“So, you think someone might try to use Isaac Dale as a mouthpiece to promote their own agenda. It’s possible, I guess,” Ileana murmured thoughtfully. “But I’m pretty sure the government just ignores him. He talks to a bunch of dispossessed people, so how important could he possibly seem?”
“Well, it just makes me nervous that so many people, including my mom, trust what he says so completely. But maybe --” Chess stopped, glimpsing sudden movement between the trees up ahead. “Not again!” he groaned, as the shadows from his bad dreams took solid form on the road before them.
“These guys are dissidents,” Chess muttered into his raised arm. Beside him, Ileana nodded.
“Shut up!” The closest man pointed his rifle to indicate that they should continue walking on in the same direction, and they obeyed. Chess observed their new captors as he walked. Their ragged clothes and weary, defeated expressions matched those of the first dissidents he had met. However, he soon realized that these men had other intentions, besides harassing government forces.
“Sit there,” the man ordered, pointing in an agitated manner, and the girls quickly obeyed. Nervously, Chess settled himself onto the dirt next to them, facing a burned area that appeared to be a campfire site. A dozen or more dirty, tired-looking men sat across from them, and Chess knew that even more men stood behind him, rifles pointed. Instinctively, he glanced about, heart pounding, searching for escape routes. The white noise in his mind made it tough to think, but he observed that there were no permanent structures in the area; only a few unstable-looking makeshift tents set up on muddy ground. The seemingly desperate situation of these dissidents only made Chess more fearful of them.
“You too, old man,” the dissident growled, looking at Grandfather, who was trailing behind.
Grandfather stopped and, straightening, turned to the man. “My name,” he shouted at the dissidents, “is Noah – not ‘old man.’ And if you think I’m afraid of your guns and your scowls, then you have no idea how much I’ve experienced in my life!” He sank down onto the dirt and glanced at Chess. “That makes me sound old, doesn’t it?” he asked, looking dejected. Chess gave a sympathetic shrug.
“We have your picture.” One of the men held up his link-phone to Ileana. “There is a reward for your return.” Then he turned his frowning gaze at Chess. “We have heard other stories as well.”
Ileana shot Chess a quick, meaningful look, and then she leveled her gaze at the leader.
“Yes, there are lots of stories going around out here,” she said, and Chess saw a tiny smile playing around her mouth, as if she was amused. “Some of the stories might be true, but which ones?”
When the men stared at her blankly, she continued, “Do you really believe that this gang leader and drug lord will just hand you a nice, big reward for my safe return? He is far more likely to kill you on the spot.” She laughed, sounding bitter. “I bet you believe all the stories that are going around: that I have a witch helping me…” Chess heard Sariel laugh softly. “…and a great champion who can fight off an army; who can appear and disappear at will.” She rolled her eyes.
Despite his fear, Chess almost burst out laughing. And, with some feeling of hope, he watched the dissidents exchange uncertain glances. Just then, a short-range radio squawked loudly with voices, causing everyone to jump in surprise. But Chess recognized some of what was said, and what it meant.
Chess stared at the radio, in the hands of one of the dissidents. “You’re close to a military base here,” he observed, trying to put a casual tone in his speech. “You’re thinking of trying to attack it?”
Ileana laughed harshly. “They wouldn’t stand a chance,” she remarked loudly to Chess. Then she turned to the men. “I’m sure you’re very brave,” she told them, with mock sympathy, “But you’re not ‘living in truth’ if you’re lying to yourselves. What are you hoping to accomplish, here?”
The men seemed to understand her jargon. “You’re dissidents?” one asked, squinting at her.
Ileana shrugged. “We are. But we hold to the power of ideas over brute force… because a new world that has been brought about by violence might actually be worse than what exists now. Samiz transmission of information is, admittedly, slower than gun battles. But it will be far more effective.”
Chess gaped at her, realizing that she had listened to what he had told her about samiz.
Continued next page...
Book: Well, I have a little cash. And uh... (pulls out a box and shows the contents)
Kaylee: Ooh, Grandpa!
Book: (sighs) I never married.
- Firefly: The Train Job, Season 1 Episode 1
For peaceful revolutionaries, such as those mentioned in the last blog, the tough question is: is it better to choose peace knowing that such a strategy might well end in defeat? Gandhi was fighting for Indian independence during the same time period when Europe was dealing with the growing terror of Hitler’s armies. Many have criticized Gandhi for counseling passive resistance to Hitler, because something as violent and single-minded as Nazis would likely only be encouraged by such a show of weakness. Gandhi, however, was worried about the deep scars that would be left after everything was resolved.
Gandhi devised satyagraha (non-violent action)... because he wanted to influence how independence happened, to affect the collective psyches of India and Britain and thereby their relations after independence. As with Martin Luther King, Gandhi’s nonviolent method sought to achieve psychological, not just political, ends.
- A First-Rate Madness by Nassir Ghaemi
The world knows too well that after violent uprisings, old grievances flare again, with new motives for revenge born of the most recent fighting. In places like Rwanda, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, the same wars seem to be re-fought by children for generations. Europe has perhaps healed from the wars of the twentieth century, and relations between Ireland and Great Britain seem to be peaceful now, but this was after a lot of hard work and is not always the case. As my peaceful revolutionary, Ileana believes, a new world that is brought about by violence might actually be worse than the old one.
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