Seascapes and Sand

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We often do we allow ourselves to assume the role of snowflakes, driven by the wind, without considering the consequences and the alternatives? Snowflakes don't have the freedom to determine their destiny with the power of intelligence. We have this power as human beings. But do we use it?

The dialog unfolds in the background to a fictional peace conference in Moscow near the end of the Soviet era. The dialog comprises a chapter of the novel, Seascapes and Sand, by Rolf Witzsche.


     I loved the idea of having been invited to an event where the politicians had been barred. It inspired hope that against all odds we might yet achieve something. I loved the idea that the politicians with their own agendas had been barred. The world scene had become saturated with politicians that increasingly had prostituted themselves to their clients, the moneybags, to serve insane games hidden behind fairytale mythologies and Disneyland-type fantasies that were served up for their masters to the public, on order to keep public opinion tied into knots while the empires were raping the world to the point that mankind's future now hangs in the balance. The lobbying efforts for developing and building the nuclear bomb came out of the background of the old British Empire. They wanted a weapon so terrible that all nations would lay down their sovereignty into the hands of a single world-empire, just to survive. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing had been carried out to drive this terror threat home. The plan would have succeeded had Russia not built a bigger bomb, the H-bomb. And so the quest for world-empire status had become an arms race, a new Thirty Years War, while the Peace of Westphalia Principle that ended the Thirty Years War in 1648 wasn't even on the horizon.

      In this respect the Youth Peace Conference posed a great challenge to the world, to turn itself around from the bottom up, as nothing else would work, while none of the youth who had called for the conference knew how to begin, or were even aware of the Westphalia Principle. Much less had anyone established a foundation that came close, on which any real movement could begin. Of course, neither had we moved forward ourselves sufficiently with the Principle of Universal Love, which had remained but a vague idea for us, inspired by Steve and Ushi and a few others - an idea that still hang precariously on the horizon as through it didn't really belong into the real world. I, for one, had no idea how one might implement such a vast principle and make it a global foundation. Consequently I had nothing substantial to offer. I shouldn't have been surprised therefore when the conference flopped and I failed. It was said at the closing of the conference, which had started with such high hopes, that it soured the soup by simply accomplishing nothing. And it was also said that this sad state of affairs, that has become the state of the world, might not be reversible.


     The first official task on the conference agenda, after the welcoming speech finally ended, was to hammer out an agenda for the next two weeks. Written suggestions had been put forward regarding the subjects that should be discussed, and in what order. Each one was voted on. During the voting a call came from the floor that Afghanistan should be on top of the list, referring to the Soviets' war in Afghanistan.

      "No, no!" protested our tour guide who was also a member of the panel.

      "Then, let's discuss terrorism, Soviet terrorism," shouted another man from the back.

      "And what about the West's capitalist terrorism against all the poor countries in the world?" shouted someone else with a Russian accent. "If you want to compare the body count of the dead, capitalism will show up as the number one enemy of humankind."

      "Yes, but who has his fingers on the pulse of economic terrorism? Who wants to wreck everything that is decent and good? Who but the Soviet Union and its cronies would want that?" The outburst came from an American sounding person at the back of the hall.

      Most people didn't even bother standing up as they spoke. After this diatribe, Vietnam and Afghanistan were both brought up together.

      Our tour guide stood up and waved her hand as someone who would be firm in this matter. Still, she spoke in the gentlest manner. She said that this meeting shouldn't concern itself with such contentious political items that cannot be resolved on this kind of platform anyway. Rather, the conference should explore the principles that can counter the underlying mental forces that invite conflicts; the forces that divide us and isolate us, which are the forces that drive us towards war and are killing mankind. "We are not here to 'rape' each other mentally, emotionally, and politically, and to tare each other down. We are here to do the opposite. For this we need to develop the technology of grace that brings the humanity of the human being to the surface that is rooted in all of us."

      I nudged Fred. "Did you hear that?"

      Fred nodded and smiled.

      "I don't know when I had last heard the world, grace, spoken aloud," I said to him. "But here, it was practically the first thing she said," I said to Fred while our tour guide was still speaking.

      "Let's be clear about one thing," said our tour guide at one point, gently, in closing, "there is not a single person on this panel that is authorized to discuss contentious political matters anyway. Let's also be clear that even if we were authorized to discuss them, the hysteric battling that would result, would be of no practical value to anyone. So why would we waste our time with that? Instead, let's do something constructive that profits us all in a practical way. Doing that might even uplift the world a little."

      I nudged Fred again. "Did you hear that? She is talking like Steve would, or like you sometimes talk." I told him that I also liked the firm control she had established with her gentle manner, and this in spite of the fact that there was apparent disagreement with her guideline proposal even among the panel.

      Ushi stood up in to support of our tour guide. I felt that her help hadn't really been necessary. Still, I was looking forward to hear what Ushi might say that would raise the platform still higher as I knew she would attempt.

      Ushi raised her hand when she got to the lectern. "I, too, would love to see the Afghan war ended," she said softly. "But ask yourselves, what can we expect to gain from discussing war as an issue? By its very nature, war is something totally illogical. Believe me, I know. I have spent two months in Afghanistan as a journalist. I have seen the whole tragic effort first hand, and I've been trying my damnedest to understand the meaning of it. In my courier as a journalist I've seen countless atrocities committed by all sides. I have experienced horrors that most of you cannot imagine, and witnessed immense pain and also the raging anger that unfolds in the heat of the battle. Believe me, I've heard too many of the battle cries, and cries of the heroes fueling the flames, and I have also seen too many people die in those flames to find any sense in it at all. Believe me, those kinds of issues are far too deep to be addressed via a round table discussions."

      There was order while she spoke.

      "Let me illustrate what I said with an example," she continued. "I had joined a refugee caravan once. We were high up in the Afghanistan mountains on our way to the Pakistan border. For three days we had struggled at dizzying heights, across steep slopes and ice fields, always in danger of slipping and falling to our death, or of being seen by the Soviets. A jubilation erupted among the people when we finally reached the high valley behind the last ridge. Before us lay the way to the border to Pakistan. We entered a lush valley in comparison with the kind of high-mountain wilderness we had been in previously. Camp was set up beside a mountain stream. On the surface all was a peaceful and idyllic, a scene of serenity, far from the chaos of war. But we were at war. While the children were playing in the water, the grinding-on war hadn't stopped, though the people were oblivious to the danger they couldn't see. They were supposing to be safe by being so near to the Pakistan border. I urged them to take shelter. There were plenty of low trees in the valley - a patch of forest with widely spread out branches. The thick evergreen would have provided at least some cover from the reconnaissance aircraft. Nevertheless, the people insisted on pitching their tents in the open as they had always done. I warned them that this would pose a great danger. They were too naive to comprehend the meaning of reconnaissance. How could they have sensed the danger? There was no danger reflected in the gentle calm of that sunny afternoon." 

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From the political romantic fiction novel by Rolf A. F. Witzsche

Seascapes and Sand

Volume 4A of the 12-volume series, The Lodging for the Rose

Chapter 1 - Snowflakes

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