August 14th, 2020
Empires RiseThink of all the great leaders that stood on this beach, looked out across the sea and dreamed of the conquerable lands beyond the horizon. Imagine their excitement, the thrill of new discovery and claiming land for their crown. Who could have stood by them and not marvelled at their energy and purpose, the intensity with which they saw their futures, real and wonderful, huge cities and rolling empires rising out of the sea mist which floats gently across the water. Think of their surprise when they land on the beaches and find a people weak and trembling in the face of their supreme power, a people begging for subjugation, without modern decency and decorum. Who would begrudge these great leaders, sat astride their power, their blades sharpened by internal wars, ready to plunge their far-reaching hands into the earth and draw out the life that lies buried there. They begin methodically, setting up their old systems in this new place, arranging their regular lives to remember the comfort of home. They spread like a geometric plague amongst the bushes and trees, the rivers bridged, the lakes drained, forests cut through at the root to make way for their many-sided ambition. From the leader’s lips you can hear the victory sung, the great voyage a resounding success as the first flag is raised, the land claimed and the maps rearranged. At the edge of it all lies the pile of bodies that grow and sink into the mire, the smell of undignified decomposition attracting wildlife from far further off than ever before, they compete, brought low by the abundance of decrepit decay. Human fertiliser fuels the rapid expansion of these new nation-states that flourish at the expense of local ideology, the glory of the motherland planted firmly in the heart of native soul. Global catastrophes are born in this era of homogenous imperialism, the world brought to its knees as the blank corners of the map are painted blue, the first globes adorning the drinks cabinets of the healthy and holy. Big people live in small houses designed for small usage. Large lives, full of the broad world’s fruit and hardship. Small people fill the emptiness of their large houses with glazed fruit, the ease of live imitated in the their repose upon the wall. Look upon the flag of this nation, celebrate its colossal history, drink away the hours until it too, like the great empires of times gone by, is torn to tatters and hung in a museum as a future curiosity. Taste the food of these people, how bland and heartless it is, listen to their songs and stories, how empty and full of longing they are, longing for a meaningful world beyond the pointless slaughter. Somehow these people have found themselves the lucky ones, and believe that gives them the right to rule, as though Lady Luck herself controls not the only the turn of a card or the roll of a die but the borderlines of countries far from home, the destruction of lives that seem less worthy, who lives and who dies for crown, lord, land, money, power, and ambition. The future will not forget their names, nor the harm they did to those they found in these strange and distant lands. They will not forget the great empires that once straddled the world, the first globes inked with the colours of the nations who claimed foreign soil for their nobility. How best to remember these men, these happy, murderous, powerful, successful men who sacked the lives of other humans because it was easy. Erect statues to their memory, learn about the great world that was, the Golden Age where we were in power, we were the power that drove the world and kept it turning. Our ships criss-crossed the seas full of the fruit of our power, the labour of others firing more fruit in the fields and the mines of Gold. Praise their names, those military men who saved a people from being forgotten, who dragged an island from the sea and thrust its message to the furthered corners of humanity. The history of this great nation is simply picking people up in one land and dropping them in another. Taken from their homes, from prisons, from the streets, from the gallows, sailed to the desert, to the islands, to the new world. Think of all the great leaders who stood on this beach, looked across the sea and dreamed of the peaceful world they might live in beyond the horizon. Imagine their excitement, the thrill of a place to call home and sharing the world with their family. Who could have stood by them and not marvelled at their energy and purpose, the intensity with which they saw their futures, real and wonderful, civilisations of hope and community gently folding from the sea mist which floats gently across the water. Think of their surprise they land on the beaches and find a people powerful and destruction in the face of their humble peace, a people driven to subjugation, without love and acceptance. Who would begrudge these great leaders, humble in their power, their blades hardened by internal wars, ready to defend their earth with deep rooted hands that hold onto the life buried there. Who do we defend ourselves from now? Who is the great leader, standing on the beach, willing to take up arms against the villainy of today? Where are the empire-builders, where have they fled to, afraid of their ambition and their drive? Land barriers are fought on the internet, pieces of your life are given freely to those that would steal your face to run algorithms on advertising matrices. Empires rise with company names, neo-globalisation, everyone lives the same live, everyone has the same thing, and everyone thinks the same way because we all degrade to what we read on the internet, the same memes make us all the same.
©2007-2022 Benedict Esdale