In France

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FionaFiona McMahon walked into the Cafe le Roma on Victoria Street in East Central London. Benjamin sat at a corner table with hands folded on the white tablecloth. Just like his father, she thought. How we miss dear William. She sat on the chair directly across from his so he could talk to her without taking his eyes from the door.
Without preamble he said, “She’s just down the block in a cosmetic clinic. They do major work there. Good people. Well qualified. Hellish expensive.”
She smiled, rested her gloved hand upon his. “In good spirits?”
“Thinking about a Greek nose, and enlarging the eye openings.”
She smiled. “Secure there?”
“Commander Conway’s people everywhere. I suppose that’s why he had her brought here. He’s got clout in London.”
“I won’t stay for lunch – too many people here. Any idea for whom the Commander is working?”
“He doesn’t really work for anyone nowadays. He acts as agent for governments, and the fuel people of course, but he seems to be much occupied with his own agenda now.”
She smiled at his earnestness; his father would be proud. “Try to get a handle on what he’s up to, and why he’s tracking Meira so closely.” She stood, touched his hand, and left. He picked up the menu.
Meira Meeting Ben in Paris
Meira strolled along the Champs-Elysées soaking in the soft morning Sun and inwardly hugging herself. She had much to tell Fiona, her mother, and much to do now she knew but, she paused, care was still needed, and Fiona still needed protection.
She returned to her apartment in Avenue Ledru-Rollin and made a call. An electronic voice asked her age when in Cairo, and again when in London. She was told to await a call. Later she was told to be in the bar of the Novotel near the Gare du Lyon for lunch. Benjamin was there.
She was so glad to see him again she wanted to rush up and hug him but, his hands were not on the table, he was looking down at what appeared to be an e-reader, a Kindle or a Sony Reader or some other electronic device. She turned, left the bar and walked out into the street. At the Gare du Lyon she called again from a public phone. Benjamin answered, “Fiona wants to see you but not here, not in Paris. Too many people know who you are and where you live. Rent a car and drive south, towards Toulouse, I will contact you when I’ve dealt with whoever’s following you so closely.”
Damn. She wanted to stay in Paris. She loved Paris with its elegant boulevards, spacious gardens and the riverbanks. She wanted to while away the hours with her mother beside the Seine over too much wine and too little walking. Damn whoever it was. She thought the Federation and the mad oil men had all taken a different tack nowadays. She thought they had turned their greed sodden eyes to monopolising the renewable industries. If it was them, why were they following? What could they possibly want in Syria? She was busy there – there was much to learn.
At the hotel La Réserve on the Route De Cordes, just outside Toulouse, she took a room with wonderful view of the River Tam. She would wait there: catch up on her reading; monitor the news from Syria a walk the riverbanks. It was a pleasant, peaceful, place and doubtless therapeutic, but after just one day as boring as BBC Radio Four and twice as frustrating. There wasn’t one presentable male among the staff and not one fellow guest under fifty-five years of age. The food was passable which, by French standards, was not acceptable.[/one_half][one_half_last] After a second day and night she was approaching her screaming point; on the third her mind turned to Ben, to his continuing absence – doubts as to his safety began to arise. He was light, thin, quite nymph like, but lightning fast and had all his father’s instincts for sensing danger. She thought it unlikely that he had been hurt, but he had never before kept her waiting so long.

"Raymond IV of Toulouse" by Merry-Joseph Blondel

“Raymond IV of Toulouse” by Merry-Joseph Blondel

She focused on the Middle East – dedicated most of her time to monitoring the progress of the civil war raging in Syria, the unrest in Egypt, and the continuous exchanges between Israel and Palestine. She had spent many years studying the cultures and history of the area at school, and under her father’s, special, tutelage, but she had little time for any of that now. All that mattered now was to bring enlightenment and, in it’s glaring brightness, peace, to the people there. Raving clergy and despotic administrators continue to wreak misery on of the middle-eastern peoples – they had to be stopped. If she could bring the Ancients’ ways of food, and energy, production to the surface all the madness of the oil potentates and armament pedlars would wash away to the far recesses of history. The way forwards lay in the minds of the Matriarchs, but hers had yet to be unlocked. It had yet to be released to her immediate cognition and, to achieve that, she had to connect to the Ancients’ world.
Meeting Fiona in Toulouse
Fiona was in the garden, on an iron bench overlooking the Tam. Excited, Meira hurriedly sat beside her. “This is a nice surprise.”
Her mother turned, looked long at her daughter, “Love the new face darling. Wow, look at Grandma’s eyes.” She turned her head this way and that to take in every new feature. “Um, like the nose . . . yes, and sculptured cheek bones.”
“Thank you. Those London doctors did a nice job ay? I’d already given up changing my name after every encounter with the oil men because, I thought, they’d moved on. This,” she turned her face to the light, “pushes away immediate recognition, don’t you think?”
“I do think. I think you look even more beautiful.” She patted her hand. “My lovely daughter.”
“Can you stay? I so wished I could have come to you in Paris. I so love Paris, and our walks.”
“Ben is keeping watch, so yes; yes we can have some time together here but be ready.”
“Always. I’m always ready to disappear.”[/one_half_last]

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Selling Fear

sandLOnly murder works for crime novels and only fear works for sales. The reason purveyors of Snake Oil, Cure All Nostrums, and Insurance Policies have been around for such a long time is because they rely on fear to carry their sales pitches. We the people appear to have learned little or nothing of their fear mongering or, if we have, we’re not prepared to risk ignoring them.

At first glance the death insurers seem the most cynical – ‘Give us your money now and we will see you are buried well later,’ or, ‘Don’t let your death be a burden to your loved ones.’ Better, one would think, to keep the money for those who inherit to decide how you are to be remembered but that only works if you think. A worse example must be the warmongers. These are the folks who buy into the armament business and then goad us into war, or the threat of war, to ensure the products of their investments are in demand. The warmongers are bad all right but the worst of the worst it turns out are the sophists vying for high office. Here we see fear mongering at a new level – at a cynically false level of high promise that can never be realized. How could it? How can those stump pumpers leaning on the lecterns of the presidential candidates debate defeat the radical Muslim Jihadists? They can try with guns and bombs and draconian immigration procedures but we know, those of us who are impervious to the rhetoric of fear mongers, know that being a Muslim isn’t being a soldier or a cleric – it’s an idea. Just as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism  . . . are all ideas. We also know, we who hold back the reptilian cortex long enough to think, know that defeating an idea requires another idea – a better idea.

Most of the folks on those debate stages this month would claim Christianity, or Judaism, as their ideas and can, by virtue of the wonders their god can be deemed to perform, see that guns and bombs are the answer – which is astounding given the centuries of persecution of the Jews because they are still with us. Not that Christians have always enjoyed lives of milk and honey. European history literally drips in the blood of Baptists, Catholics, Lutherans , Protestants . . . and the British Isles have seen more than its fair share of blood letting from the Shannon Estuary to Scotland’s Scapa Flow.

They’re all still here. These separators of mankind’s ideas are still here. Not one has been defeated by pike or sword, bayonet or bullet, nuclear bombs or gas ovens. If they are all still here why are these reptilian fear mongers cluttering up the debate stages still banging the same drum?

Perhaps because, “I will protect our country,” is an easy sell because it’s packed with fear. Try selling, “I will educate your children so they can see what I see. I will teach them about ideas and ideals and wisdom and the power of truth. I will unlock their minds so they might have lives so much better than yours.” No fear in there and it would require the listener to attend for nearly half a minute. That’s not the American way. The American way is short, not more than five seconds, ‘War on Drugs,’ or ‘From my Cold, Dead, Hand,’ or ‘Electric when You want It, Gas when You need It.’ The latter is a little long but seems not to have hindered Chevy’s sale of the Volt. The point though is the elimination of thought. They are ready-made conclusions right in line with the American education system and they work. They work as the Bible and the Koran work – ready-made easy to understand guides to the entry to heaven. They fall down though when the recipient learns to read – a good reason for not teaching it? A sharp reader quickly sees conflict and controversy in those tomes and is in immediate danger of being lost to the cause – worse, he might spread the word. It was always better to take off his head than risk danger to the system. We saw plenty of that in medieval Europe and see it now in the modern Middle East. Our modern candidates are undeterred – they’re going to stick to tradition. They’re going to shoot down planes, bomb things and people too, but no boots on the ground because we have learned from Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya – except for few advisers that is. I’m trying to remember now when advisers first went to Vietnam.

There is one exception out there amid the nomination hopefuls in the form of Bernie Sanders. He talks of ideas and, heresy of heresies, education. Can you imagine anyone seriously attempting national candidature talking of education? Who cares? Leave it to the private sector – roll out the original sophists, teachers who taught what they were paid to teach, as was done 2,500 years ago in Sophocles’ Greece. They learned back then that private schools were a bad idea. People came to understand the importance of a genuine broad education and in some parts of the world the the lessons are retained but not in the US. In the US an education has to be bought by the parent who understands exactly what the child is to be taught and the results are clear. Business before people. War is big business.

The same applies to the religions where the child is taken into the fold early to establish a belief template in its formative years. We saw it in Northern Ireland when sixteen year old Protestants debated with their Catholic contemporaries. The polarization in ones so young was horrible to witness. Although the problem still exists in Ireland it has much less traction in those now more informed societies.

Muslim teachings though are falling on the ears of the less informed, and poorly shod, leaving them with no other values. This is where the corrections need take place. This is well within the power of the administrations. No need to stamp on the culture; open the doors to alternatives. Sanders can see it and I suspect many others can see it but the fear of failure overwhelms the others. Selling education on the stump equates to political suicide unless, unless fear is introduced into the equation. How about, ‘Russian Ed Trumps US Ed, Korean Ed trumps Russian Ed.’ Here’s a punchy one: ‘Learn now, or learn later – you decide.’

 

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Reading Ancients’ Language

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cropped-thumb_2.jpgThere had been no difficulty with Catherine, or Amia’s, memories beyond that of making the connections but reading their language was an entirely different experience. She recognised the characters, and she understood the words they formed, but not the meaning. The meaning was not clear from the words or the visual references. She was missing something. She was, she surmised, missing a lot because this language was so sophisticated, so immensely mature, it would not be simple to comprehend. Staring at the ceramic glaze over the towering wall in one of the middle chambers she let her mind drift to the nature of that glaze – of how such a large surface could have been fired as if in an oven. A solar reflector must have been positioned here, in this chamber, and the sunlight had to have been brought in to hit the reflector, which would have to have been portable – both to capture the sunlight and to concentrate the energy where needed. To raise such a large mass to high temperature would have needed either a large reflector, or a finely controlled one working small areas at a time. There had been some evidence of this in the ceramic statues found in Cambodia which were life size, and life shaped, with beautiful colours preserved under the glaze. The archaeological community had yet to accepted that the glaze was solar fired but it just had to be. These walls dispelled any doubt. The Sun was the only possible source of the energy needed to glaze surfaces of this magnitude.

She slipped into a meditative trance where Fiona’s images filled her mind. It wasn’t clear. She could make the connections; the synapses were melding together but still there was no clarity. There were no images. She couldn’t understand, or could she? Maybe there was something. Yes there was definitely something – something very big. There was something larger than the towering wall filling her vision. There was something enormous. She couldn’t see it because it was gigantic.

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"Aleppo room2" by Rad_vsovereign

“Aleppo room2” by Rad_vsovereign

She let go, drifting further, until the scale of it was no longer apparent. It was no longer apparent because she had entered into it. She was looking at more than a language; she was inside a culture. She was part of pre-history and she, too, was huge. Everyone was huge. Everyone was more than eight feet high with clear skin and bright, piercing eyes – eyes like her grandmothers – eyes like hers. Movement was easy, powerful, up the stairs, along the corridors, down into the lower chambers where the air was cool, damp, and moist on her skin. People were passing, working she thought, but it wasn’t clear what they were doing. Speech was rare. People were quiet. She didn’t understand. She couldn’t get a grip. She needed to rest. She needed time for all those memories to form a whole but they wouldn’t let go. She couldn’t shut down; the exercise had a life of its own. More people came – big people moving purposely with clear, very white, eyes that held steady. These were her people. These were her people of eighty thousand years ago before – before what? What happened?

She wanted to back away – allow her mind to rest. It wouldn’t let go. She had a bear in a trap and it wouldn’t let her go. Then the music started. There was music in her head; it was in the language. That was it. It wasn’t just a language; it was music. It was melody and rhythm and song. It was communication of the highest order that rose to heights beyond her perspective. She was drowning in it because she had yet to learn to swim but she would; she didn’t know the strokes but would learn. She would learn in a way she had never before learned. She would learn with mind and body and more than that. More than that was soul, spirit, faith . . . she didn’t know. She couldn’t know but she would; she would – she would know. [/one_half_last]

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