Damascus

The chaos of burgeoning civil war had given her the cover she needed to set up camp under the guise of a stall holder in the little bazaar beside the Great Wall. Piece-by-piece she was able bring in, and assemble, her mining equipment, but she would need more than wood and canvas covers when the serious digging started. She peeked out to the open ground beside the mosque to see troops scampering. Then the slapping of gunfire and a soldier fell. Others scampered back to an empty street where they threw themselves against the nearest wall: More gunfire, this time from further away, up a street where she could see people flying into alleys and doorways. She waited: unafraid. This was a common occurrence now: almost daily as the rebel forces grew ever bolder. The prospect of death seemed not to bother them.

The other stall owners were all cowered under shelves and tables as she threaded her way back to her own little corner and dived under the counter to the wooden ladder that took her down to a door in the Great Wall. Through the door were steps, centuries worn, leading down to a cellar where there was the constant sound of dripping water. The floor was made of heavy stone slabs: too heavy to lift, and too thick to break.

She sat in the middle of the room, adopted the lotus position, and let her mind drift for a few seconds before forcing it to go blank. She had perfected the technique under the relentless tuition of Smiling George, the beautiful young monk she thought she had killed on the road in Western China. She had knocked him down with the stolen Hummer while trying to escape from Tor, a ruthless killer in the service of Commander John Conway – then in the service of the Federation of Fossil Fuel Suppliers. Picking up the shaken monk and taking him to his village she hoped to make amends to his family. In practice things went quite differently; his taught her so much more than she could offer them. Besides exploring some hitherto unknown pyramids they had shown her they also taught her how to elevate her mind to higher plain within seconds of entering meditation. Once there, in the areas of consciousness reached by few humans, she could start to connect with the memories of her ancestors. Just before the cataclysm longevity had peaked at 478 years: leaving women with centuries of freedom between bearing, and raising, children. In Egypt, and all across the Arabian Peninsular, language had developed and writing was beginning to move toward a universal format. Food, water, and shelter had long been stabilised, and music was being heard from The Rift Valley to the slopes of the Himalayas. If there was a cloud on that rosy horizon it was population growth which, if unchecked, would require migrations to edge of the warm climate zones because the flood plains would support only finite numbers.

Meira drifted further into her memory banks hoping to find some remnants of Anima. Anima was so elusive: so hard to contact. A day passed, and then a night, while new images surfaced and sank, but she couldn’t find Anima. Anima was key; she had to reach her.

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Dinner with the Air Marshall


. . . She didn’t hear the click of a lock when he closed the door behind him but she knew she was a prisoner here. Deciding against testing to see how much freedom she really had she lay on the bed to sleep, perhaps to dream, to await as events unfold.

She couldn’t be sure if it were part of dream or if she pulling up memories but sounds of the boys twittering were filling her head. She awoke. Unsure of what had happened or, if, anything had happened but there was the feeling of distant discovery running through her. What can this be? What had happened while she slept? She had been somewhere. She had been somewhere far, far, away – too far away to put a label on it. Too far to touch, to identify, to find again even. Where had she been?

“Come in please,” she said when there was a polite tap on the door. The Air Marshall’s face appeared. “Oh, hello. I had been sleeping. Sorry, I was far away.”

“In that case please excuse my for interrupting your slumber.”

“Oh, no, you are not interrupting – I was awake when you knocked.”

He nodded. “I’d like you to join me for dinner – nearby. There’s an hotel with a half decent restaurant quite nearby. Say fifteen minutes?”

“Oh, please, make it five. I never need more than five minutes.”

“Very well than.” He bowed and left.

 

“You are fond of Indian food,” he asked as they sat at a table for four with an immaculate white cloth.

“I am, very much so, although I suspect I’m fond of western Indian food – the sort of Indian food I would prepare.”

“That sounds like the best of both worlds. Let’s hope the food here is to your liking.

465px-Indischer_Maler_des_6._Jahrhunderts_001She had only to eat and to admire the excellent service as it was clear that he had planned the meal carefully, leaving only his probing conversation with which to deal. “Your mother is a friend of the President of India I understand.”

She smiled and nodded.

“Was she was also a friend of the previous President?” She nodded. “And the one before that?” He sat back as she nodded again. “She would be a great age than?”

“Yes,” Meira agreed, “she is – by modern standards.”

“Modern standards being three score and ten?”

“We do a little better than that now. Many live actively into their nineties. Our predecessors – our ancient predecessors, developed lives much longer than currently.”

“How much longer?”

“Six or seven times longer.”

“People lived for six hundred years?”

“Oh yes. Catherine, one of my direct ancestors, was more than seven hundred years old before her body failed her. An amazing woman.”

He thought for a moment of two. “You seem very sure.”

“I am. I’m certain”

“How can you be? Where’s the evidence to support such a view.”

“Oh it’s not a view. It’s a memory. I have much of her memory in my own. That’s what we do, we Matriarchs – we hand down our memories.”

“And archaeological evidence. Where is that to be found?”

“Probably under our feet. This part of the planet was populated by some of the earliest migrants out of the Indus Valley.”

“Surely if it was there it would have been found by now.”

“No. It’ll be far deeper than any archaeologists have ventured. We spend our time counting money – counting costs in monetary terms so the money runs out before the important evidence is revealed. Short term thinking is all we’ve ever done since the cataclysm some twelve thousand years ago.”

“Are you saying that before the cataclysm, before the great floods, there was a more sophisticated society?”

“Oh, yes. Up until that time humans had developed continuously – not linearly you understand – Life has always evolved in fits and starts, but continuously one way or another. We reached the point when the female line began to dominate the leadership around one hundred thousand years ago.” She paused as she read the incredulity passing his eyes.

“At that time,” she continued, “hominids had been in the Indus Valley for eighty thousand years or more – plenty of time to graduate from hunter gatherers to farmers and solar engineers. Much of the apparent mystery surrounding monoliths and megaliths disappears when you realise they were solar devices. They were the earliest attempts to store the heat of the Sun.”

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How to Exit Brexit

640px-European_Parliament_Strasbourg_Hemicycle_-_Diliff.jpg“Cometh the hour; cometh the man,” or woman, is a maxim we British applied when our saviors, Wellington, Churchill . . . pulled us from crisis but, not this time. Great Britain is in need of a visionary leader to be recognized and to address the Brexit problems in an inspirational speech to shake out our moribund parliament but, it seems, there is no one: not this time. This time we are left with only those who choose not to be recognized. This time we are faced with only the mealy mouthed who dare not speak the name of another referendum; of dissolving Parliament; of forgetting the whole idiotic concept . . . We are leader less; we know not which way we are to turn. So what is to be done?

First up is to recognize the problem. Exiting the EU after forty years of ever deepening entanglements without triggering  punitive repercussions is all but impossible yet, I don’t recall either Johnson, or Farage, in their rallying cries to vote for Brexit, underscoring  that simple truth. Prime Minister Cameron called the referendum to silence the ever annoying Brexiteers but failed to ensure the result. Seeing the magnitude of his error he abandoned HMS GB, leaving her to wallow in a sea of uncertainty. Theresa May opted to take the helm and command the nation on the notion that a 4% separation of those for and against represented the will of the people. It did not. It represented only the reptilian reaction of the uninformed. Still that was mandate enough for an ambitious woman hungry for the top job.

640px-View_of_the_Acropolis_Athens_2_(pixinn.net).jpgGiven that ignorance and ambition brought us to the determination to leave the EU the subsequent failure to complete the job, and the realisation of our woeful ignorance of the matter, might, with a little education, bring us back to firmer ground but, how do we sugar the pill? How do we drag the blindly determined Brexiteers to the table of unalienable facts, to recognize their mistakes and, possibly, enter rehabilitation? How do we save faces and protect reputations while examining our errors and searching for better results?

We could conduct a trial? We could take the charge, ‘That we must leave the EU,” to a specially convened court and examine it for validity? We would need a jury: a big, diverse, one, and subject it to proofs and testimonies provided by the informed and overseen by the impartial? The importance of a diverse jury cannot be over emphasized. The best solutions to the Brexit problems can only come from a group diverse enough to encompass the views of many. To illustrate the point Albert Einstein said of diversity:

Everyone is a genius but, if we judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”

Further endorsement comes from the fact that in any given group of experts, in any particular field, will only contain those of similar training and education so can only reach similar conclusions. To find a broader solution experts from other fields: from many other fields are essential.

640px-charles_bridge_(karlův_most),_vltava_river,_prague,_2015A trial then – better call it a revue – of the EU and our need to exit should be undertaken in order to be sure we are doing what is best for Great Britain: Not for the ambitions of politicians; not for the profits of strategic companies; not for the rallying cries of the Nationalist or the remains of the anti-Nazis loonies; for Great Britain.

For such a revue to succeed it will need time for the experts, advocates, overseers, and a jury to be assembled so let’s not leave that to any but ourselves. Let’s not ask the other members of the EU for a delay leaving us to make decisions at the behest of others; let’s revoke Article 50 ourselves, determine the agenda ourselves, decide for ourselves when we should evoke Article 50 again. Let us make every effort to make the EU great again and in the ensuing hours hope the man, or the woman, cometh.

 

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