. Marco Polo went from Venice to China and back——allright, but Ibn Battuta around the same era traveled from Tangiers in the west of Africa to Mecca, then to the Sultanate of Delhi in Mughal India, where he served as an Islamic judge and scholar, and then to Indonesia and China, rivaling Marco Polo there, then back to his home in Tangiers and southward into Africa. In all he traveled far more extensively than Marco Polo and his writings were more extensive. I think your list is a little bit culturally biased in favour of the West, and maybe in favour of all the big countries and empires.”

“Well Mustafa, I will have to concede your point on Ibn Battuta—-he certainly belongs in the canon if Marco Polo does, though both would come in earlier than Celebi of the Ottomans—-in the Medieval period. As to bias……it is probably partially true…..but once again we are the prisoners of history……there may have been many great poems and writings which did not survive or become known because their languages had no writing or their peoples were conquered, in part our goal is to record which writings were influential enough to shape historical and modern consciousness through their shaping of enduring local traditions and which had and still have impacts of global importance—-that inevitably reflects the sometimes sad reality that, as often has been observed that history is written by the victors, and literature and its masterpieces and classics are often preserved and disseminated by the victors or shapers of the modern world, which then become the common touchstones of global culture and consciousness. Marx would talk in terms of the intellectual superstructure reflecting the inescapable material, economic and historical circumstances of its material foundation and substrate including its inequities as well as its glories.  I don’t think we can undo history, though we have some obligation to look for works of true excellence that may have been bypassed and raise them for consideration. Literature like politics has to deal with the world as it is as well as the world as it ideally ought to be, and we need to pay appropriate attention to both, including both writings that have shaped history and the historical formation of consciousness, such as Voltaire and Rousseau’s works leading to the French Revolution as well as Sir Thomas More’s Utopia or Plato’s Republic, which have never been realized, or works of spiritual aspiration and solace. But I think we need to include those works which have really had a real and deep long-term global impact on society, history, and consciousness, and which have actually circulated between civilizations to become the common touchstones and points of reference in a globalized world,  regardless of whether they overrepresent dominant nations, segments of society, genders, or the larger nations as opposed to the smaller. And we ultimately have the microcosmic economic problem of the limited time of individual life for reading and the limited capacity for attention and absorption—-ultimately limiting the practical size of the canon to that which is humanly readable and digestible.  I would think the criteria would be how the writings have shaped the world and its consciousness in reality, and also the canon would include works of unique excellence or uniqueness of imaginative vision, or perhaps those which embody Archetypes recurring universally, that could also shape the future as well as represent the past. All of this is highly arguable and there may be different possible standards and approaches. I think we ought to include Classics or works that are culturally foundational, Masterpieces or works of unique literary excellence that open new powers of mind and imagination, and also “Windows on the World” books and writings that give us unique and unanticipated perspectives on our collective and individual experience, which supplementally can sometimes include underrepresented or previously ignored social segments where they have true literary quality and merit. I think we also want to avoid “presentism” or “nowism”——an over-emphasis on the contemporary at the expense of past ages so that we can learn from their varied perspectives—-though ultimately the criteria should be pragmatic and flexible—–Literature should be a resource that in fact enables us to derive power and advantages of understanding and insight that will enhance our total ability to live deeply, richly and meaningfully—-the ultimate criterion is ‘does it strengthen our capacity for life or not?’—–and at the level of World Literature that translates into does it strengthen the global capacity for enhanced life at the level of the individual reader, the national and the international global human community?——but I think there is no way to avoid controversy on all of these matters.”

“And if we were making a collection of great travels and explorations in the tradition of Columbus, Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta and Celebi, as a Chinese I would also root for the inclusion of Zheng He, the great Chinese admiral who sailed from China to India and to Africa at the same time the Forbidden City was constructed here in Beijing—-1421 or so. His ships were ten times the size of Columbus’s and he had thousands of troops in his Treasure Fleet.—-There was even a British book based on old maps and records that claims he might have sailed to America before Columbus—-though I think it highly unlikely—-but I guess the problem here is that he left no significant writings, though some logs of his sailors have survived, so perhaps he is a hero of naval navigation more than of world literature.” patriotically interjected Professor Zhou, downing his thimble of Mao Tai.

“But you know…” interjected Mustafa, “Zheng He was also a Muslim, his father had been a Haji and had made the pilgrimage to Mecca, as had his grandfather and they had informed Zheng He of many of the aspects of travel there. He was a sixth-generation descendant of Sayyid Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar, a famous Khwarezmian Yuan dynasty Muslim governor of Yunnan Province. If we celebrate Zheng He deservedly as a Chinese we should also celebrate him as a son of Islam, and many of his navigational techniques were derived from Muslim knowledge of travel on the Hajj to Mecca of his father and others before he was taken from Yunnan to be a eunuch at the Imperial Court, and later from the Muslim sailing community in Quanzhou and Hangzhou, which regularly sailed from India and the Middle-East to China in those days.”

“Yes it would be interesting to speculate what the modern world would look like if in fact it had been Zheng He and the Chinese who had discovered and colonized America instead of Columbus…..undoubtedly much different than the present one, and maybe we would all be speaking Chinese instead of English today!…….But back to our little project…..For you Yoriko, we will include your beloved Love Suicides at Amijima, from the puppet theatre of Chikamatsu Mon’Zaemon, and we will include Ihara Saikaku’s, Japan’s Eternal Storehouse, sort of a Japanese Benjamin Franklin of sorts……….

“And for you and China, Teddy, we will include the great novel of the Qing dynasty—-the one we saw painted on the walls of the Forbidden City a while ago—-the Hong Lou Meng, by Cao Xue Qin—the classic story of the decline of the Jia family and the loves of Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu beloved even today in China.Anything else Teddy?

“Well, traditionally in China we have “the Four Greats” when we think of novels—–I guess it’s a Chinese disease to number these things this way—-the Four Great Inventions of China—Paper, Gunpower, Compass, and Printing—-though Gutenberg might dispute the fourth—–and we have the Four Yes’s and the Five No’s and the Three Represents and this sort of thing—-but every Chinese would consider the four great Chinese novels to be the Hong Lou Meng, or Dream of the Red Chamber, the San Guo Yan Yi, or Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a historical novel including the famous national tales of great generals such as Zhu Ge Liang, the Xi You Ji, or Journey to the West by Wu Cheng En, which we have already included and the Shui Hu Quan, or Romance of the Water Margin, also translated by Pearl Buck as All Men Are Brothers,  or as Outlaws of the Marsh, classic tales of the rebel outlaws that are at the core of Chinese culture—–and if we want to throw in a bit of the licentious for Pari here and his Kama Sutra, then we could include the Jin Ping Mei, our semi-pornographic classic, sometimes included under the table as the fifth great book.”  contributed Professor Zhou Tie Ya, holding a cup of Oolong tea in his hand and smoking a cigarette.

 “All right that would point us next to the European Enlightenment as really the pivot of world history that is going to change the world globally—–and here we can follow a guideline that we want to include those writers and works that have had a truly global impact, a global circulation between cultures, and have become global touchstones for ideas and sensibilities, all of which necessarily, perhaps unequally but unavoidably, shifts the focus onto the West as the modern shapers and integrators of the modern world, for better or for worse.——–All right for the Enlightenment we would give pride of place to France and focus on Moliere and his satires—School for Wives, Hypocrite, Misanthrope, etc., Voltaire and his Candide no doubt, something from Rousseau, Diderot and Montesquieu, then Aphra Behn’s Oronoko, Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women, and Pope, Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels fromBritain, Tom Paine’s Rights of Man and Age of Reason, Jefferson and Franklin from America. Then to widen our genres a bit I would include Lorenzo Da Ponte, the librettist of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, creator of the anti-hero Don Juan, later taken up by Byron.—–and once again just for the spice of sex and the spirit of liberty, and to keep the young men from falling asleep over this ponderous tome, we can include some poems of the Earl of Rochester!” quipped Sartorius.

“Excellent” lilted Pari in his high-toned melodic Subcontinental accent, “……my idol for one-handed reading in high school, though maybe I have outgrown him…….or at least a little….one of the legacies of the Raj which appealed to my repressed native Indian sensualism”

“So then Yoriko, what else can we include from Japan at this stage—17th and 18th Centuries” gentlemanly bringing Yoriko into the conversation, who had seemed to be getting lost in making eyes and sharing Mao Tais with Andreas, who also was understandably not focused on the literary conversation for the moment.

“Well for Pari…..we Asian women don’t want to let down our young men in the area of sensual love…we do have our Geisha traditions to uphold!…I would nominate Ihara Saikaku’s Life of a Sensuous Woman, and to borrow something from the Chinese sphere I would add TsangYang Gyatso, a bit for Pari from The Love Poems of the Sixth Dalai Lama!” sallied Yoriko, looking for the level of response in Andreas’ smiling eyes as evidently they were drawing closer.

“Oh, I am really being corrupted and spoiled by you all!” cracked Pari, “I am really going to have to blame it all on you if my Mother pulls me on the carpet for going to seed morally!”

“Then we better throw in Philosophy in the Boudoir and the Cingt-Vingt Jour du Sodom of the Marquis de Sade and the Perfumed Garden for you Pari—–no half-measures!—-if you are going to be punished anyway you had better get in all the fun beforehand to make it worth your while!” drolly remarked Andreas in a sally of persiflage—–and to keep up with and gently heighten the building sensual tension with Yoriko, smiling back into her eyes.

     “Oh, and if you are going to include a section on famous travelers’ writings, then you can include Matsuo Basho, and his Book of Travels chronicling his wanderings and search for spiritual purity in the mountains and remote regions of Japan’s north.”  added Yoriko, trying not to make her fixation on Andreas too obvious.

“Right!—-that would do it for the Enlightenment—–now let’s see if we can complete our little project with the 19th and 20th Centuries——now it becomes harder because of the great outpouring of work down to modern times.” observed Sartorius………Now for the 19th Century we would have the age of Romanticism in Europe North America———let’s see……we would then need Wordsworth and Coleridge of course, Lyrical Ballads and the Prelude, Kubla Kahn in honour of our host China, Byron’s Don Juan to go with Mozart and Da Ponte, Pushkin of course, Eugene Onegin,—-good now we are getting some of the Russians in though Pushkin like Goethe evolved into a Classicist from Romanticism——–we could add Lermontov—Mickiewicz from Poland too—Blake, Keats and Shelley from England, Leopardi from Italy, and Emerson, Poe, Whitman and Thoreau from the Transcendentalist and American branch of the Romantic family. Then there is the Romantic fascination with folk tales and fairy tales, so we would include something of earlier times Aesop, Panchatantra and the Pali Jatakas from the subcontinent, Grimm, Perrault, Joel Chandler Harris, maybe something from American Indian lore—the Coyote Tales and Trickster Tales for archetypes, Then of course the immortal Goethe—novels and Faust I & II.” mapped out Sartorius, writing down his notes in his leather notebook, “Now Muhammad, who would you nominate from the Islamic world for the early 19th Century?”

“Well, this one I would need to share with Pari, namely Ghalib, who mostly lived in the declining Muslim Mughal court in the days of the rise of the British Raj and wrote in Persian and Urdu, especially ghazal poetry,–themes of wine, women and song and the fleetingness of life, religious doubt and melancholy—-he was a sort of Muslim Byron if you will.” volunteered Muhammad.

“ Ok, that will do it for the moment for the early 19th Century, then let’s go on and map out the late 19th Century—-what we call the Victorian age in British literary history. From France we would need Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal, Flaubert, Hugo, Balzac; the Symbolists—Mallarme, Verlaine, Rimbaud  now we begin to get the great Russians—-Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, War and Peace—Dostoyevsky—Notes from the Underground, Madman, Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, Chekov, Gogol—–From England Dickens, George Eliot, Thackary, Matthew Arnold’s criticism;—–From America Melville, Hawthorne, Dickinson, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, Henry James……Pari, what do you say for India……….?”

“Well Robert, I think into the 19th Century we begin to get the rise of English studies in India that will make writing in English a part of the Indian literary scene in the 20th Century—-towards the tail end of the 19th of course we then have Rabindranath Tagore, who wins the Nobel Prize and becomes a fixture in the Indian literary universe until the Second World War.”

“Good” added Sartorius, “and Yoriko?”

“Well, we are also dealing with the incursion of Western culture at this time, reflected in the works of Hattori Busho such as The Western Peep-Show, Higuchi Ichiro and Okakura Kakuzo’s The Cup of Humanity.”

“Teddy?” added Sartorius, glancing over to Professor Zhou Tie Ya, who had sunken into his own thoughts for a spell.

“Well, likewise we are encountering the West and Western culture with the First and Second Opium Wars and semi-colonization under the late Qing. Here I would nominate The Travels of Lao Can byLiu E, and I think we ought not to forget our neighbor Vietnam and the writings of Nguyen Du, which also draw on Chinese tradition as well. “

“Yes,” added Andreas, “….I think just thinking off the top of our head like this we are apt to forget the contributions of the writers from the smaller countries which make a mark globally but which are not included in the big national traditions—-Mickiewicz from Poland, you mentioned, but also Sarmiento and Ruben Dario from Latin America, American Indians such as Hathali Nez and Ohiyesa, Machado de Assiz of Brazil, of course Ibsen and Strindberg, Dionysios Solomos and many others from our smaller European countries are routinely ignored.”

“Right-O!” Sartorius intoned in a fake-British accent, “allright now let’s try to crack the hardest nut of all—–the Modern Age—–the 20th to 21st Centuries down to the present—–there is so, so much and so much of the previously dormant world has begun actively contributing so its hard to choose and hard to design any meaningful criteria, but let’s give it the old college try—–OK, here goes——I would say the 20th Century begins with the march of the new “isms” so I would focus first on the “Manifestos” of the modern era—–Of course I would start with Marinetti and the Futurist Manifesto, Then Tristan Tzarza’s Unpretentions Proclamation for Dada, Andre Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto, Mina Loy for the Feminists, and Oswald Andrade’s Cannibalist Manifesto, Ezra Pound for the Imagists,  and finally for China here, we have Hu Shi’s Some Modest Proposals for the Reform of Literature, which instituted the Bai Hua Movement along with the May 4 movement, with the goal of carrying out the Vernacular Revolution in China by writing literature in the ordinary speech of the people rather than the literary scholar’s Wen Yan Wen—-its goal was making literature the voice of the people rather than just the voice of the educated literati. Any others you can think of from your perspectives?”

“Yes, from the Japanese perspective I would add something……” volunteered Yoriko, “I would add Yokomitsu Riichi’s manifesto for the Sensation and New Sensation Movement. Maybe this is a bit difficult to explain, but it is a bit like Zen Imagisme—-the goal of literature to propagate a sudden shock of intuition, a Satori moment or ‘spot in time’ that becomes a flash of insight.”

And Andreas, perhaps to amplify Yoriko’s energy and keep up the flow of tension towards seduction, jumped upon her words with a suggestion of his own, saying “Yes, and we should not forget the Manifesto: Towards a Free Revolutionary Art, put forward in Mexico City jointly by Andre Breton, Leon Trotsky, and Diego Rivera……..setting out a free and revolutionary role for the artist in modern society.”

“Now then……to begin with we would need Joseph Conrad…Heart of Darkness and Preface to the Nigger of Narcissus, then the mainstream Modernists, James Joyce—Ulysses, Finnegan’s Wake—though nobody could ever get through it!–D. H. Lawrence—Sons and Lovers, Lady Chatterly, the Rainbow and Virginia Woolf, Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Thomas Mann, Proust—A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, Andrey Bely—Peterburg, Pasternak-Zhivago, Borges, Andre Gide, Nabokov, Camus, Sartre, Kipling,……for Poetry T.S. Eliot-Prufrock, Wasteland, Four Quartets,  William Butler Yeats, Ezra Pound—The Cantos, Garcia Lorca, Odysseus Elytis, Wallace Stevens, Anna Akhmatova, C.P. Cavafy, Osip Mandalstam, Rilke—the Duino Elegies, Neruda, Mayakovsky, Czesalw Miloc, Montale, Pessoa, for drama O’Neill, Shaw, Beckett–Godot, Pinter, Brecht, Miller, Ionesco, Pirandello—Six Characters in Search of an Author, throw in Tom Stoppard and Sam Sheppard for new and modern voices,  then we would need Naguib Mahfouz from Egypt, V.S. Naipaul, Solzhenitzen, Günter Grass, Doris Lessing, Derek Walcott, Hermann Hesse, Saul Bellow,   from Africa we would need Achebe—Things Fall Apart, Soyinka—Death and the King’s Horsemen, Cesaire and Senghor, Gordimer, Coetzee, from China we would need at a minimum Lu Xun, and from Japan at a minimum Akutagawa Ryunusuke, Junichiro Tanizaki, Yasunare Kawabata….from Latin America—Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Octavio Paz, Vargas Llosa…from India….Salman Rushdie…..OK, those would seem the obvious ones…….now let’s open the floor for other nominations………Teddy?

“Well as to modern Chinese writers considered great, you already have Lu Xun and Hu Shi of the May 4 Movement, of course, then the moderns would include Ba Jin—-Jia, Lao She—Cha Guan, or the Teahouse, Cao Yu for drama, Guo Moruo, Mao Dun—Midnight, Zhang Ai Ling, Shen Congwen, and of course Gao Xing Jian, though the government doesn’t recognize him as Chinese anymore because of Tian An Men even with the Nobel Prize…Bei Dao is included in some of the newer anthologies but the quality is disputed……the trouble is not a lot of these writers have any international currency……they are famous in China but don’t have a big international footprint, so I don’t know if you can include them in World Literature or not.”


“ Well some Japanese voices would include Yosano Akiko, Yukio Mishima, and if I am not accused of nepotism, we can include Kenzaburo Oe—best known for A Personal Matter in light of the Nobel Prize——new voices might include Shizuko Todo, who writes on the psychology of women, and Kazuo Ishiguro, half British now—famous for Remains of the Day is a strong candidate, Haruko Murakami is known—especially for Norwegian Wood—but is controversial as to seriousness, and we have some pop voices like Banana Yoshimoto ”


“Well, we could include Nazim Hikmet—and Orhan Pamuk—who won the Nobel Prize from Turkey, Adonis, Ali Ahmad Sa’id from Syria, Assia Djebar of Algeria, Mariama Ba of Senegal, Fadwa Tuqan, Mahmoud Darwish, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Reza Baraheni, Abdelrahman Munif and many others……….they are some of the new voices from the Muslim world, maybe they have not made such a big global impact yet but they may in the future, Inshalla!”  said Muhammad, struggling to pick up some seasoned peanuts with a set of chopsticks.


Well in terms of the Subcontinent I would include Premchand—My Big Brother, there are innumerable writers from the last century—-Salman Rushdie—Midnight’s Children you already have—having won the Booker of Bookers, others of note as new voices who may develop into major authors in future might include R. K. Narayan, Vikram Seth, Mahasweta Devi—The Breast Giver, Arundhati Roy, Raja Rao, Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Chandra, Anita Desai, Kiran Desai, Ruskin Bond and Bharati Mukherjee. Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai and Arvind Adiga have all won Bookers.


“Well, to tell you the truth I worry more about whether we have too much fiction in our lives rather that too little. Modern life is so mediated—we vicariously and passively spend so much or our lives watching movies, television, listening and dancing to canned music—we spend too little time living, being, creating and experiencing…….Real experience is hard to find, though fiction isn’t. It’s a kind of life in falsetto.”

“Fiction False…..?” introjected Sartorius, “Yes, perhaps, but not an entirely bad thing either: Fiction, or art, is the lie that tells the truth!”

“Cute…..” retorted Andreas, “…..but I think half the bourgeois world has abdicated living for vicarious titillations and would be better off to, as they say, ‘get a life.’”

“Points well taken—but do you have a contribution for our little collective effort here, Andreas?” continued Sartorius.

“Well we don’t have anybody here from Latin America—so I suppose I should stand in to mention a few candidates who come to mind—–Julio Cortazar—Hopscotch, Carlos Fuentes, new voices such as Paolo Coehlo, Isabel Allende, Rigoberto Menchu—and the Nobels Alejo Carpentier, and Asturias.————If I presume to speak for Africa, then names that have an international impact would include Kenya’s Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Alan Paton from South Africa—Cry Beloved Country, Nigeria’s Ben Okri, and many others.” 

“Oh My God!—we’ve lost track of the time!—-we need to get out of here if we are to get back to Tsinghua and get set up for the program—-Andreas you bring the car around and I will go in and settle up the bill—let’s move out doubletime people!” urged Sartorius looking up from his watch.  


     It was a hard and fast rule of Chinese official hospitality, sometimes welcome and sometimes unwelcome, that after any major conference, event or program the participants, especially international visitors, would be invited to an ample banquet dinner, invariably accompanied by multiple toasts of baijiu liquor, wine, beer and other beverages, and followed late into the night by a session of Karaoke singing, usually excruciatingly off-key and mostly incomprehensible to foreign guests poor in Chinese language skills. After Sartorius and the Committee members completed their program and presentations a makeshift convoy of official and private cars and minibuses formed up to transit to Tsinghua University’s best dining hall to partake of a plentiful and generous banquet. Premiere Wen Jia Bao had stopped by for a half-hour during the program and shook hands, but was unable to stay for the dinner, but left several of his staff to fly the flag for him at the banquet. Since high government and party officials were present the offerings were on the generous to lavish side, and the colleagues, already loosened up from their long lunch were in good humour.

The many guests were seated as ever at many very large round tables with rotary serving trays at the center, from which each guest in turn took, buffet-style, whatever they pleased with long chopsticks. A constant stream of waiters and waitresses in uniform liberally replenished their glasses of wine, beer, strong baijiu distilled liquor and assorted delicacies. Following protocol the hosts would offer toasts to the guests, which after a spell of conversation would be reciprocated by the guests offering toasts back to the hosts.

“Wo Jing ni yi bei!” chanted out Sartorius in Mandarin Chinese considered good for a foreigner, offering the President of Tsinghua University a glass of Maotai baijiu in return for one received ten minutes earlier.

   Seated at the head circular table for the guests of honor were the foreign guests from the Committee—-Sartorius, Andreas, Pari, Muhammad, Mustafa and Yoriko—-along with Professor Zhou Tieya, and several of the university staff, and several members and staff of the Guo Wu Yuan, or Chinese national Cabinet. As host, according to protocol, the President of the University was seated at the notional ‘head’ of the table, with a special place setting to indicate this place of honor, and the guests arranged at increasing distances from the host according to their relative prestige or place in the notional pecking order of the moment. The foreign guests were given pride of place on one side and government officials and staff along the other., with some alternation and special consideration so as to place those competent in either English or Chinese next to each other so as to carry on conversation, and not isolate those without a common language between them. Thus protocol somewhat impeded any tendency of the round tables to serve the function mythically associated with the Arthurian round table, to make all equal and remove barriers and distinctions. Sartorius found himself seated next his good friend Professor Zhou Tieya.  After an interval Professor Zhou was greeted by an old friend and classmate of his who had arrived with the party from the State Council and whom he had not seen for several years but who had arranged to meet him for a reunion at the dinner. He was imposingly impressive at six foot six inches, handsomely faced and with a lithe and athletically muscular body he seemed ten years younger than his true age—-the very antithesis of the image Sartorius would conjour up of a Chinese high Party official.  Professor Zhou introduced his old friend as Luo Chunwang, an old classmate from his student days at Peking University, whom Zhou had known as a fellow member of the Chinese delegation to the United Nations in New York, who had risen subsequently to head the Second Bureau of the Guo An Bu, or Ministry of State Security, the Chinese intelligence service, and under the present President was elevated to the post of Minister-without-Portfolio and alternate member status in the ruling Politburo but still with oversight over the intelligence services,—–who then greeted the guests cordially in near perfect English and the air of a cultivated man of the world, shaking hands all round as a place was made for him between Sartorius and Mustafa bin Salaman al Khalifa.          

   After the obligatory set speeches expressing thanks and appreciation for the guests and appreciation for their program and work, following protocol the hosts would offer toasts to the guests, which after a spell of conversation would be reciprocated by the guests offering toasts back to the hosts, and then a spate of similar offerings of a toast to those one was seated alongside at table. 

“Wo Jing ni yi bei!” chanted out Sartorius in Mandarin Chinese considered good for a foreigner, offering Minister Luo Chunwang a glass of Maotai baijiu in return for one received ten minutes earlier.

“Cheers” reciprocated Luo Chunwang in an excellent English tinged with a mild British accent suggesting the Oxford English of his three-year sojourn at the London School of Economics thirty years before, “I understand you and Teddy worked together on the administrative staff of the United Nations some years ago?”

“Yes, we were together there for several years and now we are teaching together at your old alma mater, Bei Da.” responded Sartorius.

“Teddy and I go back a long way together, first as students at Peking University, then we were part of the first government sponsored group to enroll at the London School of Economics after Kai Fang, the opening up policy under Deng Xiaoping, and then we served some time together as part of the Chinese delegation to the United Nations in New York and at the US Embassies in Washington and in London.

“So, Mustafa” said Luo Chunwang, “ Is this your first time to Beijing?…..I would like to get your first impressions……”

“Yes, sir………….I can tell you I am very impressed both with China’s and Beijing’s great past and with its rapid transformation and promise for the future…….For instance this morning we just visited the Forbidden City which was constructed around 1421,  just about the time that the famous Chinese admiral Zheng He was making his fantastic journeys in the magnificent Treasure Fleet, from China to India and on to the Arabic lands and even Africa. You know Zheng He is a hero to both the Chinese and to the Muslim world—-he is known in Arabic as Hajji Mahmud Shams, the title Hajji indicating that like his father and grandfather he had made the pilgrimage to Mecca. Zheng He was born to the Hui minority in Yunnan Province of China and like most Hui he was a Muslim. He was a sixth-generation descendant of Sayyid Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar, a famous Khwarezmian Yuan governor of Yunnan Province, originally from Bukhara in modern day Uzbekistan. His original name was Mǎ Sānbǎo, and I am sure you know how many Chinese Muslims are named Ma, after Muhammad.

We know how much the Westerners talk about the voyages of Columbus and Magellan, but Columbus sailed in three insignificant vessels—the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria—whereas Zheng He sailed in more than 200 ships with over 28,000 crewmen. Emperor Yongle sent them to establish a Chinese presence, impose imperial control over trade, and impress foreign peoples in the Indian Ocean basin. He also might have wanted to extend the tributary system. Just like today’s Chinese operations in Somalia Zheng He’s navy ruthlessly suppressed the pirates plaguing the Indian Ocean trade.

Coming to Beijing for the first time foremost in my mind is the greatness of Asian civilizations, particularly through the ‘Medieval’ period of the rise of Islam from 600 AD and the rise of the Tang Dynasty, the period of China’s great flourishing during the same time as the great rise of the Abyssid Caliphate. The two great cities of the world were Baghdad and Changan and the British may have then still been painting themselves blue in the forests!  Just look at this magnificent Imperial Palace dating from 1421 that dwarfed anything in the West at that time and continued to do so for centuries. I think the Westerners have suffered a bit much from their amour propre and an exaggerated sense of themselves, dating from really a brief moment in history, their world empires rising and falling within a couple of hundred years for the most part, only a bit longer with the Spanish in the New World. What we see today, especially with the latest world financial crisis is the rise of Asia to its former greatness and a decline of the West. I think from now on we shall not see history made in Western Europe and the rest of the world a minor footnote to that story. If you think about it historically, the era of Western domination was only a flash in the pan!

“Haha, Ha-ha!” guffawed Professor Zhou Tieya, “well maybe there is a grain of truth to what you say, but I think we need to be a bit guarded against our own wishful thinking before we come to such sweeping conclusions!………But it is a quite interesting question…….there is no doubt as you say that China was great from the Sui and Tang dynasties forward alongside the Abyssid Caliphate—also great from the Medieval to the Renaissance periods using the Western frame of history —though both were somewhat disrupted by the Mongol conquest in the 13th century,  probably significantly greater than their contemporary rivals in the west…..though if you go back further to Classical times, say the time of the Greek and Roman Empires under Alexander the Great and then in Rome under the Republic and the Caesars then there was a rough equality with China under the Qin and Han dynasties……Alexander and then Rome uniting the West into a quasi-universal empire for a spell and Qin Shi Huangdi and later the Hans uniting China into an apparent universal regional empire……But I guess we’ve seen rises and falls and cycles everywhere……But the deeper and more interesting question is why did the West spurt so dramatically ahead and attain world dominance from the time of the Renaissance to our own time, given the prior greatness and advanced development of the Asian empires and civilizations? There is even the paradoxical origin of many of the technological drivers of Western Modernity in an Asia which itself failed to modernize until overwhelmed by the West—-I mean the four Chinese great inventions we so pride ourselves on—gunpowder, paper, printing, the compass, plus Indian inventions such as the Zero in mathematics and the so-called Arabic numerals for mathematics which are probably of Indian origin—known as the ‘Hindsi’ or Indian numerals in Arabic, just as they are known as the ‘Arabic’ numerals in the West—and many Arabic advances such as alchemy giving rise to chemistry, Algebra, algorithms—foundations of modern science and medicine—the very etymology of the words with ‘al’ including our good friend alcohol here (sipping his glass of wine) testifying to their Arabic origins—not to mention the debt of the West through St. Thomas Aquinas for the transmission of many of Western classics recovered in the Renaissance——–preserved in Arabic translation and transmitted through Ibn Sina and Ibn Rush—Averroes and Avicenna———————Why were such seeds of the modern world stillborn and stifled in Asia while they flourished in and propelled the West to global dominance in the modern era?—— And concomitantly what has Asia now learned and assimilated of that Western model and modern advantage such as to return permanently to a position of at least parity and as the jargon goes “multi-polarity” in a rebalanced world?……..What would you say Robert?………….If Changan and Baghdad were in fact ascendant in the Medieval times down to the pre-Renaissance why then did the West attain the amazing success that it did…or put the other way—what caused Asia, Islam and the former non-Western civilizations to fall so miserably behind when they themselves had originated many of the precursor factors of the West’s subsequent success in its drive towards modernity, industrialization and global dominance?………..and will the West’s dominance continue in another form or will it end?……what do you say?……..Haw-haha!….I’m giving you the big impossible questions but let’s see how well you can do with it anyway!……….

“Well Teddy, that is a pretty big order—-you want me to give you the ‘Passe-portout and Abracadabra” to all of the locked doors and puzzles of world history——-of course it is impossible to generalize so broadly very accurately—-but to give it a try just to set our thinking in the right direction—–what I would say would be that the dominance of the West that we take for granted as an innate characteristic of the world order is itself the paradoxical product of what I would call aTriple Paradox’——-Let me explain what I mean—— the First Paradox is as you mentioned that many of the precursor seeds of Western modernity and success were paradoxically partially of Asian origin but themselves failed to germinate or arrived stillborn in Asia—-gunpowder, printing, paper, the compass, higher mathematics, advanced shipbuilding etc—to which we might add also that the monotheistic Christian religion of individual salvation propagated globally by the West has itself its origin in the Asian East; the Second Paradox was that the Chinese empires such as the Chinese Tang succeeded in achieving a local unification of political regimes and unified empires, and even the Mongols came close to unifying Asia as a whole, yet Asia failed to become the driver that unified the world as a whole; the Third Paradox of course being that concomitantly the West failed to re-unify itself into an integrated and unified empire in the sense of reconstituting the Roman Empire across Europe in the same way the Tang Dynasty reconstituted the classical Han Chinese Empire yet as a by-product that ununified West became the driver of the unification of the world as a whole into an integrated economic, technological and political whole—first through global empires and then through the modern condition of the community of nation-states loosely integrated within a capitalist trading system and international organizations such as the UN. Thus we have the meta-paradox of the West succeeding through its failure and the East failing through its success!…………

“In terms of religion we have the inverse paradox, that of the dominant religions of the world being universally of Asian origin—Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism—–and having become so in the wake of and at least partially by means of their germination and propagation by the global empires of the ‘West! Thus failure contains the seeds of success and success the seeds of failure—–in Greek we call this ‘The Enantiodromia’ the tendency of all things to become their opposites, and of course a propos to our host city here, in Chinese we call this the process of the Dao or Tao….sometimes translated as ‘the Way’ or ‘the Cosmic Process,’ the endless interpenetration and interchange and reversal of energies of the Yin and Yang!…………………….

“Well, to be a bit less cryptic about this so-called ‘Triple Paradox of World Modernity’—— what I would say in broad brush-strokes—–and of course they can never be completely and invariably true yet can be quite useful if preponderantly more true than false——-would be this:  What were the key forces which drove the West ahead into a position of dominance and cultural hegemony? In shorthand, we might say that the West surged ahead when it systematically mobilized, perhaps for the first time in history following the Renaissance, the creative force of the individual mind—we might call it ‘the rise of the individual’—albeit also referring to the rise of those individuals in their millions—— liberated in both the marketplace of ideas and scientific invention—-attaining unparalleled control over the forces of nature——-uncontrolled by any effective universal censor, and in the realm of productive economic energies, of those individuals in their millions integrated into a relatively free market of exchange and specialization in which each enterprise secured its own profit, reward and reinvestment in its own productive enterprise rather than having such surplus creamed off by an unproductive feudal exploitative elite—-or true at least more or less in relative terms……………..

Why did the West succeed where the East failed in its advance into Modernity?——Roughly speaking we can see that there were many creative individuals and critical inventions in the East—gunpowder, the compass, printing, Arabic/Indian numerals, algebra, paper etc.—yet if the child of future promise may have in some instances been born in Asia, it was strangled to death in its own cradle—–like the monstrous Chronos devouring his own children to prevent them from destroying him in the future—–by an entrenched and reactionary conservative Imperial or feudal elite which aborted in their own lands the seeds of that threatening future, which seeds would nevertheless yet errantly germinate in more fruitful soil in the West and indirectly bring about the death and destruction of that same Imperial or feudal elite………The West, because it failed in attaining effective political or totalitarian unity became an environment of openness and competition in both ideas and in techniques of economic enterprise. If innovation and new ideas and lifestyles were suppressed in one location in the West they would ‘vote with their feet’ and find other nations or principalities to host and sponsor such innovation, and when the competitive advantage of such changes became evident, each state would by necessity adopt and adapt to survive. In the east Imperial monopoly or despotism would preclude such competitive alternatives and evolutionary process………The West’s imperial or political failure and fragmentation led to its economic, intellectual and technological success… predicted by Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations…………..

“Wherein lay the difference in the two destinies, East and West?—as we say in the paradox that in the East the repressive and rebarbative forces of Imperial or feudal conservatism and exploitation were more efficient and able to succeed in repressing the creative intellectual and economic energies of their creative classes and economically innovative and productive individuals, whereas in the West those same reactionary forces failed in their own very strenuous attempt to do exactly the same thing. Why did they fail?—–in large part because the West failed in its many conservative or reactionary attempts to impose a unified, coherent and effective system of political, police and intellectual control—neither could the ‘Holy Roman Empire’ nor the ‘Concert of Europe’ effectively impose a universal reactionary system of political and police control; nor could the Catholic Church, through the Inquisition or otherwise, effectively do the same at level of the intellectual and of moral authority within the society. The West succeeded paradoxically through its political disunity and fragmentation into a puzzle-board of nation-states, and a fracturing of authority between church and state——enabling the releasing of the competitive creative and productive energies of their peoples, whereas the East failed through its success in reimposing several incarnations of a local effective universal empire with policed control and exploitation of the bodies, minds and economic energies of its own peoples for the narrow and stifling benefit of a feudal and imperial elite………

“Take the examples we have been discussing today while visiting the Forbidden City——founded in 1421——-the same period as the travels of Zheng He, the great Chinese ‘Admiral of the Western Ocean.’——-Zheng He is an admirable example since his achievements prove that educated men in Asia were theoretically capable of the feats of Columbus and Magellan—discovering the New World and circumnavigating and integrating the globe——-we even have the notable ‘1421 Hypothesis” of Gavin Menzies that in fact Zheng He did beat Columbus to the new world—-which though almost surely is false as I argued with him face-to-face at the booksigning he gave at The Bookbug, our local Beijing expatriate literary center and watering-hole—-it would prove my point a fortiori—–Zheng He’s achievement as a Chinese Muslim reflected the skill, science and culture and potential capabilities of both the Muslim world and the Chinese world of the late Medieval period in Asia——yet what a difference in the social result of the voyages of Zheng He and Columbus!——-“

“——–Indeed!…..” laughed Sartorius, “………..if indeed Zheng He had reached the Americas first, as Menzies so flippantly asserts, the true accolade would go not to him but to the Imperial Mandarins and eunuchs around him for burying such a world-changing discovery——they would have out-Barnacled the Barnacles, and out-Stiltstalked the Stiltstalkings and earned themselves and Imperial China the Nobel Prize of Nobels for all time in the “Supreme Art of How-Not-to-Do-It!”—-the ultimate victory of the Circumlocution Office over the Circumnavigation Office!—–indeed they would have vindicated the geneaology of the supreme Chinese Art and Genius of Circumlocution back to the ancestral Wu Wei of Lao Zi, to the shame of the barbarians so crude as Columbus and Magellan or the only half-civilized Zheng He who would be so gross as to presume or even execute “How-to-Do-It!”—-the Dickens you say!”

“Forgive my levity, Minister—I got a bit carried away with the joke out of Dickens’ Little Dorrit. No disrespect intended, we’re all intellectual grown-ups and men of the world here here, right? Anyway where were we? Ah, Yes———-Columbus’s voyage itself was a product of the disunity of the West—–Columbus himself was of Italian origin—Genoese—-and he proposed his project of a voyage Westward to get to the East—-China and India—to the Portuguese court, which turned him down—–twice—-Portuguese experts arguing quite correctly that the curvature of the round earth would make the westward distance to China far too large to make the transit possible or profitable—–he then went to the Genoese and Venetians, who rejected him, and later sent his brother to Henry VII of England, who accepted his proposal but too late after Columbus himself had already signed a contract with Ferdinand and Isabella of the newly united and liberated Spain. Thus, an ‘entrepreneur’ such as Columbus had multiple constituencies to appeal to and a ‘no’ from one was never a final no. Columbus was a dreamer and an entrepreneurial promoter driven by a personal vision, such vision founded on several mistakes of fact, such as an inaccurate view of the size of the globe and a false assessment of the newly discovered lands as being India or the Indies/Indonesia, but still a powerful dream and vision.  He received half his capital from the Spanish crown and half from Italian investors, and his personal reward would be appointment as “Admiral of the Ocean Sea” and appointment as Governor of any new lands discovered, plus a right to 10% or possibly one-eighth of any profits from the enterprise. Ferdinand and Isabella’s motivation in backing Columbus was to gain some trade advantage and profit over their national trade competitors from Venice, Genoa, Portugul and others after the disruption of the Asian Silk Road trade by the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. The legacy of Columbus’ voyage of discovery of course was also a reflection of the disunity of the West—–a scramble for colonies and competition for trading routes and rights.

“What, comparatively speaking,  was the analogous case of Zheng He?” Sartorius continued, the guests at table having asked a large question, they granted him the patience to hear him out and receptively sipped their drinks as he unfolded his thoughts, “In 1381, following the defeat of the Northern Yuan, a Ming army was dispatched to Yunnan to put down the Mongol rebel Basalawarmi. Ma Sanbao, soon to be renamed Zheng He, then only eleven years old, was captured and made a eunuch. He was sent to the Imperial court, where he eventually became a trusted adviser of the Yongle Emperor, assisting him in deposing his predecessor, the Jianwen Emperor. Notably, his access to patronage and authority in the Ming court required the sacrifice of his very manhood, the ultimate subordination of the interests of the individual to those of the state or ruler, a fate shared with many ill-fated men of extraordinary ability in the imperial East, such as in the castration inflicted on the great Chinese historian Si Ma Qian.  In return for meritorious service, the eunuch received the name Zheng He from the Yongle Emperor. He studied at Nanjing Taixue (the Imperial Central College) and travelled to Mecca. Between 1405 and 1433, the Ming government sponsored a series of seven naval expeditions. Emperor Yongle designed them to establish a Chinese presence, impose imperial control over trade, and impress foreign peoples in the Indian Ocean basin. He also might have wanted to extend the Chinese tributary system. Whatever his precise motives, they were calculated on the basis of the personal or dynastic interests of the Imperial court rather than those of the Chinese people as a whole beyond the court. In 1424, the Yongle Emperor died. His successor, the Hongxi Emperor (reigned 1424–1425), decided to curb the influence of Zheng He and the Treasure Fleet at court. Zheng He made one more voyage under the Xuande Emperor (reigned 1426–1435), but after that Chinese treasure ship fleets ended. The treasure fleet was then terminated, along with all the sea communications network established by Zheng He because of intrigues in the Imperial court and the fact that it was not immediately profitable to the Imperial court, which also imposed a monopoly control excluding all other segments of society.  What was the long term legacy and result?——-even more disastrous—–naval exploration and communications were seen by the Ming court not as a glorious opportunity, neither of a base materialistic nor culturally noble character as in Columbus’ Spain and Europe, but as a threat to their entrenched imperial and feudal power rooted in agricultural land ownership. And Wittvogel’s hypothesis in his Oriental Despotism that oriental authoritarian systems were rooted in and preserved by their control of irrigation networks in arid areas where great rivers brought life giving water controllable by a small elite, though incomplete is still powerful as an explanation.  How did the Imperial court react to the opportunities brought to their attention by Zheng He?—– Under the Ming Dynasty, the Hongwu Emperor was the first to propose the policy to ban all maritime shipping and after Zheng He that system continued under the Hai Jin, or “Sea Ban” policy.   The only way that foreigners might visit Ming China was via the tribute system. The Sea Ban Policy also required coastal residents to move inland 30–50 li (est. 15 to 25 kilometers) from the sea. All private boats and ships were burned and even small rafts were not allowed at sea, continuing until the time of Kangxi in 1684. Thus the voyages of Columbus revealed a world of opportunity to the disunited and competing states and individuals of the West but revealed but a threat to the deadening absolute control and security interests of the reactionary Ming court. We see similar policies echoed in the closing of Japan and Korea to outside communications as “Hermit Kingdoms” in protecting the narrow interests of the ruling elite in preservation of the status quo……Once again paradoxically the Chinese were doomed by their own partial success…..this is what the historians call the ‘High Level Trap” phenomenon—-the Chinese were able to eke out fairly desirable levels of development from the traditional system—profitable at least for the elite if not over time for the people as a whole—-thus encouraging them not to change it—-as long as they could muddle through and limp along with the old repressive system with moderate success preserving the prerogatives of the elite, that was more desirable than taking any risk of systemic innovation and change—–When you are the Emperor or the imperial elite already on top of the world you have a lot more to risk and possibly lose from any substantive change and a lot less to potentially gain!—-so the easy conclusion of standing pat and repressing any change is natural………..until you wake up one morning….too late!…. and discover that the evolution of the outside world has left you and your people fatally behind!………….Over and over again the peoples of Asia have discovered, as have peoples everywhere, that their principal enemies and exploiters were their own elites and rulers whose narrow selfish interests in blocking change and innovation weakened their countries as a whole in the longer run…………..

“Thus, the West succeeded paradoxically through its political disunity and fragmentation into a jig-saw puzzle-board of nation-states that made such attempts to wall out historical change and challenges impossible whereas the East failed through its success in reimposing an effective universal local empire and elite-policed control and exploitation of the bodies, minds and economic energies of its own peoples………Why was this so?—–we can read the tea leaves of Western history—-(the tea presumably also from China but containing a Western destiny!)—-what were the critical breaks that propelled the West to global dominance—-the “Revolutions” within it which changed the world?—-we begin with the “Gutenberg Revolution”—the revolution in human thought and communications accompanying the introduction of the printing press and movable type into Western Europe after 1450 or so—paradoxically again a Western revolution with an Eastern origin in the Chinese inventions of paper and printing—a socially-disruptive Revolution echoed in the modern phenomenon of the Internet or Digital Revolutions of today——this ‘Gutenberg Revolution” would also become “the revolution of the individual mind” as books and periodicals in the vernacular liberated the creative thoughts and energies of individuals newly empowered through literacy and education with the cultural heritage of a civilization heretofore the exclusive preserve of the noble elite—and for the first time mobilized the potential intellectual and economic energies first of the urban middle-classes and later the masses…the Gutenberg Revolution also aided the impact of the Renaissance itself—-the recovery and intensification of the rationalistic heritage of the Hellenic and Roman cultures fortified by the new creativity of the Renaissance individual mind……What was the difference between the West and East?—— or more accurately the ‘non-West’ if you will—-surely the East-West dichotomy and opposition is but a fictitious but nevertheless useful oversimplification—–the repression of the individual by the Eastern imperial elites also is a shorthand for the repressive tendencies with regard to the individual in other contexts such as those of the tribe or clan in Africa and much of the world?…..We can see the East could produce through gifted individuals the technology of printing, but it could not socially produce the Gutenberg Revolution, it could produce the seeds but it could not cultivate the crop and harvest…..its potential Gutenberg Revolution  was aborted by the effectiveness of its own repressive elites……………….Ultimately it has been the collective genius of the West to unleash the intellectual and economic productive and creative energies of the individual—-multiplied through their millions in their collective masses—-such that a nation of fifty million could out-produce and overpower a stagnant nation of five-hundred million unproductive and unmobilized individual minds held in check by a repressive elite exploiting an illiberal tradition…………….

“The Gutenberg Revolution is also associated with the “Vernacular Revolution” which sees the development of mass literacy in the spoken language of the people—–culminating and coming to fruition in the movements of nationalism and “Nationalist Revolutions”  which are also in part the motor drivers of nationalist-based global empires enabled by mass-educated armies and national free market economies of scale……..Once again the vernacular revolution in China had to wait until the fall of the feudal elite and empire with the Revolution of 1911 and the following May 4 Movement led by Hu Shi and Lu Xun introducing Bai Hua vernacular literature as the language of the people.  

“Next we had the ‘Scientific Revolution,’ alongside the Reformation which translated the immense potential creative energies of the individual mind in its millions into an effective and unparalleled control over the forces of nature—and of course this grows out of the preceding Gutenberg Revolution. Here we see the critical difference between the West and the East—-the West succeeds, in relative terms of course, in scientifically controlling Nature, whereas the East succeeds in controlling Man—that is in the conservative elite controlling and repressing human society for its own ends—-and when we get down to the final historical calculus it is that Nature is far more powerful than Man and that whoever can control the forces of nature will overwhelm those who may only control the forces of Man………………..(though we are only invoking and speaking in an illustrative false exclusivity between them to make a rhetorical point!)…………………….the final lesson being whoever can control the creative forces of the individual mind and thereby the power of Nature will control history despite the successes of the repressive elites in controlling the collectivities of men……but control in either case is unlikely to be exclusive or unconflicted……………we could even imagine the limiting case through the present climate change debate regarding the relative balance of power between man and nature in which human control over nature through technology becomes so overwhelming that nature itself is so subordinated to institutionalized human control that a repressive elite’s control over man might constitute an effective control over a nature so subordinated as to fail to yield the power to overthrow that elite……

“At the next stage of the ‘Rise of the West” we then have the “Industrial Revolution” following 1750 or so, which in various degrees according to historical circumstance results in the application of the technology enabled by the Scientific Revolution to be applied to the economic sphere through the development of modern capitalist enterprise and the global marketplace—-with the by-product of replacing the power of human and animal muscle with that of steam, coal, electricity and the otherwise harnessed forces of nature at the command of man. The bourgeois capitalist revolutions liberated the self-interest driven energies of individuals in their millions in the economic sphere, also stimulating sustained investment and technological innovation.——all of this powers the industrial and technological advantage of the West which quickly translates into military, marketplace and imperial dominance by the Western powers down to the present time——–insofar as China and the East has ‘learned from the West’ or ‘caught up with the West’ it is almost exclusively by emulating them—–thus we have ‘A New Deal” in the inclusion of more players in the game of ‘Western’ modernizing success but so far the ‘Rise of China’ or the ‘Rise of Asia’ is concerned they have not been based on changing the game the West invented as much as redistributing the cards…………..we would have a hard time finding anything particularly ‘Chinese’ about the ‘rise’ of China—based on introduction under ‘Kai Fang’ of a market economy integrated through the WTO into the world market economy, and Westernized education—–except perhaps the traditions of work, education and social responsibility associated with Confucian culture—-which Confucian culture in and of itself failed to bring about the heralded modernization until transformed and adapted to models of ‘modernization and development’ based on models of the West—and even Communism is a product of the West itself insofar as its socialist tendencies modify the operation of Western liberal capitalism…………..But perhaps we should not ignore the contradictions and weaknesses of the West itself and be too complacent, particularly in the excesses of the marketplace reflected in the Great Depression as well as the present world financial crisis…………….

   “Yes, Professor Sartorius…..” interjected Luo Chunwang, “……what you say sounds broadly plausible, but with the world financial crisis and with the levers of the West’s power, the control of nature through scientific technology limited and blunted by the impending crises of climate change and “Peak Asian Oil” and in other resources, “many voices are predicting the ‘Decline of the West” to use Oswald Spengler’s phrase, and the concomitant rise of the East. What is your prognostication for the future then?”

     “Well Minister…….” said Sartorius, “…….there is an old saying that it is always dangerous to make predictions……………especially about the future!……..None of us have an infalliable crystal ball….but I would think that in general the position of the United States as the so-called “sole Superpower” of the world can only be a tentative result of the misfortune of other nations and not a natural inevitability or an unchangeable condition.  America has only five percent of the world’s people, one fourth of China’s population, yet has produced one fourth of the industrial product of the earth. This has been the result of both its own success and good luck and of the underdevelopment of many of the more populous counties and the impact of wars and misfortunes, such as WWI and WWII or the collapse of the Soviet Union……it would hardly be reasonably expected that the rest of the world would be permanently incapacitated……….the European Union now has 27 nations with a GDP larger than that of the USA and a population of 500 million compared to America’s 300 million… the long term if it can advance to greater cohesion, overcoming such intermediate growth pains such as adapting the fiscal system to the unified monetary system as in the sovereign debt crisis, one would expect a more equalized sharing of power between the EU and the US in the Western Alliance,  and the industrialization and development of Russia, China, Brazil and India must in the long-run cause some increasing counterbalancing tendency in terms of comprehensive geo-political power.  

There are three distinct China’s in existence side by side today— the old, which has not wholly died out, the new, hardly yet born except in spirit, and the transition, passing now through its most critical throes.  People are sometimes worried about the ‘rise of China’ and of course Napoleon is famous for saying ‘let China sleep, for when she stands up the world will tremble’ which is inevitable when you are talking about 1.3 billion people, but I think we can’t ignore that China is not the only country rising—–its rise is balanced by the rise of India, the rise of the EU, re-emergence of a new Russia, and an expected counter-resurgence of Japan, as well as the balance of the status quo powers including the United States—and the better hope is that China will find a productive place within the community of nations and within a sustainable balance of power globally and within Eurasia and become a responsible stakeholder in the international concert of nations as its relative capacities improve. And if this kind of a rise is accompanied by a rise of many others, like the rising tide lifting all boats, then we don’t need to go in fear and dread and exaggerate things in our minds. If we are mesmerized by the simple fact of the increasing impact of China’s 1.3 billion people, we can also keep in mind that India by 2025 is due to surpass China as the world’s most populous nation, perhaps rising later to 1.7 billion, and its rate of GDP increase is not too far behind China. But I don’t think all of this necessarily means a ‘decline’ of the US in absolute terms, nor of the West in absolute terms, though it may dilute their influence in relative terms……But so far it doesn’t look like being a revolutionary overturning of the status quo—–most ascendant countries including probably China and India just want a ‘New Deal’ in the old game, a better and more equitable hand to play with without kicking the game table over, and most likely they will become responsible stakeholders in the commonly shared system…….or at least we may hope so!”

“Well then we shall see!……” ventured the Minister   “…… the saying goes we have been cursed to be born in ‘interesting times!’—–well, our party will have to be going—-you know how hectic our schedules in the government are and we have to drop in on a couple more official gatherings before the night is out—– but I hope we will have the opportunity to meet again soon……..I will offer you all one last toast……..’To a better future!——-Jing nimen tsai yi bei!’”   


                 On the last night of their collaboration on the programme Andreas shared a taxi with Yoriko returning to the Sino-Swiss Hotel on the Second Ring Road.—Yoriko likes him very much. She offers him a drink and tells him she has a bottle of Baccardi upstairs in her room. He goes up together with her to the eleventh floor, and she makes him comfortable pouring out drink after drink.

                 She knows that the moment will soon approach when he will invite her to make love. She is thinking: But I’m not attracted to him……..I could be if only I could shake off the shadow of Etienne…….But how do I know I won’t be attracted to him once I’m in bed?……After all I was not immediately attracted to Etienne.

Etienne was her lover of three years from London and Paris who worked as a correspondent for Reuters in Tokyo when she was a graduate student at the Takarazuka University Of Art And Design in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. He was the first man she had sex with and he was very loving and gentle. She met him at a small restaurant café in the Golden Gai where she used to sit after her art and design classes to make sketches. He would often come to the same café, alone or with other foreigners. The Shinjuko district of Tokyo was always crawling with foreigners and Yoriko was attracted to them for the adventure of it. She didn’t care for the business types who normally worked in the skyscrapers but Etienne was different. They shared something of an artistic or perhaps sensual temperament. Maybe it was his Frenchness that appealed to her artistic sensibility. Actually Etienne Dearlove was half-English and half-French, with his father a former Member of Parliament in London and presently a solicitor and MEP, Member of European Parliament. His mother was a Sorbonne graduate and Parisian born, but who had moved to London after her marriage. She nonetheless insisted on naming her firstborn son Etienne, after her grandfather, and raised him completely bi-lingual in French and English, after which it was quite easy to pick up the Romance languages to a fair degree, especially Spanish, and he had served as a correspondent for Reuters, the BBC, AFP and the Economist in Latin America and Francophone Africa for several years. From his early childhood he was highly conscious of being a hybrid—an outsider not fully belonging to either the mainstream of British society yet also finding it impossible to be accepted as fully French by his mother’s side of the family, growing up thus in a kind of inter-cultural no-man’s land. His father’s work in his early years in the Foreign Office also resulted in Etienne spending his middle-school years in Tokyo attached to the British Embassy where he picked up a rough fluency in the language. In his studies at Cambridge he was impressed with the works of Joseph Needham on the contribution of China and East Asian culture to science and world civilization and he took up East Asian Studies, including Japanese and Chinese languages, which prepared him well for his journalism assignments in East Asia, beginning with Tokyo.

Before she was nineteen, Yoriko Oe had rejected a number of suitors and year by year impressing those around her with a very considerable ripening beauty and coming from a wealthy family powerful in Japanese business circles she became quite accustomed to male attentions, which she received with a mixture of queenly disdain or distaste at the banality and insensitiveness of most of them. For none of her would be lovers fit her image of a romantic prince, and none fit the cut of the figures of the novels she buried herself in during her teen years. None either, mere boys, could excite her to the depths of her father, who, despite arousing her disgust, also excited her when he fell into his drunken abusive moods and she could both savour and resent his power. Thus it was that Yoriko was still unattached when she began to rub shoulders with Etienne through a circle of mutual acquaintances in the Golden Gai district of Tokyo. Wearied with fawning and spineless Japanese boys catering to her, little by little she came to believe that she had found the sublime destiny she in her inner heart so deserved when she met and drew closer to the one man who seemed not to bother about her twice: Etienne Dearlove. He was older, more experienced and a man’s man and a virile Westerner to boot. Later, after they had made love, she would also discover that he had an artistic and sensitive side which she shared with him. From that earliest time of her first attraction she clung to him inwardly with the tenacity of a first love, and suffered intensely from his absence or inattention.

Etienne, at the time that he met Yoriko was anything but inclined to fall in love. Amused, his ego flattered by the attentions of the young and beautiful girl, amoung many others, he was little inclined at first to regard her as anything but a sexual plaything, or perhaps a conquest.  Moreover, to Etienne this feminine penchant for suffering and surrender was pathetic; it was precisely what he most detested about women, and he inwardly cultivated a frank contempt for saccharine sentiment and a connoisseur’s delight in a franker sensual pleasure. Girls who actually believed in and worshipped love, being in love, even the idea of love, always brought chafing complications. Rich girls with poor minds were both the prop and the bane of his existence. Self-absorbed, they could always be capable of becoming hysterical and throwing themselves into the sea for love, or enacting the farce of it. As a rule he enjoyed the excitement of the chase but was keener to make his escape thereafter. Thus he surprised even himself when, against his principles, he found himself enjoying being with Yoriko and sharing her thoughts and feelings and growing sensitivities. Yoriko, hypnotized like a mouse facing a cobra, found herself involuntarily drawn closer and closer to him.

            Etienne Dearlove quickly moved from the chase to the conquest with little effort, but unexpectedly along the way his wonted cynicism deserted him, and without wishing it he found himself trapped in the thing he disliked, perhaps feared most: a sentimental entanglement. He didn’t actually fall in love with the beautiful Yoriko, but the unconditional love and innocence with which she gave herself to him actually, and to his chagrin, moved him. The girl placed herself in his hands with total confidence, willing to do anything or everything he asked, never judging his intentions or motives or calculating the consequences. Etienne gauged the measure of the absolute power he exercised over her when he saw her standing in his living room one evening, naked, yet red with confusion involuntarily covering her breasts and pubis with her hands when his eyes fell upon her, and then moving towards him with the innate dignity of a vestal virgin in sacrifice to the holiest of gods and rising to the holiest of destinies.

            At first Etienne admired her as one more of the many objets d’art he had collected in his sexual career: he thought she was exquisite, but congratulated himself that he was not a prisoner of love towards her. Then for some reason unknown to himself he hesitated to push the moment to its natural climax. Sensing his hesitation she feared she had made a mistake and made herself ridiculous and two tears worked themselves from the corners of her eyes and splashed along her naked breasts, her gaze, nonetheless, never falling from his own. Etienne sat her down in his lap and began to rock her as a child, kissing the salt tears from her eyes with his lips. At last he led her gently to his bed and lay down with her, enfolding her in his arms like a brother, stroking her hair, kissing her brow and eyes, moved by an unknown and powerful sentiment he could not name.

            Looking into her crystalline eyes he did not desire her but only wanted to protect her and restore her to her innocence, but the impossible softness of the skin of Yoriko’s breasts, the scent of the perfume atop the musk of her skin that lingered there, the silken blackness of her hair hanging so straight and so full downwards upon her perfectly clefted buttocks, then falling adrift over his face as she moved her head aside, undid him. The unreserved surrender of the nubile body opening at the touch of his hands surprised him, and without knowing how he found himself exploring her, kissing her with an anxiety which no woman had ever so provoked in him as his tongue involuntarily slid into her mouth, her ears, and his lips brushed every inch of her body; then he pressed insistently into her body, crushing her, cleaving her, penetrating her in a hurricane of passion he could not control, riding her mercilessly, blind, unbridled, and uncontrolled, swamping himself, until he exploded in a devastating orgasm. For a brief instant he blacked completely out, and they met in another dimension, defenseless, naked in body and mind and in self, and Etienne experienced an intimacy so overwhelming that until then he had avoided its possibility without even knowing it existed; he had crossed over some last frontier and found himself, crossed over on the other side, stripped of will. He had had more lovers, female and an occasional male, than he cared to remember, but he had never lost control in this way; lost his irony, his distance, the notion of his own inviolable individuality lost in the so forceful fusing, simple and elemental with another human being. He saw the blood seeping into the satin sheets, but in a certain way it was his virginity that had been yielded in that embrace. The journey lasted only a spasm in time, but it was fully enough to terrify him; he returned to his body and then to his consciousness exhausted, and immediately began to resume the armour of his habitual humour, his habitual tones of sarcasm. When Yoriko finally opened her eyes he was already not the man she had made love to but the one he had always been—-though she lacked the experience to know that just then. Aching, cramping, bleeding, happy, she had abandoned all that there was of her to the man that she imagined was still holding her. Etienne continued to hold her, but his mind was already far away.

After he made love to her he became the center of her life. They would hang out in the Golden Gai area near her art school rambling through the warren of tiny shanty-style bars and clubs. They would meet the musicians, artists, actors and directors who gathered there, and would have long conversations with groups of friends beneath the ramshackle walls of the bars literally plastered with movie posters. Etienne would often write his ‘human interest’ stories for AFP and Reuters on his Apple laptop sitting next to Yoriko, who would sketch in her large black sketchbook. Sometimes she would help him interview Japanese street characters, artists or musicians, acting as a translator.

She knew she was in love with him but after the rush of the first six months she seemed to be only an episode in his life. After three months of making love he told her he was engaged to a girl back in London and hadn’t decided if he would go through with it, but he probably would. She liked him because he didn’t lie to her. If they had anything it was honesty in sex and in friendship even if it wasn’t necessarily happily ever after. He had other girls from time to time in Tokyo and Yoriko would become angry irrationally and uncontrollably and try to stop seeing him, but she always came back. She knew he was the most important thing in her life even if she wasn’t the center of his life.

They were good comrades. Though he kept a low profile to get by in the corporate and official world he was a socialist and he introduced her to working in political and social causes. Etienne introduced her to the work of the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly and they got involved together, holding meetings and speeches at Waseda University and the University of Tokyo and building a group of student supporters. He got her addicted to reading the Guardian and introduced her to his friend George Monbiot, a Guardian columnist when he came to Tokyo on an assignment. Sometimes they would travel together. They would often walk in the Shinjuku Gyoen, a large park, blending Japanese traditional, English Landscape and French Formal style gardens, where Yoriko would make sketches. After the first year they began to explore the Kabukichō together, a district well-known for bars, restaurants and a red-light district with street prostitutes, brothels, and other sexual commerce northeast of Shinjuku Station. Yoriko would have been afraid to go there alone or with other Japanese but with an English-Frenchman and his foreign friends it was possible and fun. They even explored the Shinjuku ni-chōme, Tokyo’s best-known gay district and she helped Etienne interview subjects to feature in his ‘human interest’ stories about the underworld of Tokyo’s nightlife. They hung out together at the Takadanobaba student district next to Waseda University. Her parents constantly pressured her to get married—-of course to an acceptable upper-class Japanese man. She didn’t take them seriously and wanted to live life before getting submerged in the conventionality that marked their lives. Her father was a vice-president of Toschiba, so she had no money worries, but her father was impatient and overbearing. At one time Yoriko was closer to her father and he taught her everything he knew about computers and high technology, and Yoriko at one time thought she might enter Toschiba on the computer technology side as she was really a wizard at it, but as she got to university age she drifted apart from her father, especially as she became sexually active. Nonetheless, she kept up her interest in computer technology and in the art institute she became famous for Computer Art, and adapting computer technology to artistic ends. She knew that her father had wanted a son to follow in his footsteps and perhaps become a President of Toschiba, but Yoriko was destined to be an only child, and though her father at times tried to convince her to join Toschiba at a high level, she knew his heart was torn and that a woman after all would not really fit into the upper levels of the old boy network at the upper levels of the company.  Maybe he wanted her to try to be a tomboy substitute son, but he was at root conservative and in the end expected Yoriko to find an appropriate husband after a foray into the world and settle down like her mother and all the women their family knew. Yoriko knew that she couldn’t bear a conventional marriage like her parents’ but she didn’t know what else to do either. For the last two years she escaped into the work of the Committee, becoming the Asian regional director. That at least was something her father could understand when she told him she was buried in work. Her father was a workaholic and mostly absent from the home, dominated by her mother. Yoriko didn’t want to be trapped in a conventional home like her mother, not yet at least. When her mother invited an insipid scion of a renown Tokyo business clan to have dinner with her and Yoriko, hoping to maneuver them together and dropping hintful questions as to whether she was looking forward to marriage Yoriko did not answer. She could not tell what words to use. She was afraid of saying anything, lest the passion of anger, dislike, indignation—whatever it was that was boiling up inside of her breast—-should find vent in cries and screams, or worse in raging words that could never be forgotten. It was as if the piece of solid ground on which she stood had broken like a calving iceberg from the shore of reality and she was drifting out into the infinite sea alone. She kept hoping that Etienne would ask her to marry him and take her away from all this like a prince charming on a white charger. But in the last year they were together he saw more and more other women, evidently becoming bored with her, and that Alnaschar vision came tumbling to the ground in blood-tinged shards of broken glass. Then, four years ago, he left Tokyo and married his fiancée in London. A wealthy girl tangentially related to the royal family. He now had a two-year old daughter, whose photo he had sent to her attached to his last e-mail, which ended with the phrase he always used: ‘All my love to you.’

Yoriko sits listening as a young Western man talks and entertains her. It is not Etienne. It is Andreas. She likes him very much but he is not Etienne. She wonders if she can ever work up interest in a man if she is thinking all the time about Etienne. Yoriko tells herself to stop thinking about him, or she will go crazy, stop thinking about him or she will never become herself.

Yoriko goes to bed with Andreas. She classifies him as the efficient type of lover. She likes him but she knows that he is not in love with her. He knows the little gentle moves designed to give a woman pleasure. He spreads her legs wide and holds them apart, the inside hooks of his elbows against the inside hooks of her inwardly-bent knees, the soles of her feet banging against his shoulders with each of his thrusts within her. Then she wraps her legs around his waist, hooking her two ankles together across the small of his back as she pulls herself upwards to meet his downward thrusts into her swollen vagina.  He rims the tip of his tongue around the folds of her ears and bites her neck playfully. He French-kisses her, slipping his tongue under her tongue and massages her closed eyelids with the tip of his tongue pressing down against the irises of her eyeballs through the skin of her closed eyelids. He cups his palms around the roundness of her buttocks, then massages the broad female sensitive spot across the tail of her back above her hips’ cleavage. She imagines he has probably read books like “How to Satisfy your Lover.” He gets his pleasure from having got the woman into bed and performing as an accomplished lover, not from the loving itself.

The two are cheerful and friendly, continuing their good sense of their work together at the Committee. He makes some light raillery about her being a “Shengnu” or leftover woman—something they call an old maid in the Chinese press here.

“Now you sound like my father—-wanting me to get married”

“Why don’t you?” he responds, blowing his cigarette smoke towards the ceiling.

“You make it sound like I should marry the first man I come across—–except you!”

“Well, I don’t mean quite that……” he says  “……….but why not just take the plunge?——-Isn’t that what you all are brought up for over there in Tokyo?——Isn’t marriage your vocation?”

“Well if I take the plunge I think I will end up drowning, or I will just swim out into the waves and end it all…………” she says.

“If you were a man I’d tell you to dodge it altogether. I don’t know if the best advice for you in your shoes is the same for me in mine. But good luck anyway.”

“Thanks for nothing, Andreas.”

“You’re welcome!—how about another drink?”

She rolls over and takes the drink from his hands along with another cigarette. Then she leans forward, holding the black tip of her cigarette to his reddening lit one. As she does so, he notices, with a purely impersonal enjoyment, how exquisitely the black lashes are set in her smooth white lids, whiter even than a European girl’s, and how the purplish shade beneath them melts into the pure pallor of her cheek, a touch of subtlety he imagines, that must have filtered down from several centuries of the arts of the geishas, discounted, somehow, into the modern age.

They make light jokes and look forward to seeing each other again in London the next time Yoriko takes a sojourn at the worldwide headquarters. They finish off the bottle of Bacardi white with Rumcocos and smoke together in bed. Yoriko is smiling and kissing Andreas above his nipple as she finishes her glass…….Yoriko is fighting off the need to cry……..She is familiar with this sudden depression. She says to herself it is not my depression at all but only guilt. It is the guilt from the past and from my parents and society. It is not my guilt but someone else’s—–it is somebody else’s double standard that is making me feel depressed. It is someone else’s guilt that I repudiate. She wishes she could be casual and light hearted like Andreas. She is glad to feel Andreas’s strong arm across her back and buttocks. She fights her depression with another miniature bottle of scotch from the mini-bar and buries her face in the chest-hair across Andreas’ breast as she blacks out into sleep. She needs a warm body to get her through the night. 


     After finishing singing Karaoke at the Tsinghua University restaurant where the Committee members enjoyed their dinner after the program Mustafa saw Andreas and Yoriko to their taxi headed to the east side of Beijing and got into his rental car. Along the Fourth Ring Road he drove from the north of the Haidian district in a southwesterly direction, in the general direction of his hotel—–the Shangri-la hotel to the south. He noticed a taxicab about one hundred meters behind him with a Chinese woman in the rear seat that had been following in the next lane from the area of the university. Spotting the next off-ramp he quickly shifted across three lanes to catch the exit at the last moment.  At the bottom of the off-ramp he stopped, though the light was green and waited to see if anyone was following him.  No cars came down the ramp. He quickly drove to the next light and did a quick U-turn under the expressway and headed back onto the Fourth Ring Road in the direction from which he came.

He repeated the procedure twice, each time watching both in front and in back of his car for any vehicles that might be watching him, running an SDR—Surveillance Detection Run. He watched in front of his car in case a tail car might be giving instructions by radio to a lead surveillance car. He pulled abruptly into the West gate of People’s University and exited the East gate, picking up the Third Ring Road eastward bound then reversed direction and proceeded westward, then northward watching each time for any signs of surveillance cars.

He checked his watch—–11:45—-he had an hour and fifteen minutes—–he headed again north towards Wudaokou—–an entertainment district frequented by many foreigners. He parked his car and joined the large crowd waiting to enter the disco bar Propaganda—many Korean students and a mixture of Chinese and young foreigners, some Asian, African and from all over the world—mostly studying Chinese at the YuYan Xueyuan, Foreign Language and Culture University next door or the dozens of schools in the area. He noticed some from the Middle East, Pakistan, some Egyptians in the crowd. He sat at the bar and ordered a gin and tonic—–though he had been raised a s a Muslim from an early age he had been used to drinking alcohol in the liberal upper-class set of Bahrain, and when he studied at Cambridge he had partied regularly with his fellow students, later becoming part of the high-life set of wealthy Arabs in London. At the bar he could see a constant train of young girls enter the disco with their provocative short skirts and low-cut blouses and dresses, and with their war-paint on for a sexual campaign that usually would last until 6AM on the dance floor. He eyed a beautiful African girl—probably an exchange student sponsored by the Chinese government at People’s University and she smiled back at him. A pity he had other business tonight he sighed regretfully.

At one o’clock he felt a tap on his shoulder, looking up into the mirror of the bar he saw Xia Jinwei, who he had met four hours ago at the Tsinghua dinner, and who had been introduced to him as Jimmy, an aide to the Minister.

“Are we all ready?” Mustafa said to the smiling Jimmy.

“Yes, follow me to the car and we will take you to the meeting place.” he replied in excellent American English with a hint of a New York accent.

The two young men in their thirties then entered a black Mercedes car with blacked out windows, typical of those used by government officials which made it impossible to see inside the car to identify who was seated within. The driver was a Chinese man with a short haircut and a hard military-like look to the cut of his face and displaying an uncommon firmness of the muscles of his arms. In his left ear he wore an earphone with a wire attached to it. The car drove in a northwesterly direction towards the general direction of the Summer Palace.  Mustafa noticed a pagoda atop a large hill in the foreground. The two young men sat in the back seat silently. Suddenly the car pulled into an unmarked gate of a large compound and two men in black suits and carrying hand-held radios with short black antennas walked to the car and opened the door on Mustafa’s side. As they did so Mustafa noticed the bulges of sidearm holsters protruding from under the side of their suits.

“We are here.” said Xia Jinwei, “……..he is waiting for you.”

Mustafa walked up the steps of the bungalow of the compound, following Jimmy Xia and followed by the two men in black suits, each bulging at the left side, probably covering concealed automatic weapons—could be Uzi’s or knock-offs—Mustafa noticed. At the end of a long hallway they approached a large white double-door which was opened by two more similarly dressed men-in-black. As they walked through the doorway Mustafa saw a well-built man in a Saville-row suit, graying about the temples but with the energy and taughtness of body of a much younger man rise from a deep Moroccan-red leather chair, stepping forward to greet him with an extended hand……It was Minister Luo Chunwang.


Yoriko awoke in a cold sweat. It had been a nightmare. As a rule in recent years she had not been prone to the intense nightmares she had often been plagued with throughout childhood and adolescence——extraordinary dreams and true nightmares, but sometimes even lately something would come over her like a fit of possession. She dreamed of a hunter arrived at last, a trainer of desert falcons and eagles, to unmask against her soul the predatory descent that would seize her, fetch her away, fetch her back, held fast in the talons of a deadly communion, blood, destiny to be plucked up and borne in some nearly vertical angle of ascent into the realms of eternal wind, to hover at an altitude that made of the Eurasian supercontinent a mere map of itself, above the glimmering mountain peaks of snow and meandering rivers, the supernatural clarity of Lake Baikal and the fog of far horizons. Then she saw another deadly bird of prey, a desert eagle swoop down and snatch a dashing quadruped in its talons, fly him to her height then drop him murderously against the stones below. Then she saw the alighting bird fighting over his corpse with two vultures who sought to rob him of his spoils. She regarded the carcasse and then regarded its face. It was the face of Etienne.

Then she awoke. She desperately tried to get Etienne on her mobile phone. She had had a similar dream before—five years before when Etienne was just about to drive up the coast from Tokyo to Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture to interview the residents of an artists and counterculture commune that was squatting in some abandoned warehouses and pierfronts along the coast. She found him just as he was loading his bags into the rental car. She fell to her knees and begged him not to go. She told him she had had a vision of his death in a dream and that she could not let him go. Etienne laughed and tried to calm her and reassure her that bad dreams happen all the time and that one couldn’t live one’s life based on superstition and fear. Etienne couldn’t understand her—he thought she had taken some bad drugs or was having a nervous breakdown—-she was hysterical and out of control with her pleading. Finally, to humor her temporary insanity he called and postponed the visit by a day, saying he had a new rush story he had to get to first. He took her back to his apartment and they had dinner and made love. It seemed that she was clutching to him like a madwoman possessed through the night. When they went to the car rental the next morning they found out they couldn’t book the car to Sendai—–that the coastal road was closed—-there had been a major earthquake and the Tsunami had inundated the whole of the Miyagi coastline. Etienne called the commune to check on the interview. The line was dead. He tried the mobile phone of one of the artists. He was answering from a hospital, having been evacuated after the Tsunami. Most of the communards were dead. The commune was totally destroyed. From that day Etienne was baffled, yet had to give some credence to some possible clairvoyant power Yoriko might possibly have—-or maybe it was just a fluke—who could know. But he did know that he was alive and probably wouldn’t be had he gone. Sometimes he joked with her about it and called her “Cassandra.”

She called and called again. Finally she got him. He was about to board a charter jet in at Terminal 3 of the Beijing International Airport carrying the American Olympic Team onwards from their good-will visit to China and onwards to London where they would train and participate in qualifying events for the run-up to the Olympics to follow. He was to conduct interviews en route for a BBC feature. She was hysterical. She cried and pleaded with him not to go.

Women, Etienne felt, understood about time. (Yoriko understood about time). Women could send their imaginations out over the future and situate themselves at certain points within it. Their bodies, like the tides of the sea were more intertwined with the cycles of time and lunar phases. Men understood time as a dimension that could be graphed and measured and plotted against with mechanical chronometers. But women felt it as a force, acting on their bodies, their menses, their minds, and they could feel its violence, every hour, every month. They felt their biological clock ticking in the ebb and flow of their blood, and they knew time turned an irrevocable corner when they reached forty-five, while men with their “threescore year and ten” would sleepwalk on oblivious, convinced they that they were still “in their prime.” Ordinarily this might amount to an uncanny intuition, but in an extraordinary and sensitive woman such as Yoriko, Etienne did not exclude the possibility of a faculty of true, if limited, clairvoyance. Thus, though he did not believe himself superstitious, he was at least open to the seemingly irrational, yet not entirely incredible possibility that Yoriko’s occasional dread premonitions about the future, like the fabled Cassandra or the Sybil, might, just might arise from some inexplicable but real linkage, some momentary tear in the fabric of time that might give a glimpse, perpendicular to its flow, of an anticipated arc of time appetent in the future and revelatory of the momentum, the forces shaping human destiny. Thus he regarded her, in her uncontrollable state, like a canary in the mineshaft of the temporal, her hysteria might just being, proven perhaps in the prior incident of his deliverance from the Tsunami, a glimpse into the future. She sees, foretells, foresuffers.

Finally, recollecting the impact on his mind of the Tsunami episode he said to himself—-what the hell, he could stop over a day to see her in Beijing and then follow on with the interviews a day or two later. He rearranged his tickets and took a cab to her hotel, calmed and soothed her, then made love. Climaxing in the love making, her face, now veiled with sweat, grew in passion fiercely exquisite, revealing to him, as if by rays newly discovered, the face of another unsuspected woman, not possessed so much as evicted, for some unstated use, by forces which had never seen reason to declare themselves.



X.  London                       Past and Present


                                    Andreas was nearly exhausted from the long flight from Beijing as the British Airways airliner entered the approach to Heathrow, London.  The stewardesses came round to collect the headphones after the Borat movie ended and told him to move his chair to the upright position from the steep recline in which he had struggled fruitlessly to get a few hours of sleep en route. He stretched his cramped left leg jammed against a bag under the seat in front of him and lifted the window shade to gaze at the nearing lights of the city’s suburban outskirts. The oriental scent of Yoriko’s perfumed breasts still lingered in his memory as he looked forward to spending the rest of the London night in bed with Eva in her Westside flat. He wondered if she would surprise him by meeting him at the airport or whether he would have to suffer a lonely taxi ride alone before seeing her. Leaning forward he glanced down at the approaching runway lights. As they negotiated the final few hundred meters to the surface the distant lines of lights resolved themselves into individually discernable autos, then individual limbs and faces behind wheels, or moving bodies busily entering and exiting onto the sidewalks below, finally taking on recognizable human shapes.

            Suddenly he was aware of a bright flash blinding his eyes from the porthole at his left shoulder and then he felt a violent jerking upwards and to the right as the craft was no more than two hundred meters from its touchdown.  A fraction of a second later a tremendous roar and boom convulsed his eardrums followed by an involuntary scream from the gasping voices within the plane.  In two seconds the plane righted itself in the air and touched down onto the runway with three hard bouncing jolts, then slowed abruptly, braking hard and vibrating frighteningly, a babble of fear and incomprehension filling the cabin around him.

            Ten seconds later, as the plane turned left to exit the runway and taxi toward to the terminal Andreas caught sight through the porthole of the burning hulk of an American charter plane toppled over on one side and bursting with flames covering its collapsed wing and burning nose. From the opposite side he saw desperate figures rushing from the burning cabin and attempting to slide down the emergency chutes towards the ground. A dozen fire vehicles were converging in a horrendous din and rush, engulfing the flaming craft with fire-suppressant foam as Andreas’s own plane taxied slowly past in the opposite direction.  As he rolled past he saw desperate bodies leaping or being pushed from the open doorway atop the bent wreckage of the tail-section where the escape chute had not functioned, their clothing aflame beneath the towering image of the American flag and Olympic rings painted across the upright tail. He could see the dark bodies fall through the air, silhouetted against the flames, then strike the heap of still writhing charred bodies beneath them as fire and rescue engines raced desperately to reach them with escape and medical equipment.  An hundred vehicles and emergency crews flung themselves instantaneously and desperately into the chaos.

            Looking down into that chaos of flames and screams and of burning, charred falling bodies Andreas felt sickened and nauseous as his mind flashed involuntarily back to the Zambezi River and the blood-red skies over Marrumbala Mountain and the bloody pools and severed limbs of his army tour in Mozambique. He peered down from his porthole and saw the blood-raw guts spilling out of a man whose legs were still on fire and who leapt from the high exit door whose sliding ramp failed to function and who hit the ground six meters below hard, his legs still smoking and the snaking mass of his intestines spilling out onto the smoldering tarmac. A sense of déjà-vu overwhelmed his senses as he subliminally and involuntarily relived a dozen similar moments of horror rotting somewhere below the horizon of his consciousness. His mind uneasily recovering, it was easy to read the message in the spilled entrails. Man was matter and that was his secret. Drop him out of a window and he’ll fall. Set fire to him and he’ll burn. Bury him and he’ll rot, like other kinds of garbage. The spirit gone, man was garbage. That was the secret that spilled out with the red slime and snaking steaming guts on the black tarmac involuntarily seizing-up in his eyes. Ripeness was all. The precious moment of life was all.  And then the moment of death…    

            After a long delay on the tarmac Andreas and his companion passengers were finally able to exit the plane and make their way through to the terminal, held in limbo awaiting customs and baggage processing. He spent two hours trapped in the airport VIP lounge glued to the television screen and downing glass after glass of scotch as he followed the live BBC coverage of the earthshaking event unfolding not five hundred meters from where he sat.

            Behind him was the smouldering carnage of the burnt out charter jet which had ferried the United States Olympic Team from the West Coast, then to the preliminary games in Tokyo and Beijing, and now on to their dismal fate on the tarmac of Heathrow Airport in London, a scene from which only a few of the fine young bodies would emerge alive, and none whole. In the opposite direction he saw the SWAT teams surrounding and immobilizing the over two hundred Occupy Wall Street, Occupy LSE—the London Stock Exchange activists, who had come to protest the billionaires and finance ministers arriving in their private jets for the just starting London Economic Forum. Swarms of detectives, bobbies and assorted police agents were isolating and taking away the protesters’ leaders for on-site interrogation, trying to establish some connection between them and the unfolding carnage. He thought he could recognize two or three he had run into at Zuccotti Park in New York or on the scene of mass LSE protests here in London. Some of the SWAT team sergeants engaged in gratuitous brutality towards the helpless, plastic-handcuffed Occupy protesters, a phenomenon he recognized from his experience in the South African army, overacting towards their prisoners out of a concealed fear of their own loss of control and in reaction to their own suppressed feelings of helplessness.

            As he sat on one of the high stools at the bar he saw a darkly beautiful woman in an expensive dress and an old-fashioned wide-brimmed hat with a tuft of tropical feathers atop it walk at the head of a small entourage into the VIP lounge room just to his right, overlooking the carnage on the tarmac. He was struck by the force of her dark physical beauty, her hair black, long and straight in the Oriental style, and her face having the mien of an Asiatic queen. Her facial features were strikingly beautiful, mature and powerful, though ambiguous as to her origins as she might have been from any number of southern or eastern lands, from an Italian princess to an Indian Rani to a Sultana to a gypsy queen, but her lips were very full and alluring like those of Angelina Jolie, though sharper at their points and bow. Whatever she was she certainly carried a mysterious otherness about her. He first turned to watch her, almost hypnotized by her attraction, through the open door of the VIP lounge just to his right, as she paced angrily back and forth, like a caged black pantheress containing her power behind the iron bars, and watched as she clenched and unclenched her fist and jaw as she spoke to someone on her mobile phone. Then he saw a smooth-looking young man, perhaps a private secretary from her entourage return and enter the open door before her with a crisp bow. Andreas continued to regard her with an involuntary close watch in the full-length mirror behind the bar in which he could see her face clearly reflected as he eavesdropped.

            “How dare they…….?”  she screamed at the underling, his smooth Pakistani face cringing in response as he involuntarily stroked his pomaded hair “……..don’t they have any idea who I am?”

            “Yes, Milady………I understand Milady………..but the Police Superintendant tells us that this is a national emergency and the entire airport is cordoned and sealed off while they conduct the on-scene investigation and no-one is permitted to leave until the all-clear from the security services.”

            “Outrageous!” she bellowed, “Do you know who I am?….………….get me the Prime Minister on the telephone immediately!”

            “We’ve already tried that, Milady, but his office says he is unreachable in COBRA, the emergency situation room, except through the security services’ chain of command…..” the reluctant aide responded diffidently.

            “I am the chain of command!” she retorted with an impatient sneer that communicated menace,  “………….keep trying his private cell phone and let me know when you get through, and the chief of security again!”

            Then Andreas continued to regard her off and on as her servants brought her a cocktail as she paced impatiently up and down. Then he saw her young private secretary close his mobile phone and walk over to the bar, taking a seat at his left elbow, ordering a double scotch, downing it in a single stroke, and then another.

            “Your Milady seems hard to please!” joked Andreas, turning his face to a quarter-profile to take in his reaction.

            “Yes, my bloody bitch Milady is impossible to please……she wouldn’t be satisfied being treated as the Queen herself, but would demand a further level of deference and worship fit for an Empress of the World or a Divine Goddess!………………I wish I could go back to my old job as a simple honest reporter on the newspaper instead of being a whipped lackey of the bitch Baroness!” he groused into his third double scotch.

            “Baroness?” queried Andreas.

            “Yes, the Baroness——the bloody Baroness Lilith Maddox, you’ve probably heard of her on television and in the tabloids, the latest younger wife of the media supermogul Baron Rupert Maddox, multi-billionaire, come out of nowhere and hitching herself to one of the world’s great fortunes, and she has become even more insufferable since she leveraged her ageing husband’s money and influence to get herself appointed to a slew of national commissions and boards and finally by a personal favour of the PM as member of the House of Lords in her own right—-now so full of herself nobody can cross her.” he said as he slipped off the high stool and trotted over towards his mistress as he saw her waving her hand at him. Then Andreas caught his fleeting image again in the mirror as he trotted off in his patent-leather shining shoes in the opposite direction.

            Andreas then sipped another gin and tonic as he followed the seductive legs of the pacing figure of the mysterious Baroness. Then he observed her more closely in the mirror as she stopped and looked out over the carnage and chaos of lights below with the ambulances and coroner’s emergency vehicles coming and going from the burnt hulk of the destroyed charter jet, carrying off the charred bodies and severed body parts. As she looked down upon the scene believing herself alone and unobserved Andreas could see clearly the double image of her fully-lighted face, twice reflected in the mirror and in the surface of the glass window. Then he was completely transfixed by what he saw: Milady frowned slightly, and a smile so extreme and singular appeared on her lips, a sort of joyous cruelty playing about the savage lines of her mouth, that it forced a shudder from Andreas’ spine. And then just as quickly as had that dark passion had overwhelmed her face, so seamlessly and abruptly did it disappear, as hearing the footsteps of her underling, accompanied by two senior police detectives entering the room, her face transformed itself suddenly and effortlessly into an amiable yet complacently haughty stare, returning coldly the gaze of those complaisant minions announcing that she was now free to cross over to her limousine, which awaited her, bodyguards holding the door, just outside the perimeter of yellow tape holding all others back. So abrupt and uncanny was the triple transformation of her face, that Andreas shuddered involuntarily again as his eyes followed her without pause.        

After her entourage pulled away, led by a motorcycle escort, Andreas turned back towards the television screen where the police spokesman announced that while the investigation was just beginning, the British authorities were regarding the explosion as a probable terrorist attack on the charter aircraft containing the American Track and Field team to the world championships in the run-up to the next coming Olympic games. No Islamic organization had yet claimed responsibility, but Al-Qaeda and Hamas celebrated the event as the Americans’ just desserts and rightful comeuppance for their past and continuing sins in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Muslim world.  CNN and BBC commentators likened the events to the Munich Olympics and the Lockerbie bombings. Public statements were made by the British Prime Minister and the American President expressing outrage, shock and determination to pursue the perpetrators to the ends of time and the ends of the earth to attain justice and calling for a reinvigorated war against the terrorist networks supporting such actions.  After two hours Andreas was able to call Eva and assure her that he was all right and would only be delayed a few hours. She had been nursing her sick daughter Sarah and had not turned on the television at all, remaining unaware of anything until his phone call.  He played down the incident so as not to alarm her uselessly, and promised to be home shortly.  


Eva’s Blog Journal:

I could not write last night because I was too unhappy. I awoke early, about five because I thought I heard Sarah moving around in her room through the wall. She must have gone to the toilet and gone back to sleep because I could hear the toilet running afterward. The night was still blackish, just beginning to haze into grey. Andreas and I were lying facing the window, his knees tucked into the backs of the angle of my knees and his arm crossing in front of me under my breasts. I could feel his chest moving across my back and the sleeping rhythm of warm exhale into the back of my ear. I could feel a fierce healing warmth from him to me. ‘Soon he will not come back’ I thought, but no, that was impossible with his warmth pouring into me.

We have been together for five months since the first time. Now he stays to sleep with me several days at a stretch before going back to his hotel room or off on a business trip.  I offered to let him move in, but he keeps his hotel room, paid for by the Committee, like an insurance policy guaranteeing his freedom I guess……doesn’t want to burn any bridges……….I roll over facing him….the hair on his chest was slippery yet rough and gave my breasts intense delight……he roused slightly, making a throating noise and fell back into his rhythm of sleep. I looked up into his face……and it was clenched up……..the shadow of a dream on it……..I could tell it was a hard dream from the tension in his muscles……..he awoke two weeks ago like that in the dark and talked about his army years in South Africa…… they came back to him from time to time……….The light across his face was thick and heavy because of the rain outside………and then I saw his face unclench and I knew he would not wake up………his face was broad and calm now, calm sealed lids and above them the reddish brown of his smooth eyebrows……Nordic hair from his mother……..I pushed my face into his face……

…….I could see him as a child, fearless, cocky and with a clear broad smile…….I could see him as an old man, locked in a bitter intelligent loneliness……….I wanted to protect him as a child…my child……I wanted to be a mother lioness fierce on behalf of her young……fierce on behalf of her wounded mate….….I said to myself  ‘nonsense, he will not leave me’………….we can’t be like this together and him want to leave…….I was careful not to go back to sleep because Sarah would be waking before long……….

The tension built in me, as I switched on the get-Sarah’s-breakfast-and-clothes,-see-her-out-to-the-bus-get-Andreas-up-and-showering-fix-his-breakfast circuit in the mental wiring. As I heard something moving around through the wall I felt Andreas growing big against my buttocks. My resentment is mixed with pleasure as I feel he would choose now when I feel unrelaxed……I yield to him….Andreas takes me from behind, close and fierce, filling me completely……..I don’t respond, he is taking me impersonally like an animal, not making love to Eva………I accept it but do not participate in it…….I hear the noises growing from behind the wall…….I know Andreas hears them too and enjoys taking me with the young girl so close…taking a pleasure in my helplessness and vulnerability……a kind of tang of danger to add edge to his conquest……..he the male head of the lion pride asserting his male rights of priority over the claims of infant cublings………I half resent it but half yield it to him….I don’t want to be one of those resenting women poisoning their men…….I want to build him up in his strength before thinking of his faults…I want to build him up adding my strength to his…I don’t want to be a drag on him..…I kiss the back of his neck as I get up out of the bed…….

……..before I go in to see Sarah I wash between my legs, I want to protect her from smelling it even though she doesn’t know what it is yet……..It is six-thirty and the room is grey and cold—-I turn up the radiator and switch the air conditioner to heat which starts to blow out over the room……..Sarah is home from her boarding school and is up for her ballet lesson in town….

“Is Andreas here? she asks.

“Yes, he came back from Beijing the day before yesterday…..and he’s asleep.”

“Why don’t we have another baby?” she asks, “I want a little brother.”—–she asks this often.

“Because I don’t have a husband, Sarah, and you must have a husband before you can think of having a baby.”

She dresses herself, keeping her legs under the blanket to keep warm, chattering a little, then humming, then singing softly under her breath.  I go to the kitchen to cook the bacon, eggs and muffins. I enjoy the feeling of intimacy and exclusiveness—–I will always be her only mother—-from the time she was born gasping on my chest to the time one of us dies and thereafter—-I want to hold her close to me as she eats and protect her from any misstep, but she draws back, wanting to be a big girl now…you have to give them some room to live and grow into themselves…me when I was her age….but gradually!…..I gather her ballet things into her bag and whoosh her to the door………

“Will you pick me up tonight?” she asks, needing to be reassured that her world is safe.

“No, Vanessa will pick you up and take you and Robby for dinner and the new Disney movie……take your raincoat.”

“I hate my raincoat….I’ll take the little umbrella instead” she retorts, needing to have her own way.

     …….Now a new tension begins to grow in me…….It’s eight o’clock and this is Andreas’ day for the big meeting with the PR Committee at the Jung & Associates offices……I need to unpack and press his good suit while he is in the shower….then get his breakfast ready……I don’t need to get to the office until the afternoon……..we finished the FAQ work last week and I am on half-time for Sarah’s holiday……….time to resupply at the grocer and butcher’s, laundry, then prepare to cook Andreas a home dinner…….those airplane trays and hotel meals demoralize him after too much time on the road……….road warrior for world peace!……………I am happy to be part of his world……he is going to have an important impact on this world I am sure……….if I have any impact on it it will be through him most likely………….

     …….”Eva, you’re so efficient in the morning” he says as he comes out of the shower, “I’m totally dysfunctional in the morning, at least before a hot shower, Life’s Little Miracle, or at least since the army days…..Has Sarah left?”……He prefers Sarah to have left before he awakes……so he can be the center of my world……….I prefer it too because it divides me……the two personalities…..Sarah’s mother and Andreas’ mistress grow better without collision….they are both Eva somehow…….it’s too much of a strain to have to be both at once though…….

     “Well, then it’s just as well that I am if you’re not” I say, with a touch of suppressed resentment—–this resentment is my cross to bear—-not his fault at all—I suppress it—-all I want is to give to him and be repaid in the coin of my own heart—–but I am afraid he will take me for granted and lose the romance of me and leave me behind……….I’m a mother and seven years older than him…………God, I don’t want to lose him!…………..Five years since Sean……a woman never gets younger………….It’s not Andreas’ fault, it’s just the facts of life………..

     Now I must hurry—-I wash again and dress—-I choose the tight woolen Burberry skirt because of the rain and because Andreas likes the way it shows off the lines of my thighs, and there mightn’t be time to change from the office before dinner.——I will make Beef Stroganoff——Andreas liked it at the Committee dinner—-need to get the beef and then pound and tenderize it—-sour cream, onions, chives……..I imagine the beef simmering in its coat of bread crumbs and eggs, taking in the savour of the sour cream, onions and mushrooms. Imagining it I create the meal, an offering of artistic creation fit for divine supplication, as I move from pot to stove, adjusting temperatures and adding ingredients, heat, textures…….. Then off to the butcher’s and grocer’s—it is a great pleasure buying the ingredients I will cook for Andreas….mushrooms, sinuous veal and beef, onions and scallions….a sensuous pleasure like the cooking itself………cooking is an art I am good at but I require a male muse to create……….and there is so little time these days…………

     The office work is busy, compressing a day’s work into a half-day. I get out late and take a taxi home to save time and make sure the dinner is ready when Andreas returns. I begin to gather the groceries together, laying out the ingredients across the big kitchen table…..

     And now the cooking for Andreas.  I unroll the beef and veal, inspecting the results of the tenderizer during the afternoon…….I decide more pounding is needed and I take out the tenderizing hammer with its pointed spikes and start to bash away…….I roll the now flaccid meat into the mix of bread crumbs and whipped egg, and the crumbs smell fresh and dry in spite of the dampness of the air from the rainy day…………I melt the full pan of bone jelly from the fridge which I season with spices…………I put on the baked apples to give them plenty of time to bake in the lower oven to be ready by the end of the dinner for dessert…….preparing some sweet syrup, cream and cinnamon to go with them……………I wash out two pounds of strawberries…………….the musty-sweet fragrance redolent of the countryside…….and set out a bottle of thick cream to add to them for the second dessert with liqueur and espresso. I set the meat to simmering in the rich pan of sour-cream sauce for the Beef Stroganoff and the smells mingling in the warm kitchen begin to intoxicate my senses and fill my breast with a full warm sensation of motherly giving………….I take out the baked apples mid-way and mix in the vanillaed sweet cream sieving the pulp until it becomes a thick viscous supersweet puree, to which I add a touch of cinnamon, placing them back into the oven to let the crispy skins brown to the appointed time……….cooking is an art of timing as much as music…….it is a queen of the arts like opera—uniting music, dance, lyric, visual spectacle, the sense of smell as much as the sense of taste, an edible narrative that tells a story—seduction, possession, fate, desire, passion, ravishment, betrayal, reversal, recognition, climax and dénouement……………it is an archetype of love and giving and of acceptance………you are what you eat……… are how you eat………..cocquo ergo sum…….a ritual enactment of all you have been…….a digestion and re-creation of self……..and serving is a performance like a ballet……….with ritual and gesture…..and the art of wine-taking and conversation is part of the grand performance…….they ought to video the great dinners and preserve them in museums like the classics…….but you can’t preserve the aromas…..maybe that is the next leap forward in artistic technology….smellavision…..tasteavision…Aromanet…The Intertaste…..great moments in  21st Century cuisinary art………..

     All the kitchen and dining room is full of gorgeous cooking smells and all at once I am happy; I am so happy I can feel the warmth radiating out of my body and recirculating and impregnating the cooking food and filling the room…………then I am afraid of my happiness, afraid that it is a lie to myself constructed out of these nostalgible moments I create……..I feel desperately tired, then guilty about my happiness……………yes, I made sure Sarah would be conveniently out of the way, buying the Disney tickets for Vanessa, her and Robby………I know this guilt trip all too well and am bored with it… my clothes I cannot take off in public………I am too egotistical…….I take my pleasure with my lover at the expense of denying attention to my child….I don’t have a right to be happy…….I don’t deserve it……..I will punish myself with failure…….somebody inside me is shouting these thing at me like the Furies in a Greek play…….women like me are damned like the old Greek tragic heroes………Oedipus…….we destroy ourselves from the inside and are slaves to a fate that we spin out of our own bellies like a spider caught in its own web……….all that is nonsense and I have to shake it off, stop having these feelings……..I want this to be beautiful for Andreas and myself………..I want us to be beautiful together for this evening…….mustn’t let depression get the upper hand………………

                 I mix and cut the lettuce and vegetables for the salad and begin to set the table, setting out the three wine bottles I have bought with the corkscrew Andreas is so good at using. I set up the expresso machine and delight in the deep narcotic fragrance of the coffee beans. I add spices to the Beef Stroganoff simmering on the range, stirring the oregano and scallions into the rich creamy sauce…….I baste the baked apples in their juices to keep them from getting dry and hard…..

     When I talk to Vanessa and her friends they give me the same story……their lives are wracked with a battle against guilt that is as irritatingly irrational as it is inescapable……guilt at taking time to live for one’s little bit of happiness for oneself…….taking time from children and husbands and lovers and family………it’s a senseless habit of nerves we women can’t shake off………’s because our happiness is still connected by the invisible umbilical to the happiness of the people we love……we can’t live like a man being self-directed towards a goal…….the invisible umbilical is always jerking us back……. and if we try to escape we punish ourselves with our own guilt……they cut the umbilical at the belly but they never cut it at the heart………

     I realize it is getting late……..Vanessa calls from the cinema to say that all is well and that Sarah is having a ripping time with Robby…….

     “Is Andreas coming?” she asks and I tell her yes, but there is a tone in her voice that tells me she doesn’t think he will……I resent her……..the cats soft paw conceals the retracted claw….the note of her voice is telling me I am a fool to be with a younger man…….the motherly advice that it won’t last…….the motherly claws mixing just a drop of poison in her creamy sweet-milk……I know she is jealous……..I don’t know if she is right…………..

………..I start to turn down the gas jets on the range to the lowest simmer just to keep things warm without overcooking…….I baste and rebaste the baked apples………the steam is accumulating on the inner window panes and the last light is dimming from grey to black across the overcast sky. A gentle rain begins to splatter more heavily across the blackening glass and I feel the dull hollow sound of the old paint-flaked wood frames shaking against the sills in the night wind. 

The phone rings. It is Andreas:  “I’m so sorry Beautiful, I can’t make it for dinner tonight…..the planning session at Jung Communications for the upcoming Global Appeal Media Programme is going into overtime…….we’ll make it up another night.”

I thrust the Beef Stroganov into the Tupperware plastic containers and ram them into the stuffed refrigerator.  I begin to cry. I know he has been seeing other women.  I cannot know if he is telling the truth or in a younger woman’s bed. I am crying for half an hour until I hear the door and Sarah and Robby’s voices on the stairs. I collect myself together. I have to be strong for Sarah and protect her from all this. I give them the strawberries and cream and baked apples I had prepared for Andreas for a midnight snack. I recover my courage with their happy voices. Only Vanessa notices the red rims around my eyes. She gives me a kiss and prepares a dish of strawberries and puts whipped cream on a baked apple for me. I thank her but do not eat it, putting it into the fridge after she goes downstairs. After getting Sarah into the bathtub and into bed I cannot sleep. The bed feels cold and dead without him. I put on my robe and slippers and turn on the light at my computer. I access my Blog page and click on ‘My Journal.’  I begin to write…………..


     “Is that him?” Ernest Huxley asked, making a note on his clipboard.

     “Yes, the little bugger’s back” answered Peter Townsend, looking out from his seat in the British Telecom’s van parked fifty yards down the road from Mustafa’s Georgian townhouse on Berkeley Square, one of the upscale sections of London. Mustafa drove like he was an out-of-body incarnation of Michael Schumacher.

     “I suppose his weekend was a little more enjoyable than ours” Ernest agreed, as he eyed Tricia revealing herself in her short mini-ish-skirt as she raised herself out of the low sports car at the entrance to the driveway. Then he turned to punch the buttons to activate the various wiretap systems installed in the Georgian town-house. These included audio recorders, telephone and four cameras whose tapes were harvested every three days by a penetration team.

     “He’s a horny little bastard, and with his family money he can enjoy himself a lot more easily than we can on our pathetic government salaries.” groused Ernest.

     The young Bahraini madman drove his Aston Martin Vanquish super-sports car up the driveway aside his three-storey brownstone townhouse and flashed his lights, a signal for the gatekeeper to unlock the chain which reserved his private parking place. He had driven back to London heading east on M4 at over one-hundred miles per hour. In the seat to his left was Tricia, a sculpted beauty from Trinidad with whom he had spent a weekend at a country inn. He loved his automobile. In a way driving it was better than sex, though the one most often led to the other.

     According to his MI6 case file, Mustafa had learned to love the power of engines as a pilot in the Bahraini air force, flying Tornado fighters in his first years after taking his degree in chemical engineering at Cambridge. His only regret was that British speed laws did not allow him to use the full potential of the Aston 12-cylinder, 460 horsepower engine. Mustafa bin Salman al Khalifa was a distant cousin to Queen Sabika and his family’s alignment to the royal family gave them the wealth to provide for his upper-class education and Cambridge matriculation and opportunity to serve in the Bahraini Air Force. In London he now essentially managed the small part of his family’s multi-billion dollar holdings with which his father tentatively entrusted him, providing him with an on-the-job training in finance and investments, with the goal of wealth-preservation for his family members. If Mustafa proved his ability by performance and good judgment he might hope to move to more responsible positions in the family council, taking his place beside an array of seventeen brothers and sisters of his father’s five wives, not to mention the hundreds of extended family members—uncles, aunts, cousins and in-laws difficult to keep track of.

 Mustafa’s side of the family clan, said the case file, traced their lineage back to the Qarmatians, a millenarian Ismaili sect, which in 899 AD seized the country and sought to create a utopian society based on reason and the distribution of all property evenly among the initiates. The Qarmatians caused disruption throughout the Islamic world; they collected tribute from the caliph in Baghdad, and in 930 AD sacked Mecca and Medina, bringing the sacred Black Stone back to their base in Ahsa, in medieval Bahrain where it was held to ransom. According to the historian Al-Juwayni, the Stone was returned twenty-two years later, in 951, under somewhat mysterious circumstances; wrapped in a sack, it was thrown into the Friday Mosque of Kufa accompanied by a note saying “By command we took it, and by command we have brought it back.” The Black Stone’s abduction and removal caused further damage, breaking the stone into seven pieces.      

The Seveners, towhich sect Mustafa’s clan belonged, are a branch of Ismā’īlī Shīˤa, historically aligned with the Fatimid Caliphate of Grand Cairo in Egypt. They became known as “Seveners” because they believe that Ismā’īl ibn Jaˤfar was the seventh and the last Imām (hereditary leader of the Muslim community in the direct line of ˤAlī ibn Abī Tālib). They believed his son, Muħammad ibn Ismā’īl al-Maktum, would return and bring about an age of justice as the messianic al-Mahdi. Their most famous and active branch were the Qarmatians.

Tracing its earliest theology to the lifetime of Muḥammad, Ismāʿīlism rose at one point to become the largest branch of Shī‘ism, climaxing as a political power with the Fatimid Empire in the tenth through twelfth centuries. In common with other Muslims, Ismailis believe in the oneness of God, as well as the closing of divine revelation with Muhammad, whom they see as the final prophet and messenger of God to all humanity. The Ismāʿīlī and the Twelvers both accept the same initial A’immah from the descendants of Muhammad through his daughter Fātimah az-Zahra and therefore share much of their early history. Both groups see the family of Muḥammad (Ahl al-Bayt) as divinely chosen, infallible (ismah), and guided by God to lead the Islamic community (Ummah). After the death—or Occultation according to Seveners—of Muhammad ibn Ismail in the 8th century CE, the teachings of Ismailism were further transformed into the belief system as it is known today, with an explicit concentration on the deeper, esoteric meaning (batin) of the Islamic religion.

“One has to be a good sport, Ernie, little Tricia will be getting the equivalent of three weeks of our pay for three nights work, and then it will go into the local economy instead of the Gulf, so she is doing her bit for the balance of payments.” snorted out Peter with a suppressed chuckle.

They both picked up the earphones to make sure the surveillance microphones were working, switching channels to track them through the house. They knew what Tricia Hill charged for her tricks because a police sergeant detailed to Thames House would regularly debrief her—-seven hundred and fifty pounds for an evening’s visit, two thousand to stay the whole night. They didn’t even ask how much it would cost for the whole weekend. Like men everywhere they wondered what special things she might do to earn it, all while holding her in contempt. Being intelligence officers they did not have the latent sympathy of a common patrolman who might understand how an otherwise poor and unskilled and exploited woman might fall into such work

“She’ll stay the night?” queried Ernest?

“I’ll bet not…….. She’ll be off to new adventures and then maybe the sod will get on the telephone and we can get something useful off the bastard.”  wagered Peter.

“Bloody wog” groaned out Ernest.

The British Security Service was headquartered at Thames House, just upriver from the Palace of Westminster, and from its nerve center were maintained hundreds of thousands of wiretaps—the privacy and search and seizure laws in the UK being considerably more permissive of police intrusion than those of the United States. Four of these taps were authorized for Mustafa, who had fallen under surveillance after telephone and e-mail intercepts had placed him in repeated communication with known or suspected terrorist sources, mostly from Islamic or Mid-Eastern contacts, though no specific criminal activity on his part had yet been discovered. One tap covered his cellular telephone communications, which generally yielded but little as most ‘players’ had learned to be circumspect about what they said on the telephone and to whom. Taps on his electronic accounts from his office were valuable and revealed suspicious patterns of money transfers. The housing taps had not yielded anything dramatic of yet.  Additionally his e-mail never buzzed but that a chirping echo found its way to Thames House or to GCHQ, Government Communications Headquarters at Cheltenham, to the north-west of London. From there they were relayed via satellite to Fort Belvoir, Virginia and from there via secure fibre-optic cable to Fort Meade Maryland, home of the NSA, and if found useful, cross-decked over to CIA Headquarters at Langley, Virginia, upriver along the Potomac from the nation’s capital, where a battery of supercomputers in the basement digested the take. His e-mail traffic traces had repeatedly connected him to suspected communications contacts of troublesome suspect terror groups including contacts with front organizations and Iranian sources traced to within the Quds Force of the Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Islami—or Revolutionary Guards, Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security [MOIS] Vezarat-e Ettela’at va Amniat-e Keshvar (VEVAK) and the Ansar-e Hezbollah (Helpers of the Party of God), who often are aligned with specific members of the Iranian leadership.

 “Damn!……..” ejaculated Ernest, “………….there it goes again. It seems the minute I start to pick up some sort of short-wave activity coming from the house it gets drowned out by a surge in background radiation, like from a solar flare or sunspot activity. I know its crazy but it’s almost like he’s got the solar wind on the payroll working for him. Well, another miss.”

 The next moment, however, Peter and Ernest could detect that his immediate concerns were neither religious nor political, but rather had to do with the effect of Viagra on cost-effectiveness of hired sexual gratification.


     Jung Communications was known as one of the meteoric rising enterprises of the Public Relations and Advertising world, most particularly recently dominating the British scene, but also extending its growing influence to North America, Europe and Asia. Global celebrities and ‘glitterati’ were seen daily entering and exiting its hyper-modern swirl-sculpted new offices off Tottenham Court Road in London, to which it had moved from its more humbly gilded presence in chic Notting Hill—-the famous former Jung office façade having been used as a backdrop set for several famous movies filmed there and still kept for more private counseling and strategic consultancy by the CEO in connection withà VIP clients. Most recently a majority stake in Jung Communications had been acquired by the global media conglomerate Publicissimus for a cool 50 million pounds, though its management was still headed by its eponymous founder and energizer Julian Jung. As part of its integration into the business model of the larger multi-national firm it was now becoming the central focus of a substantial globalized Government Relations & Inter-Governmental Relations practice, merged with its prior focus on brand management, advertising, celebrity management and traditional corporate public relations and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). It had accordingly opened a new Washington, D.C office to complement its London, New York and Los Angeles operations. Jung Communications was closely connected to the Labour Party in power in Britain and had done media management and campaign advisory for the Prime Minister and his predecessor. It also wisely had hedged its bets by building good relations with Conservative Party notables such as the new Conservative mayor of London and the opposition leader in Parliament. Jung Communications had accordingly on the same principles developed close contacts with the rising newer generation in the Democratic Party in the United States and had advised on media and digital Internet strategies for the upcoming Presidential campaign. It was hoped that should the Democrats succeed in returning to power that Jung Communications would be well placed to develop its government relations operations within North America. Naturally they also did a good deal of corporate work and had substantial clients in lobbying work and maintained extensive contacts and good relations with both American political parties, covering all contingencies. Jung Communications had also done considerable work supporting global appeal campaigns, such as famine relief, Aids, Band Aid, Live Aid, and Live Earth and Live 8 involving cooperation with innumerable media celebrities and movers and shakers such as Sir Bob and Bono. Julian Jung was especially celebrated for his legendary capacity for ‘cross-fertilization,’ that is, leveraging the celebrity of stars and notables for the economic benefit of brands, products and even social causes. This had expanded to the ‘cross-leveraging’ of media, sports and entertainment celebrity with the world of political celebrity, simultaneously ‘cross-legitimating’ the stars and ‘cool-izing’ the politicos in a glitter-incestuous orgy of cluster-glit and cluster-gilt, all cross-cross-leveraged for the meta-brand development of the cross-financing, cross-equitizing multi-national corporate sponsors. Jung thus emerged as the chief choreographer of a jiu-jitsu ballet of celebrity and brand-equity management rivaling the best of the Hong Kong Kung-fu movies.

Today, Andreas Sarkozy was to meet with Julian Jung and the core members of the UNPA Global Appeal Campaign organizing committee to map out their plans for following-up on the outline of the Geneva meeting last year and moving towards the global campaign planned for the year to follow.

Andreas arrived at the new Jung offices and was escorted to Jung’s spacious personal office and adjoining conference rooms. Jung is on the phone, pacing up and down the plush royal-purple carpet. Someone important has said something that shouldn’t have been said to a newspaper about Madonna’s divorce from Guy Ritchie and Jung is trying to smooth over the ball-up—-his métier consisting in the lubricated un-fucking of the cluster-fuck. He is pacing around his office taking call after call. Andreas watches him as the secretary brings him cup-on-cup of cappuccino.

As Andreas had gotten to know Julian Jung over the last year his impression had shifted to the better. At first his impression was of a consummate manipulator of unspeakable craftiness, of lounge-lizard smoothness and deep and dubious connectedness within the who’s who—–cloaking unspoken ambitions. His first impression was in fact to be more than a bit horrified by him.

Julian did not ameliorate this impression by making himself accessible. In fact interacting with and through his assistants he seemed to border on a kind of paranoia in demanding pre-meeting meetings and confidential briefings on the ulterior motives of the persons he was engaging with. He had a reputation for being erratic, though he had been successfully zig-zagging his way to the top of the social and economic heap for nigh on to twenty years now. In doing so he had moved his firm from celebrity management in the entertainment and sports fields as stars’ agent-promoter and flack-catcher to becoming a guru of consumer branding and relationship marketing——-then on to strategic corporate consultancy and finally to the present role as Spinmeister-General of government relations.

Julian Jung had that sort of cleverness which is said to be to “know the world,” which in his instance was tantamount to knowing the price at which persons and things were bought and sold in “society.” He could bear most things good-humouredly where he felt he had the superiority. Having exhausted the more impulsive delights of life at an earlier age he had become a sober calculator. Jaded in the enjoyment of every living pleasure, his prime remaining pleasure was in the exercise of power—the proof that he was not dead.

Despite all this, however, after a couple of months of getting to know him better, and perhaps entering into an inner zone of possible trust, Julian seemed to relax and reveal a submerged decency that Andreas found at least partially redeeming of his initial negative image. It seemed that beneath the onion-skins within onion skins of suspicion and manipulative management was a core hesitantly revealed that was seemingly human at least. Andreas had heard the stories of his past—how as a young boy he had attended the best public schools, transferred to a comprehensive, then decided not to go to college, even though he had been accepted at both Oxford and Cambridge. Perhaps this was the ultimate meta-Veblenesque one-upsmanship——as the son of a Member of Parliament of the Social Democratic Party the ultimate proof of membership in the elite establishment class was in precisely and perversely not to have to carry the Oxbridge Shibboleth around on one’s sleeve—-or perhaps it was a more innocent adolescent rebelliousness——he had been arrested for possession of marijuana and cocaine——though the judge had let him off with a slap on the wrist—a 500 pound fine, lecturing on the bench “I will choose to treat this as the foolish indiscretion of a young boy which I trust will not be repeated.” 

He’s wearing a jumper, T-shirt, jeans and pointed Texan Cowboy-boots psychedelically embossed. He’s all smiles but very edgy. He talks quickly and confidently. He occupies the same chair, but he’s twitching and fiddling, crossing and uncrossing his legs, running his hands through his hair. There’s an ever-present nervous energy. With each phone call he swivels, then gets up and paces up and down—-going out on the balcony terrace if he feels he doesn’t want to be overheard…..And he’s skilled at ensuring that he talks about what he wants to talk about – he’s a master of the deflected response. Andreas watched him in action in his own lair over cappuccinos from the corner sofa of his office as he constantly fielded incoming telephone calls while they waited for other members of the CUNPA steering committee to show up. Setting up his laptop on the coffee table he checked his e-mails and used the screen as a pretense to gather his own thoughts…..thoughts inevitably focusing on Julian Jung and what to make of him…….. Few people excited opinion like Julian Jung. In some quarters, especially those occupied by hacks, the mere mention of his name produced near-apoplexy. They said he’s everything that’s wrong with this celebrity-obsessed country of ours: an arch-spinner, a manipulator, a user, prone to histrionics, an arm-twister who would stop at nothing to get his client’s story heard – or inversely to get it pulled.………..Then there were those closer to him……..They’re fond of him, but they will also raise their eyebrows and say affectionately:  ‘The trouble with Julian is……. ‘, before listing traits that may include some of the above but also take into the equation his butterfly personality, low boredom threshold and relentless energy.  Julian, it would seem, is… Julian. He’s the bad boy, the enfant terrible of PR; the Wunderkind who is no longer a kid – he’s been doing it for 27 years but is still only 48…..chameleon-like Julian has changed hats and masks as prolifically and proficiently as a consummate actor changes parts—-marrying and divorcing the cousin-in law of the royal family and then taking as a mistress, unwed mother of his child, and finally wife the daughter of media mogul Lord Rupert Maddox.…….and in the process his company has changed hands, too. He sold the firm to ad agency Aarnulf MedvedevViscount in 1994. Then, after AMV was acquired by Omnimaw, he led a management buy-out and took it back again; he subsequently sold a 50% stake in it to the large Brussels and New York-based multi-national group, Publicisssimus.

Julian had married into one of the most powerful media families on earth, the Maddox clan, and some of them regarded him as a golddigger, and some as a pariah bad-boy. His father-in-law had disapproved of him on both counts, but gradually after ten years came round to accepting him, warts and all, particularly after he had presented him with two grandchildren and had bagged more than fifty million pounds on his own initiative. Julian and Zelda set out with the brio of a precalculated recklessness to generate a legend around themselves reminiscent of the eponymous Zelda and Scott, a sort of Great Gatsby of the Roaring Twenties tele-ported in time into the present.  In the early years of their relationship they adopted the ethos of living intensely—-more like a meteor consumed in its brilliant flames of a reckless moment, than a lazing-safe planet trapped in an uneventful and stalely-safe conformity of sleepy orbit. They threw wild parties that lasted through entire weekends without stop. They were the patrons and protectors of rock stars, models, gangsters, pimps, artists, whores, singers, writers and the sexually perverse—-all imaginable varieties of colourful vice and excess. Their country estates would have been closed down as narcotics hypermarkets if they hadn’t enjoyed a convenient and cozy relationship with the police and prosecutors of the area.

     For years they were in constant motion across the face of the planet, from Corfu to Cambodia, Beijing to Boston, Australia to Austria, Moscow to Mumbai to the Mombezi and Madagascar—–a Moveable Feast—À Rebours à la mode. Passing their thirties, the arrière-goût of the superficially sublime sticking more in their throats, they were not unhappy to discover that the happiness of birth placed them in felicitous possession and control of profitable enterprises, and a letter from Daddy sufficed to make Zelda the President of a satellite-television network, and it was not a major strain to get the Board of Directors to approve a generous retainer for Jung Communications as principal PR, CSR, and Strategic Management Consultancy, as well as a seat on the Board of Directors for its principal. But though Julian leveraged his family relationship he was careful not to become directly involved in his wife’s family businesses—–he was too proud and independent for that anyway—–and he had no talent for subordinating himself to richer relatives…………

Julian and Zelda now became patrons of the glitterati, as well as principal targets of the paparazzi. They moved in circles with the Prime Minister and threw exclusive parties for his closest aides——some of whose hetero- and homo-sexual excesses on their properties and outings resulted in major public scandals and a few lawsuits. Moving into their forties, on their fortieth birthdays they held twin parties———one for the conventional upper classes in dinner dress and evening gowns at Burford Priory, attended by the PM, his eminence grise Percy Mandalbaum, Sir Bob, Bono, Elton John, Baron Maddox, and, inter alia, the Prince of Wales. A second, attended by many of the less respectable glitterati and hangers on from the past decade, re-enacted a la À Rebours, a la Trimalfio a double funeral on the Island of Corfu, attended by an orgiastic scene of resurrection on the beach in which a rising Lazarus uncoiled his winding sheet to arise naked to greet Botticelli’s equally naked Venus emerging from the sea on a shell, unleashing a carnival of maenadic excess.  An overly zealous paparazzi promulgated the event via the Sun and the News of the World for a cool five million pounds and it took a half-day for the Prime Minister to bury the event amid questioning on the floor of the House of Commons……

Julian Jung seemed impossible to pigeonhole. He was associated with the tackiest of outrages, including the manufacture of the public persona of the pop star Gerri Andolph through the utter fabrication of a series of planted stories in the tabloid press and in the mainstream media. Julian had a signature trick method of planting any manner of story with the press and then having his client deny everything the next morning. Thus a pop star was to have snorted the ashes of his dead and cremated father with a kilo of cocaine, all of which was denied the very next day as a mere hallucinated epi-symptom of delirium tremens. Thus the controversy and flying sparks generated would guarantee maximum coverage and ignite a firestorm across the entire media spectrum, vaulting the client overnight into the stratosphere of celebrity or notoriety, both of which amounted to much the same thing. He virtually made the media personality of Reality Show superstar Amber Battie by concocting a racial confrontation with the Bollywood queen Shiratty launching their careers globally, and then choreographed her subsequent death from brain cancer with daily media feeds drip-feeding news and bathetic snapshots and finally a deathbed wedding to her high-school beau and father of her unmarried children, released from prison for a day for the ceremony, turning her into a working-class secular saint before she died. Julian Jung acted as both an intermediary for those people with a story to tell and as a block between journalists and those with something to hide, all for a hefty price. He prided himself on being, as he put it ‘both a poacher and a gamekeeper at the same time.’  At the same time he presided over a media and public relations powerhouse employing a thousand persons and turning over more than a hundred million pounds of revenue per year. He served on government blue-ribbon committees with his wife and in a pinch was consulted by Prime Ministers in time of crisis for his media, marketing and political advice. He exploited worthy causes like Band Aid, Live Aid, Live 8, Live Earth and their like for all they were worth, yet seemed to have a sincere interest in the substantive success of their underlying mission………………

…..As Andreas worked with Julian over several months and eased towards some acceptance nearer the inner circle where a modicum of trust became at least a conceivable possibility, he was invited to visit Julian at his home two or three times for an odd evening party and dinner. Julian still lived in the Notting Hill section which later became associated with the motion pictures which had used his house’s façade as a backdrop. He let on that the house was once owned by John Lennon way back when, and a stroll upstairs revealed the presence of notable and collectable artworks by Andy Warhol, Gustav Klimt, Gilbert and George and Damian Hirst. The house smacked of affluence and influence, but was not overly formal, with a smattering taste of youthful rebelliousness and of the presence of family—-children off to school every morning.

So what made Julian Jung the person that he was, Andreas wondered?  Sitting over white wine on the plush white sofa in Julian’s music room about midnight one evening Andreas had put that question to him:

“Well, Julian, all this I hear about you is very interesting—–but why do you think you ended up being the person you are, or at least who everyone thinks you are—-when you could have gone in so many other directions had you chosen?”

“……It all stems from my childhood,” he says. ”……. ‘I’m the second son. In fact, I’m the youngest son of the youngest son of the youngest son of the youngest son.’ He laughs. ‘I suppose that means we have to try harder and fight for recognition. My elder brother had done very well at school and went to Oxbridge and into the City—he still has more money than I do!’ He pauses. ‘It’s more common for younger sons to go off at a tangent. Maybe it is the Joseph and his Multi-coloured Coat Syndrome. I was the youngest of five children—maybe I was spoiled, or maybe I had to rebel and break away onto an original tangent to get taken seriously as anything at all—maybe I had to create myself Platonically—-leap fully clothed out of my own mind into the world—to get anybody to notice or respect me——at least in the hothouse or insane asylum of our family!’    

“But why did you choose to get involved in PR?—Why did you feel public relations were a calling for you?” asked Andreas.

‘Well, you know when you’re twenty-one years old you are still largely driven by your family and the terms of your emergence from your family. I’d a vague sense in our family that you couldn’t do what someone else had done – our family had people who made a unique mark in many areas—our special pride came from being the best in the world in a unique way….not just following in the family footsteps and living on past laurels, reputation or past capital.——-my father as a Member of Parliament, my grandfather as a psychiatrist, my uncle an artist——– so in our younger generation there wasn’t anyone who was a psychoanalyst, there was nobody else in politics or nobody else in art. That’s perhaps a key point—–I was innately pre-prepared for the Brave New World of celebrity because I came from a family of celebrities and therefore almost forced by way of psychological survival to either manage celebrity, become a countervailing celebrity or do the both together. I wanted to do something interesting that nobody had done before—–then I got involved in public relations out of some flyers at show business and started my own firm at 21——and mind you that I didn’t have any university training so it was all on-the-job training for the first ten years——-and you could say starting out it was all at the client’s expense!—–but I loved it because I was making my own world——-exploring a new continent, so to speak and breaking new ground in my own way!’……………………

“But PR then was different from today. It wasn’t seen as a particularly interesting field. At the corporate level, the head of PR was the bloke who sorted management out with tickets for Twickenham. It was much more event- and schmooze-based than it is now.’ The media, too, were less powerful, less influential. ‘We hadn’t been through the Media Revolution of the ’90s.’……..In the 90’s we sort of created our own Brave New World of celebrity, media omnipresence, brand equity and ultimately the personality as brand, the brand as personality, the cross-fertilization, cross-leveraging of it all——-a kind of e=mc2 revolution of relativity in which entities previously thought separate and discrete——-sports, politics, brands, products, the human identity and personality——-were found to be fungible and interchangeably transformable into each other, just as the transformation of mass into energy revolutionized the nuclear world of physics.” 

“If there is a genetic thread to this business——,” he says, “——a root embedded DNA that drives the organism and the evolutionary ecosystem, it was encoded then. ‘We’ve worked for some of the biggest consumer brands in Britain – Unilever, Nestle, VW, Nike and Pepsi. We’ve been able to draw upon celebrity and the media’s obsession with it. At the same time, we’ve had celebrities who want to become brands. So we’ve rolled with that whole media, brand, celebrity thing, rolled the one into and out of the other, cross-fertilizing, cross-leveraging and cross-equitizing……………….’

Then also of course in more recent years PR has grown in the direction of Strategic Management where building the brand and the brand equity is seen as of strategic importance to the firm —-the sustainable image as strategic objective——, along with CSR—Corporate Social Responsibility—-growing to include optimal management of all stakeholder relationships of the enterprise—–including customers, employees, investors, banks, media, financial markets, government……so PR has broadened and deepened tremendously…..become more strategic…………….

“The principle of our kind of firm……” he explains, “……..has always been to be ‘a content-supplier to the media. If a PR company is not a content provider, I don’t understand how it can have any sway or influence…….our operation had to have both incoming and outgoing traffic……that its executives weren’t just a nuisance to journalists but were their life’s blood to them………… This cross-fertilisation got us into a lot of hot water with the media and is what probably provokes a lot of the heat I have to put up with——but as Truman said ‘If you can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen!’…….. Whereas all PR agencies are reactive to a large extent, ours has tended towards being proactive……we’ll have a client – the Bafta film awards, say – and will supply favourable angles and stories to the media in return for access to the event……. If you don’t play its game, you’re barred……..that’s hardball but that’s how the game is played………..from there we can start to leverage…………we’re equally adept at getting stories into the paper and keeping them out – if we want something out, we’ll offer them something better…….”

“He talks like a businessman,” thinks Andreas,  “……everything’s a deal…. But, he has got a very sharp mind, he’s got style, and he makes me laugh—–he can’t be all bad after all…….but not all good either certainly……… excusable or not, the fact at the end of the day is that his PR double- and triple-talk serves – and tries to legitimise – the interests of the paying client and his money rather than those of the citizen, the nation or any cause or ideal……….”

“ A showpiece like the Baftas…..” continues Julian, is about much more than ensuring ‘old-style red carpet publicity’, it’s about ‘using it as leverage to create partnerships’. ……But his ability to slant the press, he argues, is over-stated. His agency is ‘good at creating relationships – at putting in place the architecture between clients and the media that is mutually rewarding for them both’. What his job does not entail, he maintains, is misleading the press. ‘You can’t lie to journalists if you intend to stay in this industry…….. You can’t bore them, you can’t bullshit them………’

“Journalists,” he declares, “get him wrong……. ‘I’ve got almost no influence in my own right. The people I represent are genuinely influential. But if I’m joining the dots, it’s not for me or my benefit but for the mutual benefit of other people…………………”

“What you won’t hear from the media critics, Andreas……..” he adds, “is that about 20% of this agency’s workload is for good causes…….mostly for free…..our fucking contribution to the world——or maybe our expiation of our guilt if you want to be cynical—-I don’t care the one way or the other— ‘I don’t know any other company that gives away 20%. We do 50 pro bono campaigns a year.’ He rattles off a list of charitable clients, from Comic Relief to Live Earth. ‘The company is enhanced by it…..sure…..there is a symbiosis between our selfish work and our—–I wouldn’t call it selfless—but our idealistic work……….. Our beating heart is our cause-related work…….. Of course, there have been times in the last 27 years when we’ve been opportunistic on behalf of clients – but that’s because we have to be…it’s the working principle of real life….we have to survive and flourish first to be in any kind of position to help the good causes like you and the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly’” Andreas remembered Julian wrapping up his Apologia Pro Vita Sua pouring out a last round of rum cocos and putting on some cool jazz lasting late into the night and morning.


When the other steering committee members arrived they gathered one by one in the conference room separated from Julian’s private office by a soundproofed and curtained glass wall. First to arrive was Alexander Abramovich Medvedev, the world famous Russian billionaire who divided his time between London and Moscow, living in his gaudy mansion in the exclusive ‘gilded ghetto’ district of London inhabited by globe-trotting Slavic oligarchs that came to be known as ‘Moscow on the Thames.’ Arriving in the Jung offices, Medvedev was accompanied by an entourage of eight bodyguards, part of his ‘private army’ of mostly ex-Speznaz soldiers said to number over one-hundred, some of whom traveled with him constantly, and others of whom guarded his disparate residences and business offices, including his homes at Knightsbridge, London at Lowndes Square, Aspen Colorado and a magnificent Dacha outside Moscow, as well as his 187 meter yacht, The Omnimaw, one of seven, believed to have cost Medvedev around $500 million and being one of, or even the world’s largest private yacht in existence with at least two swimming pools, two helipads, several on board tenders and a submarine.  

On arriving the chief of his security entourage was just hustling a reporter out of the lobby, accusing him of invasion of privacy, trespassing and violation of the “stalking laws” and threatening him with the police. Such worldly wise people, Andreas observed, when they are in the wrong always put themselves right by finding fault with the people against whom they have transgressed. The art of doing this is amoung the most precious of those surviving in “society,” and greatly cultivated amoung those who know how to live grandly. There is no withstanding it. Who has the energy to rebut the accusations and bring countercharges? Life is not long enough for such labors. A man who is in the right relies easily on his rectitude, and therefore goes unarmed. His very strength is his weakness. A man in the wrong knows he must look only to his weapons; his very weakness is his strength.

Andreas had only spent a little time travelling in Russia, but had read extensively about past and present developments there. He had recently read Satter’s book ‘Darkness at Dawn’ about the rise of the Russian oligarchs and the shattering of hopes of a better life for the Russian people following the collapse of the former Soviet Union, and he had had a long-term interest in Eastern Europe as his father had fled from Hungary in the 1950’s following the revolt there which was put down by the Soviet state. His father had been an idealistic communist growing up during the war, but like Solzhenitsyn, Orwell and many others had become disillusioned by the brutal repression and corruption of the post-war era and had fled from Hungary to West Germany, where he had met and married Andreas’ mother, before emigrating on out to South Africa.

In Forbes Magazine Andreas had read that Russia is home to 7 of the 25 richest people in the world, and 12 of the 25 richest in Europe, while average life expectancy had decreased over five years since the Soviet era.  There are more billionaires living in Moscow, at 74, than in any other city in the world, with an average wealth of $5.9 billion. Russia ranked second in the world in number of billionaires with 87, behind America’s 469. Andreas had met a few of them in his work, but the one he became most closely acquainted with due to his sponsorship and financial support and occasional advisory presence on the steering committee of Global Appeal Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, was Medvedev.

In the course of researching Medvedev’s background after he found himself in prolonged association with him, Andreas read several magazine articles detailing his stupendous wealth——- He owns a private Boeing 767-33A/ER (registered in Aruba), known as “The Pirate” due to its cockpit paint detail. Originally the aircraft was ordered by Indonesian Airlines but the order was cancelled and Medvedev bought it from Boeing and refitted it to his own requirements and is frequently parked at the Harrods Aviation facility at Stansted Airport, UK.——-In September 2008 Airbus completed his new private aircraft, an A340-313X with a modern brown, white and beige livery. Medvedev also owns three Eurocopter helicopters based on his yachts, Blackbushe airport or at his estate, Fanny Hill, near Rogate in West Sussex, UK.——In 2004 Medvedev bought two Maybach 62 limousines. He had these customized to be bomb proof and have bullet-proof glass. They were reported to have cost him £1 million; he also owns a Ferrari FXX, a $2.2 million dollar race-only car, of which only 30 were built. He also owns a Bugatti Veyron (blue on black), Maserati MC12 Corsa, Ferrari 360 and a modified Porsche Carrera GT.

The name Medvedev in Russian itself means ‘bear” and Medvedev lived up to his name, being physically imposing, stocky, tall, hirsute and lumberingly powerful in gait and temperament.  But most close observers agreed that it was in his face that his power lay; that anyone could lay eyes on and look into that face and would not help but thinking: Given the occasion and the need, this man can and will do anything. Though no direct relation to the President Dimitri Medvedev he enjoyed good though prickly sensitive relations with the present powers that be in the Kremlin. He was distantly related to Roy Medvedev, who was a dissident historian who had criticized the Stalinist state during ‘the thaw’ after Stalin’s death, and whom Andreas’ father had known in the postwar period, along with such intellectuals as Georg Lucaks.

Medvedev had been born to a Jewish mother and an Orthodox-Communist father in the post-war years after Stalin’s death. His maternal grandparents had been exiled to Siberia and he had never known them. His father was a pilot in the Russian air force who had been a candidate to become a cosmonaut but who had been killed in a test flight for a new jet fighter in the early sixties. His father had a violent temper and an insatiable sexual appetite, often beating and sexually abusing his mother in ways that Medvedev either heard through the walls and doors or discovered from the bruises on his mother’s body.  After his father’s death, he enjoyed a short interlude of peace with his mother, which was interrupted by a renewed string of her lovers who shunted him off into the neighboring closet while they made love.  During such times he would listen to their moanings through the door accompanied only by his pet cricket, whom he slept with. After his mother, a popular singer,  subsequently died from complications from a back-alley abortion when he was 13 he was raised by his uncle Sergey Medvedev who later became a vice-director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service when it was part of the KGB, and it was through his uncle that he gained entry to work in the SVR during the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Attending school in Moscow he gained admission to the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and secured a Kandidat or doctoral degree in International Trade and Economics. At university he was also a star water polo player, narrowly missing a chance to join the Olympic team. After graduation his uncle was able to place him in the Foreign Intelligence Service where he was placed in London under diplomatic cover as an Economic Attaché to the Soviet Embassy, where he found himself at the fall of the Soviet Union. After transformation to its Russian incarnation, Medvedev served in the embassy in London with the special assignment of tracing and controlling capital flight from the Russian Federation. At this point Medvedev was spending more time mastering the world of the City and investments and developing contacts and relationships in preparation for his future business career, than on official business.  He retired from the SVR with the rank of a full Colonel and entered into business, taking over a small bank that he guided to become the premiere bank in Russia for international trade and finance. At the same time he directed a company active in consolidating holdings of Russia’s vast oil reserves, floating shares on the stock market that propelled him into billionaire status. As such he became known to successive Presidents of the Russian Federation, including Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, and was considered a junior member of the Russian ‘oligarchs’ circle, including such associates as Roman Abromovich, Oleg Deripaska, Alisher Usmanov and Boris Berezovsky, with whom he would retain working relationships in Moscow and in London. He was reputedly involved in billions of dollars of sales of ex-Soviet armaments to third world countries, leveraging his former intelligence connections and was active in the diamond and art markets of the world. In the last five years he had become more and more involved in international philanthropy and social reform work, partnering with the Clinton Foundation and Gates Foundation on many global initiatives and operating a foundation jointly with former President Gorbachov which had indirectly led to his involvement with the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly Campaign.

Medvedev’s interest in sports caused him to follow the fashion of buying British football teams, and he became a regular feature in the tabloid press after his acquisition of the Blackburn Rovers, the only team to take the title from the Big Four in recent years. He was criticized for distorting the football market with his wealth, which allowed the team to buy virtually any player desired. He also took an interest in the Russian Dinamo team. Medvedev also established a foundation in Moscow creating the National Football Academy, to promote excellence in soccer football, including sponsorship of a youth league to develop rising talents recruitable into the Dinamo and Premiere League teams. Medvedev utilized Jung Communications as the principal PR and brand management agency for the Premier League Team.

In business for over thirty years, he multiplied his investments at ever increasing rates of appreciation and return, forced forward negotiations on the principle of securing the utmost possible out of other people compatible with the safety of his investments and himself, and in accustomed calculations as to the exact financial possibilities of all the relations of life, he had come at last to think purely in terms of money. Money was his light, his medium for seeing, without which he was incapable of seeing at all.

Arriving in the conference room Medvedev stopped to admire the artwork on the walls—–Julian Jung was a minor collector and owned some secondary works by Lucian Freud and Damian Hirsch, which he hung in his offices.

“Julian, you have very good taste” brayed Medvedev, gazing at the brushwork of the Freud.

“I had the good fortune of being brought up in a family that valued art, both in its cultural sense and in its investment sense. My uncle was a noted painter and he taught me about art when I was a teenager. Now I have been able to afford to splurge a bit on it.” Julian replied.

“My mother and father used to like art, and would take me to the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow when I was eight or nine. Of course I was too young to really appreciate anything. After that they died and I was on my own. My first girlfriend was a painter and she gave me the taste for it, though I couldn’t collect at that time. She was a dissident artist who exhibited her work in the park…………sometimes the police would come and confiscate it……She also gave me a taste for backing dissident causes and progressive causes, like yours Andreas………she died in a prison in Khabarovsk…..two roads crossed in a narrow wood and I didn’t take hers………I was raised by my uncle who was a top brass at the old KGB…….when I was seventeen I hated him and now I am more like him than I like to think about,  just in a different way…….different time, different world, same shit!…………then, I was in love with Juliana and I hated everything he stood for……that was my lost spring….I will never get it back…I’ve been married three times, but I never got her back………………………..a lot of water under the bridge since then, No?………Ah, how different things are and how much the same!….Ha!…….I just bought Francis Bacon’s Triptych and Julian Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Sleeping at the Christie’s auction……..I got them for 121 million and 42 million apiece——-Cheap!……..Just you watch—–I’ll sell them in five to ten years for double the price……it’s a good investment and it gives me a lot of useful publicity and prestige in the upper circles…………we have to keep up appearances in these circles, no?…………….”

“We have to keep up appearances in these circles?—–Fucking Yes!”  snapped back Julian parodying Medvedev’s accent,  “In my business appearances are realities…….the ultimate realities……everything else is built upon them…….not the least being all those billions in money……and on that is everything else built…………..

“Now let me show you the plan for the world-wide Eight-city televised and video-streamed Global Appeal Concert and rallies my staff has worked out…….we’ve got over two hundred movie, sports and rock stars pledged, and with that the politicians are sure to follow……..we’ve got sixteen ex-Presidents and Prime Ministers who will be appearing and we’ll schedule some cameos for the sitting Presidents to boost their opinion poll ratings, and we will leverage the five planned global continental regional conferences—Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America—– to be held three months before the global extravaganza to build up the media hype and expectations and mobilize the global masses………We’ll send out Osiris and Isis and the Superstars to generate interest at the Regional Conferences for each continent and focus media attention and build expectations in the lead-up to the final-push of the Global Hookup three months later…………anyone connected with this is going to have the ultimate global exposure…..………” rattled off Julian exuberantly, extending his arm across Medvedev’s back and observing as he talked the light of interest clicking on in Medvedev’s eyes, then glancing back at Andreas he introduced Medvedev to Osiris who as the primary spokesman for ‘The Triumvirate’ of Sir Bob, Bono and Osiris himself,  was awaiting them at the head of an entourage from the Who’s Who of the music and entertainment world and their keepers and handlers.

“He’s the one in control…..”Andreas thought,  “I’m left hanging on his goodwill. He’s grinning.  He can see my concern… He’s utterly incorrigible, and there’s no stopping him.”


     To say that Osiris was a household name would, in his particular case, be a gross understatement bordering on the satirical.  In a BBC poll at the turn of the century in 2000, of the 100 Greatest Celebrities he placed ninth, while Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number twenty-two on the list of  “The Immortals: The Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time.”  Rolling Stone also ranked him the seventh Greatest Singer of All Time, along with membership in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from 2001. In addition his movies and rock-operas  had been world-wide hits and his concert tours gathered such immense and uncontrollable crowds on five continents that if they were not cancelled by police over security concerns they bore an eerie resemblance to a millennial vision of The Second Coming on the eve of the Apocalypse, or of some scene of deliverance and performed miracles by the Mahdi, the Maitreya or the Messiah.

Indeed the association of his public persona, Osiris, and his group the Angels of Thoth with the arrival of a new messiah had almost ended his phenomenal career at its beginning in Los Angeles when in the course of giving an off-the-cuff interview to a tabloid magazine he ventured the now infamous bit of braggadocio: “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I do not know what will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity……….We’re more popular than Jesus now” As a result of this indiscretion he became the bete noir of the religious right and almost followed in the footsteps of John Lennon when he was shot in the left arm by a fundamentalist zealot at a free concert for Amnesty International’s ‘The Secret Policemen’s Ball’ at the Hollywood Bowl. Only a timely smash alongside the head of the would-be-assassin by a member of the Hell’s Angels wielding a sawn off weighted pool cue who had been hired as rough and ready security for the concert is thought to have deflected the aim of the shooter so as to result in the mere superficial flesh wound. Though predicting the demise of Christianity might have been thought to have won him some credit to his account in fundamentalist Muslim circles, on the contrary he was also reportedly near the top of the list for a possible fatwa in the manner of Salman Rushdie after his concerts in Cairo and Jakarta had led to scenes of sexual and verbal excess by hyperventilating crowds of frenetically screaming rock-crazed Muslim youth. Julian Jung had a hard time of it in sorting out, separating, disarming and banishing to the ground floor the private armies of bodyguards, private detectives and security men from Osiris’s and Medvedev’s and several similar entourages awaiting their principals in his conference room.

Anyone familiar with Osiris’s youth, begun as Oscar Winston in a suburb of Dublin would have been as nonplussed to learn of his later fame as undoubtedly most would have been if they had known Jesus as an obscure carpenter’s son in Nazareth. His father had been a seaman in the British merchant marine who had married his mother in Dublin after getting her pregnant. Though his father regularly sent home money to them at first, this stopped when his mother took up with another man. Upon learning of it Osiris’s father had come back when the boy was seven and announced his intention of divorcing and taking his son to Australia. His mother objecting, his father told him to choose which one he wanted to go with. While the boy responded twice that he would go with his father, when it came time to leave he cried and ran after his mother instead. After that Osiris never saw his father until many years later after his phenomenal success. Osiris then settled a modest pension on him in Australia and saw him on isolated occasions. His mother on the other hand took a dominant role in his life, pushing him into a prep school that might get them out of the lower class. Osiris, however, was not cut out for his mother’s dream of conventional middle-class upward mobility and he repeatedly rebelled and misbehaved in school, failed his O-level exams and finally only got admitted to the local arts college on the influence of his mother who once had an affair with the dean. Once there he continued his career of rebellion and maladaption, getting involved in the active use and occasional sale of marijuana, amphetamines, designer drugs and counter-culture events. He caused a scandal by getting a female student pregnant and refusing to marry her, and only escaped being expelled by virtue of his implied threat to expose the dean’s extramarital affair with his mother as a reprisal. His mother’s death from cancer only intensified these inner and outer conflicts until in his senior year he got involved in a rock-music band and dropped out of college to pursue his music career.

He met his first wife Cynthia as a fellow art student, when she used to come hear him play at a local college club. He asked her out a few times and they became close but she told him she was engaged to a man in London. He was angry and said “I didn’t fucking ask you to marry me, just to go out.” They continued to see eachother, and after she broke with her fiancé they became seriously involved, sleeping with eachother regularly, though breaking off and starting up again intermittently as he alienated her with fits of possessiveness, jealousy and then incipient boredom and bed-hopping. She dyed her hair blonde after he went ga-ga over Bridgette Bardot films and she became jealous of his affairs, retaliating by sleeping with another member of the band until he slapped her face and told her to leave. They quickly patched it up again and continued as lovers until she became pregnant. This time, since the death of his mother Osiris did not feel strong enough to walk away and agreed to marry her. For a year or two they were conventionally happy, and the presence of the child offset the conflicts from Osiris’s occasional extramarital affairs and unreliable income.

The onset of Osiris’s success and rapid fame however soon began to tear their relationship and young family apart. The airing of their first rock videos garnered The Angels of Thoth a local and national reputation and enough of an income and recognition so as to put their financial worries behind them. But whereas money was no longer a danger, the increased touring schedule took Osiris increasingly out on the road and away from his family. In addition, Osiris discovered the heavenly reward of unlimited sexual access and excess which his media celebrity granted him, magnified by the effects of an increasingly deep drug habit, both in times of euphoria and depression, which further separated him from his young suburban family.  Soon the explosive cocktail of success, fame, alcohol, sex, drugs and ego sent his life out of control.  All of this was further heightened when the Angels of Thoth changed their format by introducing Isis, Osiris’s female counterpart into the group.  Relations with Cynthia were further strained when she learned that Isis was occasionally sleeping with Osiris while they were out on the road.  When the Angels of Thoth went to meditate with the Maharishi at an ashram in Nepal and in the rush of the thronging and pushing crowd come to see them at the train terminal the Indian police blocked Cynthia from boarding the train to Nepal such that she was left behind, she broke down in a fit of tears, flew back to London and filed for divorce, returning to her family who reclaimed her from the man, now hated, who had entered their daughter’s and their own lives with the abruptness and unfeeling carelessness of a tornado, doing irrevocable and incalculable damage, and then gone on.  

After the divorce Osiris went through several phases of reaction. At first he threw himself into an orgy of sexual excess, having sexual relations on and off again with at times up to sixteen women. His use of alcohol began as excessive and became by stages incapacitating. By fits and starts he discovered that the problem wasn’t divorcing his wife. The problem was divorcing himself. And that was impossible.

Osiris’ fourth detoxification began with a knock on the front door of his Malibu home in California. Then another. He had been driven home by a studio limo at four in the morning from a trendy nightclub in Beverly Hills, and was then carried semiconscious into his beach home. After the sixth knock, his manager Keith Epstein gave the signal for two men, specialists, to break through the lock and open the house. These two men, specialists in retrieving wayward scions of wealthy families or prodigal studio idols, then found Osiris on the carpeted floor of his bedroom, still dressed from the previous night’s party—his silk shirt stained with some stains of liquor and dusted with cocaine, still wearing his black linen Zegna sports coat, bleached designer jeans, and Bragano loafers without socks. He was comatose, breathing heavily and in danger of collapsing further. The paramedic specialists gave him a quick injection and then bundled him into a limo, which did not stop until reaching an isolated chateau high in the Sierras. Keith had determined that another “intervention” had become unavoidable. He arrived with a blood alcohol content of 0.37 and massive residues of cocaine and methamphetamines in his system. Semi-lucid, at Keith’s insistence he signed the papers for his own commitment.

The result was sixty days at the “Muir Retreat” a fashionable “drying-out” sanatorium in the high Californian mountain range, under the control of its director Dr. Franz Adler. His peers included several actresses and rock celebrities as well as children of several megarich families. On the sixty-first day Osiris emerged squeaky-clean and ten pounds lighter, and not only had he kicked booze and drugs, he had also quit smoking, cigarettes as well as joints. After a regimen of calisthenics, swimming, horseback riding and exercise machines, alternated with group and individual psychotherapy sessions, Osiris had pleaded with Dr. Adler that he was cured and ready to resume his life. The doctor, however, had his doubts, confiding to Osiris his suspicion that when he returned to his old environment he would once again cave in and go off the wagon. Nonetheless, Dr. Adler agreed to release him from his commitment, on the condition that he spend one week in a half-way house in Reno before going back to LA. If he could stay away from the temptations of booze, parties, cocaine and the sexual excesses that went with them, then Dr. Adler would be convinced that Osiris had really changed on the inside and was ready to enter society and his old life again. Dr. Adler had a working relationship with the half-way house, Project Hope, headed by “Brother Miguel” an ex-con who after ten years in Mexican drug gangs and prison had turned his life to Christ, being “born-again,” and opened the refuge together with Alcoholics Anonymous and his streetfront church, providing shelter for the homeless, the addicted, recovering alcoholics and drugheads and those down on their luck without jobs or the dozens of broken and drifting gambling addicts who flocked in and out of Nevada.

Brother Miguel greeted Osiris when he arrived, having been informed in advance by Dr. Adler of his arrival.

“Are you an addict?” he asked Osiris.

“I’m an alcoholic, and besides that I’m addicted to coke, meth, crack, you name it I’ve done it.” Osiris responded

“I’ve been there. Now my life is Hope House and getting people away from it all but from the time I was thirteen I did every drug you can imagine, and a lot you’ve never heard of, for fifteen years, plus eight years in prison—I and my buddies bought, sold, smuggled, and manufactured drugs, killed in turn wars, and ran with the baddest gangs in and out of the joint. I was stabbed seven times, shot three, and lost two wives and families because of drugs. I lost my education and my life out of drugs and gangs. I know all about addiction and the drug world because I lived it until it almost killed me. Now I’m a certified drug and alcohol counselor—I work with addicts every day. Our house her is to provide hope where there has been no hope. I hope you make it.” he said.

“What happened to change all that?” Osiris asked.

“I found Christ—or rather he found me—-I was born again as a new man and have never gone back. How long have you been off the stuff?”

“I’ve been clean for sixty days.” Osiris responded.

“Let me know if you have problems or need anything or need help. We’ll talk daily, and in the meantime our rules are that everybody pitches in with the chores—washing, cooking, sweeping, so you’ll take turns working in the kitchen and serving food to the residents.”

Osiris went for two days and nights in the dormitories of Hope House without relapse but then followed the stream of gamblers and well-shaped women into the casinos. He told himself that he would only look, and would not let himself get out of control. “Only one” drink would be enough to show how he could be free and indifferent to it, neither obsessed with having it or with avoiding it. Then a second would prove that he could take it or leave it as he chose. Six hours later, Brother Miguel, informed that Osiris had not returned by the 11:00 curfew at Hope House went out to look for him. His connections of over ten years in the compact “Biggest Little City in the World” led him to discover Osiris in a back room filled with liquor, loose women and white powder. Brother Miguel walked up to him and took a bottle of Tequila from his hands and poured it on the floor, saying “Get rid of this…….” Then he looked Osiris in the eye and said “………listen to me, son, I can’t make you leave this place—that is your decision—but I want to help. If you want me to help you tell me right now and I will get you out of here and we can go back to Hope House and talk it over over some strong coffee, and I’ll tell you some stories……Think it over………..This could be the most important decision of your life……………”

Osiris closed his eyes for several seconds, and then tears began to flow from the corners of his closed eyes. “I’m so fucking weak” he moaned, crying.

“Yes, but I’m not. Let me take you out of here.”

“Please” he answered, tears still running down his cheeks.  When Brother Miguel noticed that the tears did not stop even as he put an arm around Osiris, he smiled. He knew that an alcoholic or junkie has to hit rock bottom before he can climb upwards.

Back at Hope House Miguel fixed him coffee and sat up with him in the sitting room. “I was in prison in Soledad, in California and everybody runs with a gang there. I got careless and another gang caught me out alone and jumped me, stomped my head—-fractured skull, five broken bones and knife wounds. The pain was horrific. I lay in the prison hospital thinking I only wanted to die to get it over with. I knew that even if I got out of prison and survived the gang wars, I would be back on the streets, running the same drugs and it would start all over again. I began to think death would be better. Where I grew up you ended up in only two places—-prison or the cemetery. Sounds a lot different from your life?”

He shrugged.

“ But that doesn’t matter much. I chose what I got and I don’t blame anyone but myself.  My life was all about myself, just like yours, I loved the hot and the bad things in life, just like you—pleasure, selfishness, pride—that was my life, just like yours I suppose?”  Brother Miguel answered, slowly sipping his coffee.

“Oh, God yes.”

“It’s all wickedness, and it all leads to the same end—-misery, pain, destruction, ruin, then self-destruction and death. That is where you are headed, son—and it seems you are in quite a hurry to get there.”

Osiris nodded, then lowered his head into his hands. His eyes covered, he asked “So what happened?”

“I lucked out. After I got out of the prison hospital I met an older inmate, a pro criminal who was sentenced to death, then had his sentence commuted to life imprisonment without parole. Yet he seemed to have found peace and happiness. He led me to the prison ministry and introduced me to the Gospel of Christ, Imagine finding hope in that hopeless place! But we did, and invited Christ into our lives and begged forgiveness. Unexpectedly, I found peace in my heart, and love. I needed peace, because I had been at war with everybody and everything my whole life. I needed love, because I hated everybody. I needed strength, because I knew the macho front I put on was a fraud, because deep inside myself I knew how weak I really was. I confessed my weakness to God and that I was a sinner, and that I invited Jesus Christ into my life and begged him for salvation. My life changed in an instant. The Holy Spirit entered my soul, and the old Miguel Guzman died. A new one was born, one whose past was forgiven and his salvation delivered.”

“And the drugs and booze?”

“Forgotten. The power of the Holy Spirit is far greater than human craving and human weakness. I’ve seen it with a thousand alcoholics and druggies who try everything to quit—-retreats, rehabilitation, shrinks, hospitals, patches and substitutes. When you are like us, son, you know you are weak, powerless to face the onslaught of booze and drugs. Strength comes from an outside power, from somewhere else. For me, it comes from being born again into Jesus Christ, my Saviour. Like AA says, you have got to find some higher power, whatever it may be for you. So what’s it going to be for you son?”

“I didn’t want to take that stuff again. It’s just when I got there I couldn’t stop myself.” Osiris replied.

“Of course, not. But you did anyway.”


“Because you never said no. And you never found that power outside yourself that could save you from yourself.” Brother Miguel answered.

Osiris began to cry. “Can you help me?—I don’t want to die” he moaned.

Brother Miguel embraced him. “I’ll try.” he said.

Thereafter, Osiris spent an extra month at Hope House and threw himself into his chores and work, cooking for the homeless and leading in the maintenance and cleaning details. He also lent his name to help attract contributions to Hope House. He got on his knees and prayed with Brother Miguel and his small flock and invited Christ into his life. For many months he was sober, clean and righteous. He declared the old dissipated Osiris dead and praised his spiritual re-birth as a new soul in Christ. He wrote songs praising the spirit of Jesus and became a regular on the Christian Born-again music scene.

After the years of dissipation he pulled himself together and threw himself into his work, producing three major albums in a single year, all of which hit the top of the charts. His brief flutter into fundamentalist Christian born-again enthusiasm, however, was followed by disillusionment and a search for alternative religious experience in meditation, ashrams, dervishes and the use hallucinogenic agents in spiritual explorations in New Mexico. Gradually his newfound discipline began to unravel and he found himself indulging again in greater and greater amounts of alcohol, sex of multiple orientations, and harder and harder drugs. In alternating periods of sobriety he went through major depressions and sought psychotherapy. He found that he missed family life, not so much with regard to his ex-wife or sexual relations, for which he had open access outside of marriage, but mainly from missing his children. The divorce settlement had left him with very restricted visitation rights and he was suspect because of his rock-and-roll lifestyle. But though his ex-wife was little better as a confirmed alcoholic herself the courts would grant her every solicitude while isolating Osiris from his children and demanding only constant sums of money. Osiris felt this to be a form of discriminatory slavery in which a divorced man was robbed of all of his honour as a father and virtually all meaningful contact but turned into a mere conduit for payment of money. He himself had sorely missed the presence of his father and did not want to repeat the experience of alienation and being left out of his children’s lives. Osiris used his ample money not only to go to court multiple times to get the custody arrangements changed and balanced in his favour but also to launch a global movement for the reform of the child custody laws and administrative system to give divorced fathers a more meaningful relationship with their children and less discriminatory and exploitative treatment. He became a leading spokesman for “Father’s Rights” and “Men’s Rights” and succeeded in reforming several aspects of the custody laws in Britain, Ireland and some American states.

Thereafter, Osiris for years was involved in an on again, off again relationship with Isis, the female lead singer of the Angels of Thoth opposite him as the male principal lead. Apropos of their names taken from Egyptian mythology, the songwriters and media managers invented a whole mythology of Isis and Osiris that bound them together as “a thing” and a couple. A world-record topping album, their biggest hit ever, was released around the new mythology: “The Æon of Horus.”  According to the album jacket, the history of the world and of human history and consciousness was characterized by three “Æons,” or ages.  The first was “Æon of Isis” a mythic pre-historic age of slumberous peace, Mother Earth, nature worship and “the unexamined life” in which “The Material Ignores The Spiritual.” This supposed age of material innocence is then succeeded by the “Æon of Osiris” which is the age of the dialectical confrontation of the material by the spiritual, also the age of the dying God in which the ethos is that of “Self-Sacrifice and Submission to the Will of the Father.” This is the age of Osiris and of Christ in which the ego paralyzed by the fear of death finds its spiritual victory in Resurrection, its victory over death. It is an age of suffering and of death. The third and final “Æon,” however, would be that of the title of the album, “The Æon of Horus,” which by contrast would be the “Æon of Self-Realization” based on the archetype and promise of The Child, the Christchild reincarnate as the divine child Horus, son of Isis and Osiris, ushering in everlasting life, and everlasting creativity in which True Individuality through childlike innocence and freedom would blossom by means of the nurturing spirit of  “Agape—Love,  Thelema—True Will,  and Abrahadabra—the Chaos Magick of the Ever-Creative Soul.”  Whether Isis and Osiris attained apotheosis or incarnation in this World of the Gandharvas through the divine force of their music, only the gods can judge, but at a minimum the two, apsara and gandharva, entered into a Gandharvas Marriage, then so common amoung the flighty lifestyles of the artistic and musical world, forgoing and even openly defying the formalities of state and church, and Osiris was certainly in constant supply of “soma” and a host of narcotic substances. Consistent with this supposedly regained age of innocence, age of Aquarius and of the age of the re-born Child, Osiris fathered two children with Isis while they were still unmarried. At first he declared that he never wanted to get into the trap of marriage again. At the same time he was incapable of living without the influence of a strong woman at the core of his life. Isis tolerated his infidelity, calling herself in the words of the popular self-help movements, “co-dependent.”  She said Osiris was addicted to a constant flow and changing rush of female presence and sexual pleasure, and that she was dependent on loving him. She would come home and find things from other girls lying about the house. Even in her own bed she would find missing earrings, jewelry and even panties. As if that wasn’t enough she had to read in the tabloids every two weeks about some new affair or fiasco—-according to the Sun, News of the World and the Post he had been romantically linked to countless other women: Chrissie Plimpton, Marianne Faithwell, Anita Ballenberg, Marsha Blunt, Pamela Des Torres, Uschi Oberfuhrer, Bebe Buellin, Carly Simonides, Mackenzie Phillipa, Janice Dickerson, Carla Brunaleschi, Sophie Dahrhendorf, and fashion diva L’Wren Hibernia. As a result he had a total of nine children by five mothers—–at least those were the ones he knew about.

If the agony of dealing with Osiris’s other women was devastating enough for Isis, the shock of being shunted aside by another man was even more crushing. One of the more futile of Osiris’s misadventures was a sexual affair with another mega-rock singer, Elton Brown. After a clandestine affair with Elton was finally dragged into the media spotlight by reason of Osiris’ drug overdose in Elton’s bed discovered by the Paramedics on arrival, Osiris announced that he was finished with women and coming out of the closet and was going to hitherto dedicate himself exclusively to men and spirituality. To celebrate this rite of passage was arranged a funeral repast to which one hundred of the Who’s Who of entertainment and the media were invited. He gave a farewell dinner to a temporarily dead virility–this was what he had written on invitation cards designed like bereavement notices. In the dining room, hung in black and opening on the transformed garden with its ash-powdered walks, its little pool now bordered with basalt and filled with ink, its clumps of cypresses and pines, the dinner had been served on a table draped in black, adorned with baskets of violet’s and scabiouses, lit by candelabra from which green flames blazed, and by chandeliers from which wax tapers flared.

To the sound of funeral marches played by a concealed orchestra, nude negresses, wearing slippers and stockings of silver cloth with patterns of tears, served the guests. Out of black-edged plates they had drunk turtle soup and eaten Russian rye bread, ripe Turkish olives, caviar, smoked Frankfort black pudding, game with sauces that were the color of licorice and blacking, truffle gravy, chocolate cream, puddings, nectarines, grape preserves, mulberries and black-heart cherries; they had sipped, out of dark glasses, wines from Limagne, Roussillon, Tenedos, Val de Penas and Porto, and after the coffee and walnut brandy had partaken of kvas and porter and stout.

Then after the dinner Osiris and Elton took their places in a double coffin which was born to Osiris’s bedroom by twelve pall bearers. Three months later, however this affair was exploded as the paparazzi discovered the fact that Isis was again pregnant by Osiris and that they had patched up their differences and were a “Megacouple” again.  He announced that he was now done with those extravagances in which he had once gloried. Today, he was filled with a contempt for those juvenile displays and was again devoted to Isis and his children.

Excesses of sex seemed less threatening, however, than excesses of drugs, and Osiris became increasingly unstable on binges of cocaine, hashish, or occasional heroin to supplement the unending river of alcohol.  Isis herself was not immune to this phenomenon and twice entered into a treatment facility to ‘dry out’ from excessive alcohol and cocaine use. Matters came to a head when Osiris was found almost dead from an overdose in a hotel room in New York City and only barely saved by the intervention of an emergency rescue team and the best doctors in the city, creating another tabloid sensation.

The near-death-experience, however, seemed to take hold on Osiris and for the next two years he led a reformed existence. While not giving up sporadic sex by any means, he seemed to be driven on a sort of spiritual quest and a normalization of his family life. He increased his visits to an ashram in Nepal, and took up with some groups such as Rosicrucians, Sufis and Kabbalists. He delved into the mythology of their stage personas, Isis and Osiris, from Egyptian mythology, read the Egyptian and Tibetan Books of The Dead and practiced techniques of meditation. Isis joined in these interests and they grew closer and closer, though not entirely exclusive in their sexual relationship. In the tabloids they became an inseparable ‘couple’ umbilically connected like the ‘Brangelina’ of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, or like the Scott and Zelda of an earlier generation, consciously creating a myth of their ‘couplehood’ in the media to complement the parallel ancient myth of Egyptian mythology to which their stage names, Isis and Osiris, corresponded——-Isis,  being the devoted wife of Osiris who is killed and dismembered by his evil brother Seth, who casts the twenty six bits of his severed and castrated body across the face of the earth so that they may never be reunited or procreate—–but Isis out of her deepest love collects the severed parts and reunites them so that Osiris may, Christ-like, reconquer death and be resurrected back to life and to father a new child and incarnation, Horus—-and whose yearly flood of tears of agony at separation from her beloved until his resurrection cause the fertile Nile to flow into flood and sustain human and all natural life—like the Greek-Roman myth of Demeter rising to return life to the earth in recurring seasons each spring after dwelling in the land of the dead each winter—or the related myths of the Eleusynian Mysteries, Orphic rites and Mithraic rituals.

Isis, who was born Christina Maecenas in Nicaragua, was raised a devout Catholic and met Osiris in France at the time of his meteoric rise to global fame before his divorce. She had originally gone to New York to try to enter into the dance field, doing ballet and modern dance, but found herself unable to break into the big time in that field. It was during this time that she was ‘discovered’ as a singer. During this time she was on her own—her father having died and her mother remarried—and she did what was necessary for a young girl to survive in New York—–odd  jobs—-serving coffee at Dunkin Donuts, modeling, temping, some college, occasional modern dance gigs, and the like. Naturally as a beautiful young woman she had many male admirers, and her first serious boyfriend in New York happened to be a guitarist in a rock band. In the course of accompanying him she took up guitar, drums and finally singing, at which she proved to be a natural marvel. She caught the attention of the local DJ’s in the City and was on her way to a modest success on the East Coast circuit. It was here that she first began to follow Osiris and the Angels of Thoth who were just breaking out worldwide from their home base in Britain and Ireland. When they played together in New York for a benefit for Amnesty International they became closer friends, and when she got a longer term engagement performing in Paris he would come see her occasionally, which then developed into a sexual affair and finally Osiris and his manager Keith Epstein decided to try a new format bringing a female voice into the Angels of Thoth for the first time, and giving Isis her new and now globally recognized handle: ‘Isis!’

Her trademark, following her persona, was the mixing of two elements associated with the Elelusinian mysteries:  Religion and Sex.  Isis’ look and manner of dress, performances and music videos, became influential among young girls and women. Defined by lace tops, skirts over capri pants, fishnet stockings, jewelry bearing the Christian cross or the Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Nefertiti-like hair and headdresses, it became a female fashion trend in the 1990s. Her mixing of sex and religious symbolism, including the cross and crucifix, madonna and child, cult of the virgin and of the Magdalenian fallen woman, and rites of resurrection and religious ecstasy of the Eleusinian Mysteries merging into the imagery of bondage and sexual sado-masochism involving Osiris brought criticism from the Vatican and even the threat of a fatwa, with the accusation that both Osiris and Isis were profaning the purity of God and encouraging a reversion to pre-monotheistic beliefs and a descent into pre-civilized barbaric states of pagan-consciousness. Isis and Osiris, together or separately also starred in over thirty movies and countless television programs and rock videos, though most critics considered their acting abilities limited. At the same time a global pop-cult verging into a religious cult began to form around the two—Isis and Osiris—reminiscent of the ‘Deadheads’ following the Grateful Dead but associated with new explorations of modern and ancient spiritualism and as broad as the mass-appeal of ‘Beatlemania’ of the 60’s—–as well as with a tabloid and celluloid mythomania and cultivation and exploitation in excesses reminiscent of Nathaniel West’s vision of the Burning of Los Angeles in the Day of the Locust. After seven years of cohabitation and having had three children out of marriage Isis and Osiris finally agreed to tie the knot again and the resulting wedding at Luttrelston Castle, Ireland was instantly another media carnival in which an uncontrolled crowd of over three-hundred thousand crashed through the police barriers turning the event into a modern Woodstock cum Altamont. Although ‘OK! Magazine had paid ten million pounds for the exclusive photo rights the ceremony was mobbed by two-hundred thousand who trampled the security guards and overran the police barriers to engulf them on their golden thrones following the ceremony. The ceremony itself reportedly cost over one million pounds and required the services of over two thousand servants, chefs, musicians, attendants, security guards and assorted flunkeys. Flocks of women ran naked as maenads and bacchantes and drug use was reportedly rampant. The honeymoon on Corfu was almost as uncontrolled and the tabloids had an orgaic media circus, which not coincidentally tripled the sales of the Isis and Osiris’ album released on their wedding day. Afterwards they superseded the places of Charles and Diana, Brangelina, and ‘Posh and Beck’ as the supreme reigning mythomaniacal Golden Couple in the eyes, minds and hearts of the media besotted public. 

Another dimension of this mega-popularity that had grown more and more prominent in recent years was the ability of Osiris to move people by the hundreds of millions by global television and by Internet to come to the aid of social causes. Osiris traced this involvement in social causes back to the early performances for Amnesty International in ‘The Secret Policeman’s Balls’ which their friend John Cleese had gotten him involved in. Thereafter, and especially as counseled by Julian Jung, he came to see not only the power of their celebrity to leverage social causes but also of the reciprocal ability of the involvement in social causes to boost their celebrity and personal brand equity, as Julian put it. Thereafter he joined the crusade for Ethiopian famine relief joining Sir Bob  performing in the Live Aid global television hook-up from Wembly Stadium in London and Philadelphia. In 2005 he took the lead with now Sir Bob and U2’s Bono in organizing the Live 8 globally televised telethon-rock concert in the run up to the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. Now the media spoke of  ‘The Triumvirate’ of celebrity philanthropy –consisting of Sir Bob, Bono and Osiris. Indeed, between the three of them they knew just about everybody in the entertainment industry—not to mention sports and popular culture, and were able to sign on an endless horde of superpersonae—— For the Live 8 project, to raise awareness of issues that burden Africa, such as government debt, trade barriers, and AIDS issues ‘The Triumvirate’ organised six concerts on 2 July 2005: in London, with Pink Floyd, Elton John, Paul McCartney, U2, Pete Doherty, Robbie Williams, Sting, Madonna, Coldplay, The Who, R.E.M., Annie Lennox, Dido, UB40, Snoop Dog, Ms Dynamite, Mariah Carey, Joss Stone, Scissor Sisters, Keane, Snow Patrol, Stereophonics, Razorlight, Velvet Revolver, The Killers, Travis; in Paris, with Muse, Calogero, Kyo, Shakira, Andrea Bocelli, Craig David, Placebo, Youssou N’Dour; in Rome, with Duran Duran and Faith Hill; in Berlin, with Brian Wilson, Green Day, Audioslave, and Crosby Stills & Nash; in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with Stevie Wonder, Bon Jovi, Jay-Z, Destiny’s Child, Black Eyed Peas, Dave Matthews Band, Will Smith, Alicia Keys, Ludacris, Linkin Park, Josh Groban, Kaiser Chiefs, Maroon 5, Keith Urban, Sarah McLachlan, Rob Thomas; and in Barrie with Neil Young, The Barenaked Ladies, Bryan Adams, Deep Purple, Gordon Lightfoot and the Tragically Hip, and Pink Floyd’s performance in London was its first since 1981 to include original bassist, Roger Waters. Their goal with the Global Appeal for the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly was to outdo their past record by a long shot—–they’d even get a resurrected Stones and Grateful Dead on the road for a Global Appeal world tour with Osiris and Isis—–that, they maintained with brio, was just for starters.


“Well I think you’ve fuckin’ outdone ye’rsef Julian!——-This is going to be a fuckin’ smash—–the biggest thin’ the worls’ seen since Live Aid and Live 8.” blurted out Osiris.

“Krepkiy, Krepkiy!” seconded Medvedev, “…………….and its really more important in the long run because it will create something permanent………this UN Parliamentary Assembly…..a place where ‘The People of the World’ can come back over and over again with their problems and crises—a place where they can lead the long-march out from the streets and on into the institutions—–not just a one shot deal.”

“And the beauty of it all is that it all cross-fertilizes! Everybody involved is going to be breaking the charts with their own brand equity spinning off this thing. Alexey your stock is going to soar and you are going to come off the political ‘Merchants of Evil’ hitlist on the left, and you Osiris, you are going to be a candidate for fuckin’ Christhood with the goodwill coming off all this and your media exposure, sales charts and personal brand equity will be next to God’s!” riposted Julian.

“….Well I leave all of that to you suits and to the ‘invisible hand’ of God and the marketplace.” retorted Osiris, “…..I’m in it for the bit’o good it’ll do and maybe for the rush I’ll get out of it.”

“Of Course, of course….” riposted Julian, “…We all want to do a bit of good in the world and we all get paid in our own currency one way or the other.”

“Well we could never have done anything like this without your input and contribution, Julian. Organizationally the Committee is small potatoes in relation to a world undertaking like this. We depend on your expertise and your media and celebrity connections and you haven’t let us down. We are very grateful, especially as you are doing it all pro bono.” chipped in Andreas.

“Well, Andreas, we are all happy to do some good in the world, and maybe we will leave it a small touch better off than when we entered it. God only knows. Like I say, we don’t pretend to be selfless saints and we all get repaid in our own currency, but despite all that we’re happy to do some good in the end…….Let’s pop across the street for some drinks and dinner on me—the Chicken Tikka Masala is fantastic!” Julian followed on, motioning them towards the elevator.   


Andreas’ Blog Journal:

You do not know how long you are in a river when the current moves swiftly. It may seem to be a long time and be very short—–or sometimes it is a long time but shortened in your memory when the one and only one thought thinking in your mind is getting out alive on the other shore. The river was cold and in flood from the week of rains and many things floated by that were floated off the banks when the river rose. I was lucky to have a large section of a tree-trunk to hold on to with the leafy out-branches sticking up above out of the water, torn off a river-bank tree in the fighting and flooding upstream……which provided me cover as well as keeping me afloat in the turbulent current racing into the rapids, and I held onto the smaller of its branches with my chin on the wood, holding as easily as I could with both hands. I was afraid of cramps from the cold water, still pelted with the downcoming cold rain, and I hoped we would move towards the shore. I looked back and saw Joaquim’s head about a hundred meters back, holding onto the bloated carcasse of a dead water buffalo bobbing and rushing with the current into mid-river. We went down the long river in a slow curve. It was beginning to get light enough so I could see the bushes along the shore-line. There was a brush-island ahead and the current shifted towards the shore. I wondered if I should take off my boots and clothes and try to swim it across to the shore-bank, but I decided not to. I never thought of anything but that I would get to that shore someway and then I would be in a mess if I landed barefoot. I knew I had to go at least fifty kilometers through thick brush to get out alive and I would never make it barefoot.

I watched the shore come close, then swing away and then come closer again. We were floating more slowly now and the river was deepening and smoothing out. The shore was very close now. I could see the twigs of brush hanging down into the swollen flood-waters. Then the trunk swung around and I was facing out to mid-river again and I knew we were in an eddy.. We went slowly around in a circle and then I saw the bank again, very close now, and I was holding on with one arm and kicking and swimming the branch towards the shore with the other, but I did not bring it any closer. I was afraid the branch would move out of the eddy and back into the middle of the Zambezi, so I drew my legs and feet up against the solid part of the tree-trunk and shoved as hard as I could towards the bank.     

I could see the brush along the shore-line but even with my momentum and swimming as hard as I could the current was drawing me slowly away from the shore. I felt the heaviness grow in my arms and legs and I was afraid of drowning with the weight of the wet uniform and boots, but I thrashed and fought through the muddy-brown water, and when I looked up the bank was coming towards me and along the bank was the outward branch of a fallen tree sticking out and I frantically surged myself forward thrashing and swimming in a heavy-footed panic and grabbed one last time at the up-jutting branch, cutting my palm badly as I slid along its length coming to a halt against the lower side of the trunk. I hung onto the bobbing branch for a long time, not having the strength to pull myself up, but I knew I would not drown now. It had never occurred to me floating down-river on the first branch that I would drown, but swimming the final ten meters was a leap in the dark. I felt a sick hollow in my stomach and chest from the effort and I held onto the branch and waited. When the sick feeling was gone I edged myself up onto the lower limb and a bit out of the water and rested again, my arms around the leafy part and holding tight with my hands onto the larger ends of the branches. Then I crawled out, inching myself forward along the submerged tree and finally gaining enough footing to crawl up and onto the bank. It was half-daylight by now but I saw no one. I lay on the bank and heard nothing but the river and the rain.

When I could move again I looked around upstream and downstream for Joaquim. For a long while I could see nothing and I thought he must be dead. A young boy, I doubted if he was a strong enough swimmer to have made it. Then circling up around the bend I looked across the water and saw something indistinct along the inner side of the brush-island.—It big and black and bloated and I could tell it was the body of the water buffalo with one leg snared in the brush hanging into the swollen river. . As the light of morning grew I could see Joaquim’s head and arm still clinging to the animal’s carcasse, and he looked as if he might still be alive. I looked further upstream and I could see an upturned fishing canoe pulled far up the bank. I limped towards it, righted it and pushed it into the water, steering with its long paddle. When I got up to the brush-island and pulled alongside the carcasse I called out to Joaquim but there was no answer. I tied the canoe to a branch and pulled Joaquim’s limp body out of the water onto the bank, starting to give him CPR, pushing down on his chest, pinching his nostrils and blowing into his lungs. After about three minutes he started to vomit up water and began to come around. I got him into the canoe and made for the opposite shore, pulling the canoe out into some brush where we would not be seen. Then I carried him away from the river and into the thicker wood and brush around a small stream, where I waited until the rain stopped.  

Then I began to think out what I should do. Ahead there was a ditch running into the river. I went towards it. So far I had seen no one and I sat down by some bushes alongside the edge of the ditch where I could not be seen and I took off my coat, took out my wallet with my papers and my money all wet hidden in the secret inside pocket of it, and set them onto the ground. I took off my boots and poured the water out of them, draining and drying them and wringing out my clothes a small bit. I slapped and rubbed myself and then dressed again. There was nothing to do but try to evade capture and get back cross-country towards Chimoio along the Rhodesian border where we could hope to contact South African support groups.

When Joaquim was strong enough we made our way through the brush alongside a small dirt road, keeping a sharp eye out for Frelimo patrols until we came to a deserted Portuguese farmhouse and workstation—an abandoned outwork of one of the larger praziero holdings once run by the Zambezia Company, a British-controlled investment-paramilitary company which had taken over many of the smaller Portuguese landholdings, consolidating them into a larger enterprise, and which also supplied workers to the plantations and mines in Rhodesia and South Africa. The building was evidently hastily abandoned in the recent fighting and a search through the basement yielded up some European clothing and some canned food. I changed out of my South African uniform and we both gorged our hollow bellies with canned peaches and spam.

Joaquim was only sixteen years old but he was more of a veteran than I was, having seen hundreds of people, combatants and innocents, killed in his service of over four years with the Renamo unit I was assigned to as a communications liaison officer in the bloody irregular war of insurgency against the semi-Marxist Machel government of Frelimo in post-Portuguese Mozambique. I had seen three years of service with the South African army, but mostly as a communications officer far behind the front line action—–technically my term of service was up but I was serving extra optional time as a volunteer in exchange for a double-pay bonus.  After both his parents had been killed he had been forced into service with a Renamo aligned local warlord from his Macua tribe. Though he had killed on numerous occasions he still wore his father’s crucifix around his neck, the only possession and remembrance of his family he retained, in the fashion of the Zionist Christian Church—-I had talked to Joaquim about his church around the campfire one night and learned that the Zionist Church had nothing to do with Zionism in Israel but was named after the fundamentalist missionaries who came from Zion, Missouri in the United States to found a powerful chain of black churches across South Africa and its neighboring countries. His father and mother had been members until almost all of the congregation were killed in the fighting, and it was from the church school that he had learned his English. When I was assigned to coordinate communications between our special operations groups and the Renamo forces he was assigned to me to assist with the radios and act as interpreter into the local Portuguese dialect and local tribal languages.

After I had been in Mozambique three months I found out that the local warlord we were assisting, Afanso of the Shona tribe—our supposed ally—-was a psychotic butcher who forced his men, often forcibly-recruited teenage child soldiers, to engage in indiscriminate shootings of innocent civilians, bayonetings, burnings alive including igniting gasoline soaked auto tires pushed over the arms of victims, mutilations and amputations of limbs, beatings to death and forced asphyxiations, theft of civilian valuables, rape and abduction of girls and women, and a generalized and unrestricted use of brutality and terror. He also forced numerous of the teenaged soldiers, male and female into sexual subservience to himself and his inner guard. Joaquim had escaped these outrages only because his education made him too useful to lose, and he was treated relatively decently and we shared a residual bond of cigarettes, chocolate, music, conversation and human sympathy in our private world of the communications shack. Even before our compound was overrun by the Frelimo forces and their Cuban advisors I was determined if I could, to get Joaquim out of the clutches of Afanso, possibly back to South Africa or civilization in some way.

Twelve hours before a large battalion of Frelimo infantry backed by Cuban advisors had run a successful search-and-destroy mission against Afanso, a reprisal mission against years of terror and brutality inflicted by his forces against the populace of the countryside. The Frelimo however were little more civilized and engaged in the arbitrary torture and execution of many of Afanso’s fighters, supporters and civilian sympathizers. Afanso and his Shona chief thugs and henchmen had themselves escaped in the only Land Rovers, along with most of the spare ammunition and booty, causing Frelimo’s wrath to fall upon those left behind.

Joaquim and I were in the Communications hut monitoring the radio when we took a break for our evening meal. Koto the assistant cook had just come in bearing a tray full of a kind of Mozambiquan tamale, covered with a red pepper and tomato sauce and was ladeling out our portions into our mess kits when a burst of machine-gun fire sounded through the night’s darkness. I doused the light and shoved the tamales in my mess kit into the baggy side pocket of my camouflage fatigues. Then I scrambled with the radio, drawing the microphone down and sitting on the floor to plead desperately that we were taking fire and to send air support immediately. Then another burst of fire rang out close to us and over the guttural sounds of the racing of truck engines and clashing gears down the gulley and roadway, I could hear the whizzing and ping of the tracers cutting through the underbrush around us. I dove for the ground and bursts of fire, heavy machine gun and small arms intensified and drew closer to us through the darkness, moving towards us down the slope of the hill, moving along from the direction of the dirt roadway. As a string of tracer bullets cut through the shed at waist height I picked up my automatic rifle and peered out a crack in the wall and saw two Frelimo irregulars moving down the path towards us, raking every shed and building with their sub-machine guns. As one scurried down the path towards us I locked and loaded, sighted on him, released the safety to full automatic and drew back the trigger, releasing a short burst of three shots. He dropped, writhing on the ground and moaning into the darkness. His buddy returned fire from behind the well-head and we shut our eyes as the parts from the radio equipment on the table began to fly apart and spray, bouncing and ricocheting in every direction. The radio went dead. I threw a rifle to Joaquim who was crouching beneath the window opposite. His shots rang out and I saw the shadow of another irregular fall as he tried to scramble with a grenade from the cover of the well to within throwing distance from the clump of trees in front of our hut. There was a loud explosion as the grenade went off beneath him—then silence. Three minutes later we saw two more following on their heels. One stopped to give first aid to the one I had shot. Then the bullets began to whirr through the thin siding of our hut again. The new fighters tried to work their way around our backside. I threw the spare carbine to Koto and told him to cover the back window.

Koto lay huddled up under the table, hiding his head and trembling. I yelled at him again, kicking his foot with my boot and motioning him to get to the back window. Terror invaded him by way of his feet, surged up through him and filled him entirely; then it flowed back down again, but was unable to escape, perhaps because of the thick –treaded rubber-soled shoes he always wore to avoid slipping on the greasy floors while cooking and serving, and it rebounded invading his stomach, his spleen, his liver and rising to his head and expanding so mightily that his black eyes stood out from their sockets and the whites disclosed a network of blood vessels I had never seen before. His legs spasmed and shook such that I feared he was epileptic. I returned fire at the pair of irregulars firing at us from in front of the hut. Tracers whined in both directions. Joaquim alternately crouched up to let loose a burst of fire and then dove for the ground as the return fire whizzed over our heads. Then I heard fire coming from the side of the hut and I knew again they had somebody working further around to our backs. I rolled over to Koto’s side and shoved him towards the back window, along with the carbine. Koto took so realistic a view of war that it was hard, in fact impossible for him to be brave. Instead of surveying his field of vision beneath the window-flap and picking out a worthwhile target as Joaquim was doing, he crouched down as far as he could towards the floor and blindly held the carbine out, fearing to show his head, and tilting the carbine so that it pointed upwards towards the treetops and stars; he blindly emptied the magazine and then again crawled away from the window empty-handed on the floor, leaving the carbine propped against the window-pane. When he finally turned his face from the wall and looked again towards me the sheepish look on his face made me think of a schoolboy trying to confess that he has not done his homework.

As the hot rounds came whinging through the thin wall I gnashed my teeth in rage and then screamed at him.  When I had had enough of that I lurched over to him, intent on kicking the shit out of him. But when I got a look at his face I burst out laughing as though I would never stop. Then with a terrifying suddenness the laughter stopped and I gave Koto a kick in the ribs and pushed the carbine into his hands. He rolled himself up onto a fetal position on the floor, moaning. Finally I had to give up on Koto, realizing that somehow it just wasn’t in him. Then as the automatic fire raked the front of the hut I threw myself at my window and began to return fire with a morose haste, as if to make up for the time I had wasted on Koto, who could still not bring himself to raise his head above the window sill. Disgusted I shimmied across the room and pushed him aside, myself returning fire from the back window, scurrying back and forth from front to back, firing, as Koto lay crying and whimpering on the floor, his legs shaking. Joaquim and I would take turns, rushing from window to window to keep the Frelimo from daring to get close enough to throw grenades

Then, all of a sudden when a burst of rounds smacked into the wall just above his head wailing, something seized Koto uncontrollably and he got up and rushed to open the door and run out, directly into the enemy fire. I jumped up into the doorway to stop him, tackling him before he could get out. But we must have made a sweet target silhouetted against the open door and a burst of three AK-47 rounds rang out from behind the well-head. One caught Koto full in the chest as I pulled him down. I felt a burning tear in my crotch and thigh. Joaquim slammed the door shut and dragged me from the doorway.

“Son of a fucking bitch!” I was screaming uncontrollably as I gripped my crotch, the warm redness oozing out onto my hand. I felt myself beginning to black out from the shock of it and then pulled myself back. Joaquim had unbuckled my belt and pulled down at my fatigue pants to get at the wound. He tore off a piece of bedsheet to make a compress and a bandage to wrap around my thigh. I felt the hot trickling sopping my underpants and looked down to see them stained red. I looked up at Joaquim as he tied off the bandage around my left thigh just below the crotch.

“Is it all there?” I asked, gritting my teeth.

Joaquim reached down into the sopping red underwear between my legs and grabbed a handful. I shrieked just about passed out from shock as he lifted a gooey bloody red mess from the pouch, holding it up dripping red, hanging between his thumb and forefinger. It was a tamale. The bullet had smashed my mess kit and ricocheted through my thigh, leaving just a shallow creasing leg wound and a mush of tamales, red peppers and tomato mash. I thrust my hand down between my legs and found what I was looking for, clutching my intact cock with a heave of relief, hyperventilating.  Then we both burst into a laughter that wouldn’t stop, mine only turning into weeping tears at the end.

“I’ll beat the shit out of you if you tell anyone” I warned Joaquim with a poke in the ribs. Joaquim however, only continued to roll on the floor laughing his guts out. Then we heard something in the distance. From above we heard the screeching of four South African jet fighters diving towards our position. A second later we heard the burst and impact of 20mm shells strafing the Frelimo positions. They began to scatter and run. We knew we only had a short chance to get out of the hut and the camp. We checked Koto. He got it bad in the chest but was still alive. I hefted him up on my shoulder and we started to run into the underbrush as the aircraft passed for a second strafing run. Though losing more blood Koto was getting steadily heavier. After a while I couldn’t carry him any further and set him down in the bushes. Joaquim lifted his eyelids and took his pulse.

“Dead” he pronounced, and we made a plan to try to hide and escape along the riverbank. By this time our ammunition was almost completely gone, and an hour later we used the last cartridges and threw the rifles away, hoping to hide in the underbrush.       

Luck was not with us however as by morning our firebase had been overrun and about a hundred survivors, including Joaquim and myself were taken prisoner. After torture and questioning the Frelimo had already summarily executed over thirty when a follow-up strafing attack by an armed South African propeller aircraft caused them to disperse and take cover. Seizing that momentary chance I slapped Joaquim on the shoulder and we ran through the brush diving into the Zambezi river, now overflooding its banks in the heavy rains. As we dove into the fast-running current we heard the whine of the machine-gunned AK-47 tracers spraying the water around us, and only the rain and darkness saved us from being hunted down and shot.

We then set out on the long trek back to Chimoio. As we walked wearily down the road westward that might take us back to Chimoio I stopped and stared in the opposite direction eastwards and saw the massive peak of Marrumbala Mountain. Marrumbala Mountain stands at the crux of the long, languid Y that Mozambique describes along the southeastern coast of Africa. The great mountain rises perhaps 4000 feet above the low-lying coastal plains about 125 miles from the mouth of the Zambezi. During the five months that I spent traveling around Mozambique Marrumbala Mountain became a kind of lodestar, or persistent mirage at the heart of the country. I kept seeing it from different angles and perspectives, first from the west, then from the north, and later from the air from the south and from the sea to the east. In retrospect it seems appropriate that I never reached or climbed the mountain itself, but had to content myself with contemplating it from a distance, seeing its various profiles and faces, like Africa itself, an overwhelming presence not to be surmounted or conquered in a mere linear ascent above its manifold and primordial perplexities.

We had to evade Frelimo patrols and blend into the countryside. For the first two days the Frelimo columns were so heavy on the road that we had to hide in the underbrush and sleep during the day and only travel at night. We took a canteen from a dead soldier and had water to drink on the dust-choked road. Every time we heard vehicles approaching we had to run for it into the sidebrush. On the second night as we walked things got quieter. Joaquim had hurt his foot diving into a gulley at the approach of a Frelimo armoured car and he was lagging behind me. Suddenly a burst of heavy machine-gun fire flared out of the darkness and a spray of dust and rocks flew up around our feet shooting grit up into my eyes. I ran instinctively into the brush in the gulley to the right and dove. Squinting backwards I saw that Joaquim had done the same diving towards the left about twenty yards behind me. I got down behind a fallen tree and pulled a loose branch-end over my body. I lay barely breathing in the heavy night air as a flatbed truck with a heavy machine gun rolled by followed by two land rovers full of uniformed and ununiformed men with guns pointing out rolled past, their muzzles pointing towards the searchlight beam that penetrated the darkness from the truck. The sound of vehicles moved again and again along the road, alternating with the crunch of footsteps, six or eight heavy boots moving together in the gravel, then the sounds of men beating the brush alongside the road, and occasionally firing. I felt my heart beating sick and frantic inside me as I forced myself to keep silent and still as I sweated into the heavy moist night air. After an hour things became quiet again and I went back to find Joaquim, first looking, then when it seemed quiet softly calling out for him in the underbrush where I last saw him dive. In the darkness there was no sign of him. I searched for about twenty minutes and then decided it was too dangerous to stay there so I moved along the road in the direction we were heading hoping to meet him up later if he were still alive.

I came to a small village about five kilometers down the road and saw the ground strewn with the dead bodies of cows, sheep, dogs and dozens of old men, women and children. There was not a soul alive, except for the chickens who scampered from hut to hut pecking at spilled bags and overturned dishes. The night air had turned raw and I turned up my collar against a cold wind and drizzle. I kept walking along the night road trying to make good time while the night lasted to get out of the combat zone. In the next village everything was dark and only a few shadows scampered from hut to hut. I saw a small boy walking sullenly along a side-path naked but for a rag across his groin, barefoot and his arms and legs thin as sticks. He looked back at me frightened with his eyes bulging big in the dark, moving away.  His face was ashen and sad. His feet made grisly, soft, sucking sounds in the rain puddles along the path as he passed. I was seized with an impulse to smash his drab, sad, sickly face with my fist and knock him out of existence because he brought to my sickened mind all the grimy, sad, sickly children starving in that night and in that miserable place and all the miserable places around the goddamed world.  I hated him for that moment because he forced into my mind the images of all the cold and hungry men and women, and all the dumb, passive, devout mothers with catatonic eyes nursing infants outdoors that same night with chilled animal udders bared insensibly into that same raw drizzle. Almost on cue, a nursing mother padded past in the shadows in the opposite direction holding an infant in black rags and I had an impulse to smash her too, because she reminded me again of the starveling barefoot boy shivering in the rain in his rags and of all the stupefying misery in a nauseating world that never yet had provided enough heat and food and justice for all but an ingenious, brutal or unscrupulous handful. What a sickening and shitty world—-how many people were destitute this same night even in the prosperous countries, how many homes were shanties, how many husbands were drunk and wives beaten insensate, socked and moaning, and how many children were bullied, abused, or abandoned? How many families hungered for food they could not afford to buy or that was stolen away by thugs sneering in tawdry uniforms? How many hearts were broken? How many suicides would take place this same night, how many people would go insane in the darkness? How many cockroaches and greedy landlords would triumph? How many winners were losers, successes headed for certain failure, rich men squalid and empty in heart and destiny? How many wise guys were dumb and how many happy endings were unhappy endings? How many honest men were liars, brave men cowards, loyal men traitors, how many holy men corrupt, how many people in positions of trust had sold their souls to chiselers for petty cash, and how many never had souls? How many straight-and-narrow paths were crooked paths? When you added them all up and then subtracted you were only left with the shivering children and idiots and the dead boys in ditches.

I walked on for another kilometer and I couldn’t get the image of the barefoot emaciated boy with the sickly cheeks wiped from my mind until I came across another stand of huts, the roadway littered with bodies, the food and belongings of the huts nearest the road looted and smashed apart and a few huts on fire burning down to a smoulder in the night wind. The only living thing I found along the road was a young boy having convulsions on the ground, the tribal soldiers pressganged by the Frelimo apparently not killing him because it was against their superstition to kill anyone “possessed by a spirit.” I wiped his brow and then shoved a stick between his teeth, freeing his bleeding tongue which he had half bitten through. Then I had to run for cover when I heard the approach of the low-geared shifting growl of another column of vehicles grinding up the hill towards us.

Scrambling into a small missionary church overlooking the village I hid behind the altar. Then when I heard a truck grinding its low-gears climbing the hill towards the church I made my way up a ladder which led to the crawlspace for the bell in the steeple and I pulled the ladder up behind me before the soldiers got into the church, closing the hatch-door.  I looked down over the bell as the column of 4 X 4’s, pickups and flatbed trucks jammed full with gun-toting irregulars emptied out, many hard-faced teenagers with cheap jewelry around their necks, a few with “boom-box” tape and radio players.  They fanned out from the roadside and made their way through the village huts farther from the road where they pulled the owners out of their hiding places and forced them at gunpoint to turn over any valuables or food that remained. A clutch of the senior leaders, in their mid to late twenties and apparently sergeants pushed a handful of the better-looking younger girls into a hut with a bed.

“Please don’t….” squealed out from within the hut as a half-dozen men with guns at the ready watched over the remaining girls cowering outside on the ground.

Then another girl was pushed in. An older woman, probably her mother or aunt ran after her and threw herself on the feet of the sergeant within. “Pleshe don’t……..take me………Pleshe don’t……” I could make out from the smattering of the local dialect which Joaquim had taught me.

Another sergeant holding a bottle of cheap local liquor pushed the older woman to the ground and pushed the younger girl against the wall snarling at her “Come on baby, it’s my turn now.” The wailing of both women came from inside.

In the clearing in front of the missionary church was parked a large flatbed truck on which a dozen restrained prisoners were seated, their arms bound behind them. The soldiers forced the remaining villagers out of their huts and into a massed crowd about the truck. On the bed of the truck were pools of blood and a litter of teeth. The mouths of several of the prisoners ran with blood as one of their captors finished forcibly pulling the teeth from them with a grisly pair of steel pliers. A stifled shriek rang out from atop the bed of the flatbed truck, echoed by a gasp and groan rolling through the crowd. Looking downward over the bell I saw dozens of bloody teeth in a pool of blood and slime. Then in the pool I made out what was a severed hand and the end of a severed tongue. A boy in his late teens bled in a silent stupor from the stump of his tourniqueted arm and from his twitching mouth. A sign hung about his neck with the word “Informer.” A mob of teenaged soldiers gathered around and taunted him, many hardly in their teens. Mobs of soldiers were everywhere—mobs, mobs, mobs, mobs—everything was in the hands of mobs. I couldn’t look anymore and hid my face in my hands crouching behind the silent steeple bell. When two hours later I heard the column of trucks move away into the night with the shouts of the soldiers and the firing of weapons into the air growing dimmer I scouted my chance and made my way out of the church and through the backbrush towards the road to Chimoio.

I ran down the road with my head sick and aching and pulled down with a nausea that kept me from thinking. My body covered with sweat I didn’t want to stop but continued in a slackening jog, onward….on……anywhere, but just on. I welcomed the shelter of the drizzling, drifting, lightless, nearly opaque gloom. The night was filled with horrors and I thought I knew how Christ must have felt as he walked through the world, like a psychiatrist through a world full of crazies, like a victim through a prison full of thugs and thieves, What a welcome sight a leper must have been! Hearing a noise and a wailing I ducked again into the roadside underbrush. On the other side of the roadway a man was beating a dog with a heavy stick. A boy tried to shield the dog but the man began to beat the boy and he fell down, the blood beginning to trickle down his nose. A crowd gathered around as the man continued to beat the dog and the boy. A woman moved to speak to the man to get him to stop but she retreated after he raised his stick in her direction. He continued to beat both of them. Nobody tried to stop him.

A dead swamp. Dead trees standing out of the gray water trailing gray and relic hagmoss. I stood leaning on a broken rail. The world submerged in the dead mists seemed to be nearing its final self-destruction. Perhaps in the world’s destruction it would be possible at last to see how it was made. Oceans, miasmas, mountains. The ponderous counterspectacle of things ceasing to be. The sweeping waste. The silence.

Finally I was too exhausted to go on anymore and I lay down in the deep brush in a concealed gulley to sleep. I slept through most of the day and awakened towards sunset. I still had a little water in the canteen and I desperately gulped it down and wiped the caked sweat from my face. The next night I walked in peace, only occasionally passing a shepherd with a clutch of sheep or stray stragglers on the roadway. I got water from the stream and looted some fruit and stale bread from some abandoned huts. A stray dog began to follow me and I gave him some scraps and water. Under the full moon I walked down the road until I came to a small stream and began to fill my canteen. The light plashed brightly across the cool flowing waters. Suddenly from the brush on the opposite bank of the stream I heard a voice calling out: “Andreas………..Andreas!………..”

I stood up staring across the water and two clumps of brush spread apart, followed by two arms and a smiling face. It was Joaquim. We splashed across the water and embraced arm-in-arm in mid-stream. He had escaped the Frelimo column and hid in a village for two days, finally hitching a ride on the back of a truck. He had been searching up and down the Chimoio road hoping against hope to find me.

Walking all that day taught me how long a hot afternoon could be, how the heat could slow time down. I sat down on the stones along the side of the roadway and listened to the flies. Flying ants were all over the place. Lizards ran up and down the wall and stonefaces, sunning themselves, nodding. Joaquim went to buy some beans from an itinerant trader of cooked food. She had a constant trail of flies in tow. And she had the most amazing signs tattooed to the sides of her mouth. When she smiled the tattoos looked queer, but when she looked serious they made her look beautiful. She sold us a few bowlfuls of beans and offered to sell us Kokoro at a discount.

“What is Kokoro?” I asked Joaquim.

“They are the ants that feed off the beans.” he replied.


“They are good for you!” insisted the woman, “……….They will make you brilliant and help you grow strong fast!”

We bought some fried ants and went and sat in the shade. We ate the ants and beans and drank some water. Then we got drowsy and slept hidden in the underbrush under the shade. When we got up the sun had shifted and had burnt our faces. When I awoke I couldn’t see for almost three minutes. I was quite blind and everything was composed of blue and red and yellow whorls. Then I shifted into the shade and my sight came back, with all the world’s variety of colours.

Then we started to walk again along the road. My stomach began to ache and I felt sure the fried ants were crawling around inside my belly. Suddenly a powerful stench invaded the air. Everywhere I turned the stench was there, unbearable, unavoidable. Then we saw the nightsoil man coming towards us staggering under his heavy load. I didn’t want to offend him so I didn’t move off or run away as some did, but held my breath as he passed. Hooded and masked, his face was covered with a filthy blue rag. After he passed me, feeling the full pressure of airlessness I ran to get away from it. As I ran I felt very ill. So did others around me. Finally, I could bear it no more and heaved up the beans and the fried ants, propping myself against the trunk of a leaning tree. I washed out my mouth with the last water in the canteen and spat it onto the ground.  Later in the night we found a stream and washed the grime off and lay down, covering ourselves with brush to sleep.

 By the next day, finally by-passing the outer checkpoint of government control we got a lift in the back of a flat-bed truck hauling a tractor and some farm equipment.  The flat-bed was heading to a local praziero plantation center to the west and we paid to ride on the back. We got onto the wooden-bed of the truck and seated ourselves on the floor against the back of the cab. I looked backward to the east and saw the massive upwelling of Morrumbala Mountain as we lumbered away from it, silhouetted against the bleeding redness of the African sky at sunrise. Hard as the wooden floor of the flatbed was, harder yet was to sit there not thinking, only feeling, having been away too long, and knowing you can’t go home again, that whatever it was that was home when you left it is gone or changed, or you have changed, or both have been washed down the river of time and that you don’t belong there anymore. Looking at the sunrise over Morrumbala I knew I was going west but I was never going back. You were out of it now. You had no more obligation. Anger was washed away in that river along with any obligation. It was no point of honour and no point of conscience. I would have a conscience, in the bigger sense that is, but that would come much later. No, it wasn’t that kind of a decision. Looking east at Morrumbala having been washed down the Zambezi seaward I realized that my war was over. I was not against them, either side…… I was through……For the South Africans there were the good ones and the brave ones, the ugly ones and the bad ones, the calm and the sensible ones, and I wished them all well, black and white alike. But I knew that this was not my show. You were out of it now. I just wished this goddamned truck would get to where I could eat and stop thinking….. It would have to stop somewhere……. I would get to the border at Chimoio and settle Joaquim in the United Nations Refugee Center and cross over into Zimbabwe, I would go to the South African embassy and resign my commission and wire my mother in Hamburg to wire some money and an air ticket to Germany where I still had citizenship through her….…..whatever happened I had crossed a border in my mind……….I was through…….

Along the long dusty road the driver stopped to pick up hitchhikers and travelers who waved him down, charging whatever pittance they could afford to ride on the hard bed of the back of flatbed truck. We picked up over a dozen of locals and refugees with bundles of all their worldly goods on their backs, probably trying to make it to the UN refugee camps at the border at Chimoio or possibly to cross over into Zimbabwe.  

  As we neared the market town a young girl of the Sena tribe stood up in the flatbed of the pickup and pointed up into the sky.

“Calamidades!” she shouted with a smile of expectancy on her face.

I looked up into the sky. I saw nothing. Then other children in the pick-up began to stand up, pointing excitedly into the sky, each one shouting and shouting louder and louder “Calamidades, Calamidades!”

The little girl looked at me smilingly with a front tooth missing and a red string around her neck. Other than that she wore only a formless piece of brown burlap. She had a beautiful face but was thin and emaciated through her limbs and torso. She looked away from me and then sure enough a twin engine aircraft became more and more audible and visible across the skyline. The flatbed accelerated precipitously as it turned down an access road towards the landing strip, knocking all the children to the bed of the truck and banging our heads against the back of the cab as we raced helter-skelter bouncing over the potholes.

“Calamidades” Joaquim explained between bounces and jolts to me was Mozambique shorthand for the ponderously titled ‘Department for the Prevention and Combat of Natural Calamities.’  “Calamidades” in the local dialect had come to mean not only that Department but also the food and clothing which were distributed in the Department’s name, mostly by international relief agencies such as the Red Cross and CARE International. It was the expectation of such largesse that made the children exuberant at the approach of the vintage Dakota twin-engined DC-3, and that made the driver shift into the driving-style of a world-class moto-cross race driver. First-come-first-serve would dictate the dispersal of the bulk of the supplies.

The “calamidades” of the title of the government department usually referred to such banes as earthquake, drought, famine, epidemic, typhoon and other overwhelming forces of nature against which humanity have struggled since time immorial. In the case of Mozambique, however the ‘calamity’ of primary concern was of human making, namely the ‘emergency’ or in short the civil war between the Marxist Frelimo government and the Resistencia Nacional Mozambiquiana, or Renamo. At that time I was not politically aware of the wider context, but later in my life, particularly after my university studies in Germany, I was to learn that the civil war was an extended episode of both the Cold War between the forces of Capitalism and Marxism and of the struggle against colonialism and apartheid. South Africa extended its economic, military and technical support to the Renamo resistance against the Marxist Frelimo regime and the resulting conflict cost over one million lives, and destroyed most of Mozambique’s economy, transportation and communications systems along with most of its rural society. By 1990-2 when I was involved the war had made over 3,000,000 homeless and precipitated over 8,000,000 into famine and health extremity. This was in relation to a total population of Mozambique of only 16,000,000. The collapse of the national transportation system made travel difficult. Mozambique is twice the size of California—Portugal would fit inside the single province of Niassa. The destruction of the railroads and roads made much of the country accessible only by air.

In the end I got out of the war zone in Zambezia by hitching a ride on that Dakota twin-engined DC-3 that was hauling food to isolated areas as part of an emergency airlift. Millions of Mozambiquans were surviving only by the enervating grace of international relief. The airlift in Zambezia was being paid for this month by the Swedish government. Next month it was hoped the Italian government would pick up the tab—but there were no guarantees.

The charter company that owned the DC-3 was a good measure of the desperation of the Mozambiqan government. The company, called Inter-World, was registered in Guernsey but contracting its services to the Mozambiquan national airline on paper, was clearly South African.

The pilots, who were Afrikaners, lived, as they said, in the only place there was to live—namely South Africa. Their names were Hennie and Ferdie and they looked and talked like something out of a working-class comic strip—–Hennie, in his mid-thirties flew unshaven in swim trunks, sandals, and a torn t-shirt he hadn’t changed for three months. Ferdie—who was the older and senior of the two wore aviator glasses, mustachioed with long sideburns and a with an affected histrionic brio accented by an overlong white aviator’s scarf. They made no bones about their motivation for being here. “Were in it for the money” they said pointedly. According to their contract with CARE International and the Mozambiquan airlines they got paid for the amount of time the plane was in the air, so they were constantly in motion to the most isolated outback airstrips, and didn’t waste a lot of time on maintenance and safety repairs either. Hennie and Ferdie didn’t care where they flew so it wasn’t hard to persuade them to change their flight plans to set us down in Chimoio. The relief workers constantly bummed cigarettes from them and treated them as little gods. Joaquim and I couldn’t stop laughing at them, but were grateful that they helped us out. Probably they saved our lives as making it on foot or by thumb was a pretty iffy proposition. They were good chaps, probably because I was a white man in black circumstances. They didn’t even talk to the black relief workers who took the cargo off the plane, and they curtly refused the incessant pleas of local blacks for transportation on their hops. For a white man it was a different question, and luckily they made an exception for Joaquim on my say-so. After a swarming crowd of hundreds emptied out the plane of its Care packages like a swarm of locusts stripping a jungle carcasse to the very bone I was able to schmooze Hennie and Ferdie into lifting us out over a treat of ice lager and cigarettes……..

……………After we got back to Chimoio I left Joaquim in the United Nations refugee camp along the border and went on into Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, reporting my arrival at the South African embassy, then resigning my commission—my service time being up, and wiring my mother for money and an airline ticket to join her in Germany. Before I flew out I went back to Chimoio and visited Joaquim in the UN camp to give him some money and say good-bye. I found him in a tent with about twenty other boys of his own age—not overly comfortable but safe and with a UN school. He was sitting on his folding bed, and his only possession, a small bag with some clothes, stuck out from under the blanket next to his bare feet.

“Looks like you’ve got a home for the time being, Joaquim!” I joked with him, giving him a handshake and a small hug.

“Sheeit! Ain’t got no home—but it’s safe here, so I’m not complaining……No matter where I live my bag’s always sticking out from under the bed; I’m always ready to leave or get thrown out. I decided to leave everything out of my hands.” he spoke back.

I treated him to lunch at the staff canteen where the food was much better than the daily rations in camp and slipped him some cash to keep him going, urging him to keep with the UN school and I would write him there from Germany when I got there.

Then he said to me: “What’s your road man? Holyboy road, normie road, madman road, rainbow road, yuppy road, any road?……It’s an anywhere road for anybody anyhow. Where body how?” ………..I smiled back at him…………….

……………It was ten years before I went back to Africa, though I saw Joaquim happily in Berlin before that after I had written letters sponsoring him for a European Union scholarship program studying at Warrick University in the UK and he came across the Channel to visit me. He was able to complete his high school diploma in the UN refugee camp school in Chimoio and his English was good enough to get him a place at the British university through a special EU aid program. When we finally saw each other again for the first time in a decade on his visit one Friday at the student kneipe and embracing arm across arm I couldn’t keep down a stray tear that got away at the corner of my eye but which I wiped away feigning to straighten the bang of my hair—-it was noticed nonetheless by the other international law doctoral students I was with———we two were strangers here———–brother survivors from another world———a world they would never know……..  

XI.   Washington, D.C.      Telemachus


     Jack Sartorius was in the final weeks of his assignment on the analytical side of ‘The Company” or CIA, training his replacement Myron Greenberg at the Langley warren of cubicles and offices, to take over his old case-files at the counter-terror unit. He was much looking forward to taking up the more exciting work on the operations side. He was dividing his time each week, a couple of days of transition work in the old office on the analytical side at Langley and a couple of days on ‘The Farm’ in rural Virginia, training into his cover assignment and polishing up his ‘fieldcraft.’

Today, a Thursday he was driving back to Langley listening to NPR on the car radio. It was his favourite news station and it beat listening to the current brand of popular music. He’d grown up listening to his mother playing classical music on the piano—Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy—she had almost been able to break into professional performance but not quite—–and he had inherited a classical ear. He liked jazz quite a bit and rock for dancing but the modern pop and rap left him cold. Some of it was so depressing he wondered that they could even consider it entertainment, let alone music………………….  

………..Another suicide bombing in Israel followed by reprisal airstrikes on Gaza, then sectarian bombs in Baghdad and an attack of armed gunmen in Mumbai……. The financial crisis was deepening and the endless marathon of the American presidential primaries was in full swing with the former first lady in an endless primary slug-fest with Senator Barret Osama, making a bid to become the nation’s first black president……neck-and-neck for the last three months…… Jack needed some relief so he switched off the radio and punched in a CD of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and rolled back the roof of his convertible to enjoy the sun and uplift. After twenty minutes he passed through the security at Langley and made his way down the long corridor to his old office, grabbing a cup of coffee and a free danish from the office pastry tray on the wing.

     He spent twenty minutes checking his own e-mails and the special messages flagged to his attention while he focused his mind over the good Mocha Java. Good coffee was still an addiction he was unable to break himself of, though he had made considerable headway in cutting down on cigarettes. He insisted he was not a nicotine addict and could quit anytime, but told himself he still enjoyed it occasionally for the aesthetic pleasure. When he saw Myron enter the room with an armful of papers he got up again and refilled his cup with hot coffee then rolled his chair over to Myron’s workstation.

“Morning Myron——All right brief me up to date——what have I been missing for the last three days—–and who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” Jack quipped.

“The Shadow does…………”  retorted back Myron in a theatrical vibrato as their inside ritual joke from the lost days of the radio era. “…………….OK….how about the London files……….I’ve been tracking about twenty……we have two just back from travel to the Middle-East and East Asia…….we’ve been tracking them along with their commercial accounts and money transfers……intercepts by telephone and net put them in occasional contact with known players from some of the active groups in the Mid-East…………we’ve been keeping an eye on them for irregular money movements…………British SIS suspects they may be acting as bankers to transfer funds to terror-linked operatives around the Middle-east and globally………There have been some suspicious transfers but nothing definite…….It seems these two work with some kind of NGO……..Committee for a Democratic United Nations…….SIS thinks they may be using it as a cover for travel and fund transfer for some of the bad guys………we haven’t been able to pin anything definite down yet…………This one you saw the file before……..Mohammad ala Rushdie……..just came back from Cairo and several stops from his NGO work…he usually talks with dozens of people and trades e-mails….some of whom are on the suspect list but no definite pattern….It seems he often stays in the London townhouse of the other one………. Mustafa bin Salman al Khalifa…….Bahraini…….family connected with the Bahraini royal family…….he’s the banker of the two……Has an office at Lloyds….….he moves millions around for his family and private business accounts and transfers smaller amounts of funds for NGO projects……SIS has a wire tap on his commercial and banking accounts and money transfers……there are some suspicious transfers…….they sent a Forensic Accountant down from upstairs to go over the accounts and we are still waiting for the report….they both travelled to Pakistan and across to Beijing returning via Kuala Lampur, Mumbai and Cairo…………

“Anything definite yet?”  asked Jack.

“Nothing confirmable so far,” responded Myron, “……..but they are working on it…….We got more news on him this morning……Yesterday’s take from the British SIS, courtesy of the NSA pukes at Meade……….seems that after returning to London this Mustafa made a couple of telephone calls to another Middle Eastern fellow known to have been playing in the wrong playground on occasion…………seems MI5 has got him staked out and the file on his sex life is good for a lot of laughs—–pays top dollar for top-flight hookers——took one up to the country for the weekend and the Brits debriefed her about his private conversations…she gets paid twice for the trick….trouble is you can’t know what is ordinary business or social contacts from what might be dangerous……The SIS even made a transcript of the phone tap—–conversation in Arabic—-the British analyst says the tone of his voice might indicate that they were talking in code—sometimes he would say ‘Are you sure’ in inappropriate places suggesting a hidden meaning……….Jack, it sounds like this guy is a player………….”

“You’re making a leap of the imagination……..try to avoid that here” advised Jack  “…….I admit the guy is wriggling a bit like a fish, but you can read hidden meanings into anybody’s conversations and without some corroborating facts you’d have to put a third of the population on the watch list and hire another third just to keep an eye on them……better get more hard facts before jumping to any conclusions……do we have any data on the guy’s money transfers from the last three days?”

“Not yet, the forensics guy is still working on it” answered Myron.

“Did he go anywhere unusual after the tapped telephone conversation?”  followed-up Jack.

“He left the Lloyd’s office early and went to a pub where he met the guy he had been talking with on the phone. Thames House has him tailed but they were unable to hear the nature of the conversation in a private booth, and the transcript from the telephone conversation hadn’t mentioned anything about a meeting, and they stayed there only about less than ten minutes, so their suspicions were aroused.” recounted Myron.

Just then Dan Vathek, the forensic accountant came back into the office to give his report.

“Howdy, Dan…………..what do we know….and how reliable is it?” Jack popped, motioning him into the empty chair beside them.

“Your subject appears to be warehousing and laundering money—–for himself and his family, some for the NGO and some unaccounted for persons unknown……..He’s a little bit sloppy……all of his questionable transactions are done in ten thousand pound slugs, making them easy to spot……….He disguises them as personal expenses—–it goes into that account—-probably to hide it from his parents who give him millions to play with but keep him on a watch via their accountants—–they probably figure he might lose ten-thousand at a casino or a holiday fling and are not concerned at that level of loss……………..Young rich kids like to gamble and pick up expensive hookers though they are not necessarily good at either……….’

“So what is your conclusion Dan?…….is Mustafa a player?”  Myron queried, trying not to look too naive.

“Sure looks and wiggles like one” Dan responded “…………..but we’ll have to keep an eye on him for corroborating evidence before we jump to any conclusion……………..but he may well be banking, laundering and transferring money for the wrong team…………We haven’t found anything on his friend Mohammed yet, but they are close friends and work together on this NGO thing, and if they are working together on the other end as well then he might be a messenger conveying information up and down the chain of command masked by his NGO travels…….but we can’t be sure of that yet…..”

The next morning Jack went neither to the Langley headquarters nor to the Farm but to the site of his new employment which he would be taking up beginning next month. The office was located on K Street in Washington, D.C., in the heart of the ‘K Street Corridor’ running parallel to the Mall and a short distance from the Capitol and the White House. Jack would be assuming duties in the new Public Relations and Government Relations office of Jung Communications, and his duties would include lobbying work and international public relations projects. He would be joining the firm under the name of Jack McKinsey, which would be his cover name, and for which a complete identity had been created including passport, driver’s licenses, bank accounts, diplomas and a complete confirmable set of records and accounts. This would provide a convenient cover for Jack’s assignments across the globe, and the Vice President of the firm’s American operations, Joel Mentes, was also on assignment from the CIA and would direct his movements for both legitimate business and intelligence related matters. Thames House had arranged for this placement through the Prime Minister’s influence with Julian Jung, without revealing the hidden reasons for the arrangement.

This morning Jack moved into his new office and then went through a ‘company boot camp’ with four other new employees, attending briefings on the company culture and philosophy and problem solving procedures. They used the case method to review how the firm had handled important accounts in the past and went through some games and simulations to polish up their skills prior to getting started on actual accounts. Then they would act as understudies under experienced professionals before testing out their own wings. In addition Jack would spend interspersed days on The Farm honing his fieldcraft skills for CIA Operations and occasional days back in his old office with Myron, giving advice on the follow-up of his old files on the Analytical side. This mixed training would continue for many weeks until they were assigned to assist on ongoing cases, clients and projects.

For lunch Jack often felt like spending some time alone and strolling towards the Mall, often stopping at Scholl’s cafeteria to eat a quick lunch. After having been cooped up in the high-security environment of Langley Jack was re-discovering the sheer Wordsworthian joy of walking outdoors itself, along with the Johnsonian joy of urban walking in an ever-changing human environment.  Jack liked Scholl’s as it always had a lot of people from all social classes, including street people and a lot of the characters making for local color. Scholl’s had a fine history and reputation, being established by a family of socialist refugees fleeing from Nazi Germany, arriving before and during the Second World War, and who knew what it was to be homeless from the war, repression in Germany and the Great Depression. Jack had an attraction for family places. Growing up in a broken home he often sought out family-style atmospheres to take in their vicarious warmth of belonging, nestled at their sidelines. It seemed that all that provided continuity to the world, or protection from it, was the family. And since his parents’ divorce, heightened by his mother’s death and father’s absence he felt the lack of family keenly, though he seldom spoke of it. The restaurant had the atmosphere of a family run business and many of the photographs on the walls dated back to the war years. Jack always felt that he was reliving the New Deal every time he went there. They always had some cheap but high quality family food anyone could afford, as well as higher priced delicacies and if anyone pleaded they hadn’t any money they could usually eat for free. Many of the staff seemed to date back to that era and were in their fifties and sixties and had loyally spent their whole lives in the employ of the Scholls family. It was that kind of place. Students often studied at the tables and many of the successful movers and shakers from government and lobbyist work would often go there to enjoy the local color. The cuisine included old world European cooking as well as standard American fare and the whole place seemed to be in a time-warp unchanged from the past seventy years. Washington had a floating population of the homeless, sometimes called the “grate people” from their habit of sleeping on the heating grates in the winter and in the public parks in summer, sometimes in cardboard box shanties which were somehow tolerated by the police, perhaps to avoid the bad publicity for the government of heartlessly moving them off. Many of them had mental problems, drugs and alcohol addictions, or perhaps had simply fallen through the social safety net, losing contact with their dispersed families, isolated by divorces and dislocations, not infrequently in Washington by military service that resulted in over a third of the homeless being veterans, and for some being simply too proud and independent to seek help when their worlds caved in on them through the loss of a job or family. Though Jack made it a point of principle not to give to professional beggars, sometimes if he felt someone was in real need he would give them some cash or take them to eat at Scholls and hear their stories. Jack sometimes smiled to himself at jokes he would make up in his mind, taking advantage of the pun to imagine his future biographer summing up this section of his life story as a time of full and open contact and intercourse with ’the People—all of the People of all their Walks of Life—–the Great People, the Grate People, the Near Great, the Near Grate—the Ingrate, and the On-Grate, who were always amoung us.’

 One day he found an old man sitting on a bench along the mall, resting next to his cardboard hut and with filthy clothes. He offered to take him to Scholl’s and buy him a lunch. Sitting down together Jack helped him order and then sought to strike up a conversation.

“What is your name, sir?” asked Jack delicately, not knowing what to expect.

“Eumaeus” answered the old man, “……Peter Eumaeus, family Greek, born Ithaca, New York– 1922.”

“I hope you don’t mind my questions……I just thought as we are having a meal together we might just get to know one another…… you have any family around these parts?” Jack asked.

“Nope. Got nobody. Had a wife and son once’t but they’s dead. I been living sometimes in the Veteran’s Hospital here and when I get tired of being cooped up and rousted about there I strike out on my own. See those pictures on the wall…….Franklin Roosevelt……..I was here in 1942 with the Marines, I helped carry FDR’s casket when he died at the end of the war. Now I don’t have anyplace other than this to go to. I’ve been coming to Scholl’s for sixty years. Seems like I’m  a sorta waitin for him to come back sometimes, or waitin till I go on with him.  I got my first Social Security card when he was in office when I was’t eighteen years old. I spent quite a few of them checks here.”  he rambled on, spooning up a large bowl of Cream of Mushroom soup and dabbing it with a piece of French bread.

“Weren’t you able to save anything for your retirement?” Jack asked diffidently, not knowing if he were getting too personal in asking about his private affairs, but interested in his story.

“Save! Goddam!——I had some savings once’t—-but Goddam I lost it in the market crash. Those goddam ‘vestment bankers—-those goddamed blue suiters got every last penny and wiped me out!—-Those suiters got everything—those suiters in Merry Lynch give me bum advice and took me for a ride——they got rich and I got the Veteran’s Home, and that’s about the size of it—-goddam suiters ate up everything—–now I’m lucky if I can be left in peace sleeping in the Mall park when I once’t wore the uniform of this gaddam country!”

“I’m sorry. Is there anything I can do to help?” Jack asked delicately, not knowing what to say.

“Help?—Son, I’m eighty-seven years old!—Do you think there is some gaddamed bright future waitin’ for me if’t sombody helps me?—–Christ, I’m old but I’m not gaddam stupid—-Ain’t nobody goin to help me—-I’m just goin to drop off one day soon, and one day is as good as another, ‘cept just staying alive is jus’ a pretty hard habit to break I guess—-I do thank ya for the meal though, I do ‘preciate kindness, and I like to talk to young people—-I wish’t my son hadn’t died so early though—–so much I never got to say to him——How about you son?——how’z  your father?”

“My Father……?” choked back Jack, looking down at his own feet. Thinking of his father, so long absent, evoked a silent pain out of the past. He preferred not to look back on things past also, because what he liked most of all, battles to be fought, challenges to be overcome, the work—all that lay, after all, ahead and not behind him.  “……..well, that’s a long story……..when my mother was alive she divorced him and took me away from California to New Jersey, and I didn’t get to see much of him growing up. We don’t talk all that much and he lives abroad———he’s a Professor in China of all things if you’ll believe that——-sometimes we catch up with each other but we haven’t been too close in life.” Jack volunteered apologetically.

“Never too late!”—-said the old man, looking intently at Jack and grasping his weak hand about Jack’s forearm. “………………….I bet he misses you and wants to get back to you even if he doesn’t say so…………I wuz always the same…………never too late son…………at least ceptin before one of you dies…………..Professor in China?—-bet he must be doin some good work, most likely……………If I wuz you I’s go see him soon………………well son thanks for the meal……….I got to go lay down and take me a sleep in the sun if you’ll be a‘scusin me………when you gets to be old you’ll know how that is too……but go see him soon———-go find him boy before it’s too late!………just go a’find him!…………Good-bye son……”

“Good-bye…..” Jack said droning off with a touch of melancholy and embarrassment in his voice, “……and Good Luck!”

On later days when there were no such cases and he could relax over his newspaper and enjoy the warmth of the humane atmosphere of the place, aided by free refills of coffee, rarer on America’s East Coast than in the West. Jack liked it because it seemed real and humane compared to the artificial world of the K Street Corridor, a paper and digital world of polished images somehow lacking a human heart and lasting human relationships beyond the temporary business relationships of the Washington world. It was also a world of ordinary people living ordinary lives he had always felt cut off from in the bubble world buried in the bowels of Langley and he was enjoying his new freedom.

As this was a presidential election year, increasingly political campaign events would be staged on the Mall and around Capitol Hill and the White House. Campaign-rally crowds from both parties would, like summer clouds, blow in with the summer wind, condense, sometimes shed rain with no thunder or thunder with no rain, and just as quickly disperse and disappear. As the summer months heated up and verged towards the hot and humid excesses that make politicians bless the campaign season as at least an acceptable excuse for getting out of the Washington. D.C.  heat, Jack also noted the cumulatively more and more gruesome economic news that quickly slid down the slippery slope from a stagnation, to a recession and into the fore-makings of a depression on the scale of the Great Depression in the thirties that brought in Hitler, Tojo and the convulsion of World War II. As he read the Washington Post day after day in Scholl’s cafeteria beneath the yellowing photographs of the Depression, New Deal and World War, his reactions went from concern to disbelief at the sheer scale of the disaster to an eerie sense of déjà vu and of history repeating itself in its fundamentals, which it often did despite never repeating itself in its precise details. The rallies for Senator Barrat Osama seemed to take on the character of the Roosevelt rallies of the early Thirties attended by a floating population of the increasingly helpless masses caught up in a tidal wave of economic disaster beyond their control yet washing away everything they had built for themselves and their families, though in the modern case still buoyed up by a life preserver of residual wealth,  and he seemed to hear echoes in Scholl’s Cafeteria of FDR’s ringing words, ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ He didn’t know how, whither or why but he had a keen sense that time was turning a corner.

     In later weeks when he had spare time he would also frequent the National Gallery, both the old wing built by the Mellons and the new modern wing designed by I.M. Pei, where he would eat lunch at the underground cafeteria.   He would stroll through the galleries, open for free, and take in the brushwork of the Titians and Rembrandts as well as the modern art of the new wing, crowned with an immense metal mobile suspended from the high ceiling. Later as his lobby work got into full swing it would take him constantly to Capitol Hill into the Russell and Dirksen-Hart Senate office buildings and the Rayburn Building on the House side for committee meetings and to visit the offices of the Senators and Congressmen, after which he would enjoy a lunch or coffee break in the National Gallery cafeteria. Sometimes there would be classical musical concerts in the old building of the National Gallery and he would go there, enjoying first the art and then the music, and then perhaps striking up a conversation with a warm or pretty girl and taking her to eat and enjoy the evening together. He seemed to be too busy of late to get deeply involved but he felt an emptiness at the core of his life.  Occasionally he would accompany a team to the White House or many of the executive department buildings located around the Mall, and of course there were the many buildings of the Smithsonian complex—-the Air and Space Museum, Natural History, Sackler, American History Museums. Museums for Asian and African Art and of course the Library of Congress to ramble through at odd moments.  

When he was in Washington he was happy to be out of the closed claustrophobic space of the Langley headquarters and in an environment where you could wander and mix with people of all social classes without the barrier of the security bubble always around you. But much of his time was taken with international travel on many global public relations and government relations projects, many times representing foreign governments in their relations with the United States. This provided cover for his movements related to his continuing work in the counter-terrorism unit. In all Jack was glad to be out in the world, for better and for worse, and a part of it.

One evening, just finishing his work he strolled along the mall taking in the mixed crowds of townies and tourists when he chanced to come upon his old acquaintance, the crusty old Peter Eumaeus, sitting on a park bench in front of the National Art Museum, not far from the Capitol. He was in an exuberant mood, a fifth of Scotch whiskey in his hand and showing the signs of a solid and serious, though apparently happy drunk settling in.

“Congratulate me Jackieboy! Brrrrthday eightee-sic!” he drooled forth.

 The old stager put his arms about Jack’s shoulders and in the course of friendly ebulliences and near-incoherent verbal eruptions, revealed that he was celebrating his eighty-sixth birthday. Jack congratulated him and invited him to take a birthday dinner with him at Scholls. They checked into a private room in the back and Jack ordered up baked salmon and a train of mixed dishes along with a small birthday cake and plentiful supply of liquor. After they killed off a bottle of Johnny Walker Red between them Jack’s efforts at dialogue were reduced to taking the passive end of Eumaeus’ slurred one-way flow of liquefied verbalizing:  

“Up we sallybright tonight, Jackyboy! Sallybright!——Aurorabora all is! Fickity-fickity foo! Drink up meboy, meboyo! Here’s the stuff that whets the wits! Drinkitydrankitydrunk heartyharmeboyo!……………….

……….These Redpublicans and Demicrabs! Away! Face at the waist! Fearwords and backwords!—-the Allearth’s Dumbnation! Encourageable Easyholics! Ai’ll release me heavy arthillarity on ‘em! Out Dr. Quacknostrum! That’s the true Gossiple! I’ll clean your clocks! I’ll blow your blocks! I’ll trip your traps! I’ll be sixty more years plus livin’ in this dicey D.C.neyland! Therewhere I be upfed with that poppycock!…………….

     ……….See that auld fadograph up there on the wall?——Old FDR!—-Yesiree, that’s the Chief that was here when I landed in DCland in the Big WW Two!—-Hep hep hero Hurrah!……….Never a gamier cock!………………Not like those Pennydirts and Dodgemyeyes we’ve had about here theseadays!…………Old Roseyfelt!………Now there was a man of a man, even in a wobblychair—–Shithoused Shitler and Outmooseled Musolloni, and gave Old Tojo the atatomic Mojomojo!………. ..Who denays it?…………….Old Rosey Rosey!……..

………Hereboy!……a tipple..atipple……Down the hobblehatch!……….Ahhh!—now that there fadograph leaves me in the timesporting life!…….Jesterday in the twinning of an eye—–for of all manorwomanborn ever intromutanttransmogrogrifiing—I’ve seen it all m’Gd!………I seed this krowd of WishyWashingtonian karaktalacters and their mooshy moro mellowdramas…….

     ……..I seen life’s upsomdowns b’Gd—-I sorely have!——I seed my own son, me fish and blood cumanago a mere nayophyte in the whirrled—–a sad a sad a thing you see your child go before ya……solittle, solittle time……….But what’s a livealittle man afterall………a little of alittle…………bealittle…runalittle…peealittle….kickalittle…fuckalittle….whinealittle….runalittle….cryalittle…laughalittle—-such a little mannykin of a littleman we all are………………………….

Sallybright!….. Sallybright!…..what a grand funferall!…….Fickity Fickity Foo!……..Drinkerup Jackameboy!………….Happy Whorebury to you!……..Rickity Crickity!….Rickity Crickity!…..Wobbly Wobbly Woo!………Dumbledown…..Dumbledown do!….

…….Ahhh!—-pardon my blotty words Jacko…….I’m surely nearing the end all of it all….…I’ll be sleeping soon sound in this seemetery…….Whisht…Whyst?…………Allmybestbrothers……………They lived and laughed and loved and left………..Furrowards and bagowords like yoxen—–me only left…How wooden I knot gnawed it!…..…Gone into the Nixynight!……..Wherebethinkem?……….Wizzard of Wirrlwinds Whitherwards!………………

Sallybright!….Sallybright!…….Jack o Jack myboy!………….Yapyazzard Yen!……Hymen!…….O Woman!………..Bone of my bones!……..Gog of my Magog!…….O, I do miss her Jacko, bitching bitch though she was, Sally O.,……I met her just there….just there at that table over there in the corner there, just come back from EEwo Jima I was………Her, madrabbiting and madhattering with her Femmyfriends………She walked her Booty Like the Night!…………and stole my sufferin’ heart clean away!……….Elsekiss though she mayest…..Year!..Year!…and laughtears!…………….How bootiful and true to wife of her!….. Gricks may rise and Troys may fall, But wimmen have got us by the short allandall!……..Therewhere from the macroborg to the microbirg—–blog it all!…….Blog it all, Jacko, I miss her………I sorely do!………………..

………Ah but I canst not but say I got what I deserved of it…………………my juiced desserts…….as the Goosegander m’God!……..Little Roxy Randypants, Pretty Patty Pussyprancer, Geraldine Jollyjuggs, Nellie Naughtynightie, Polly Polesitter, Holly Rodsucker……..Yes, I’ve had my fun and played the Slypants in my day b’God!……………..Isn’t it the truth I’m tallingye?…………..Mostly!……………..

…………….But Sallybright! Jack-o-Hearts!……………..Go find your Father and give him a drink at my Blessure, Jack Boy!…….Go find him and sallybright before it’s too late!……….A last sloshglass to you and your Father, Jack Boy!………………..”

Upon which Eumaeus passed out in his cups across the table. Jack took him in a cab to the Soldiers and Sailor’s Home across from Union Station and checked him in for the night, leaving a note and hundred dollars and a bottle of Scotch on the nighttable as a birthday present.  

At the end of five months of training, familiarization and understudy Jack went to visit with his superior and handler, Joel Mentes, who was both his superior as Vice-President at Jung Communications, USA and in another persona as his assigned field handler in the Operations branch of the CIA.

“Jack, we think you are coming along well and will be ready for handling cases on your own soon, both on the white side and the black side……..How do you feel about it?” shot out Joel Mentes, swiveling round his chair from behind his immense desk and looking Jack in the eye searchingly and meaningfully.

“I’m up for it on both sides, sir…….” gave back Jack confidently  “……..I think I’m up to speed on the white side—–Public Relations and Government Relations—–and I am ready to go whenever you are on the black side——I’ve got about as much dry training as I can get from The Farm—-I think to go further you just have to get out into the real world and draw on your street smarts and accumulate real world experience—-I’m ready to go for it——what have you got for me, sir?”

“Well we’re going to start you off on a two-sided project in London—What with the bombing of the Olympic Team there we are being pressed heavily to beef up our international counter-terror efforts there and across Europe into the Middle-East——you’ll be spending some extended time in the UK and also rotating back here off and on. On the white side you’ll be the key contact man for the Jung Communications, USA office for this global superstar satellite TV hookup——-maybe you’ve heard the grapevine on it around the office here—–It’s a Global Appeal for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly—sort of like a European Parliament for the whole world through the United Nations——Anyway, all the superstars are signed up by Julian Jung in the London office to appear at satellite TV linked rock concerts and benefit marathon programs in a grand world-wide hook-up, preceded by regional concerts and benefits linked to regional conferences and caucuses across the world for about ten months leading up to the big world-wide bash. They’ve got all the big names for that sort of thing—The Triumvirate-Sir Bob, Bono and Osiris and it is going to be a global blowout benefit like the Live 8 in 2005 and the Live Aid and Live Earth programs. Jung does it all Pro Bono but we make a mint leveraging the appearances of all the celebrities—–In about six months they will have regional Caucus Conferences and Marathon Concerts in six cities around the globe to work up advance interest and get momentum going. You will be the point man out of the Washington office for North American aspects of the event and you will be spending a lot of time seconded to the London headquarters coordinating with Julian and the central planning office for the global campaign. On the black side you will be following up on some of the files you had been working at Langley….you remember Mohammad Ala Rushdie and Mustafa bin Salman al Khalifa?”

“Who can forget the mutts” shot back Jack,”  trying to keep his energy level one step ahead of Mentes.

“Good—–they’ve been involved in this Global Appeal and we need to find out how much of their involvement is legitimate and to what extent they are using it as a cover for some operations of known players we’ve tentatively linked them to. We’re also desperate to pick up some leads on the London Olympic bombing incident. We’re going to be playing some games on them to flush them out and you will be there to watch from your connection on the Jung Communications side. Then we have a half dozen other matters touching on London that you will also be involved with, reporting to the Station Chief there when on the ground and to me overall. How does it sound?” barked off Mentes.

“Aye, Aye sir”—-barked back Jack, mindful that both he and Mentes had spent time in the Marine Corps prior to being recruited into the Company.

“All right then, off we go—–I’ll send you over to Jack Nestor at Operations at Langley on Monday and he and his staff will give you the detailed briefing on the black side. When you are finished with that come back here and I will have everything prepared and brief you on the white side and the Jung Communications end of things. Then we’ll put you over in London to start meeting with Julian and the central office staff…….all agreed?”

“Aye, aye sir—all systems go” smiled back Jack.

“Good luck, Jack……….you have our full confidence.” added Mentes with a handshake and intelligent smile, showing Jack out through the double-door.



After Jack had his meeting with Jack Nestor at Langley he went through a comprehensive series of pre-operation briefings and final training sessions prior to his scheduled departure for London. Nestor in the final days of countdown prior to his departure told him that he would finish up with a visit to Dr. Pointsman, who presided over Operation Smegma, the top-secret, hush-hush branch of the Office of Metapsyops and Metastochastics (OMM). He advised him to learn well from Dr. Pointsman, as he had been at the pinnacle of the Agency’s top Psyops operations for decades, including top leadership in KUBARK MKULTRA, PROJECT CHATTER, ARTICHOKE, BLUEBIRD, MKNAOMI AND MKCHIKWIT and a lead role in assisting the FBI in tracking down the Unabomber. He had taught at the School of the Americas, and helped to author the KUBARK manual on Counterintelligence Interrogation, and the Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual, and as he knew where all of the bodies were buried, he was one of the “Untouchables” beyond the control of the formal chain of command. In short, he was the in-house best-of-the best, and despite his genius, was rather surprisingly still approachable.

Jack followed Mentes’ secretary through an intricate labyrinth of security checks in the bowels of the CIA Headquarters at Langley. Then they took a restricted elevator downwards, for what seemed to Jack an interminable descent into what must have been the deepest bomb-shelter within the complex. Emerging, a massive steel door akin to that of a high-security vault of a bank appeared before them, flanked by two Marines with sub-machine guns. After an interval of the insertion of multiple keys, secret passcodes and the laser scanning of the irises of their eyes and their fingerprints, they gained admittance to a corridor of blank doors, which ended in a faux-Mahogany double door on which was inscribed in gold letters: “SMEGMA Ѱ.”

The secretary ushered Jack inside, where another secretary took possession of him and escorted him through three additional sets of double-doors, each guarded by an armed Marine and a secretary at a desk, until a final portal opened revealing a man apparently in his sixties seated in a dégagé lassitude on a well-stuffed armchair of red Moroccan leather, wearing a woolen three-piece suit of pepper-and-salt, and smoking a rather long, thin cigarette on which he alternately took deep drafts or lightly punctuated the smoke-filled air while reading a hefty file under a lampshade, while his gracefully over-crossed leg dangled and bobbed rhythmically front of him. After a respectful wait, the secretary caught his eye and motioned for Jack to approach and seat himself in the leather chair opposite, introducing them: “Dr. Pointsman, Jack Sartorius, our next agent in London; Mr. Sartorius, Dr. Pointsman, head of SMEGMA,” she related, before taking her leave to return to Mr. Mentes.

After the offering of a cigarette and some welcoming pleasantries Jack made a small apology for his lack of nous regarding the nature and operations of SMEGMA and asked for some brief introduction.

“We are the Special Operations Branch of the Office of Metapsyops and Metastochastics. Psyops, of course you know to stand for Psychological Operations, and Stochastics, of course is the science dealing with probabilities, especially as related to apparently non-deterministic complex processes. SMEGMA is essentially the active unit of our Office dedicated to the War on Terrorism. We use the massive computational capabilities of our CIA Supercomputers to isolate hitherto undiscovered correlations between terrorist events and the masses of communications, mobile phone communications, e-mails, movements of money, hit-rates on known terrorist websites, etc. and then we use convergent algorithms and psychological profiling of known suspects to predict when and where terrorist events will occur next. I won’t confuse you with all of the technicalities of it all, but suffice it to say that it involves tracking Poisson correlations, simulated stochastic annealing, artificial intelligence, stochastic neural networking, genetic algorithms and genetic programming, utilizing the methods of a random walk utilizing the Monte Carlo method pioneered by Stanislaw Ulam and Nicholas Metropolis. We invert the traditional mode of computer modeling, treating deterministic problems by first finding the probabilistic analogue through stochastic annealing—–you know the method Enrico Fermi used to predict the existence of the neutron—- in our case we use the powers of higher science, mathematics and reason to root out the past, present and expected future abreactions of the worldwide terrorist phenomenon. We are making the most remarkable discoveries and breakthroughs daily, correlating incidents and episodes of sexual deviance, hallucination, psychosexual epidemiology, and abreaction amoung known terrorist networks and counternetworks, and within the cultures and sub-cultures in which they breed and cloak themselves.  And, I don’t have to remind you that you have never heard any of this, and that it is strictly top-secret at the highest classification.”

“Of course” responded Jack, hoping not to look openly nonplussed.

“All right Jack. Let’s get down to business and discuss why you are here and what you mission will be while based in London. You of course are aware of the bombing of the American Olympic team in London. You are going in to replace our last operative, Agent Enzo Slothrop, whom we tragically lost just before that incident and who was tantalizingly close to uncovering their terrorist network before he was assassinated by them. Our Supercomputers and neural algorithms had uncovered an uncanny statistical correlation between the sites of Slothrop’s sexual encounters and the future locations of Islamic terrorist incidents in London. After 7/7 2005 DNA analysis of the charred corpse of a resident nurse from St. Veronica’s Hospital, a victim on the bombed Number 30 Travistock Square Bus revealed what proved to be the semen of our own Agent Slothrop, whom she had straddled and brought to climax on that very bus not fifteen minutes before the explosion. Using our complete records of the transmissions of his mobile phone and the messages appointing his trysts and conquests of the previous seven years, we were able to establish that he had performed sexual intercourse and ejaculation with women at the precise locations of 93% of the terrorist bombings within 24 hours in advance of those detonations. Just look at the overlays of these two maps of London, Map A, charting the known terrorist bombings in London of the past decade, and Map B, charting Slothrop’s documented and confirmed sexual liaisons. Using our Supercomputers and metastochastics we were able to discover that these correlations and incidents conformed precisely with Poisson distributions that promised to be a key to future prediction and interdiction.  Through it we discovered that Slothrop had had fellatio performed at midnight under a newspaper on the last subway train by a Spanish model with whom he vacationed in Madrid on March 11, 2004, less than eight hours before the Al-Qaida bombing which killed 172 passengers. On June 29, 2007 it was Slothrop’s success in “scoring” with a singer backstage at the Tiger Tiger Club, picked up in real-time by a tracking satellite, that alerted MI5 and Scotland Yard, enabling the intensive stakeout that foiled the car-bomb plot of that day. Here we were able to leverage the stochastic successes in the past studies of the Poisson distributions of Nazi V2 impact craters in London during World War II. In short, we discovered that Slothrop’s prick was a virtual divining rod for locating and interdicting Jihadist terrorism. Unbeknownst to him during a routine health exam we had blood pressure, friction, temperature and moisture sensors implanted into his foreskin along with a 24/7 minicam linked to global tracking satellites so that we could tell the exact time, location, target and love object of his every ejaculation. He was the “Ultra” of the War on Terrorism, and his concupiscent prescience was fast leading to the dismantling of the entire European operation of Al-Qaida.

Then, one week before the Olympic Team bombing we lost our prime asset. Agent Slothrop was invited to a “pleasure cruise and fancy dress ball” aboard the famous yacht of the media mogul, Baron Maddox. Later we learned that Slothrop was lured into a tryst on the yacht with a masked woman whose identity was unknown, dressed as Mata Hari, and that while coupling with her he suffered an unprecedented episode of priapism, unable to release his erection. He had to be flown by the ship’s helicopter to St. Veronica’s Hospital where he was given emergency treatment in the Abreaction Ward, but too late as 20 minutes later the entire hospital with 267 souls was incinerated in an unexplained explosion of a natural gas truck adjacent to the building. A blood sample taken from Slothrop and saved by virtue of being couriered over to the pathology laboratory in the opposite building proved that Slothrop had concentrations of Viagra at levels 1000 times the safety limit in his blood. The enemy camp had discovered his secret and his Achilles heel and pounced on it with a vengeance—-they set him up for “the ultimate blow job!”—what a way to go!—-fiendishly clever!—hoisted on his own petard, eh what! Ha! Even if she were caught and unmasked who could prove or convict the assassin in a court of law?—–what means of death?—what murder weapon?——death by correlation?  Jack, the hell of it was that Slothrop had himself just informed us he was only days away from fingering the ringleader of the entire UK and European operation of these fiends, and would have been able to save our Olympic Team had he lived. We were that close to springing our final sting operation on their entire network. Instead, he ended up giving his life standing tall for America. Your job, Jack, will be to try to pick up the trail and spoor of these monsters where Slothrop left off. Are you up to the challenge?”

“You have my word that I will give it my all.” Jack assured him, allthewhile trying to get a handle on the incredibleness of what had just been told.

“I hope that will be enough, Jack. But we are up against real pros, Jack, don’t kid yourself—we are talking real risk here. But know that all of us here are always behind you when you are out there in the Zone, ready to give you backup with everything that we’ve got.” Dr. Pointsman assured him.

“We’re sure to get the bastards sooner or later.” Jack replied with an put-on smile, inwardly debating with himself whether Pointsman had succumbed to the pressures of his position and lost his mental stability.



XII.   Beijing                    The Everlasting Nay

Sartorius’ Blog

Eat, drink, lay awake at night. An endless repetition of this futile pain. This is what my life has been reduced to for several years now……suffering without interruption. I say God but why? All I have known up to now has been senselessness and pain. So I drift along thinking of nothing but suicide, but lacking the means and courage to do the act.

What will be the outcome of what I do today?  Of what I shall do tomorrow?  What will be the outcome of my life? —Why Should I live?— Why should I do anything?  Is there in this life anything which the inevitable death which awaits me does not undo and destroy?

One can only live so long as one is inebriated, drunk with life; but when one grows older and more sober one cannot fail to see that it is all a stupid cheat. What is truest about it is that there is nothing even funny or silly in it; it is just cruel and stupid, purely and simply stupid and cruel.

The very thing leading me to despair is the sole and only and incontestable knowledge accessible to man——the meaningless absurdity and stupidity of all of this. 

XIII.  London                   My Brother’s Keeper


Eva’s Blog Journal:

     Last Sunday afternoon after lunch Andreas was pacing around all about the sitting room, getting up from the chair where he was pretending to read The Economist, to the balcony, where he would stare out the window blankly towards the trees below, then back to the chair.

     After an hour of it, he said that he had to go see Julian about preparations about a conference for the Appeal and gave a long involved explanation about how the work couldn’t wait until Monday because of the scheduling problems. I listened to him but I could tell from his voice that this was an excuse. I told him “Of course, of course.”

     Then, after a moment of hesitation he said in a loud voice, exaggerated and very aggressive “You’re very permissive.”

     I answered, “What do you mean permissive? I am not your keeper. If you want to go out to see somebody you don’t have to ask my permission.”

     “Good” he snapped back, “That is very nice to know.”

     Later, he came back very late at night after I was already asleep. I felt his arms about me, very cautious, very measured. I turned to him, just awake.  I could tell that he didn’t want to make love to me but felt he had to put on a show of wanting it. His penis was limp against me, and it annoyed me that he wanted to put on this kind of a dry show, moving against my thighs and buttocks without any real desire for me.   

     Sharply, I said to him “I’m sleepy” and turned my back to him.

     He stopped moving. Then I immediately felt bad,  because I thought I might have hurt him…. Suddenly I realized that he was very big and very hard pressing between my back cheeks. I felt dismayed that now he wanted me just because I had just refused him. But I knew because I loved him I couldn’t refuse him, so I turned around to him and gave him what he wanted. After the sex was over I realized that he was satisfied at accomplishing something important to him, but without any feeling for me.

     Suddenly, without meaning to say it, out of instinctive knowledge I just blurted out “You’ve just been making love to someone else.”

     He snapped back just as reflexively “How did you know?” ….then, just as if he hadn’t said, how did you know, he says again “I haven’t. You’re imagining it.”

     Then because of the unbearable silence lasting so long between us, he confesses: “I didn’t think it would matter. You have to understand, I don’t take it seriously.”  I felt utterly diminished and destroyed, as if I did not exist as a woman.

     Today, a week later I was still cool to him, so I locked myself in the library and pretended to work on my children’s books. We have an understanding that if I am working on my books then he will not disturb me so that I don’t lose my track of concentration. I laid down on the Persian rug on the floor with a sofa cushion behind my head and just stared at the ceiling.  Through the ceiling I could hear Andreas pacing up and down in the room above, coming halfway down the stairs and then turning back and going upstairs again. Every movement he made went right through me. I thought I should get out of the house and thought I would go see Vanessa, but I was already trapped inside the pretense of working on my books, and I knew that I couldn’t discuss Andreas with her anyway.   After two rum cocos I was getting desperate so I called Vanessa on her mobile. After five minutes of chit-chat she asked casually: “How is Andreas?” I caught the inflection of a cattish note in her tone of voice as she asked the question. “Fine” I said.  She remarked that she had had lunch with Yoriko Oe, who she had become friends with from the Committee office, and who was in town from Tokyo working on the Global Appeal, and how over lunch she was in a real state over Andreas.  I hadn’t thought about Yoriko for a long time, so I quickly shifted the conversation to some other things for another five minutes and hung up. I laid back on the floor, sipping another rum coco, as I listened to the sound of Andreas’s feet pacing in the room above.

Without any effort the dismal green computer in the back of my mind began to put things together. Yesterday about eight-thirty he had gone out after dinner, saying he was feeling keyed up and had to take a long walk if he was going to be able to clear his mind and get some sleep. He had been gone about three and one-half hours before he came back and slept with me, not making love.  We didn’t make love because I was still frigidly defending myself against the pain of knowledge…..Yes…yes, I remember he had gone into the bathroom before leaving and I had heard him talking on his mobile phone to someone through the bathroom door……When she comes to London Yoriko always stays at the Arriva Hotel where the Committee has a bulk long-term contract for discount rooms for travelling Committee staff.  It would take half an hour to get from here to the Arriva, and half an hour back…..that would have left them two and one half hours………………………………………………………………………..I thought nothing for ten minutes and started hyperventilating……..I couldn’t believe that this was me trapped in this anxiety state… must not be me but someone else…….but this thought didn’t help any. I was clenched up with tension laying on the floor on my back telling myself over and over again……I don’t care……I don’t care…… is some other creature inside of me that cares, that is jealous, that sulks and clenches and broods and wants to strike out and hurt back.

The damnest part of it is that I don’t really care……or let’s say the better part of me doesn’t really care……possession and control of a man are not my values or my obsession……I would have always characterized myself as something of a free-thinker…………I lay on the floor sipping and listening……..I hear the same pacing, then after ten minutes the sound gets stronger as he comes down the steps and I hear a quiet tap at my locked door.  He says through the closed door, “I don’t want to disturb you, I’m going out for a little walk,”  and I heard steps in the direction of the front door.  Without any knowing that I was going to do this, I went to the door, unlocked it and shouted down the hallway after him “Are you going to see Yoriko Oe?”  He stiffened, seized up for a split-second, then turned rigidly towards me and said “No, I’m going for a walk.”

I was going to confront him further about last night, but I didn’t but just made some flippant remark as he went out. I didn’t say anything because I felt it was not possible that he would simply lie if I confronted him directly and I didn’t want to hear either possible answer. I carried on undercutting and stabbing him with my remarks or freezing him in a sudden coldness, the guerilla warfare of woman, the asymmetrical battle of the heart, striking back at his vulnerable places where direct confrontation with the stronger would be futile.

When I got back into the library I shut the door and couldn’t move. I was sick to my stomach. I slumped back down to the floor. I couldn’t think or move. I kept saying to myself that he’s got to go now, he will have to leave. I knew I could never ask him to go but going in this direction he would come to that himself…..You will have to prepare for it when it comes I told myself… will have to try to disconnect……..

When he came back later that night I had been waiting for the sound of his footsteps for several hours. He blurted out a loud friendly greeting and rushed upstairs to the bathroom, locking himself in. I thought it was not possible that he had just come from making love to another woman and just went upstairs to wash her scent off him before making love to me, but I knew that that must be exactly what he was doing. Waiting for him to come down I screwed myself up to ask the question. When he came in and sat down next to me, putting his hand over my hand on the armrest of the chair and pretending that nothing had ever happened, I fired off at him: “Andreas, have you been sleeping with Yoriko Oe?”

     He gave a loud crude laugh like you might hear in a Berlin cabaret routine and said emphatically “No I haven’t.”

 “Eva you simply work yourself up over these things and you just invent things in your own imagination out of your own insecurity. You have got to snap out of it and get some control over yourself. Your trouble is that you are just too fine a woman, you love so much that you just unbalance yourself in the wrong direction, and you above all don’t deserve that. I for one am not going to let you do it to yourself—–now go and make me some supper—it will be good for you and help you get balanced again and put these silly fantasies out of your mind—–you are a homemaker at heart and let’s not spoil our lovely home with these absurd jealous fantasies that are getting you out of control.” Musing sullenly to myself “I always pick the ones who do it to me, or else I do it to myself,” I made him dinner.

He was right. After making him dinner I felt a lot better.  For me food has always been a medium for expressing love and I guess you could say that I am really a domesticated woman at heart if given a chance. Eating he smiled ingratiatingly at me:

“Lovely to have you back to your old self again!” he said.

“And who would that be?” I retorted, wishing I had swallowed the words a second too late.

 After dinner I felt better and we didn’t talk about the matter again but watched a DVD of an old Alfred Hitchcock movie. Then we chatted before bed and he made love to me wonderfully and I was happy to put the matter behind and be together with him again on the old basis. I was ready and happy to admit that I had got myself worked up unjustifiably out of feminine insecurity and delirious to have things back to the old happy state.

When he got up late the next morning he went to shower and had a happy time singing German Lieder in the bathtub and I went down to the kitchen to bring him up some toast, marmalade and coffee. While he was still singing in the shower his mobile phone went off. I answered it just to tell them to call back in half an hour when he would be out of the shower. It was Yoriko Oe. I recognized her from her voice and accent. I went to the bathroom and pulling aside the shower curtain handed Andreas the telephone, with a taxingly bitter stare towards his eyes and averting away from his wet penis as I slammed the door behind me.

                 After that I went down to the kitchen and finished fixing a big English breakfast with bacon, bread, porridge, sausages, eggs and muffins. I set the table in the breakfast niche and he came down and ate heartily. I expected him to make some shoddy explanation of what Yoriko had wanted but he didn’t mention the telephone call.  And he didn’t mention at all what Yoriko had said or why she called. I was angry again. Yet last night he was wonderfully sensitive as a lover, touching and caressing me in all the right places and ways, and kissing me so deeply and movingly that I felt sure our relations were back to their loving beginnings.

We ate in silence and then sat in silence. He read his newspaper and I washed up. Then I brought two cups of coffee and hoped he would open to me. Nothing was spoken and the silence grew almost tangible and thick between us, and seemed to set down roots. “You hide yourself behind your silences…..” I spoke to him, “……..I know you hate talking about what is between us and you hate conclusions, but that is not just an attitude. Nothing is too good or bad for clear thinking and clear speaking. You hate conclusions because you might be compelled to change them or change yourself from them. You stultify yourself to any extent rather than admit that you too have been wrong.”

Not venturing any more than a fumbling response, he said that he had to go out. He made a long and detailed explanation of having to meet with Medvedev and Julian Jung about funding for the South American caucuses and concerts. I knew because of the wooden obstinate look on his face and the overly detailed explanations about the difficulties of the South American organizing activities that he was going to see Yoriko Oe, and that he had just made arrangements to meet her to make love again over the telephone.

     After he had left I was out of control. I went up to the bedroom and searched through his pockets and suitcases for I had no idea what. I pulled his clothes out of our drawers and looked for bits of hair or lipstick on them. I opened all of his suitcases and found some letters in them. Some were from a girl in New York asking why he did not come to see her recently, and others from his fiancée in Berlin, written in German which I could not understand.  I found some recent receipts from a hotel in Beijing including bills for room service dinners and breakfasts for two and a hotel laundry bill for cleaning and pressing a western suit and a soiled cocktail dress. I knew that Yoriko Oe was the only female Committee staff member staying at that hotel in Beijing, since I had made the reservations from the London office two months ago myself.

     When he got back he acted as if nothing had happened.  He took his place in the sitting room and began to read his newspaper.  I was angry and depressed but I didn’t want to re-open the same wound again. I retreated into the kitchen and cooked an extra wonderful dinner of veal cutlet’s, cursing him under my breath but accepting my hopeless dependence on him.  While I was pounding the veal with the tenderizer hammer he came into the kitchen and squeezed by me to get a glass to pour some wine in. As he brushed his crotch against the backside of my skirt he gave me a little kiss behind the ear. I was furious with him but gave in to his advances and responded by lifting my lips towards his. A kiss later I was back to a complete submergence in the tasks of cookery and outdid myself, serving him slavishly.  In my head I could hardly contain my anger, but my body purred like a kitten towards him.

     After dinner and some chit-chat affected on both sides I relaxed a bit and said to him “Andreas I don’t think you are treating me fairly.”

     “Fairly!” Andreas laughed out loud, “You Englishwomen talk as though love and sex were some kind of a football match with a referee holding up a yellow or red card and sending you off the field if you are offsides……..Everyone makes use of one another……and anyway if we lived a completely sanitized life by bourgeois middle-class rules never daring to touch another deeply for fear of hurting or getting hurt we would never love each other either but just own each other like furniture in a interior-decorated flat. I don’t pretend to live my life according to those middle-class rules of fairness and exclusive ownership and property…………..and I don’t apologise for using my freedom…… be fair I gave you clear and fair warning when we began that I was not cut out to be either some woman’s prized poodle, “catch” or furniture for home decoration of her little domestic dream. If I am involved with a woman I want her to love me for who I am without trying to own, cage or smother me…….”

     “………..You talk about fairness Eva, but the fact is that we are all voluntarily or involuntarily using each other and we couldn’t live otherwise———You!—-you are using me to fill the male leading role in a little Hollywood melodrama of domestic bliss that is hardwired into your fucking female brain and you are outraged when I turn out to be something beyond this romantic stick figure with a life, mind and libido of his own—–when you find I have a life of my own and that I am not to be owned or caged then it is me who is in the wrong and me who is the brute—-well I’m sorry—-you heard it, I’m really sorry for being such a poor actor in your happily-ever-after movie and having a life of my own off my female director’s little movie set——I’m sorry for not being the actor out of central casting that you ordered—-you can tear up my SAG card and put me on the Hollywood black list of the politically and sexually uncorrect——-If  I didn’t have to carry around this goddamned white man’s burden of social responsibility and saving the whole fucking world from its nauseating fucking self,  I’d half-well be happier to go back to the veldt in Africa and say to hell with the whole fucking human race, especially the female half of it dangling and rattling their goddamned fucking jailhouse keys down their ever-so-alluring clefts in their heaving fucking bosoms……….…”  and he got up and started to move towards the door, but I ran after him and threw myself at his feet clutching him and started crying miserably and uncontrollably.

     “Andreas, Andreas don’t go, I can’t live without you!………I’ve been crazy out of my mind with the pain and hurt of it but I can’t stand the thought of losing you……….I don’t know what I would do……..I don’t want to own you, really I don’t……I want you strong and free and beautiful…………like your lion on the velt………….It’s just I can’t control the green-eyed creature inside of me when I get caught up in those situations……………” I sobbed at his feet.

     Andreas was moved by my outburst, and rather than flaunting or gloating over his power to humble me like he could so easily have done, he fell to his own knees and kissed away the tears in my eyes and he held me there, both of us kneeling before eachother and holding each other in each other’s arms, and I could see a line of tears streaking uncontrollably from the corner of one of his eyes as he pushed his face down against mine and rubbed his eyes and warm kissing lips over my tearing eyes and stroked my hair over and over again, like a mother caressing a crying daughter, and he sobbed out “I’m sorry Eva, Forgive me, I’m sorry, I never wanted to hurt you, you have to believe me, I would never try to deliberately hurt you; I love you Eva, you’re too good for me really, I don’t deserve somebody with your kind of love, I’m not good enough for you, really I’m not…………….”

“No….No……No!…………..Andreas no!………you’re right, you’re right, you’re right…….I’ve been the worst kind of controlling possessive little bitch……….believe me I hate the same thing in myself……… but I can’t control myself when I feel I might lose you…………I want you to be strong and free Andreas, I just want to share that with you……………I hate Poodles and lapdogs—-I loathe the women who keep them——–I want a strong Shepherd or Wolfhound or veldt lion running free……….I don’t want a man who can be tamed and caged by a possessive bitch…….….” I cried, pressing my face into the open breast of his unbuttoned shirt.

Andreas picked me up and carried me in his arms up the staircase and we started pulling off eachother’s clothes unable to stop crying and unable to stop laughing at the same time. And for that moment I gave myself completely to him as I had never completely given myself to another man before or since and we made love through the sobs and soft laughter until we exhausted each other and I then fell into a pure sleep of oblivion with my arms clenched about his neck and my face pressed hot and wet against the side of his face, not loosening long into the night even after I had long lost all consciousness of myself and the world.


                        After Andreas had been gone for three days on a Committee business trip to New York I lost myself in my housekeeping and my office work, in my cooking for Vanessa and her son and in my plants. I caught up on my sleep and recovered a smidgen from the anxiety and depression I had been going through with Andreas here.

                        I was cleaning a room and meandering about, approached the divan and couldn’t remember whether I had dusted it or not. Since these movements I followed had become unconscious and habitual I could not remember and I felt it totally impossible to remember—so that if I had dusted it and forgot—-that is, had acted wholly unconsciously, then it was the same as if I had not. If some conscious person had been watching, then the fact could be established. Then it struck me with the force of a brick that if, however no one was looking, or was just staring blankly, that the whole complex lives of many people go on unconsciously just as I had been doing, and that such lives, including my own, are then just as if they had never been.

                        And as I brushed and meandered, meandered and dusted, I found myself dusting an old hat hanging from the back of the old bedroom closet that had been my husband’s, and I shuddered a second time as life reckoned to nothing. All around me the dust of habitualization and of oblivionizing devoured works, clothes, furniture, one’s husband, one’s fear of nuclear war………………….If the whole complex lives of we somnambulating millions, it seemed to me, go on so unconsciously, then such lives are as if they had never been.

                        Then I remembered my children’s books, middling things though they are, and I felt then if this dust had so become my life then the purpose of art had to be to waken these sleepwalkers and drifting dusters to recover the sensation of life—–to make one feel things again—-to make the stone stony in your hand and to unnumb the dull chronic pains—to make the objects of life unfamiliar and alive again.

            I began to go for long walks in the streets and in the parks, first just walking free and then walking and walking, not knowing exactly what I was walking for. I had the feeling—-how can I express it—it’s like a feeling of being with someone who had always been walking with you, and you always have the feeling that there was one that was with you that was seeing everything with you and feel then that they are seeing that thing the way that you are seeing it and then you go sometime with that one to the doctor to have that one have their eyes examined and then you find that thing you are seeing you are writing only for one that is yourself then and to every other one it is a different thing; You know it then, yes, but you don’t really know it as a continuous knowing in you for then in living always you are feeling always that someone else is understanding feeling seeing something the way you are feeling, seeing, and understanding that thing……..

……..Then it happened. I got the idea for my new children’s book A Rope of Remarkable Length. I hadn’t really written anything for a long time so I really wondered if my imagination and inspiration had gone and dried up and died completely on me. Then it hit me.—-There is an unknown hour somewhere in the middle of the night when these things seem to emerge. It is an hour when one wakes suddenly into a world of scattered dreams. It is a time out of time when yesterday has vanished and tomorrow has not yet emerged. It is a kind of intermediate space where the business of life does not intrude.

            I woke up in this interspace and the image just hit me: A giantess of a little girl, a little girl out of the family of Pantagruel and Gargantuan perhaps but only eight or ten years of age in a sporty dress, coat and straw country hat, striding across the forest, looking down onto the green treetops, but whose head itself consisting of an immense balloon floating at the level of the mountaintops, which balloon her fully-dressed body held tightly on a long, strong rope locked firmly in its fist as it pulled in the wind and lurched now and again to get away from her. That was the image—a little girl walking like a visitor to the zoo with a balloon wafting along above her, but the balloon was her own head!

            I jumped up immediately from my bed and sat down at my laptop to sketch all this out in a flash draft so that the image wouldn’t disappear on me in the night. This little girl giantess I named Jamie, and I sketched out her wanderings across the earth, over mountains and plains, plateaus and grasslands and how she would chase the clouds along with the body playing out the rope to let the head rise to their level, but then pulling it back down decisively if a strong wind threatened to carry it off. Little Giant Jamie’s body would gesture all akimbo and laugh and thank Little Giant Jamie’s head for all the wonderful experiences they always shared together. I wrote the dialogues where Jamie’s body would prattle and ramble on, talking to her head, and how the head would answer laughingly, smiling at the naive questions of the body, and how they would run and run with all their might and then lay down on the thick grass and sleep together, the rope tied with a firm knot around the body’s wrist, clutching through the night to the balloon of experience.  

            Sometimes Little Giant Jamie’s body would get bored and lonesome while Jamie’s head floated high up in the clouds or whistled to the flying birds aloft. So Jamie’s head and body agreed to take along a pet monkey, who they named Arthur. Little Giant Jamie’s body kept Arthur in the broad pocket of her coat so that he could ride along as she walked and keep snug and safe with just his head sticking out of the pocket to watch the amusing sights along the way. That way, when Jamie’s head was preoccupied aloft then Jamie’s body would have a playmate to keep her hands busy and not get lonely.

            One day Little Giant Jamie came to the end of the world. The end of the world was at the end of the last horizon. At the end of the world was just one giant mountain with a green garden on top of it around which flew gyres and gyres of angels. But at the foot of the mountain there was a deep dark tunnel which stretched downwards as far as anyone could see into the endless blackness below. The mountain with the unscalable summit and the unfathomable abyssal tunnel beneath it had a name. It was called Mount Mundus. Jamie’s head looked up at the end of her rope and saw the beautiful, beautiful Garden atop the shear cliff leading the summit and wanted to run fast to the very top. But Little Giant Jamie’s body, whenever Jamie’s head pulled forward to go upwards, could only move forwards downwards into the endless tunnel. The more Jamie’s head pulled upward, the more Jamie’s body ran forward, but only farther and farther downwards into the dark frightening tunnel. Jamie could only keep herself together by letting out more and more of the rope which she held tightly in her fist, and which was attached securely at the farther end to her floating head.

            At last Little Giant Jamie’s body came to the end of the rope, which jerked back with a snag and sent her with a pratfall sprawling on the ground, while Jamie’s head could neither advance any further upwards towards the angels hovering above the lovely Garden, and Jamie’s head began to weep and weep. Now both Little Giant Jamie’s head and Jamie’s body were weeping and weeping an endless flood of tears that threatened to drown the whole world in a flood not seen since Noah’s time! She cried for twenty days and twenty nights and the tears poured down the slopes of Mr. Mundus and half covered the earth as if the prophesies of the return of the Deluge of Manu and of Global Warming had already come to pass.

            Little Giant Jamie’s head called ever more frantically to Jamie’s body to keep moving forward. But Jamie’s body was so terrified at the thought of losing the end of the rope that held Jamie’s head that she just kept gripping the rope-end tighter and tighter. Jamie’s head shouted to her: “Let go, let go!—just keep moving forward and let go and we will be sure to meet on the other side of the mountain!” But Jamie’s body was too terrified to let go, and she would only try to move forward through the dark, dark tunnel and then the rope would snag and they would fall back together again hopelessly.

            Now after twenty days of crying and crying the sea of tears was already up to Jamie’s waist and the salt waters were rising to the top of her coat pocket, making Arthur screech and squeal with dismay as he peered out.

            “Do something, Art!” Jamie’s body yelled, and then the golden monkey climbed up atop her shoulders and began to jump and tumble in wild somersaults and screeches as he panicked the more Jamie’s body frenzied herself jumping this way and that, twisting and turning at the end of her rope over their dilemma.

            Then Art remembered that behind his ear he always carried a special magic rod like a scrivener’s pencil that could telescope and collapse. He assured Little Giant Jamie’s body that this rod was a magic wand that had the power to make any rope longer and longer without any limit and he would waive his magic wand and then she could continue walking through the abyssal tunnel until they came to the other side of the End of the World and that Jamie’s head would have enough rope to continue upwards and over the summit with the immaculate Garden and the angels gyring above it, and that they would all meet again at the other side of the End of the World.

            Now Little Giant Jamie stopped crying and the flood waters receded. Jamie began to laugh and sing, and Jamie’s body began to skip joyfully forward along the abyssal tunnel. There was one problem though. Art’s rod was not really magic but could only extend about the length of a long fishing pole when fully extended, which was what he mainly used it for. So now Jamie’s head was speeding upward in joyous ecstasy and Jamie’s body was skipping down the abyssal tunnel at a wonderful pace and the rope was getting taughter and taughter and about to snag again when Art decided to play a mirthful trick on Jamie’s body. He took out his pocket knife and severed the rope, freeing Jamie’s head to float ever upwards towards the heavens. He tied the severed end of Jamie’s body’s end of the rope to the top of his rod, just like the line of a fishing rod, and he pulled the slack rope upwards and held it above Jamie’s body so that to her hand it felt like the head was still floating at the upper end of the line. The tricky monkey thus rode on Jamie’s shoulders holding the rod like a long fishing pole, and Jamie’s body just kept skipping and humming along contently through the dark abyssal tunnel, reveling in her joyful movements. Art screeched and whelped and turned summersaults and had a glorious time riding and losing himself in an orgy of laughter.

            Meanwhile, Little Giant Jamie’s head, none the wiser, floated free towards the heavens, running in the winds along with the cavorting angels, her imagination running free and unfettered on the West Wind before her. You will not believe the Elsewhere Worlds she visited and reveled in! Jamie’s head, freed from its tether rode the joyous whirlwinds over Laputa, past Balnibari, sojourning at Luggnag and Glubdubdrib and even getting as far as Japan! She even stopped to pick up a Doctorate at the Academy of Lagado before partying with the Yahoos and Houynhnms and Munchkins in the Emerald City of the Great Oz!

            Jamie’s body skipped blissfully past the deepest caverns of Tartarus, over the Elysian Fields, and tripped through the concentric circles of the underworld in happy ignorance of the dark things around her, and finally came up, like the proverbial tunnel-digger to China, on the other side of the Grand Horizon, emerging from the other end of the tunnel into the brilliant warm sunshine, which, having no alternative, shone on nothing new, but just as ever so joyfully.

            But what do you think happened to Little Giant Jamie’s head when it passed over Mount Mundus and its summit-top beautiful Garden and was blown by the four winds past Laputa, and Balnibari and the Academy of Lagado and Luggnag and Glubdubdrib and the Emerald City of the Great Oz? Why remarkably as it may seem it finally floated down to earth out of the most fearful whirlwind and touched down at just the exact spot where Little Giant Jamie’s body emerged from the abyssal tunnel into the joyous sunshine! Really, everyone thought it was a most remarkable coincidence and they talked about it for weeks and weeks after that! And just as the two ends of the rope came together, Art with a wink used a secret sailor’s knot he knew to splice and knit them together so that nobody knew that they had ever been severed! And Little Giant Jamie’s body and Little Giant Jamie’s head talked it all over about everything they did and everywhere they had gone and they finally agreed with one another, as they occasionally did, that that rope was, it certainly and surely must be and must have been, a Rope of Remarkable Length!

            Thus I ended the first rough draft my story just as the sun was beginning to come up and show its rosy-fingered dawn at my window panes. Then I tried to envisage how I would revise it, what style I should put it into. Style—-I have not invented any device, any style but write in the style that is me. You have material in yourself, in humanity and you apply it. That’s all. I describe what I feel and what I think. My books are called romantic, but I am essentially a realist of myself.

I closed the shade to try to get some sleep, full with the satisfaction and the exhaustion of a new mother giving birth. It was so hard to get back to my Faery Land and yet I had done it once again for once in the bluest of moons! It is my little World Elsewhere, my enchantéd Kingdom of Possibilities without the possibility of return to which I would not feel myself quite fully alive, or alive to the very romance of life. To visit it is to establish a little magic theatre, a little removed from the highway of ordinary travel, a little beyond the beaten path, far beyond the actual events of real lives. It is a kind of Neutral Territory, my fictional World Elsewhere, somewhere between the real world and the Fairy-land, where the Actual and the Imaginary may chance to meet on amiable terms, and each imbue itself with the nature of the other. My mind slipped beneath the horizon of consciousness and into a profound and redeeming sleep—-thankful I was—–for we had travelled far together that night.  


Andreas’ Blog: A London walk in the glorious nubile streets! Back again! Kensington, West End, Hyde Park and down the Strand next to the glorious Thames. The flow of vulvas, enticing breasts, mincing walks and coyish eyes is more constant and gushing and onflowing than even the flow of the river itself! I try to think about the Committee work but it is a thorough no-go—–no sooner begun than diverted up the seams of a pair of netted stockings ranging their way up those glorious thighs——–and God what luck!——-she bends over to pick up her carkeys that have fallen to the ground before the Citroen’s door, and…………glimpse of Heaven!……I’m popeyed with awe!……..Honeythighs!  She pretends not to notice me smiling……….was it all intentional?………’s little mysteries and conspiracies!  Ten seconds later another set of hips and thighs!

Hips and thighs, hips and thighs, and the sweet realm of future bliss that doth between them lie!……Beseeching at the portals of the soft source!….Glorious, glorious!—–delirious Madrabbiting!……To die the sweet deaths of complete love!…Rickitykrikity, Rickitykrickity!………She Comes! She Comes!………BlickityBlickity, Teroo! Teroo!………Sloppy days and hinckey sweets!…..….but after the hundredth time in an hour I am conscious of my own complete idiocy……………I am whitewater rafting down a gushing river of pure liquid libido…………I am drowning in a glorious whitewater rapids of mind benumbing tumescence on the verge……………yet another she—another waiting world of endless possibility—-flippity-flip-flipping my rubber raft over and plunging my head and my sanity beneath the roiling surface waters………Aqua Vitae!……Uissce Beathe!……Give me a Whiskey, for God’s sake!………..I feel my mind eroding, eroding into a washed away nothingness and a latent painful depression……then exaltation…..then depression again……………Help, God! I’m drowning in sex!

Christ! Hips and thighs, hips and thighs, bellys and breasts and the faces, the faces ……..the heavenly and hellish faces! Glorious…….but the idiocy of it all catches up with you…..when you look between her legs splayed naked on the bed after its all over and the moment of revulsion kicks in……I swing from star to star in my mad balloon but the gushing gasbag won’t sustain me much longer……..the shear idiocy and absurdity that your whole brain is tied to this thing……………..your brain utterly enslaved to its necessity……and the urge to recover one’s freedom from it all after its over……… the absurdity of the salmon fighting rapids and predation and an utterly hostile current to implacably return to its place of spawning to begin the idiotic cycle anew and then the urge to get back to the freedom of the open youthful sea………….

Oh God, the glory and the pain of it!…….I am crucified upon a cross of sex!………….Just the absurdity of it!  Just think of it………the heaven and the hell of it………for seven million years of human evolution all the power of man’s brain has been shackled and tethered and constrained to the female pelvis and the inescapable imperative to return to it forever like an anadromous fish or a biological yo-yo! In childbirth the very size of the human brain is literally limited by the conundrum of getting it out from between her legs! Then forever after the productivity of that brain is short circuited when every third thought is diverted back to a woman’s breasts, or thighs, or up her panties and crotch! The diameter of the vagina is the limiting factor of the powers of the race! Who could tell how many thousands of cc’s of brain capacity might have been added but for the impossibility of wriggling through the vaginal strait of birth? Two million years ago we made the great leap forward by standing erect after eons on all fours, and once again the limiting factor——the woman’s hips!—–if they were too wide she couldn’t make it on two legs out of the trees and across the savannah—but too narrow and the human race’s one competitive advantage—the human brain—couldn’t make it out of the womb! Solution? The child had to postpone most of its brain-growing and ripening til after birth in a prolonged infant dependency on the mother—trading a slavery to the vulva for a slavery to the breast! Then?……..a man spends nine months trying to solve the problem of how to get through that portal and out into the world and then the next ninety years figuring out how to get back in!…And that is his bondage until he dies!  …..What Newtons or Einsteins might have walked the earth if even fifty percent of a man’s thoughts were directed to anything at all above the level of a woman’s hips or bosoms! Every third thought is but sexual anticipation or sexual frustration. The sex mania is like the binding band around the head of Sun Wu Kong the Chinese genius Monkey King except that it keeps men enslaved to the world rather than in service of the spirit! And that binding band is seared and branded on a man’s forehead when he passes through his mother’s taut labia and out into the world, never to be wholly free again! The seal of bondage to the vagina in on his brow forever—the measure, limit and mark of the thralldom and servitude of all his future life! Then after the briefest interval of unconscious infantile peace and innocence we spend a lifetime as the prisoners of sex! Let my people go!—or cum, or there’s the hell of it! The soul of man no sooner sets eyes on the stars and takes wing towards the heavens and the freedom of the clouds and sky than he is dragged back by the sexual gravity of woman—back to the surly bonds of mother earth. She converts the euphoric and orgasmic energies of sex and freedom into the pregnant gravitational mass with a downward pull greater than the earth. She, with the unthinking genius of a sexual Einstein converts libidinal energy into the binding chains of gravitational mass: ! How can a man reach escape velocity and be free?…………but what’s the use?………….Might as well revel in the exquisite joys of it all while the freedom lasts!…OOOh! that one is so lovely—-and the tits!…….For every sadist a masochist!…….this must be heaven!……but can hell be far behind?

Here I am in London, free and surrounded by voluptuous possibilities. I have my two regular girls, Noreen and Eva, both of whom want to marry me, but I can’t stand being caged and owned. Then I have my sexual flings and adventures—my jousts with the stars! ……Noreen Moritz was the first girl I had in London. She was a knockout and fantastic in bed, and a total fashionista. How could I describe her?—-I would say she is the ultimate modern and material girl—-I would say like a jet plane she is streamlined. She has jettisoned the nostalgic accessories of the past as well as the needless bother of an interior life as if they were so much excess baggage, focusing instead on “the relevant”—-the “keys to success.” She is the ultimate go-go girl on the make in the modern world. She is supremely indifferent to the conventional concerns of the common people as to their pasts and their futures—–her existence is radically rooted in the present tense, and in what one has to offer in the here and now. As such she is ideally suited to survival in this contemporary world.

            Eva on the other hand is a dinosaur. She is at heart a more traditional loving, feeling homemaking and nurturing woman——an endangered species. It is funny—-I like Eva the best but it is Noreen who excites me more sexually. I am living with Eva but she bores me in bed oftentimes. I guess the naked truth is that I am not worthy of her—–I  love my freedom and pleasures more than her…..I can live with Eva but I couldn’t live with Noreen, though she asked me to a hundred times——I couldn’t stand her empty head—and her empty-headed possessiveness—but I keep coming back to the thrill of her. I don’t know where I will end up.  


     When Jack Sartorius touched down on the Airbus 360 British Airways Flight 1942 from Washington, D.C. Dulles Airport to London, Heathrow he found, like Enoch of old, that he had disappeared from the face of the earth.  Instead, another man stepped off the airplane and passed through customs, thereafter known to the world as Jack McKinsey. Jack McKinsey was Sartorius’ new ‘handle’ or cover identity for this phase of his work with the CIA. A complete persona and identity, complete with documents, passport, resume, work history, MSN Messenger and Facebook profiles, and a supporting cast of friends and former classmates and employers had been created as if he were a character in a novel written by an omniscient yet anonymous author. Jack had spent over one year at ‘The Farm,’ the principal CIA training center at Camp Peary, near Williamsburg, Virginia for ‘spies,’ operatives and related hangers on and was now a newly coined ‘Case Officer’ in the Agency’s Clandestine Service, formerly known as the Directorate of Operations but recast as part of an integrated Intelligence Community after the reforms of 2005 subordinating the CIA itself and its Director to a new umbrella organization, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI),  reporting directly to the President of the United States, and whose function was to coordinate and integrate the dozen odd intelligence agencies straddling departmental silos—–including the CIA, Department of Defense, Department of State and other related agencies such as the FBI with its domestic counterintelligence functions.  He had previously spent four years on the Analysis side of the CIA house, specializing in Counterterrorism in the wake of the 9-11 incident, and had previously served a tour in the United States Marine Corps, altogether a chrysalis somewhat preparing him to take wing in his new incarnation and metamorphosis. As he stepped off the airliner the first person to greet him was Joel Barlow, the CIA Station Chief for London, posted to the United States Embassy at Grosvenor Square as a senior Minister Counselor for Cultural Affairs. In the jargon of Intelspeak Barlow was under ‘Official Cover,’ meaning that his status in the Embassy conferred diplomatic immunity upon him, whereas Jack’s new handle as Jack McKinsey was under NOC, or ‘Non-official Cover.’ As such Jack, though habitually law-abiding found himself operating as an ‘Illegal’ or operative without diplomatic cover and immunity, a bit closer, yet in mundane reality far removed from the fantasy celluloid existence of heroes the likes of James Bond as 007 that he had grown up with and which occasionally subliminally motivated his imagination. Neither of these distinctions were of critical relevance in the immediate case of operations in London, perhaps the most friendly overseas territory for the CIA on earth, and as an ‘Illegal’ in London the possibility Jack’s of being picked-up and apprehended as a ‘spy’ in the United Kingdom was so remote to an extreme as to be hilariously laughable.

Indeed, Joel Barlow, who was just greeting Jack as Section Chief of the London mission of the CIA would have been well forewarned of such a possibility since by a unique intergovernmental arrangement bespeaking the closeness of the US/UK ‘Special Relationship’ he as an American CIA Station Chief actually sat as a member of the top British intelligence committee, the JIC, or Joint Intelligence Committee, comprised according to the Prime Minister’s office’s introduction, ” of the heads of the UK’s three intelligence and security agencies (MI6, MI5 and GCHQ), the chief of defence intelligence, and senior officials from key government departments”. This Committee through its staff assembled each morning the ‘Red Book’ or the daily intelligence briefing for the Prime Minister and his top intelligence Ministers and staff, similar to the DNI/CIA’s President’s Daily Brief in the USA.

 The position of the CIA’s London station chief traditionally is occupied by a senior American spook in his sunset years, as the post of running the CIA’s large London operation based in Grosvenor Square demands greater skills in diplomacy rather than the stealthy ingenuity of the agency’s more front-line postings such as Baghdad, Beijing, Cairo, Mumbai or Moscow might. And according to reliable CIA contacts, ever since the Second World War, the London chief and his staff have not only been on hand to consult with their British counterparts, and to share the most sensitive intelligence reports as one of the “Five Eyes”—-the intelligence community’s ultimate insiders: Britain, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but also serve directly on some of Whitehall’s key intelligence committees.

The JIC meetings are usually in two parts, with the ‘domestic’ side coming second. “Our man traditionally stands up and leaves out of courtesy when the meeting turns to more nationalistically sensitive domestic UK material,” said an old hand from the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia to Jack a few weeks before during his pre-mission briefing. He stressed the CIA was there only to offer advice and co-operation, not with any kind of veto or vote.

Barlow told Jack the story of a senior British civil servant newly tasked to the Prime Minister’s office under Tony Blair, who, asked to serve on a JIC working party, told the Prime Minister he was amazed and intrigued to find that his fellow members included a burly and genial man from the CIA. This man suggested revisions to the draft report on an urgent intelligence question – “albeit in a friendly way”. The burley and genial man from the CIA was Barlow.

Officially of course Whitehall officials were adamant that there was no such American representation at the JIC, but in reality Barlow saw the Prime Minister so often that it made many of the senior Whitehall mandarins quite jealous.  Barlow described the weekly attendance at the Cabinet Office JIC meeting as the “highlight of the job”. He said: “I remember with especial fondness the official red folder the chief carries to each and every meeting, the Red Book, for the Prime Minister’s eyes only, and of course for those other eyes who officially serve as the Prime Minister’s eyes.”

Jack had already known Barlow for many years as he was one of his instructors at ‘The Farm’ at Camp Peary, the basic training center for CIA officers. Barlow had been a kind of Mentor for him. Barlow, in his sunset years of service was assigned to the Farm to give young recruits the benefit of his grey-haired wisdom and judgment. As a respected senior statesman of the Agency he also drew such genteel postings as the London Station Chief position in which he now greeted his old protégé Jack Sartorius, now newly reminted as Jack McKinsey.

     Joel Barlow directed his man from the embassy staff to collect Jack’s luggage while he shuttled him through passport control and before ten minutes were up they were on their way to the Ritz Hotel in Piccadilly where Jack would be staying, courtesy of the generous corporate account of Jung Communications. Jack was happy to discover that his cover required him to maintain the first-class lifestyle of a major multinational media business manager, far beyond what he had been used to in his private travel or on government travel in the past. Barlow chatted him up in the car, including a brief en passant account of the progress to date of the investigation and demarche surrounding the London Olympic Bombing and Jack’s expected important role in getting to the bottom of it. Then he accompanied him to get checked in at the hotel, leaving him for a few hours afterwards to get settled in, showered and take a bit of a rest to deal with the jet lag. After that Barlow promised to return by seven to take Jack to a dinner party at Winfield House, the residence of the Ambassador to meet the Ambassador and his family as well as some of the principals of the diplomatic community.

Jack found himself by prior reservations in a Ritz Green Park 21 suite, and the first impression he took of the room was of the luxurious view over the immaculate landscape of trees and hedges of Green Park below his window. The décor of the room was in the style of Louis XVI, with the hotel being recently renovated by the Barclay interests to the original vision of Cesar Ritz in 1906, the eponymous founder of the original continental hotel chain, and termed by none other than Edward VII as the “hotelier to Kings, and the King of hoteliers.”  Jack had been in many so-called luxury or five-star hotels and was usually disappointed. Staying at the Hilton often amounted to paying triple for extra doilies and being charged extra for the mineral water.  But the Ritz London was truly impressive in its style, grace and luxury. To tell the truth he found it all a bit effeminate and cloying, but had to admit it was an artistic masterpiece within its genre.  He got himself packed away, showered and shaved, then caught a couple of hours shut-eye before waking up jet-lagged and restless. He paced around the room and decided to take a stroll around the hotel grounds. The Long Hall of the hotel was impressive and he went outside to look at Green Park, then came back inside to kill time until the evening. He booted up on the Internet, checked his e-mail and got off a few himself, then decided to try out the British institution of Afternoon Tea in the Palm Court, for which he would have to put on a coat and tie in accordance with the rather conservative dress code of the establishment.  Jack wasn’t quite used to it but he inwardly liked the atmosphere of greater formality, compared to the lackadaisical Stateside culture he was raised in. It seemed a little more grown-up and mature, yet seemed to have shed some of the excesses of that “Old World Corruption and Decadence” which was always repugnant to the latent attitudes and sensibilities of Americans towards the culture, notwithstanding the tacit complicity of such crypto-fellow-traveler-aristocrats as the expatriates Henry James and T.S. Eliot and the ilk.

Rambling down to the Palm Court, again Jack was taken in pleasant surprise at the beauty of the surroundings, centered on cascading luxuriant crystal chandeliers set alongside roseate marble columns with gold Corinthian capitals with scrolls and gilded acanthus leaves. Because he didn’t have a reservation he had to wait, taking a gin and tonic at the Rivoli Bar though being a resident of the hotel gave him a pass—-otherwise it was not uncommon to have to wait months for a reservation at the Palm Court Afternoon Tea, which was something of an institution of itself in the London upper circles.  Finally getting himself seated he ordered a Champagne Tea, which came with a three-tiered tray of assorted sandwiches and pastries—more than enough to make a complete meal for two if one were inclined, and of course tea.

While Jack was trying to shake off the zombiehood of jet lag, he saw a woman of splendid legs and body tone make her way from the doorway to the table directly across from his. She was in her mid-to late thirties and had sensuous flowing black hair, twisted up artistically in the back, and looked dark and Latin in her facial appearance, wearing dark fashionable sunglasses.  She sat herself gracefully in the Louis XVI chair at the table opposite Jack and reached into an expensive Gucci leather bag and pulled out a book, of which judging from the position of the bookmark she removed she had gotten through about sixty pages or so. On the front of the book cover was an imposing white-headed patriarchal noble visage with an immense flowing white beard, undoubtedly dating back to the Victorian period.  Jack smiled and tried to make out the title of the book, but it was turned a bit away from him. As the waiter came and took her order he again made a furtive glance at the book title, sipping his tea, as she held it in her lap while talking. He tried not to be too forward in his glances because although he found it hard not to stare at her beautifully sculpted legs he didn’t want her to feel that he was trying to cross the acceptable limit in the movements of his eyes following their curves too far up to where they so beautifully and invitingly disappeared under the hem of her summer skirt.  He was then able to make out the book’s title:  King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild.

After that he was unable to see her face clearly, first because of the large dark glasses, and then after she removed those to read, because of the imposition of the book itself with King Leopold’s septuagenarian face so unhappily blocking her own much younger and inviting one. Nonetheless they exchanged glances over the top of her book that Jack increasingly felt might prove meaningful in a way found fascinating between men and women since time immemorial.  It was not until she bit into her second sandwich, momentarily lowering the book, that Jack had to perform what in America he would term a “double-take” upon her face. For the face behind the book convulsively yielded itself up to the somewhat haphazard process of human recognition by which it dawned on Jack that the eyes he had so promisingly been flirting with were no ordinary set of eyes, nor even any ordinary set of extraordinarily alluring sloe female eyes, but instead the eyes of a female person he somewhat inconveniently now knew was destined to be of considerable, though complicated importance to him. It was Isis.

Isis continued to make warm eyes at him over her book and Jack smiled back, glancing over his own complimentary copy of the Times as he sipped his champagne.  As he traded glances, details of his Langley briefing on Isis started quickly to flood back into focus in his mind. She was Nicaraguan born but now a British citizen, married to Osiris, whose own sex life was so out of control that nobody ever knew who he was sleeping with or with how many at any one time, or how many times in any one day, leaving Isis sometimes playing the role of mother and wife, sometimes wounded lover and martyr, and sometimes leading a separate existence estranged from her legal husband and intermittent tormentor, intermittently living in separate homes or hotels and carrying on affairs and relationships on the rebound. In addition she had in recent years taken on a forceful role and presence in NGO circles in her own right, becoming successively a Goodwill Ambassador for the Council of Europe and UNESCO, a Director of the Leadership Council of Amnesty International and the founder and director of her own foundation, the Isis International Human Rights Foundation (IIHRF).  Before her marriage she was something of a jet-setting socialite associated with New York City’s nightclub Studio 24 and becoming known particularly as an intimate friend of pop artist Andy Warhol, actor Ryan O’Neil and politicians Robert Borricelli and Christopher Codd. Earlier, though raised a devout Catholic in her twenties she had become a Communist supporting the Sandinista regime and opposing US intervention in that country, but then like many idealists becoming disillusioned with the repressiveness of communist regimes and breaking with the Marxist hard-left she became increasingly involved with residual idealistic causes such as Amnesty International and the human rights movement. Recently of course she had lent considerably celebrity support to the causes of global warming and support of the indigenous tribes of Brazil against encroachment and extermination by the gold miners, lumber, cattle and agribusiness interests in that country and similar causes across Latin America.

Jack’s very comprehensive pre-mission briefing at Langley had included a very complete introduction to the dramatis personae who would most likely be appearing on the stage of his field of action with regard to both the professional world of Jung Communications and the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly Global Appeal Campaign and as to those involved with the cases on the black side. Thus he instantly realized that Isis and Osiris would be intimately involved in the coming Campaign that he would be orchestrating in North America and globally as part of Jung Communications. Just as his hormones were accelerating towards overdrive and getting positive feedback from the female side of the equation, he had to pull himself back from his James Bond fantasy and get a grip on himself. As Joel Barlow had told him when he was his mentor and instructor at the Farm at Camp Peary, the number one reason for ever-so-smart people making stupid mistakes was thinking with their dicks instead of their brains. Jack hit the hormonal brakes and gave the fantasy of orgiastic bliss pulsing through his brain at the speed of light a no-go and a regretful wave-off.  For this one, it was necessary to think things through.  He got up to leave, and as he charged the bill to his room he saw that Isis was giving him a considerable come-on, smiling broadly, evidently concluding that their sexual momentum had built to where he would make an approach to her en passant.  Jack smiled back warmly, but with a tinge of melancholy in his eyes, nodding and saying to her as he passed by without stopping “Good Afternoon.”

Around seven-thirty Jack put on his evening dress, inspected himself in the mirror,  and went down to meet the embassy limousine that had called up, announcing its arrival to ferry him out to Winfield House, the Ambassador’s residence, stopping at the Embassy at Grosvenor Square to pick up Barlow. Barlow came out of the Chancery entrance, beneath the Greek columns surmounted with an immense forty-foot statue of an American eagle with outstretched wings,  clothed in black-tie evening dress handsomely setting off his dignified shock of longish grey hair and with his wife in tow dressed in a sky-blue evening dress with a cascade of pearls that showed off her figure—well preserved despite her age somewhere in the sixties.

“Well it is my-y pleasure to meet you Jack……” rang out Mrs. Willa Barlow in a thick motherly southern accent, “is this your first time in London?”

            “No, maam, I’ve been here a number of times before on travel or business but this is the first time I’ve been working here on longer-term projects. “

            “Jack and I are old colleagues from Washington….I’m just breaking him in and showing him the ropes in the corrupt Old World over here.” joked Barlow.

            “Well then you just take good care of yourself son,…..just keep a good American head on your shoulders and mind you don’t let all this continental decadence and falderal go to your head now.”

            “Thank you maam, I’ll keep your good advice in mind, maam.” smiled back Jack.

            In the course of the drive Mrs. Barlow brought to Jack’s attention that the United States has been associated with Grosvenor Square in London’s Mayfair since the late eighteenth century when John Adams, the first United States Minister to the Court of St. James’s, lived from 1785 to 1788 in the house which still stands in Grosvenor Square on the corner of Brook and Duke Streets. John Adams later became President of the United States, as did four other Ministers who served as ambassadors: James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, and James Buchanan. From the ranks of Ministers and Ambassadors who have served in London have also come four Vice Presidents and ten Secretaries of State.

            She pointed out the gilded aluminum eagle, with its 40-foot wing spread, surmounting the Chancery remaining visible to jack for some time as the car sped out the gateway. It was created by American sculptor Theodore Roszak and was inspired by a pre-Independence carved wooden eagle in a New England museum she said. As the limousine pulled out of the drive Jack glanced back at the main entrance in Grosvenor Square continuing the motif of open grill work in gold anodized aluminum with the Great Seal of the United States set into it. The Diplomatic Gates in Grosvenor Square, were a gift of the National Committee for the Bicentennial of the Treaty of Paris of 1783, the celebration of the treaty ending the American Revolutionary War from 1776-1783, recording Britain’s acceptance of American independence, and establishing full diplomatic relations between the two nations, Mrs. Barlow volunteered. The fascia was of Greek Pentillikon marble, and the floor of travertine marble from Italy.

            Jack quickly learned that during the Second World War when the Chancery was on one side and General Eisenhower’s headquarters on another, Grosvenor Square became popularly known as “Little America.” In the Battle of Britain the lovely garden in the center of Grosvenor Square had been turned to more practical use. A group of W.A.A.F.’s and the blimp they called “Romeo” took shelter there. These W.A.A.F.’s were the first Women’s Army Air Force crew to man a blimp. They lived in low wooden huts which covered what were once flower beds around the parkway. Diagonally across from the Embassy, General Eisenhower later established his headquarters here and Admiral Stark had a building next door which housed the naval mission. On the other side of the square were further military installations and offices occupied by the overflow from the Embassy itself.

            As the car left the Chancery gate Mrs. Barlow told the driver to circle the square so that she could show Jack the memorials on Grosvenor square. She told Jack that her own father had been a colonel on Eisenhower’s staff during the Normandy invasion, and how after the war working for a bank in London he had brought her here to show her what he had done during the war. First she showed the Eisenhower Statue standing just across the road from the buildings that General Eisenhower occupied as Commander in Chief of the Allied Force and Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force . Next was the Roosevelt Memorial, funded in 1946 entirely through a public appeal and the sale of a souvenir booklet to the British public. This was the brain child of The Pilgrims, a society dedicated to the enhancement of friendship and understanding between Great Britain and America. So enthusiastic was the public response to the subscription that the total sum required was reached and exceeded in a mere six days from the day that British Prime Minister announced the opening of the appeal on the radio. More than 160,000 separate donations had been received. Mrs. Barlow told how as a young girl with her father she was there in 1948, when the statue was ceremonially unveiled by Eleanor Roosevelt and dedicated by then U.S. Ambassador Lewis Douglas in front of an audience including the Royal Family, the Prime Minister Clement Attlee and the Leader of the Opposition Sir Winston Churchill. Finally, she pointed out the Eagle Squadron Memorial, the monument to the American Eagle Squadron pilots of World War II formed in September 1940 mostly from American citizens who had volunteered to join the British Air Force. Jack looked out the limousine window, taking in a handsome tapering shaft of white Portland stone surmounted by a bronze sculpture of the American Bald Eagle.

            Mrs. Barlow then told the driver to stop the car in front of Adams House on Grosvenor Square, associated with our nation, as she was proud to repeat, since the late eighteenth century when John Adams, the first United States Minister to the Court of St. James’s and the second President of the United States, lived from 1785 to 1788 in the house which Mrs. Barlow pointed out from the corner of Brook and Duke Streets. She briefly stepped out of the car with Jack in dutiful tow to point out a plaque erected by the Colonial Dames of America, of which she was proud to announce to him that she had served as President. She had also headed the Daughters of the American Revolution, which had a fine building on the Mall near the White House which Jack remembered from his walks there. Mrs. Barlow said that although she came from old aristocratic stock from the South in America dating back to the Revolutionary War, she also had a streak of ‘The Jeffersonian Red’ in her—–though on the whole moderately conservative in outlook, she was inclined to agree with Jefferson that “a little revolution now and then is a good thing.” She recounted how, although John Adams was the first accredited Minister to the Court of St. James, Benjamin Franklin had been here earlier before the Revolutionary War trying unsuccessfully to work a compromise to avert that war, and how one of the great patriots whom she revered, Thomas Paine had been hounded out of Britain for advocating what we would now take as rational American ‘Common Sense’……..not coincidentally the title of his first seminal work in America.

            “Well Jack,” drawled out Barlow, “ I hope Willa hasn’t overwhelmed you with her history lesson!—–I’m afraid she has the history bug in her blood and nobody under thirty escapes on their first visit without the involuntary Grand Tour. Now darling, suppose we just give Jack a little time to relax and enjoy himself before you set him down cramming for his Ph.D. final examinations!”

            “Joel, I’m over sixty and you know you are not going to reform me now, so stop trying!  Just give me my head and I’ll run out of steam quickly enough for everybody…….Jack, I haven’t bored you with all this lore, have I?’

            ‘No Maam!” smiled back Jack broadly, ‘I will gladly entrust my education to so knowledgeable and beautiful a professor!”

            “You see Joel,” retorted Mrs. Barlow, “not everybody is such an ignorant and unregenerate Caliban as yourself…………..we still have a few cultured gentlemen amoung us.”

            A map of Regent’s Park shows Winfield House – the residence of the Ambassador of the United States of America to the Court of St. James’s – occupying twelve and a half acres on the northwest side.

The house stands behind fifteen-foot high iron gates on land that was once part of a “great forest, with wooded glades and lairs of wild beasts, deer both red and fallow, wild bulls and boars”. Half a century before the Norman Conquest the land belonged to the Abbey of Barking. Over the years, King Henry Vlll hunted there, Queen Elizabeth I used it for entertaining dignitaries and King James I offered it as collateral to raise money to go to war. King Charles II had the whole area “disparked” and toward the end of the 17th century Lord Arlington was given one of the first private leases.

The land remained rural countryside until the 19th century when John Nash was Architect to the Woods and Forests Department, and friend of the Prince of Wales, the future King George IV. With the draftsman James Morgan, Nash began an elaborate plan for the development of the whole area. It consisted of fifty-six villas and a zoo – which is still there – but by the time George IV became King costs had skyrocketed and only eight villas were built. The largest was St. Dunstan’s, originally called Hertford Villa, commissioned by the Third Marquess of Hertford and designed by the 25-year-old architect Decimus Burton. His building, “Italianate in style and deriving a certain grandeur from its hexastyle portico of Corinthian orders” was on the site where the U.S. Ambassador’s residence now stands.

It was actually two buildings connected by a single-storied hall, “the tent room” spacious enough for “magnificent receptions.” On the wall adjacent to the tent room the Marquess installed a huge clock with the life-size figures Gog and Magog striking the hours. Burton had rescued it from the demolished St. Dunstan’s Church in Fleet Street and he now gave this name to the house in Regent’s Park.

            In 1936 the house was partly destroyed by fire and it was bought by Barbara Hutton, the world-famous heiress then twenty-four years old and married to Count Haugwitz-Reventlow. Concerned about threats to kidnap their son Lance, they decided to give up their house near Marble Arch in London and look for something bigger and more secure. Three years earlier she had inherited some $40 million from her grandfather, Frank Winfield Woolworth, founder of the Woolworth store chain.

Friends suggested that St Dunstan’s Villa might be an excellent site for the kind of home Barbara Hutton was seeking. Impressed by the peace and security of the grounds, she decided to buy and on August 10, 1936 the Crown Estate Commission gave permission for the old white stucco Regency villa to be pulled down and a red brick Georgian style house built in its place.

Barbara Hutton engaged two decorators: “Johnny” Sieben, an expert on carpets and French furniture, who had renovated the Woolworth town houses in New York, and Sheila Lady Milbank, who had consulted on furnishing, colors and fabrics for the previous Reventlow London house. Oak parquet floors were laid, 18th century French paneling installed and marble bathrooms fitted. Several thousand trees and hedges were planted, a ten-foot high steel fence erected and a modern security system installed to protect the property.

In 1937 Count and Countess Reventlow moved into Winfield House, named after her grandfather. The splendid mansion sheltered a treasury of paintings (two Canalettos of which were later given to the National Gallery in Washington), Louis XV furniture, Persian carpets, and Chinese objets d’art. It may have given its chatelaine some of the happiness and security she longed for – but it was short lived.

In 1939, with World War II about to erupt and her marriage to Count Reventlow ending, Barbara Hutton returned to America. Winfield House was commandeered and used by an RAF barrage balloon unit. The windows were boarded up and balloons festooned the gardens where officers played football on a team jocularly called “Barbara’s Own”. Actor Cary Grant, who married Miss Hutton in 1942, visited the house during this period and afterwards heard an Edward R. Murrow broadcast that criticized her for abandoning her home. Mr. Grant called the journalist and asked him to go and see for himself what was happening in the house. On the next day’s broadcast, Murrow apologized to Miss Hutton. Cary Grant always felt that she was never given proper credit for her generosity.

Winfield House was also used as an Air Crew Reception Center, along with another in Abbey Lodge, for recruits being screened as prospective RAF pilots. Near misses from German bombs damaged the roof and moisture ruined the parquet floors and in 1944 a flying bomb exploded forty yards from the house, killing one cadet and injuring twenty others. Six weeks later Winfield House ceased to host the RAF unit – although it was later used as an American Officers’ Club.

A year after the war, Barbara Hutton came back to visit Winfield House. She found buckled floorboards, peeling walls, broken windows and dangling wires. The next day she telephoned her New York lawyer and told him she wanted to give the house to the U.S. Government to be repaired and used as the official residence of the American Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s. Her “most generous and patriotic offer” was accepted in a personal letter from President Harry Truman. For the token price of an American dollar, Winfield House passed into official American government ownership.

Visiting U.S. Presidents regularly stay at the residence watched over by portraits of their predecessors, some of whom served as both President of the United States and U.S. envoys to London. President George Bush met there with President Mikhail Gorbachev during the 1991 G-7 Summit. President Reagan was a frequent visitor. More recently, Senator George Mitchell hosted participants in the Northern Ireland Peace Process at Winfield House during his review of the Good Friday agreement in November 1999. Other American visitors have included astronauts, bankers, industrialists, students, congressmen, state governors and trade delegations, Supreme Court judges and U.S. government officials. The late Princess Diana once brought Princes William and Harry to Winfield House to see the presidential helicopter Marine One parked on the lawn.

 On the evening Jack first entered Winfield house the building was gaily lit for a dinner party and evening’s entertainment. A small orchestra of about twenty played in the reception room, where guests milled about drinking champagne and cocktails. As Jack circulated at Joel Barlow’s elbow he was introduced to the Deputy Chief Of Mission, Mark Tortola, really the overall executive manager of the embassy subordinate only to the Ambassador himself, who is often too busy to handle administrative matters, and successively to Minister Counselor for Management, Jonathan Melville, who traced his descent from the novelist, Herman Melville; and the Minister Counselors for Agriculture, Commercial Affairs, Economic Affairs and Political Affairs. The presence of a United States Navy Admiral in dress whites, Clifford Aldrich, made obvious the identity of the Defense Attaché. Assorted guests from the business world, foreign embassies and from British government and cultural circles were in attendance.

Joel Barlow also introduced Jack to several of the more beautiful debutantes and attractive members of the American community in London. He went out of his way to make Jack more impressive and interesting to his female admirers, puffing him up when he was shy or awkward. The selfishness of age had not set its proper grip on Barlow, for he could still feel pleasure in the pleasure of others, realizing that what he wanted, though much, was not quite all that mattered.

Joel Barlow then introduced him to Ambassador Robert Turttow, who greeted guests with his wife at the entrance to the dining hall.

“Ambassador, this is Jack McKinsey of Jung Communications. Jack, this is Ambassador Turttow—my Boss!” chimed out Barlow.  

“Ah, my pleasure Mr. McKinsey. I know your Boss very well, Julian Jung, he consults with the Prime Minister and has handled some public relations matters for us over in the states. ” he replied.

“My honour sir.” replied Jack a bit stiffly—-he was still a bit green and shy in the environment of black-tie diplomatic receptions and a little unsure of himself.

“Jack is working on the Jung Communications team organizing the Global Appeal for the United Nations World Parliament, you know the big global satellite TV hook-up, concert and rally backed by Sir Bob, Bono and Isis and Osiris, Günter Gross and Butros Butros-Ghali—-like the Live 8 Gleneagles thing for African relief at the G8 summit—you remember.” chatted up Barlow.

“Ah, yes,” sighed out the Ambassador, holding a glass of champagne in front of the sash running across his chest, “well, though I do wish you luck on the personal side, I can’t say we are very sympathetic to that sort of thing. I was just talking to our man at the United Nations, Richard Bolger, and he told me that he had shown off that Sartorius fellow last year with a good kick in the pants for trying get the Secretary-General to bring it up for a vote in the General Assembly. The trouble with these starry-eyed idealists is they don’t live in the real world, they are just playing for the peanut gallery. That sort of thing sounds fine and noble on paper but in the real world it would be a zoo and would dilute the influence of the United States as the dominant power that can do any real good in the world. You get these fellows like Boutros Boutros-Ghali who would never mention such a scheme when they are in office, but then when they leave office they have this mysterious conversion to utopian projects, like Ramsay Clark after stepping down as Attorney General—advocating farfetched things from the sidelines they didn’t have the balls to mention when in office. Remember your Shakespeare from Macbeth: “…I do fear thy nature, It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness!” My take on it is that it is all ego—–they are desperate to get their names in the papers and into the history books now that history seems to have left them behind and forgotten about them—-they can’t bear being ignored after having been spoiled by public attention——so they escalate the stakes to attract attention—–being out of office they have nothing to lose and everything to gain of course—-but in the end it is just damned irresponsibility and posturing. Bolger was right to see them off!” inveighed the Ambassador.

‘Well thank you for your take on it, Mr. Ambassador” replied Jack diffidently, half shy and half embarrassed at the inadvertent mention of his father’s name, “…….I’m not on the policy side of it, I just do my job on the public relations end of things with Julian Jung.”

“Quite.” snapped back Ambassador Turttow, turning back as he set off towards the crowd saying “…nothing personal of course Mr. McKinsey, we are all doing our jobs, and I want to assure you that you are very warmly welcome anytime at our home and in the embassy,  and Mrs. Turttow and I will always be glad to see you. Now, let’s see if we can ride herd on this crowd and get them to the dinner table.”

     Barlow turned to Jack after he had left and said apologetically “Sorry to lead you into that Jack…….this administration is still a bit Neanderthal on the level of multilateralism and Turttow is on the right-wing of the Neanderthal Party, along with Bolger……unlike the last administration which was more cosmopolitan-minded………….and its better for operational security that Turttow doesn’t know the black side of things until there is any need to know, so we’ll just let him think whatever he wants to think about the involvement with Jung Communications.”

     “You’re the Boss, sir.” replied Jack.

After the dinner the limousine ferried Jack and five others back to Grosvenor Square and then to his hotel. When he got back after one in the morning he was fairly exhausted from the lingering effects of jet-lag and the champagne and made his way upstairs for a long sleep. On entering the elevator the lift-boy held the door for a long time peering out, with the air of waiting for someone important, and looking up Jack saw an impressive female form cutting across the lobby and into the elevator, followed by a secretary and a maid.  It proved to be Isis. As the small entourage entered the elevator she turned her head to Jack, and recognizing his face smiled and said “Hello again.”

Isis lived in the Ritz like many fashionable and wealthy ladies. Theirs was the world of the fashionable hotel—-over-heated, over furnished, and over-fitted with superfluous mechanical appliances for the gratification of fantastic requirements, while the comforts of a civilized life were as unobtainable as in a desert. Through this atmosphere of torrid splendor moved wan beings as richly upholstered as the furniture, beings without definite pursuits or permanent relations, who drifted on a languid tide from restaurant to concert hall, from tea in the Palm Court to an “art-exhibit” to their dressmakers, followed by an entourage of social secretaries, maids and cosmeticians. Occasionally there was the more hurried entourage of the occasional movie star or singer rushing to make “appearances.” Elaborately equipped and chauffeured motors called at the entrance for their mistresses, to carry them into the vague London metropolitan distances, from whence they returned to be sucked back into the stifling inertia of the hotel routine. Somewhere behind them, in the background of their lives, there was doubtless a real past, peopled by real human activities: they themselves were probably the product of strong ambitions, persistent energies, diversified contacts with the wholesome roughness of life; yet here they had no more real existence than the poet’s shades in limbo.

On stopping at Jack’s floor Isis and her companions were the first to exit and Jack paused to let her go on her way without provoking any unexpected contact. He followed her at a distance of about thirty feet and noticed the shapely sway of her sculpted hips and thighs. He noticed her pass his door and continue along the corridor, stopping two doors past his own. As Jack located his own keys in the unfamiliar pocket of his evening dress suit he saw Isis fumbling through her purse for her own, with the two attendants looking on. Finally. Jack found his key and after some fumbling attempts succeeded in opening the door. Looking to his right and entering he noticed Isis glancing to her left and significantly noticing the proximity of Jack’s room to her own. She said something to one of the girls with her, who scampered down the hall in the opposite direction and then disappeared into her own room. Jack shut the door behind him, took a long hot shower, toweled off and slipped naked between the silk sheets and dissolved into profound and needed sleep.


     Peter Townsend was unhappy because he didn’t get laid last night with his girlfriend like he had planned and expected. Instead he had spent the night with the considerably less pleasurable company of Ernest Huxley in a cramped British Telecoms van parked across the street from Mustafa’s townhouse on Berkeley Square. They had been alerted to an increased level of electronic traffic in the network of contacts following a suspected chain of command, control and communications (CCC) connected to Mustafa bin Salman al Khalifa and thought something might be in the works. Eight or ten “players” whose communications had in the past been connected to Mustafa had recently had messages intercepted by the Echelon system key words and the watched e-mail handles and cell-phone numbers.  These had been collated by GCHQ in Britain and at Fort Meade NSA in the USA and then cross-decked to Langley where Myron Greenberg had penciled in lines between the dots and issued an alert, causing Thames House to cancel Peter and Ernest’s sultry weekend and consign them to the frigid icebox of the British Telecoms van.

Instead of hearing his girlfriend Rebecca moaning in bliss and satisfaction at three in the morning within the confines of his double bed, he was listening through a set of cold earphones to the simulated moans of Candy Bryson performing at the price of five hundred pounds per evening for the benefit and customer satisfaction of Mustafa. He had already counted and electronically-recorded over one hundred significant simulated orgasmic outbursts—–if one were to calculate five hundred for the evening divided by one hundred that would come to approximately five pounds per moan—not bad—but it must be difficult to keep up any sincerity—like a stage actor after the five hundredth recitation of the same lines—-not much variation. Townsend had taken a drama class in college in his sophomore year and had tried several of the techniques of acting—Stanislavsky—–“The Method”—how to feel one’s way into a part, persona or role—-one had to look for “motivation”—–here I guess Candy didn’t have to look very far for her motivation—five hundred pounds seemed ample motivation for an evening’s performance, at least for a girl of her background. Screwing up his intellectual pretensions for the amusement of Ernest, Peter joked “As good Dr. Johnson put it at Drury Lane: ‘…We that live to please, must please to live!’”

“Bloody Wog” moaned Ernest for about the sixtieth time, “I wish he’d fuckin get out of the sack and get on the fuckin telephone and give us something to make all this bloody shit worth something.”

Finally, in the early hours Mustafa put Candy into a taxicab with a kiss at the door and after a shower and a brief nap got down to business making some e-mails and phone calls.  The numbers came up on the LED Register, and were saved and time-stamped in their lap-top computers.  There were two of them, and at least one more at Thames House for back-up.  On each of Mustafa’s phones was a pin register that noted the destination of every call he made. A similar device did the same for all incoming calls, while three electronic tape machines recorded every word. This call was an overseas call to a mobile phone to Choissy-le-Roi, a suburb of Paris not far from the Orly Airport. The conversation was in Arabic, so Peter could not understand more than a smattering of it from his crash-course at Thames House.

 “I wonder what he is talking about?” speculated Ernest as he picked up the other set of headphones.

“Probably twenty minutes of instant-replay on the sexual front, followed by filling in the scorecard. Then maybe something HQ might want….Maybe.” grousingly ventured Peter. He cross-decked it to GCHQ to be picked up by an Arabic linguist. The quick translation from GCHQ went about as follows:  ‘She’s expensive but it’s worth every penny! I have never seen anything like it before. Ahmed, she has this control of her sphincter muscle of her pussy and she can clamp you in there so you just stay hard and tight as long as you want!  My God!  I mean usually its over in a few minutes but she can make you come and go, come and go, prolonging the pleasure for hours!  And she really knows how to suck! Did I say suck—-no that would be the wrong word for it Ahmed, she is a real artiste—-she doesn’t suck your cock she makes love to it with her mouth!—–I tell you everything is in the attitude!—-the same thing without spirit is just organic plumbing, but with a girl with the proper spirit it becomes a feast for a connoisseur!  Ahmed, how many times have I bought women? Hundreds—-after a while it is like buying a piece of meat—-of course there is high and low quality in meat but after a while if meat is all you are after, meat is meat—–but when you go to a Michelin all-star restaurant it isn’t just the meat but it is the cooking, the sauce and the imagination, the ambiance and the service that goes into it—–the total experience!  By God I tell you Ahmed—-this girl has got Sauce! It’s a pity she is an unbeliever, though such unbelievers can be very useful. If you come again sometime I will set you up with her just to show you what I mean and for our friendships’ sake!  ————-Anyway I got the message——-what is the help that you need?————-

“We have a new project” answered Ahmed.

“What do you need from me?” asked Mustafa in return.

“I need three-hundred thousand, in pounds, half now and half in two months—- transferred to my account” responded Ahmed.



“I see. Three hundred thousand…..Well now, that is doable….. It’s not exactly small but not too large either, but I will have to figure out how to make the transfers in smaller slugs so that they won’t be questioned. I’ll get back to you in a couple of days after I make the arrangements. You should see the sum deposited in your balance sheet within a couple of days or so, coming in in bits and pieces from multiple sources” ventured Mustafa.

“Good…….Inshallah!” answered Ahmed.

“Is that all” asked Mustafa.

“Yes, for now…….we will be in touch.” replied Ahmed.

“Wait—I have a question—–“

“Not now. We have to be careful.” Ahmed warned.

“As you wish. It shall be done.” Mustafa said assuringly.

“Good luck with your worldly pleasures, my good friend—-we shall be enjoying better in heaven together someday!” joked Ahmed.

“Inshallah—-“ responded Mustafa  “……and good luck and good night.”

A few minutes later Ernest began to pick up the mysterious shortwave activities he had often encountered with Mustafa’s residence before. Then “Damn, there it goes again!” and it seemed once again that their instruments were drowned out by inexplicable background radiation—solar flares and solar wind perhaps, and they could not zero in on the transmissions. “I don’t know what, but there is some funny business going on with this Mustafa fellow and these solar flares—I can’t account for it.” he groused, making a note of it in his surveillance logs. 

     By the nest morning Peter Townsend and Ernest Huxley had received a preliminary transcript translation from GCHQ which they reviewed at their desks at Thames House. GCHQ then uploaded the transcript to Fort Meade, NSA which had slapped an alert on it and added it to the Flash Traffic cross-decked to Langley. When Myron Greenberg reviewed the morning Flash Traffic keyed to his station he alerted Jack McKinsey in London by securely encrypted e-mail (he had to keep reminding himself not to use the name Jack Sartorius for the duration) and he alerted Joel Barlow by secure STU-8 telephone links to the “tank” in the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, to arrange to have any money transfers, electronic or paper, from Mustafa’s known commercial accounts watched and traced extra closely, and he put a forensic accountant onto the case, who hacked into several secure banking sites in Switzerland and Lichtenstein and other tax and money havens in not entirely legal ways, had anyone known to investigate it.

In the meantime, Candy Bryson went neither home nor to the bank with the five hundred pounds cash she carried away from Mustafa’s townhouse in Berkeley Square, but after a pleasant breakfast caught a taxi downtown, stopping at New Scotland Yard. There she would be debriefed by a friendly cute young detective on whom she rather had a bad crush. In truth the detective, as might be suspected, had a parallel though tacit inclination in her direction, though unfortunately for their mutual attraction they were both too much professionals in their respective trades to mix business and pleasure, or at least business of the business sort with pleasure of the pleasure sort.

Sergeant Peter Underhill greeted Miss Bryson at the door of the Interrogation Room, handing her a cup of hot coffee and some cigarettes. He had debriefed her several times before but still had unanswered questions about her character and the character of the many girls like her that he came into contact with in his duties. Some were the coldest, hardest and meanest creatures he could imagine, seeming to be utterly detached from any human feelings towards their Johns or themselves, and you could imagine them fucking a man and knifing him to death without changing their expressions—a breed of female sociopath. Others were normal enough and even warm in some moments, but whose lives and feelings were simply twisted into the insensate form required to do business, maybe they were abused as children or maybe there was no explanation, but they somehow became accustomed to the complete divorcement and alienation of feelings for others and for self in the act of physical intimacy others invested so much of their personal emotions in.  Candy Bryson seemed to conform to the second pattern, being likable enough in some ways if you ignored her profession.

     “We went to a Pub in the Mayfair, the Blue Boarshead, and we ate dinner. The food was good.  Mustafa ate quail and three pints. I had Dover sole and white wine. We went shopping and he bought me some flashy golden shoes. He didn’t want to stay out too long, just the preliminaries to getting home to bed.” reported Candy, as unemotionally as if she were making out a traffic accident report.  Mustafa was a vigorous and generous John she could like at some moments, but providing her body to him for the money and information about him to the police for the element of protection they offered from her cooperation was just part of the business of survival in this risky game, and she had no illusions or sentimental attachments about either.  

     “He watched the news on TV. He didn’t say anything about it that I can recall. He flipped the channels a few times and watched about ten minutes of Al Jazeera in Arabic, but I guess he didn’t want to bore or impose on me since I couldn’t understand it so he switched back to the BBC,” continued Candy.  The cute detective, Sergeant Underhill was taping all of her answers and jotting down notes on an interrogation form, accompanied by another officer who was not at all cute, who was likewise taking notes. She had a small pleasure in watching him try to avoid looking too far down the V of her blouse, though he obviously couldn’t take his eyes away completely either.

The officers had a hard time trying to regard her with professionalism. She had a body fit for any fashion magazine, though she was too short to be a professional model. The officers were men with more than normal sex drives and on the surface there was a sweetness about her that must have been part natural and part professionally cultivated. But inside they sensed ice water pulsing through the ventricles of the space where the heart should have been. It seemed a waste but it was not their problem to solve.

     “Did he make any telephone calls—-from the home phones, mobile or any pay phones?” asked Detective Sergeant Underhill.

     She shook her head back and forth slowly. “None at all that I heard……he switches his mobile off when we have sex…….says he can’t stand being interrupted in that sort of mood……nothing special that I can recall………..I guess you could say it was pretty much the usual…Oh, I do recall in the car he did get a call from his friend the Baroness…..He kept using the word Baroness on the phone but I didn’t make out what they were talking about—-I did meet her a couple of times a few months ago, Baroness Maddox—–Mustfa’s family has some business connection with Baron Maddox and his company and I think they scheduled a business lunch in a couple of days, other than that I don’t remember anything special…..…..he does seem to bathe more now than before…….likes to get me together with him in the shower” she said with a playful flirtatious smile.

“Well, thank you Miss Bryson. As always you have been most helpful and we appreciate your cooperation.” said Underhill.  

“Just trying to be a good trooper.  If it’s not improper, do you think he is some kind of terrorist or spy or something?” she couldn’t help herself from asking the obvious.

“No. It’s just routine investigation. If we felt you were in any danger we would give you fair warning.” he responded.

Fishing into her handbag she fished out a long hairbrush and ran the brush through her hair. Then she twisted the handle, pulled off the brush-end and out came the handle with a razor-sharp seven inch stiletto affixed in the shape of a commando’s knife, triangular and serrated and curved to produce a wound that would not close.  She looked as if she knew how to use it.  She also gave a spritz of a tube-bottle of hairspray, which proved to be a concealed can of pepper mace, and she produced from her bag an object which appeared at first glance to be a women’s electric razor, purple in color and made to fit the hand of a woman, but which proved to be a Taser C2 stun gun packing over a million volts of wallop delivered by two electrodes fired by a compressed gas charge up to fifteen feet, delivering a jolt and electric kick adequate to incapacitate the strongest man for up to thirty seconds—-enough time to make a quick getaway in a dangerous pinch.

“I can take care of myself” she pronounced.

The items produced for show were technically illegal, but the officers paid no notice of them. They understood. A girl in Candy’s position was bound to come into some tight corners from time to time. One needed to have a Best Friend along with you in such circumstances to stay alive. But as always the hardware was less important than the software in that environment. A hooker’s main line of defense was her ability to size up and judge the latent side and potential of the men she dealt with. It was the key survival tool which enabled them to get out of potentially bad circumstances before they became lethal. Girls who didn’t develop this sixth sense often ended up dead before they reached twenty.

“But Mustafa doesn’t seem to be the physically violent type, at least towards women. He seems more like a spoiled rich boy playing with his family’s money. I hope he isn’t in any trouble, but it’s not my affair. I’ve got enough trouble just looking out for myself. Just you can’t help wondering the obvious under the circumstances.” she volunteered. 

“Of course. Well, thank you Miss Bryson. As always you have been most helpful and we appreciate your cooperation. We will be in contact in the usual way.” said Underhill, smiling as he escorted her to the door.

Underhill reflected on the irony of debriefing girls like Candy and other petty criminals in the work of police investigations, to which he was by now quite accustomed but always a bit on edge. The police, however well staffed and well equipped with technological marvels could not be everywhere, especially in the sub-cultures whose raison d’etre was avoidance of their presence. There the primary tool was using criminals against criminals, trading invaluable information for qualified tolerance or acquiescent protection, occasionally cutting deals with the little fish to get to the bigger fish. Hookers and prostitutes like Candy Bryson were often invaluable eyes and ears into the grapevines of the underworld where police presence could not penetrate, and with experience they learned to play the game in their risky world for their own survival’s sake.   

After Candy had gone the two detectives wrote up what she had told them as a Word-file on an Investigative Report template and e-mailed it to a designated address at Thames House. There it was opened and inspected by Ernest Huxley, then, by the click of a mouse, it became one more entry on the electronic file of the Security Service on the young Bahraini.


Eva lay beside Andreas listening to his regular breathing, herself unable to sleep. She rose and walking across the floor she stood for a long time gazing at herself in the half-light of the mirror above her dresser. The lines in her face stood out terribly—-she looked old; and when a woman looks old to herself how does she look to other people around her?

She had waited up until late into the small hours of the morning for Andreas, who had returned after two. She felt terribly jealous and sensed that he had been with or had been chasing other women. Nevertheless, she had held her tongue, not wishing to revive the hostilities between them. Now she could not sleep. She felt depressed. She felt everything around her was such a terrible mess, her life such a terrible failure. She went into the kitchen and rummaged around until she found the hot chocolate and made herself a cup, then slowly drank it, watching the boughs and branches whipping against the window sills in the night wind.  Then she heard footsteps on the staircase, followed by Andreas in his bathrobe.

“Couldn’t sleep?” he asked, kissing her on the forehead.

“No, it’s all too depressing sometimes—-sometimes I just sink into myself and I feel like such a failure. I haven’t had much success in my life you know—-divorce, odd-jobs, broken family, negligible books. ” she replied, fixing him a cup of cocoa.

“Success?—-I’d like to hear your definition of it.” he said, stroking her hair as she leaned against his shoulder.

“Well, I don’t know—-I’d say to get as much as you can out of life, I suppose. It’s all relative, don’t you think”

“What I think?—–No. My idea of success is personal freedom.”

“Freedom?—–Freedom from worries, you mean?”

“From everything, from money, from poverty, from ease and anxiety—-from all material accidents. To keep a kind of Republic of the Spirit, free within oneself and unenslaved to the circumstances of the world without.”

“I’ve sometimes felt the same thing myself—-just to be free would be a great thing—but how is it possible?—I have Sarah, family—-nobody has ever shown me how to get to your Republic of the Spirit—there are no signposts.” she said, refilling his cup.

“There never are…..” he replied, “……it’s a country you have to find your way to yourself—-or let’s say there may be signposts, but you have to teach yourself how to read them.”

“But Andreas, you talk as if this freedom is only something for one person, walking endlessly on the open road alone, forever. How can we love others and belong to eachother and build something together in life and still have this freedom—–your version of the Republic of the Spirit sounds more like the Hotel California—“freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose!’” she sang from the songs.

“Each person has to find their own freedom in their own way—and use it in their own way.” Andreas answered.

“But Andreas!—-Why do you do this to me? she cried. Why do you make the things I have chosen hateful to me?—-Love, marriage, family, happiness—-you belittle them and you clutch at your precious freedom, vowing never to get tied down to the dingy little strings of ordinary life—–how can you take these things away from me if you have nothing to give me instead?”

He paused for a long time and then said “No. I have nothing to give you instead. If I did I would. But I haven’t.”

It was one of those moments when neither could speak, but some voice from the other called out from some depth of feeling. They sat looking and not looking at each other.

“Isn’t it natural that I should belittle the things I can’t offer you” he said at last, smiling wanly.

“But you belittle me, don’t you?” she asked.

“Never you, Eva, never you.” he replied, kissing her hair. Then they went upstairs wordlessly, hand in hand, and caressed each other to sleep.



XIV.  Beijing                   In the Global Village


Sartorius’ Blog:

            I have been spending more and more time with an old acquaintance, sometimes friend and sometimes tormentor, sometimes my only drinking companion of late:  my bedroom mirror—–the gray hairs and the furrows upon my face show no signs of decelerating the momentum of their rapid appearance. Yet, after the depression and pain I come back to myself—-the process of aging, though linked to an inevitable physical decline, in the end I feel, is not simply a series of losses and subtractions, but on the contrary an ever progressive refinement of what is essential in which possibly, even in the nearing of death we are still growing towards the realization of our full potential. I feel at times within me a sensation reminiscent of the haunting phrase from the poem of Yeats: “a withering into truth.”

            I have decided to share some of my notebooks and writings with the readers of this web-blog. I hope the jottings, musings, thoughts will be of some value to you, and that I shall not overly bore you with my disquietudes and unease.  I hope, at the least,  that sharing them with somebody will be of some value to me.

Poetry Fragments in Progress:

Introduction for the Web-viewer:  Included below for the Web-viewer’s (hopeful) enjoyment are several fragments of my poetry. They, like all writing, represent a work in progress, subject to further revision and evolution——-as is the poet himself.  I shall share additional ‘Fragments in Progress’ as I write them, including them with my other weekly or monthly Blog entries as the case may be, alongside my other Blog content.  I shall revise them from time to time and confess in advance their need for great or even constant improvement, and hope they are not made public prematurely.  I apologise in advance for their shortcomings and welcome your response and criticism on this webpage.

Respectfully Yours,

Robert Sartorius

C Copyright Robert Sartorius All Rights Reserved

Moods of Understanding

Vertigo:  Decorous lunacy,

            ——consecrated dance,

Celebratory espousal;

——extasy, reel,

And High Matrimony,

Of Man and Illusion—-


One Flesh,



                        ——-to speak,

Until the end of speaking.


        ——-to seek,

Until the end of seeking.

I do

I do

I do

                                                                                          Tree in Winter

Exfoliate of lives errant,

Exfoliate of dreams illusive,

Exfoliate of desires obscurant,

Exfoliate of loves derisive,

This only Tree

In Winter,

Inward flows its long sap,

Like the flowing of glass.

Far below, hung as on one branch,

City of Illusions,

Derisive, Buzzes,

Eternal dwelling place of subjective beings,

Stares out of windows, refracted honeycombs;

Do not believe they exist,

The men who pursue them.




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United Nations: EU Lawmakers call for Democratization through a Parliamentary Assembly

In a resolution on UN reform the European Parliament (EP) called for the democratization of the world organization through a Parliamentary Assembly. The new assembly “would increase the democratic profile and internal democratic process” of the United Nations. The EU countries could assume a leading role to establish a UN parliament, similar to their leadership in the establishment of the International Criminal Court, said the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. The EP resolution is an important step in this direction.

Press Release

Survey: Majority for Strengthened and More Democratic United Nations

According to a representative survey conducted on behalf of BBC World Service by the opinion research institutes GlobeScan and PIPA in 23 countries, the population worldwide is in favor of a strengthened and more democratic U.N. A majority for example believes, that the reversal of a veto of a single country in the UN Security Council should be made possible. In all countries it is agreed that the U.N. should be “significantly strengthened in international affairs”. “The readiness for dramatic change is very palpable”, said Doug Miller, President of GlobeScan.





     When Yoriko Oe awoke in her hotelroom in Beijing after making love with Andreas on the day following the United Nations Parlaimentary Assembly meeting it was already three-thirty in the afternoon. She found a note on the pillow on Andreas’ side of the bed saying that he had to catch the flight back to London by way of Mumbai at 11:00 AM and that he didn’t want to wake her, knowing that she was exhausted from all the furious work and that she would not leave Beijing for Tokyo for another five days.       

     At the time Andreas imagined that Yoriko would be taking a well-deserved vacation following the Beijing conference, which she actually did for two days. On the third day, however, she dressed in her best women’s business suit, and paid a call at the China headquarters of Toschiba, the global electronics and technology conglomerate, and went to lunch with the President of Toschiba, China. This might have been unexpected, except for the fact that the President was also her uncle, Hishashige Oe.

     Hishashige Oe was often an understanding man who would help Yoriko when it was too complicated to ask her father for a favour. Both of the brothers descended from the founding families of the firms which over one hundred years had joined within the zaibatsu and keiretsu to make up the modern company. As such they had a fast-track to the top and had a freer hand in handling business affairs than the ordinary ‘sarariman’ of Japanese bureaucracy. Yoriko wanted to ask a favour of her uncle in setting her up in a job in Beijing with Toschiba that would provide a convenient income but also allow her time and flexibility to continue her part-time work with the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly work, and free time for her personal life. She was feeling a bit over-pressured in Tokyo with the incessant demands of her mother and father that she get married to a conventional Japanese businessman soon. She thought a couple of years in Beijing would help her find some breathing space before being forced into anything.

What Yoriko did not tell her uncle Hishashige was the real hidden reason for her favour. She had gotten a letter a month ago from Etienne saying that he had been working in a new position for Reuters as the bureau chief in Beijing for the last three months, and that his wife was mostly staying in London due to her own job and the problems of child care. Yoriko was still deeply in love with Etienne. She didn’t want to break up his family—she loved him too much for that—though in the back of her mind she couldn’t help dreaming of such a possibility. She sought immediately only to be back in his bed and with him on some kind of a basis. She was determined to live for her heart at least once for some beautiful moment in her life before the iron bars of convention and social expectation closed forever on her and caged her in a life as a married woman in socially conservative Japan. In this floating world she was determined to float and swim beautifully for at least one season before drowning in silence. After that she would either bow to fate and learn to conform or kill herself, she did not know which.

Uncle Hishashige proved to be a man of the world. He was well educated at Waseda University and had lived and worked overseas and in the West for many years.  He understood both Yoriko’s stated reasons and was sympathetic to the unstated ones that he guessed or surmised in vague outline, and it was not difficult for him to create a bogus position as a staff associate on his headquarters staff that would have the desired parameters. Plus he knew that Yoriko was really a wizard at computer technology; having grown up in a Toschiba family she had absorbed it as it were by osmosis as well as by training, and he could use her skills, good looks and good language ability in English and Chinese to the advantage of the firm. He made the arrangements with his secretary and sent off an e-mail to his brother in Tokyo. She would start in a month.

In the meantime Etienne Dearlove had occupied his new offices for several months in the Kerry Centre, just to the north of the China World Trade Center in the business and diplomatic district of Jianguomenwai, of Beijing. With the approach of the 2008 Olympics the bureau would be a choice plum for many breaking stories of worldwide interest, and Etienne was preparing to beef up his staff with additional accredited correspondents and a widened stringer staff, along with preparations for the sports crew that was accustomed to working on Olympics programs, from Sydney to Athens to Beijing in 2008 and on again back to London in 2012.  Moreover, the Beijing authorities had committed themselves significantly in written agreements with the Olympic Committee to liberalizing the rules for reporters operating in the year’s lead up to the Olympics, giving wider roaming rights across the entire country, and removing restrictions on freely approaching government officials and other private citizens for interviews and television recording. Etienne was busy late into the night writing out a strategic plan for the Olympic year expansion of his office.

     What was not written down in his Reuters Strategic Plan, was however, significantly more important than what was written into it. Unbeknownst to Yoriko was the fact that Etienne served more than one master in his assignment in Beijing. In fact for over ten years his journalistic career had been dovetailed with a rather elaborate moonlighting job, one done not out of considerations of supplementing his income but rather for the thrill, Queen and country. Namely, Etienne was a serving Case Officer at ‘Box 850,’ the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known as MI6 of Vauxhall Cross, using his journalistic cover as support for his clandestine intelligence activities.

     His assignment in Beijing for SIS focused on the recruitment of potential agents and the targeting and development of information sources.  As a journalist he enjoyed a wide variety of contacts with students, scholars, government officials, businessmen, diplomats, police, soldiers and every imaginable walk of life.   He liaised closely with the station chief operating under diplomatic cover within the British Embassy, a stone’s throw from the Kerry Centre in the Jianguomen diplomatic area.

     Most recently he had gotten to know a number of young men and women working in the significant government offices of the capital, including several working in Zhongnanhai, the compound for the highest party and government officials. As a journalist he would me