Chapter 1 - The Flat Earth Society
Heathrow was a sea of grounded airplanes. The captain announced over the intercom that he a terrorist threat or something of that nature had shut the airport down. For a moment it seemed to me that the world-financial system had already crashed. No movement was discernible on the ground. The baggage carts and service vehicles were all parked in neat rows. This didn't look like a typical response to a terrorist threat. Not a soul was in sight. It seemed as if air traffic had come to a halt in the two weeks we had been away in Russia. Obviously it hadn't. A single wing of the main terminal looked like it was still in operation. It had Air Force planes parked near its gates. This part seemed to support the captain's terrorist suspicion. Either way, we wouldn't be landing.
What a shocking return this turned out to be, to the Western World! If this was a terrorist threat, I found it amazing that we were allowed to come so close to the airport. Perhaps the control tower had been shut down as well. If so, perhaps it was more likely shut down for the lack of money or for the lack of a fungible currency altogether.
Fred suggested that if the reason was economic, Russia would be in a worse mess. Of course Russia was in a mess too. It had tried to hide it in the usual way with propaganda and covering up the cracks with 'chewing gum' which they so often used to hold their fragile system together. We all knew that Russia's economy had been collapsing more rapidly than ours had. It merely came to light in different and less visible ways in Russia. Like the West, Russia too had refused to take the required actions to save its economy. Perhaps it was fortunate for Russia that it had isolated itself somewhat from the West and had reversed course at virtually the last moment, by which it had somehow muddled through.
As it was, we didn't land in London that day. No official reason was given as to why. The only thing that the captain appeared to be allowed to tell us, as he put it, was that the plane was heading back to Russia for refueling until the politicians could sort things out. He suggested that the plane might be diverted to Frankfurt, Germany, if permission is granted. Everything else, he said, was classified. He told us that he found it rather amusing that the West was so secretive about such a "little thing," as he called it. For this, our plans had all been altered, whatever the 'thing' was. I personally didn't mind the diversion, nor was I surprised by the secrecy. Secrecy, deception, and dishonesty had become the hallmark of the West. Secrecy had become the new diplomacy under the banner, "In Lies We Trust!" What we were experiencing was not inconsistent with the usual games that were being played, the secret games like the Iran/Contra affair that had been kept secret for a long time, and the CIA's secret terror offensive against the Third World that had become rich in death squads and lean in humanity, while the arrogant cries were put forth about containing communism.
"Did I tell you that I nearly got robbed twice in a single day at Heathrow airport?" I said to Ushi as our plane climbed away and turned sharply.
"No!" Ushi answered in a serious tone.
I told Ushi that I had gone into one of the washrooms on the way to the baggage office. Travelers rarely use these out of the way washrooms unless their luggage is lost and they come that way. I told her that I was barely through the door when I sensed a man standing behind me. Before the door was fully closed the man had pushed me hard against the wall. "Welcome to the home office" the man had said to me in a joking manner. "Please give me everything you've got on you. Be smart! No tricks!"
I told Ushi that I heard some groaning in the background. I told her that I twisted myself right out of his lock and rammed the chap into the opposite wall.
"And," said Ushi.
"I guess he got a surprise he didn't expect, and me too, especially me. The man was in uniform," I said to Ushi. "He was one of the airport security people that had been hired to protect the public. He had nearly robbed me." I began to laugh. "Can you imagine the two of us. I just stood there in disbelief and stared at the man and shook my head. 'You're disgusting,' I said to him as I let go of his arm. 'It is even more disgusting that you want to steal from a fellow officer. I am an officer of the diplomatic service,' I said to him. 'We are struggling like hell to keep the world from blowing up, and there, you're turning against your own family as it were. With creeps like you providing security, what chance does humanity have?' With this said, I left him standing where he was and did what I came for."
I told Ushi that it really got interesting after that. I told her that he apologized profusely as I left the washroom and came running after me, pleading that I shouldn't report the incidence. I told Ushi that he started to explain the "ways of the world" to me, as he had put it. 'Stealing has become a way of life in London,' he had insisted, 'especially the stealing from your own kind.' He couldn't see therfore why I was so annoyed with him."
"Don't laugh yet," I replied. "It gets better, still."
"It can't get better," she said.
"Oh it can. He told me that he had been employed earlier in one of the big investment houses, before he became a security officer at the airport. He told me what he had encountered there, to explain his actions," I said to Ushi. "He told me that everybody had been stealing from everyone else, there. He said to me that they even had the audacity to collect a commission for arranging the theft. And it was all totally legal. He said it's still going on. He said to me, 'with this considered, why should it not be legal for me to rob you in the washroom where you least expect it?' Yes Ushi that's what he said to me. He said the process is the same in both cases. It's the same game utilizing the same method with only a slight difference in the steps involved."
"You found this interesting?" Ushi interrupted. "Let me guess, you invited the man for coffee, right?" she said and grinned.
"No, no, it was lunch time," I corrected her. "I invited the man for lunch." I told Ushi that his point was that the whole market had become an organized arena for stealing. I wanted to hear his story. He said huge profits were taken out of the market where nothing was being produced that generates the wealth that was distributed as profit by the brokers.
Ushi began to laugh as I said this. "That's really becoming comical, Peter," she interjected.
"Don't laugh," I replied. "He told me that the 'investors' brought in their money massively and cheerfully and gave it to the brokers. But did the brokers buy them any real investments for their money, of the type that builds industries that produce useful goods? No, they didn't. Nothing was bought anymore in terms of investments to finance productive processes, new industries that meet the needs of society by producing useful things, or investments that build infrastructures, which are required to operate the industries, or investments that advance culture, art, science, and technologies, which enrich society? He said that they didn't buy any of these kinds of investments for their clients, because that's not being done anymore. He told me in his sarcastic kind of way that nobody can get rich honestly, especially not when the physical economy is being starved out of existence. He said he really couldn't see, with all this considered, why I was surprised that he was stealing."
|| - page index -
|| - chapter index -
|| - Exit -