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
"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
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
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
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
1 - Snowflakes