Have you ever thought of a human being as a national treasure? The thought comes to the surface when the treasure is in danger. This question is explored in China.
The story is the 6th of the 7 final chapters of my gigantic 12-volume series of novels, The Lodging for the Rose, exploring the Principle of Universal Love. The 7 final chapters are designed to explore the dynamics of multifaceted reverse paradigm shifts to uplift the decaying cultures of today, away from war, terror, looting, depopulation, economic decay, and so on, towards the growing realization of the precious nature of our humanity and its creative power, goodness, and capacity for love.
Chapter title: Geometry of an Abduction
My success in the conference hall came with a price tag attached. A steep price was demanded that I had not counted on. It came in the form of a letter; a printed e-mail that had been delivered to my room in the 'hotel.' The letter was brief; sarcastic; brutal; devastating. The sender was not identified. Still, it was crystal clear who the sender was.
"You disappoint us," the message began. "Your address to the Chinese government violates our agreement. Did you really think we would not find out? You have been working against us with ever-greater intensity. We can't allow that. We have looked away before. Your self-created mission to rescue Africa was an insult to us, but it was so hopelessly puny that we overlooked your transgression. Evidently it was only the beginning. Your radical intervention at the Caracas conference was much more serious. That really hurt. We should have dealt with you right there. But we overlooked your transgression one more time on account of your previous help to us when you became instrumental in shutting down the SDI system. Now you are in China on a crusade to destroy the IMF and the global free-trade system. You have crossed the line. Indeed, you have crossed the line so many times since you got there. Just because some traitors from our midst have helped you to establish you there, doesn't mean that we gave you a free hand to turn against us. By attacking the IMF you are attacking us. By attacking free trade and globalization, you are attacking us. By aiding the development of China, India, and Russia as sovereign nations, you are working actively against us. Our goal is to dismember them all into small splinters that we can control. I promised you in Venice that the big tectonic plates will collide, and indeed, they will. You can't stop that. You can't stop us. As I told you already in Venice fourteen years ago, you are a hopeless amateur. I even gave you a tape recording of that meeting we had, to remind you. But you didn't listen. You simply don't listen. You make so many mistakes, so many terrible mistakes. The time has come to deal with you, as I had promised, one way or another. You may have thought you would be save and untouchable in China. Really! How small minded of you!"
This was the first page of the letter. The tone of it, and the arrogance, brought back the bitter taste of that almost forgotten night after our great achievement in Venice. I should have never consented to meet that man there. The invitation had been as arrogant and demanding then, as the tone of the was that they sent now. My first reaction was, to burn the letter, but that wouldn't change anything. And if I wasn't safe in China, my last place of refuge in the world, where could I go? Fighting back seemed out of a question. I had had no experience to mount a defense against a force that I couldn't even see, or locate, that simply pops up out the ground like the tulips in spring. I was tempted to tear the letter up, cut it into tiny pieces, but I was also tempted to read on. There was a second page.
"Allow me to convey Indira's greeting," the letter continued on the second page. "My New Delhi agent says she is a wonderful woman to have in bed. He says she has a message for you. The message is, 'Peter don't come. Whatever you do, don't come to New Delhi!' My agent says that you should ignore that and visit her anyway, one more time, for old time's sakes.
"My agent is right, you should come for old times sake. I mean OUR old times of course. Do you remember that I said you would be contacted again, and that you would be contacted either by your new boss or your executioner? Luckily for you, I have not decided yet which it shall be. Nevertheless, you really should go to New Delhi and meet that person. Also you should come soon. My agent says that Indira strikes him as the kind of woman that one becomes bored with after a while. This means she might not last very long in his hands. So please do come around soon. I trust, you still know her address. You are expected there, starting tomorrow. Should you have difficulties with that, Vienna might also be a nice place to meet. I know a violinist with the Vienna Philharmonics who would be dying to meet you. So you see, I hold all the cards that you value. I am disappointed in you of course, that you didn't clean up your affairs when you escaped to China. You should have brought all of your people to China with you. But then, as I said, you are just an amateur.
The letter was signed electronically, and ended, "With all my love; your 'friend' from the fondi."
I put the letter down onto the bedside table. I closed my eyes to shut out the world. Oh God, what have I done, what have I done! How could I have been so stupid? He was right. I should have brought everyone here.
I took the letter again, to tear it up, but I couldn't. It wouldn't change anything. I let the letter fall to the floor in my daze of disbelieve that this was happening. It all seemed unreal. This couldn't be happening, but at my feet lay the proof that it was happening. The letter, a piece of paper, a link to an impending tragedy. It was all real. It had arrived on one of the brightest days in my life. Suddenly, everything turned black, and I was the cause for that myself.
The worst thing was, I couldn't even cry. No tears came; not for myself, nor for Indira, Olive, Sylvia, Steve, Ushi, even Heather. I couldn't begin to imagine how this would affect every one of them.
After what seemed like an eternity, I mustered the courage to call Ross, Steve, Ushi, and Jacky together. I did this reluctantly. I was stricken with shame more than fear. This shame hurt. I was ashamed of the human race. I simply gave them the letter to read as they arrived. Ross first, then Ushi. Ushi gave it to Jacky as soon as he came into the room.
"I've run out of options," I said in a voice that matched the utter hopelessness of my situation. After everyone had read the letter I announced that I have no choice, but to fly to Chongquing in the morning and take the first available flight to New Delhi. If I don't go, and go quickly, they will kill Indira, the whole family, and possibly Olive as well.
Ross just shook his head in disbelief. Steve said nothing. Ushi had tears in her eyes.
"What else can I do?" I asked Steve. "I screwed up. They warned me. You heard the tape yourself, of our meeting in Venice, fourteen years ago. Now they want me dead. I can't let anybody else die for my stupidity in bungling things up."
"You are too valuable for this self-sacrifice," Steve answered. "There must be another option."
"Isn't there anything we can do?" Ushi interjected and sobbed.
"There is," said Steve, and then shook his head. "You will stay here. That much is certain," Steve replied sternly, speaking to me. "You will not go the New Delhi. I will go to Venice, to the headman, and sort this thing out. I know people there. Maybe I can talk some sense into them."
"That's even worse," Ross got into the act. "Then they will kill you too."
Ross slammed his fist on the table. "Remember Steve, I have listened to the taped meeting, too. We all have, haven't we? I know who they are. They are arrogant; they are mad; they are stupid; they are not people that anyone can reason with. You'll have more success negotiating with a rock on the beach."
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