There is an anti-imperialist rally this weekend — at noon on the 28th of October in front of Norman Bethune park (Guy metro). I strongly urge people to attend; the broad-based power of the modern American empire needs to be countered with equally broad-based challenges to its assumed military, moral and cultural authority. Although, often, the results end up making one feel like one of the villagers in the short story below, it’s still worth the effort. Somebody’s got to try and stand up to…
The Golden Dragon
An enormous and majestic dragon with beautiful golden scales lived peacefully and comfortably on a large island. He spent many of his days sleeping upon his great sparkling and shining heap of treasure. When hungry or desirous of a new bit of treasure to make his slumber more pleasant, he would spread his great wings and fly into the sky. Across the waters he would go, to another land, where many poor and simple people dwelt in a small, humble village. The golden dragon was not malicious or cruel, but when he arrived in the village its citizens would run every which way in fear of their lives. This was understandable, for the dragon ate many of the villagers and took what few precious belongings they had to further pad his bed of treasure.
For many years the villagers lived in fear of the dragon’s arrival, for the glint of the sun on his golden scales signaled the beginning of a terrible time of death, destruction and loss. Often, they would organize themselves to try and reason with the dragon by sending forth their wisest elders to plead for mercy and ask to be spared. The dragon usually ate these men first, thinking that they were an offering to his great and noble dragonhood.
Once, in a moment of patience and curiosity, the dragon listened to one of these village elders.
“Why do you torment us so, oh great dragon,” the elder pleaded, “for we are but simple and humble people wishing only to be left alone.”
The dragon was puzzled, for he thought that, for a dragon, he had been remarkably kind, sparing the better part of the village on each of his visits.
“You misunderstand me sir,” the dragon replied, “for I am being as kind as a dragon can be.” “Were I to not curb my true nature, your entire village would be destroyed and you would all be eaten.” Upon uttering his gentle proclamation, the dragon swallowed the man whole, took a few simple baubles for his treasure pile and flew away.
Many more years of anguish and tyranny passed, and it was finally decided that the bravest of the village’s warriors were to sail to the dragon’s island lair, and through their courage, demonstrate that the village was deserving of recognition and respect. They crossed the great waters and arrived at the island where the dragon lived, whereupon they found him, as he usually was to be found, sleeping comfortably upon his great bed of treasure. These warriors of the village decided that, rather than try to kill the dragon in his sleep, they would cut off his two great silver horns. Surely, they reasoned, the silver horns represented only a portion of what the dragon had taken from the village as treasure.
When the dragon awoke to find that his horns had been taken from him, he was very angry. He roared and glowered at the warriors, who stared at him in an awestruck mix of courage and fear.
“What have you done here?” the dragon asked impatiently.
“We have come from the village that you have so often abused and robbed. We have cut off your horns as a sign of our displeasure, but have spared your life. It is our hope that this has taught you a lesson.”
“Well,” the dragon said, “I’ve learned a lesson.”
“You have!?” The warriors said with a mix of surprise, relief and disbelief.
“Indeed,” the dragon replied, “but it is perhaps not the lesson you hoped I would learn.”
“What have you learned, oh great dragon?” The warriors asked with greater trepidation.
“I’ve learned that it was foolish of me to curb my basic nature, for I am a dragon!”
Upon uttering his ferocious declaration, the dragon promptly swallowed the village warriors. The dragon was angry and sad because his horns had been cut off. He was less sad because he knew that they would grow back. He was, however, very, very angry, like any dragon would naturally be. He knew what to do to quench his anger. He spread his wings and flew towards the village for the last time.
So come out on Saturday…And watch out for the shadows…