Whiteness

I have just finished reading  a novel which is a disturbing parable, a dark prophecy. Copywritten in 2004 it is the work of Nobel prize winner Jose Saramago of Portugal. The title, “Seeing”.

A torrential downpour frustrates the turnout for a municipal election in the un-named capital city of an un-named Western nation. Oddly there are no proper names in the entire book. The Prime Minister. The Cabinet Ministers, The Minister of the Interior. The Superintendent of Special Investigation. The Wife of a local eye doctor. Her loyal dog.

It is decided that the election will be re-run after seven days. The turnout is then more respectable. But to the Government’s surprise 83% of the ballots are blank. Traitorously white. The President’s staff formulate a scathing rebuke as to threats to “their beloved democracy, hardly earned by forefathers.” He promises to remove all official personnel to a neutral spot outside, and to allow the constituents, like rebellious children, to stew in  their own juices.

Surprisingly the City continues to function, and without the overwhelming lawlessness suspected by the Government inner circle.

Had someone provoked this mass statement as to the redundancy of the “public service”? The culprit or conspirators must be brought to justice!

On the day of government departure a total of 27 avenues of withdrawal are selected so as to minimize the impact of any outburst at the passing convoys. No citizens come outside. No public outcry in the early light of day. But household lights mostly turned on to better view and to assist the exodus of the policy makers. Yep, begone: no great loss. Again “whiteness”.

From the outside of the barb-wired City the Minister of the Interior begins to feel increasingly ridiculous. He orchestrates an explosion to pump up the theory of an unidentified anarchist and villain. Secret arrests and interrogations abound under the cloak of “state of siege”. The News media will do his bidding.

He appoints a task force of three to “break back into the City” and to locate a person whom he now suspects, for scanty reasons, to be the root of this horrible uprising. The scapegoat, a heroic and little known woman who was spared the plague of blindness in the City four years prior. The Superintendent is humiliated by the prospect of a wild goose chase with a foregone conclusion. Safe houses; communication code-names. A veritable spy farce. But he gets to meet the Woman and her circle of loyal friends, and finds no fault in them.

Crisis of conscience.

The final episode of “whiteness” is a storm of citizens’ pamphlets intended to reverse the harm spread by a soul-less and sold-out journalism including photographs of our heroine and followers. Will she come out of it unscathed? Will the Superintendent? Will his underlings who suspect the rest of the story?

Not gonna tell. And who orchestrated the whiteness of the “blankers”, or did anyone? And what about that massive epidemic of debilitating blindness in the recent past? White blindness.

Doug Blair, Waterloo, Ontario

And just one more disturbing book review. Please.

http://momentsmidstream.blogspot.ca/2010/12/and-on-twenty-seventh.html

Forgiveness

My heart was heavy, for its trust had been

Abused, its kindness answered with foul wrong;

So, turning gloomily from my fellow-men,

One summer Sabbath day I strolled among

The green mounds of the village burial-place;

Where, pondering how all human love and hate

Find one sad level; and how, soon or late,

Wronged and wrongdoer, each with meekened face,

And cold hands folded over a still heart,

Pass the green threshold of our common grave,

Whither all footsteps tend, whence none depart,

Awed for myself, and pitying my race,

Our common sorrow, like a mighty wave,

Swept all my pride away, and trembling I forgave!

 
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

The Apple Taste, Lingering*

ye shall be as gods

He put a name on me. Adam did. Like he did with the four-footed things and birds. Mr. Know-it-all. God didn’t tell him to do that. Eve, life-giver, made out of man, like some sort of piece of equipment at arm’s reach.

Well I can be persuasive and enticing. Proved that. And God said that this birthing thing would be my department. Out of the Garden now. Trying to keep it all together.

Wonder when we will stumble upon how this birthing comes to pass. Still waiting to hear from God on that one. He doesn’t seem to be around as much these days. Since we exited the Garden with all those tears.

And my Husband isn’t always the bright light. Made out of mud you know. Will have to return to it with the sweat of his brow. And there are thorns there. Never saw the thorns in Paradise. Lots of exquisite ferns, palms and vines.

And since the Garden I have doubts. About Adam’s reliability. About the changes that are coming now. About God’s disposition toward us. About who that snake really was. I’ll have to take best advantage of the tricks in my hand…and that takes me back to that thing about reproduction. And death necessitates the process.

Adam looks at me differently now. And in my sleep I hear of names myself…Delilah, Helen of Troy, Medusa, Cleopatra, Lady Macbeth, Elizabeth Tudor, Marie Antoinette, Alexandra Romanov, Scarlet O’Hara…

Who are they I wonder?

(* See Genesis 2: 19-23)

Doug Blair, Waterloo, Ontario

Stephen

We couldn’t resist his message

Or wisdom he brought to bear

Or censure his grasp of history

No Jew could defeat him there.

And none could resist his spirit

Unmixed, and unbought by pride,

And heeding only his Master

Right to the hour he died.

So what was the cause of our fury?

Or what could excuse our rage?

In stoning this miracle -worker

Who visioned a brighter new Age?

The gnashing of teeth and the madness

Were all in our quarter, you see.

As rocks crushed the life from this giant

Who knelt, and forgave even me.

Acts 7:

59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Doug Blair, Waterloo, Ontario

(Note: We do not know the heaviness of conviction that weighed upon Paul the Apostle between Acts 7 and Acts 9.)

Cain’s Vitriol

An offering for the Lord, they said

My garden full in prime
The rains have blessed the
Gourds and vines
And all this produce MINE.
I’ve given it my best you know
And surely God will cheer
And grant His favour, laud and boast
On what Cain managed here.
My brother watches sheep all day
With little sweat or skill
And when they fatten, plump and white
He leads them to the kill.
A foolish pass-time I conclude
No industry or toil.
And will this be his offering?
It makes a bloke’s blood boil!
Yes Abel you’re a waste
I say, on some old fable’s spin.
That God will only look to blood
To cover mortal sin
To gain an audience in His courts
And sense with joy His smile.
So Brother, sit and think on sheep
As I sweat all the while.
Doug Blair, Waterloo, Ontario
(Hebrews 11:4)

Judah Ben Hur: Vengeance

It had kept me going.

The hate.

The chance to pull through

And see him again,

And kill.

Had he not killed

Everything I treasured

Family, estate, position?

Thrusting me to slave ships,

And my loved ones

To ill-lit lock-ups.

He was a boyhood chum

Gone from Jerusalem

Thralled by Caesar

And army opportunity.

He could not countenance

Coldness to Roman ambition.

I became

As good as dead.

But the fates were kind.

I am here to race

In Pilate’s Grand Circus.

And to humble him,

Massala, master charioteer.

How is it that I sense

One of us will not

Walk out of this thing

Alive?

http://justhappeneduponthis.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/judah-ben-hur-release/

Doug Blair, Waterloo, Ontario