One of the odd difficulties about writing fiction, is living in a condition where reality is so fantasy stretched it becomes normal; and is thus so endemically normal: that by comparison it surpasses fiction. In other words [with no offence intended to sensitive readers] it is hard to imagine writing a fictional story about a place where the turkeys vote for Christmas, when you live in a place where the turkeys have just voted that they think Christmas to be a good idea.
Ja, well, no fine… as we say in my neighborhood. So in case I’m dreaming awake about writing a fictional tale about a nation seemingly hellbent on national suicide, which I wasn’t really thinking of when I woke up on Friday morning i was in the middle of 2037 and the characters are fighting over basic pay. So let me give you an example taken from the random daily news reports, always a good trigger for fiction.
On Friday morning our national radio station’s main outlet carried a headline opening news report, in which the nation’s Minister relevant to International Relations made a grumpy speech. In it she, quite reasonably, demanded a retraction from some random apparently politically important politician, in a place called Downunda, for an offensive and interfering policy statement he had allegedly made. Apparently he was recommending the fast tracking of visa applications, from those of our country’s farmers who are fearful for their lives.
Why are the farmers fearful for their lives on a scale so paramount that it involves Downunda in some nefarious action?
Well simply, because as a class, Agricultural workers are relatively isolated workers; and farm owners as a class are disproportionately murder victims, as statistics go: as are their workforces. In the same way perhaps that schoolteachers and children are relatively more endangered in Floridian schools that say Korean shopkeepers are in Los Angeles.
Farm murders are a complex problem, as the owners are often members of the former ruling class in the country, and their murders are often pretty gruesome; and are covertly targeted at removing such persons from the economy, if possible. It is an old, even ancient and widely practiced strategy [see Rohinga’s [sic] currently elsewhere f.i.] that has not kept pace with change. So although the revolution is over… the rage remains and the targets remain targets.
However suddenly this year, the pressure to change the structure and patterns of land ownership in the country have taken a major uptick; and the governing post-revolutionary party, that has controlled events for the past 24 years have not been particularly effective in solving a longstanding issue…for reasons that will become more obvious as the pending trial of the former President: ‘Shower Cap’Leopard,should reveal, especially since at least 783 of whatever charges they are, predate his Presidency. So the Party are freaking that they may lose their comfortable and hugely lucrative majority in next year’s national elections; to a starved, more radical, proto fascist movement that has gained considerable support.
It is also possibly that the issue is in fact insoluble… and that the former now deposed President of Rumbabwe was right in his Bakuninist interpretation of revolution… return to your roots and rebuild. Do as the northern Bears do. But then, as I have already pointed out, I write fiction.
So the specific reason for the spat between two countries that are usually more cooperative follows on from a relatively recent, fairly intense upswing in negative sentiment towards the now overthrown former ruling class in the country. One target has been their inherited schooling system, that remains isolated by language, from the rest of mainstream education that has become reasonably integrated given the wwide divergence of numbers. This language isolation is in itself a bitter pill given that none of the remaining 9 languages get to be exclusive. Now such people have received a visceral threat to their livelihoods and their futures: and in the general hubbub around retribution and “returning the land’ to its ‘rightful owners’, never mind the San or the Khoi who were here first, what is being ignored, is the possibility of a new national ‘kill and be sorry’ suicide pact.
How will it unfold? What is this threat lurking like Jabberwocky in recess that has suddenly leapt out of the cabinet in which it has been locked for over two decades. What is the story so far?
Background: Some weeks ago the nation’s ruling party commanded majority support, far greater than its usual level, in a Parliamentary vote, for a motion to overthrow a key [so-called] “Entrenched clause” in the Nation’s much praised Konstitution [that has in fact been amended about 18 times in about twenty odd years seemingly with no ill effect?].
The clause refers to the sanctity of property rights, specifically landed property. Its removal elsewhere in the wider world, has, as most ‘modernists’ know, a long history of poor outcomes. In our country, after a struggle that took up most of the 20th century, the People’s victory in 1994, restored and affirmed their right to own and possess landed property.
Back to the news: The minister didn’t quite manage to say, ‘how dare [the Downundan person] suggest that our [specific] farmers were in a life-threatening situation’: but she managed to sound as if she had been inappropriately touched. And more forcefully ‘to the manner born’ than the effect achieved by that northern prime person teasing the Bears over a nerve poisoning affair, for instance. She gave profound reasons for the falsity of the suggestions, mooted by [hint of suggestion] renegade [sounding] elements amongst the former ruling class … now deposed.
The Former ruling class, are now widely regarded as having “Stolen the land” in the same way that Firmians or Downundans may be regarded by the losers as having stolen the America’s or the land of Oz from [so-called] Red Indians [AmeriIndians] or Abbo’s. End of item. So the subtext to the Minister’s tirade against the Downundan was that a ‘crook’ was supporting a ‘crook’ and that was wrong.
That lengthy item was followed by a random list of other news items in the same bulletin. One fun item included a whining piece of petulant ‘poor me I’ve been robbed’ sound bites. The source of the whinge? A neighboring, recently deposed, ‘President for life’, Bob the Roz, was expressing his indignation at a terrible injustice. A former Comrade who had impolitely stolen his country had robbed him; and taken his job as President: it was an unforgivable betrayal, he whined.
Then there was a bizarre interview, with a lady from the national railways service, who explained the reasoning for various, unprecedented rail passenger service suspensions, around the country. She asserted that increasingly routine mass scale assaults, and vandalizing activity on railways staff and carriages was taking place by armed gangs on trains… Apparently [among various offences] a lady train driver was forced to strip by armed thugs, before being rescued, hopefully before anything worse happened. Both the interviewer and the interviewee skipped what happened, or didn’t happen, to passengers.
After which there was a final ‘footnote’ news item from a rural region in an unpronouncible place beginning with e in the east of Zone One, that really raised the question of where fiction begins and reality ends.
Apparently a “Sangoma” … [aka: ‘Muti’ man… aka medicine man or shaman elsewhere] was arrested following police investigations into the murder and mutilation of two Albino children from a local village. Albino persons are routinely abducted and mutilated for ‘medicine’ purposes, in various parts of the kontinent, although their murder in our region is unusual.
The arrestee was reported to have a range of human parts in his ‘muti’ bag. Although initially having the appearance of albino parts, they were later found to be the remains of a local, owner class, farming lady, who had been abducted, murdered and chopped up for transition into whatever was supposed be the intended remedy, for whatever ailment her [fake albino] parts were presumably supposed to cure. The two murdered Albino children were not mentioned again. So was that an ill thought ‘whoops’: or a deliberate insertion? [NOTE to self: is there a hidden story here?].Not to mention that it was a serious news story anywhere else, pehaps on Earth… well not on our kontinent perhaps.
Now. Had I sat here and made all that up, as part of a fictional story, it would be almost unbelievable… which is of course why it would be fiction. Plus I would probably have accusations of untoward partiality, targeted at me. So. Let us add to that two interesting complexities to the overall plot surrounding these busy past few weeks, regarding the question of who votes for Christmas….
As mentioned, over the past few weeks we’ve had an unusual blitzkrieg of ‘big’ events. We love politics, they provide a wonderful distraction to an underperforming economy. More commonly it’s a case of nothing much actually happens and everyone eventually dies. Then, almost abruptly, The Ruling Party fired the existing ‘struggle hero’ president of the country [He,famously of leopard skins and shower caps; and scandals galore, dozens of wives depending on day, at least 21 children, mostly rich, some on the run]. He had been accused of illegal activity and was thought by many to be a Crook. Gone: without gunfire or other violence being used… all cool and kosher. A wonderful move for the kountry and even the kontinent. A pure Wakanda ending: with a trial to follow.
A rich new shining knight was then hastily voted to be the new President of all. And regrettably a flaw occurred that may well be a crucial part in moves unyet and unplayed… Yes i write fiction. We were all overjoyed. The new man was a favorite of many: if not all. There are reportedly those in the team on whom the old Pres has dirt. They are threatened, what will the new hero do next…? Music fx here.
A new positive mood took hold; and on Day 1 a few weeks back we were treated to the illustrious, unbelievably rich, new president, our own billionaire: yahoo sucks to the Firmians with their rich Pres ‘Tweets’, we at least like ours. There were beautiful close ups of our guy swearing allegiance to the Konstitution that HE helped to create.
No caveats… unfortunately… [ was that the fatal error?] Simply swore the whole paper instrument to be set in concrete: A model of propriety. Ah everyone was uplifted. The promised land beckoned.
And then, with no delay, strike the moment… At least President ‘Tweets waitied untill a horror massacre at a Floridian high school before even suggesting, in his inimitable way, that the Firmian’s obsession with their 2nd amendment rights needed some review… and left it, to some extent, at that… and the market, to start sorting…
Not Our new Hero. He pulled the fastest switch in Presidential history; and if anyone noticed they were all too freaked to speak.
The following day: In his opening speech to the nation, he torched the page… He announced his intention to demolish a key flashpoint property protection clause in the Konstitution. Within a week he had nearly everyone in Parly … the absolute majority: in the bag with their approval for the idea. And in the process, he demonstrates, empirically, and regrettably, that his word was not his bond… Well i mean… he is a politician… what do you expect? And perhaps being so innured to duplicity, no one apparently, noticed it, except perhaps, the fellow in Downunda … we don’t know: Certainly everyone that mattered around here either politely ignored the switch, or simply never noticed: so relieved was everyone to get rid of the Bad President.
The totally cool irony inherent in that entire series of news report is therefore something almost unimaginable, other than in a form of madcap comedy: for the following reason. [Aside:How does one write serious crime fiction in the midst of rampant absurdity… do we sense Ionescu’s return?]
In effect the “people’s’ leadership, who collectively represent at least 94% of the population [up from about 77% when the original country was founded] have almost all just approved the idea, that the land ownership rights: what they fought for 105 years to regain, after they were previously dispossessed, the last time, in 1913, are now proposed to go under the hammer… and could perhaps with careless reckless abandonment be taken away again: by choice this time… and everyone is so suckered by the meme driven misdirection that they cannot see it.
It is an almost unimaginable development: that they, “THE PEOPLE” will commit a form of suicide to rid themselves of a thorn. We haven’t done that since 1856. Is it our destiny in fractal time to repeat that act again in a failed effort to rid themselves of a hated interloper: a time when almost an entire national grouping committed voluntary suicide. All those descendents of that particular national group who voted in Parly that day, are descendants of the handful that survived the madness of that tragic historical action.
The most radical amongst them want all land nationalized, and allocated to the poor: who will henceforth become tenants, who may or may not be charged rent. [have in fact become tenants, in those regions aquired under the law, over the decades since libertion day.They have reverted to tenant stus with no freehold certification according to a report circulating Parliament currently] And ergo, like our neighbour we return the land to the feudal status present at the arrival of the interlopers… the Koloniste… and that level of possession was the format dispossessed in the Great Dispossession era [1913-1994]. And it is to that therefore that the People wish to return… without thought to its consequence, simply in order to cure what they perceive as a cancerous growth.
And of course, as any financially literate person knows, it is notoriously difficult to finance developments on property you don’t own. The populace of the neighbouring country, previously wholly owned, by the whining, recently deposed Roz tyrant, mentioned earlier: pulled the nationalization of land trick two decades ago. They have as a result, reduced their country to one of the world’s poorest. And that from a most promising start as one of the continent’s best resourced, most promising start-ups. The flurry of angry tweets that followed the mewling ex presidential, radio speech during the aforementioned news broadcast, were a salient testimony to that failure.
So you see my dilemma as a fiction writer. Could you actually invent a plot of this magnitude and complexity, and even be believed that it was fictional?
Since it was not in fact a fictional parade, one hopes we will we all wake up before the movie ends, and shake ourselves from delayed shock. Perhaps we can then work out less dramatic means, to solve what is an angry septic wound that has been seriously, ineptly dealt with, by the revolutionary leaders of our country, for the past twenty four years and is on the verge of metastisizing.
And now I can get back to writing my fictional story set in 2037, the second part of Part 4 of the Azanian Quartet [The Jonker Memorandum being Part 3 and The Buffalo Hunters”; available now on Amazon is Part 1]. It is a time when all those desirable farms have been desertified [sic] by rising, drought fueled temperatures and broad neglect. A time when my characters from the Jonker Memorandum, are building their futures using Korinth Starr’s Towers projects for vertical farming zones: within the urban wastelands of the Jozi Unicity, in drought fuelled fire ravaged Zone One… The surrounding territories have separated into endless, waterfree Auslaande, punctuated with protekted cities: sucking water most gently and elegantly through fine veined eco friendly straws… and the cast are all gathered in the Jozi Unicity free zone part of Zone 1, where they plot desperate moves with magisterial consequences: and dine on delicious shrubs and occasional nuggets of Wagyu style, fake steak.
The story is set on the south side of the planet that has becomes 80% desert… with little water… so those Koloniste thinking of taking up those Downunda invitations, may need to think vertikal farming around town instead [or for/if/ when they get there, which would not be entirely the point of going there would it?]
The North side btw is predicted to be the promised land with Bear territory reverting to a more temperate region slowly: after the permafrost finishes melting, if it hasn’t already.
That is the prospective journey emerging planet earth is currently taking, following another two decades of climate change. And again that, regrettably, is no longer considered to be a figment of some random fiction writer’s imagination.