Writing for a Positive Future
Soup and Bread
A selection of short and super short stories written for different occasions
1. Message to the Future
2. Hank and Rosa
3. Dictator Speech
Message to the Future
“Here’s the thing, Richard,” he said, looking at me in that way doctors get when they have bad news and don’t really want to be the one to tell you.
I turned away to focus on the living wall that lined the glass enclosure of the city sanatorium, a biosphere where the air was sustained by protected plants and all water filtered. It had been set up to help pregnant women to term and ensure a good start for their babies.
“It’s not what you think,” he said. “It’s the baby. Carolina did pull through...” He hesitated, while something inside me jumped with hope: My daughter lived!
“It’s not good, though, Richard; she won’t breathe unassisted and some of the poisons still reached the baby. It has problems too.”
I turned back at him, so abruptly it made him flinch, but doctors with insecurities were not my concern. “What kind of problems?”
“She has... how shall we say it...”
“We? No. You say it!”
“I’m sorry. I wish it was different, but as you know, more than eighty percent of babies today are born with pollution induced disabilities.”
“But Carolina has been here for SEVEN months!”
The sanatorium’s serene greenery did not condone shouting.
“It appears that seven months was no longer enough,” the doctor said softly. “The damage was done before she was even aware that she was pregnant. There’s nothing you or I could have done.”
I brusquely walked away from the young man, who, fair enough, couldn’t help it either. He belonged, like my daughter, to a generation that was unable to reproduce. But I felt like screaming; everything of value was dying and I could do nothing!
My wife and I had longed for a grandchild to carry our genes and beliefs into the future. If only Lisa could have been here; but she’d succumbed to kidney failure caused by that one time she had accidentally drunk untreated water when visiting her parents’ farm up north, shortly after we lost our youngest last year.
Mitchell had developed emphysema when he was six, one of the first to be diagnosed with a disease that had since taken child mortality rates close to ninety percent. He’d survived eight years, most of which in agony, especially during the ‘death summers’ when the air was literally murderous. Carolina, five years older, who’d nursed her brother and her mother, had announced she was pregnant on the day we’d cremated Lisa. The baby had no father; he’d been run down by military vehicles during the last protest.
I’d taken my only remaining child to the sanatorium immediately. I’d sold the new apartment to pay for it, and lived in a small hostel at the edge of town. But Carolina had started showing signs of lung degeneration. The doctors and nurses had still managed to bring her to term, but thought it best she was not alert during the delivery, to stop her exhausting herself. I’d held her hand, just before they raced her off into the theatre this morning. “Daddy,” she’d pleaded. “If I don’t make it, take the baby away from the city, please!”
“You’ll make it, honey. You’re a fighter,” I’d answered.
Apparently, I’d been right. Our Carolina had not died. She’d pulled through and was resting, but she’d be on a respirator for the rest of her life, and I was expected to go and tell her that breathing while pregnant had ruined her child; that breathing was not something modern humans were supposed to do anymore.
I felt so desperately alone when I left that doctor standing, aware that a sink hole had formed at the exact spot where my heart had always been; a cold and empty void. To my own amazement, this thought didn’t frighten me. This was no panic attack or anger, which I should have felt; which I’d felt after Mitch, after Lisa and even after Carolina got sick. But this was a calm coldness. Life was a right of nature, so those who did this to my family must die: the politicians, the corporates, the soldiers. I’d get them back for this!
A week later – a week of anger mixed with cold calculations and elaborate revenge plans, all of which I tried to hide from Carolina – they told me that the sanatorium could no longer accommodate my daughter and her malformed child. There were other pregnant women with still potentially healthy babies and they had to be given priority. I had no choice than to agree to move my daughter to a hospice, knowing she’d be waiting to die there, while they didn’t have the means to care for the baby. The doctor cautiously suggested it might be more merciful if I brought it to a ‘medical helper’. He could provide me with a name if I wished.
I don’t know when exactly this profession had come into existence, but the term implied a similar backstreet solution for problem babies as once upon a time had existed for perfectly healthy foetuses that came in socially inconvenient circumstances.
I’d known that time. I was aware how desperately needed legalization of abortion had been; I had been for it... then, when we were still looking at ‘you can always have a child later’. But today we lived ‘later’ and I could not help resenting people who could have, but didn’t want it.
Like always, these thoughts caused my blood pressure to rise and my mind to start calculating how to get revenge on the people who had everything. I didn’t want Carolina to make space for healthy babies. I wanted to kill them. Why should they get to live?
Carolina’s daughter didn’t have a name yet when I came to collect her the next day. It would never grow up beyond a few years anyway. It would never talk, probably never walk and it would not be able to eat. A little tube in its nose and a syringe with some instructions was all the nurses could provide for me. I wrapped her in one of their blankets, went to say goodbye to Carolina and left the lushness of the sanatorium to go into the constant drizzle that enveloped the city.
I’d promised my daughter I would take the baby to a safe place, but there was no such thing. My landlord would not allow me to keep it, even if it couldn’t cry. He had his rules: no pets, no children, no exceptions. Travelling to other countries wasn’t allowed; they all had their own problems. Some people took to the sea, but ships were regularly wrecked in violent storms. The farm of Lisa’s parents was still there, but without sanitation for water.
“Nowhere to go, sweet pea,” I told the baby. “Homeless, we are, you and I.”
Holding her close to my chest, I walked the miserable wet streets, devoid of colour, devoid of talk, frowning at the passers-by who were hiding from reality in their smartphones; frowning, because eWaste had turned out to be one of the biggest destroyers of the planet.
In front of me, a woman with a ratty-looking dog, stopped to let it pee against a poplar tree, which was no higher than the woman, barely green and leaning dangerously. The dog could hardly walk. I wondered why she didn’t she bring it to the vet. At least, pets didn’t need backstreet medics. “I hope that poor tree has some relative to comfort it, Sweetpea,” I whispered into the green blanket, which seemed to make a mockery of the grey city. The woman looked at it with empty eyes: a mirror of the void inside me.
But I despised these empty vessels, like I hated those responsible for the pollution. That hatred kept me going each day. I didn’t feel as helpless when thinking of ways to blow up corporate offices or how to murder all those miserable politicians who had ignored the signs and reports of the first two decades of this century, because they were in it for the fame and the money.
“Well, guess what, morons, money can’t buy clean air!”
That wasn’t quite true; the rich lived in houses with filter systems so advanced the space station could not equal them. But space, too, was a lost hope. So many had signed up to go to Mars – where the air was worse – or to live on the station, that the governments had stopped all registration, after which mobs of angry people had attacked the facilities and destroyed every chance of anybody leaving this planet in the next five years. The soldiers had come and killed them, as soldiers do, but at least the exploiters wouldn’t get to leave the Earth either.
“What will we do” I asked the silent baby. She didn’t know any better. Would never know what it was like to sing, make a tiara out of daisies, swim in a pool, feed the ducks or kiss her mama goodnight... all that was gone.
I entered the hostel to get some clothes, my ID and my photo album, put it all in a backpack, changed the baby’s diaper, which I left on the bed for the landlord, and went back out.
“I may know of a place, Sweetpea,” I told her. “I know where one the promoters hides out.”
I’d not seen Alan since I’d cursed him and almost literally kicked him out, right after Mitchell had died and he’d apparently believed he was cheering me up by revealing that he was a promoter. Before that we’d shared all our ideals.
Most promoters kept to themselves, because it was dangerous business promoting the end of the world. They were not announcing it as a prediction, like those in the past, who were merely ridiculed for it. No, today they were promoting it; they believed it better for the planet to get rid of all people now, so that the remaining plants and animals would have a chance.
Alan still lived in his little bungalow, because he’d buried his daughters in its garden and would not desert it. He let me in without a word, without asking about Sweetpea. Just silently, as if he’d always known I’d turn up. There wasn’t much garden left above Alan’s children, but he showed it me anyway.
I told him what had happened to Lisa and Carolina; told him I had nowhere to go, no future and no hope. He understood, as did Maria, his wife, who came home a little later.
Though silent, skinnier than I remembered them, and pale, like everybody else, Alan and Maria did not look like death; there was still life in their eyes. They offered me and Sweetpea the spare room in their house and invited me to the promoters’ meeting that same evening. The baby came too.
I was interrogated on the way in, but Alan and Maria vouched for me, and if not them, then Sweetpea did, simply by the way she looked.
At least fifty people were gathered; men and women, all alive with anticipation. Instead of get me down, their sentiments awakened something in me: The knowledge that they were doing something to make a difference; not the difference we’d all wanted only a few decades ago, but still. These people – there was a vast network of similar groups all over the planet – had been developing secret weapons and devices. Another week and they’d release their “big bangs”, the name given to the two hydrogen bombs that would create sinkholes the size of Europe in two locations: Yellowstone National Park and Lake Taupo in New Zealand. They would simply help the Earth by setting off these super volcanoes deliberately. Within a year, the only living beings still alive would be those that were independent of vegetation. Smaller bombs were also already in place, in Japan and Indonesia, just to make sure. Large amounts of Belladonna and Strychnine were being harvested, so that the promoters didn’t have to await the starvation and darkness that would follow.
It was a brilliant plan – well, not for the animals and plants, of course, but I didn’t speak that sentiment out loud. Instead, I volunteered for some of the organizational work, feeling a little guilty for joining in this late, and because I started to feel a sense of purpose: We’d leave it up to Gaia to start again. Humanity had been a mistake; it was for the best.
But not everybody was here only to promote the end of the world. There were some, as Alan whispered to me, who had additional plans. They were not satisfied with just killing humanity; they wanted to punish the responsible parties: the politicians and business owners, who had refused to listen to the people; to make them suffer before simply perishing with the rest, because it wouldn’t be fair if they went believing they were not guilty. They were talking kidnapping and torture. I saw Maria whispering to some of them. No doubt, her heart was just as cold and bitter as mine.
When we came home, Alan opened a bottle of wine of a 2018 vintage, from just before the death summers. It must have cost him a fortune. We drank to the elimination of humanity.
“Oh Sweetpea,” I whispered when struggling with the syringe to feed my little granddaughter before crawling into bed with her later. “You have to know, even if you’re too little to understand, that I was never like this. I don’t like killing people.”
She just looked at me and then fell asleep when I stroked her cheek. What wouldn’t I give to hear her cry? “I’ll make them pay for this. I promise,” I whispered.
That night I woke up from a dream in which Maria had asked me to take part in the torture and I’d enjoyed it.
I stayed with Alan and Maria. After every feed, I hoped Sweetpea would go to sleep and not wake up again, so she’d not have to endure the coming horrors, but she grew stronger that week. Like her mother, she was a fighter. I both felt sorry for her and content knowing the end was near. I didn’t listen to any news from outside anymore. I didn’t want to hear what was going on. I didn’t go back to see Carolina, but I whispered my regrets about that to her baby at night.
The day before the big bangs, Maria, being in a festive mood, announced that she was going out “to buy bags full of sweets for our last day on Earth.” She stopped to stroke Sweetpea’s head while leaning over the back of my chair. “She’s an angel.”
Alan stood up. “Are you sure, now?” he asked his wife.
She looked at him defiantly. “Absolutely!”
Alan took her into his arms and kissed her, as he so often did. His back to me and Maria hidden from immediately view, I never realized that this was a very long embrace, never thought twice about the jerky movements Maria made, never even wondered why she suddenly slid to the floor – not until I noticed the rope in Alan’s hand and the line on Maria’s throat.
He’d strangled her? I knew I sat there with a pounding heart and my jaw hanging open.
“She was going to kidnap and torture the ministers who were responsible for the environment at our darkest hours,” he said, putting the rope on the table and picking up the lifeless body of his wife to put gently onto the couch. “I couldn’t let her do that, not even for the girls.”
Aware I was not moving or responding, I watched Alan walk to the liquor cabinet, open a bottle of rum and pour us both a large glass. He was calm, not worried about my response, not worried about consequences.
“What does it mean anymore, ‘right or wrong’?” he asked. “I’m saving her the pain of the last days, is all.”
I automatically took the glass he handed me, and then wondered how he could just sit down like that, beside her, on the couch, with absolute composure. “But... why take away those last days from her?”
“I told you; she didn’t want to give up the idea of torture.”
“But all she was trying to do is set things right...” I hesitated, wondering if he would attempt to kill me too if I took Maria’s side. “She just wanted to avenge her babies; don’t you?”
“I’ve been there, Richard. I do understand, but revenge on whom? Who are you going to blame for centuries of pollution? Your parents? Your grandparents? Or do you think it’s a problem of the last decades?”
“No, of course not, but they could have stopped it.”
“They, the rich, the politicians; if they’d only listened to the protesters!”
“The protesters, Richard, were splinter groups. They each had their own version of the right way to a clean environment. We joined some of them, remember? And then we left them again, because we didn’t like some of their other ideas. Plenty of politicians wanted to clean up the world, because they had children too. The problem is that they didn’t know how to go about it, because they weren’t natural leaders and worked in a system that is so full of red tape that nothing ever gets decided. You’re right, technology and greed brought us pollution, but democracy ensured that we didn’t do anything about it in time.”
“Because they abused their power.”
“No, because they had no power. Because they were followers of the groupmind; the common belief that we are individuals who can learn to agree if we just push our own point and tell others they’re wrong. That’s what Maria was about to act on and what you did to me after Mitch died.”
Somehow, I’d always known that was coming, “I’m sorry about that,” I told Alan. “I was angry that day.”
“Yes, you were. You lashed out, because you were hurting. But on that one angry day, how many other people did you hurt? And what do you think they did with their hurt? Or are you the only person who’s entitled to get angry?”
“But the politicians weren’t hurt. They should’ve done their job.”
“They did do their job; the job they were elected for.”
Alan was too calm, sipping his drink, while I, despite having gulped mine down, was getting more and more agitated. “No, they didn’t! You just said they didn’t know how. They should have left the job to people who KNEW how to take charge!”
My outburst unsettled Sweetpea. I automatically stroked her head, until I realized that was what Alan was doing to Maria.
“Yes, but when we were young, were there not already people calling for autocracy by natural born leaders, so as to save the Earth?” Alan asked. “Did we not still go and vote, you and I, believing we had freedom and a voice? Did you not teach your kids that?”
“But we know better now.”
“We know now, they knew it then, and some never will; most cannot think outside the box they were put in when young, so that they honestly believe that politicians are leaders and people’s votes are based on knowledge, despite all the evidence pointing the other way.”
“You’re defending them.”
“No, I’m trying to explain to you how groupminds work. I was a psychologist, remember? We’re all on this merry-go-round together, Richard; those you accuse as well. They’re not deliberately deceiving us, no matter how much easier it is to believe that.”
“Then they’re stupid! We all know the facts. If I can understand them, then so should they.”
Alan smiled, stood up to refill our glasses and then left the bottle on the table between us. “Should they?” he asked. “When I became a promoter, you knew as much as I did, but you didn’t join. You believed I was wrong. Unless you’re the only person entitled to believe something different than others, you have to accept that people are not clones; that new ideas spread one person at the time; it’s called evolution. In normal circumstances that’s a blessing; it ensures our resilience and progress, but a crisis cannot wait for the majority to see the flaws in their learned beliefs; that’s why animals have hierarchies. By the time we realize something new is dangerous, the infrastructure has changed and we can’t undo it. Did you not have a smart phone?”
“I DIDN’T have a choice!” I took a big swig, wishing to drown out his voice. I didn’t want calm; I wanted to be angry. “I never wanted a smartphone, but they took the public phones away and wouldn’t give me a job without one.”
“Exactly. Nobody has a choice, Richard. Nobody set out to destroy the Earth. If it were that simple, we could have stopped them. You say ‘them’ when you talk destruction and ‘we’ when you play the victim. You do that without thinking, and so does every other person. Don’t think that accepting reality only applies to things like the environment; it applies just as much to understanding that individuality is the illusion that keeps people fighting, competing and judging; that the big picture you think you’re seeing is too small, because the big picture can only be seen by the groupmind.”
I started to feel defeated by his calm and his having an answer to all my anger, so I drained my glass and immediately refilled it. “You must have rehearsed your lecture to Maria,” I scorned.
“We’re all in this together, is what I’m saying,” Alan replied. “We, as a people, live in illusions, not just politicians; we all preached free will, free markets and democracy, even in the face of disaster. Even you, Richard, you’re still promoting your rights; you call yourself free, even if you can’t breathe.”
“That isn’t FAIR!” He was playing with Maria’s hand, stroking it, and it made me irritable.
“For the last time, Richard. Survival is not about being fair, or about having free speech or the right to vote. And is it fair that we know what will happen tomorrow and have the means to avoid panic, choking and starvation for ourselves? Is that fair? Believe me, Richard, I had years to think this over. We’ve done all we can. It didn’t work, because we acted as separate units instead of one whole.”
I felt torn between knowing what was coming and wanting to live. “But we can’t just give up. Humanity has survived natural disasters before.”
“Yes, and global civilizations have come and gone. The Egyptian pyramids hail from an era when people understood the groupmind. They sent us a message in stone, which we failed to understand. Maybe the next wave of people will.”
“So, you think there will be survivors?”
“Who knows? Life is resilient.” He pulled the bottle away from me when I reached for it, still without any agitation. “We have a chance, Richard, you and I. We’re in a position to help the future. Maria was not the only one making plans beyond the big bangs.”
“What do you mean?”
“Before you spend your last day on Earth blaming everybody else, try to understand what information is and what people are, because we need to tell our story to the future. If there is only the slightest chance that, someday, humanity will rise again, or a similar species, should we not warn them, so they might succeed where we failed? Or would you rather let them make the same mistakes again?”
I saw in Alan’s eyes that same light of purpose I felt. “Are you planning to survive somehow?”
“Me?” He smiled and stroked Maria’s hair. “No. It’s too late for that, but we can do something; we can send a message into the future, like the Egyptians did. Instead of revenge, let us think what we must tell them. What would you tell Sweetpea if she had a chance? What message can we send those who will inherit the Earth?”
I had no idea. I’d only been angry. “What if they don’t get it in time?”
“Then some of them, like some of us, will send a better message the next time around, and so on until, one day, it won’t be too late.”
“What kind of message?” I was beginning to feel resigned to his calm, to his deliberation and maybe even to his explanations. I slowly began to see that he was right; everybody was in the same boat and we’d rocked that boat as a group. “But how, in Gaia’s name, do we write to the future?”
We never went to sleep last night. Alan eventually carried Maria to the bedroom, put the air conditioner on cold and opened another bottle, while I fed Sweetpea with the syringe and changed her diaper. After that, we planned our message, but we needed two bottles of rum to get ready for it.
If you’d asked me, only a few weeks ago, when the doctor first told me about Sweetpea, if I could kill a human being without remorse, I’d have said, “No, of course not! I’m no monster.”
But now, on the eve of the big bangs, I am deliberately and calmly killing my own grandchild with a pillow to make sure it will be over for her and she won’t suffer. But more importantly, so that she can become a message; the only message that might get through.
Aware that I’m as calm as Alan was when he strangled Maria – out of love – I wait till she stops breathing, then pick up Sweetpea’s tiny body, give her a cuddle and carry her to the kitchen, where Alan is already carving his message into Maria’s bones.
I try not to look, not to gag at the sight of his having cut the flesh off her thigh. Luckily, my baby’s scalp only has a thin layer of skin and is just big enough for a small story; the story of a woman who can’t breathe. I try very hard to only think of the message, making artful tears with my knife; tears to explain to those who’ll find it that this was not some callous act; that I weep for my child and through her for all people. While my own eyes are streaming with all the tears I couldn’t shed before, I am driven by the purpose that we – that is a large number of promoters in all corners of the globe – are embedding a message for future paleo-archaeologists, so they might put one and one together. For that is the nature of information; it can travel through time.
When we’re ready, Alan and I go outside and silently dig a grave near Alan’s children, but much, much deeper. It takes us till early morning. Then we bury them together.
Exhausted, I take a last shower, make a nice cup of coffee and add some strychnine. My work is done, my message sent.
Hank and Rosa (published in The Future is Short)
Exhausted, soaked through and short of breath from the climb against the icy cold wind, Hank and Rosa finally reached the top of the rocks above the beach. There, way below them, on the edge of the water, lay the means to their survival.
“She looks so small,” Rosa shouted over the noise of the wind in her ears.
“Hurry,” Hank answered, taking her hand and pulling her downward over the sand and rocks that littered the treacherous Queen Maud land coastal flat, on which, from all directions people and animals were heading towards the refuge that would stay afloat as the super storms raged over the planet and drowned the land.
One after the other had the storms terrorized the land for almost ten decades now. Large portions of the continents had sunk. A hundred million people had drowned in the last year alone. Entire populations were on the move, searching for higher ground – where they were not welcome.
At times, Rosa had longed to see the places Mum and Dad so fondly remembered from before – places like San Francisco, New York, The Netherlands and Bangladesh – but they were long gone.
As the scientists had issued warnings and the United World Government, from the safety of their Himalayan offices, refused to take it seriously, one of Mum and Dad’s colleagues at the South Pole Science Observatory, a self-proclaimed prophet, had started to build the refuge on the new coast that had been drawn so accurately on the map Rosa now kept safely hidden under her clothing – the ancient map of Piri Mehmed, sea admiral and cartographer.
At first Mum and Dad had dismissed the idea, trusting science above prophecy, when a multiple of cyclones and hurricanes started to form simultaneously, each fuelled by the increasingly large oceans now most of the polar ice was melted, and each coinciding with the full moon. They had still trusted the technology when the prophet had announced to the world that these storms would collide in a super storm that could wipe out humanity and that he was willing to save just enough people and animals as would be able to fit on his refuge.
Only when the solar storm rendered the entire plant in the dark, devoid of any working equipment, had Dad taken the map from the observatory museum and handed it to Hank and Rosa. “Run and don’t look back. They are not going to wait. Use the map as payment, find the raft and save your lives,” he had said.
Hank and Rosa had not had time to think about it, no time to say goodbye. Nobody knew how much of the land would sink from under their feet; key was to get to the refuge in time. There had been no time even to be sad and think of Mum and Dad, left behind for the sea to swallow without being able to contact their relatives.
Rosa felt her eyes go hot at the memory. Civilization seemed so far away and so long ago, yet it was only three days since they’d left the Observatory; three days of walking, using the map to guide them, with only water and biscuits to sustain them, until they were now only a few hundred meters away.
“Have you still got it?” Hank asked her again.
Rosa nodded as she held tightly on to him with one hand and clutched their precious map against her chest with the other. “What if he won’t accept us; what if they want to avoid inbreeding later?”
“He won’t know. The solar storm blew out all the equipment; there’s no data.”
Rosa nodded and concentrated on not falling over the rocks, while watching the last animals enter the ship. She was so tired, but there was no time to waste, so they started running again until, finally, they reached the prophet, who welcomed them as he kissed the map and hurried them aboard.
From now on they’d be at the mercy of water and wind; no gulfstream left to give direction; no predicting the weather without satellites. Yet they would float, while the continents sunk, one by one.
(Microstory contest LinkedIn group Science Fiction readers, writers, illustrators and artists for November 2012)
(English translation, written for De Buren Speech Battle)
Ladies and gentlemen, neighbors and other viewers,
I'm addressing you on this broadcast, not because I don't want to meet you in person, but because I'm not going to give up my power at the hands of a sniper. And we all know that there are people who want nothing more than to return to democracy.
Let me tell you why this will not happen.
Five years ago, I stood on the streets with many of you – protesting poverty, political abuse and environmental pollution. Two thousand people lost their lives in that uprising. People I knew, people you knew. People who envisioned a better world. People who were tired of – after shading a little box on a form – having to listen year after year to the accusation that they had opted for inflation, unemployment and uninhabitable housing, while watching on the internet how those 'elected' politicians spent their luxurious holidays.
As you know, they are now spending their holiday in a permanent grave and I do not apologize for this.
I do not apologize for my decision to end the riots and I do not apologize for the way I did it.
I do not apologize for abolishing the democracy and the free market and I do not apologize for my position.
I dictate what happens in this country. I'm not asking your permission. That – and only that – makes me a dictator. I'm not here to become popular, because I don't need your vote.
I am here to say what the next five years will look like. If you don't like it, you have two choices:
1. Emigrate. This country is not a prison.
2. Email me with a better idea.
Accuse me of what you want, but don't accuse me of defecting to the right. I didn't lose my ideals.
I don't believe that some people are better than others and therefore have more right to eat, to study or to go on holiday. I don't believe that obedience to a church or political power makes people better. And I do not think that I am a better person than you.
What I dobelieve is that people have to work in a profession where they can best use their innate talents. And I have a talent for leadership.
While foreign politicians make empty promises every year, we have done it – in five years all environmental pollution has been stopped.
It is true, you are no longer allowed to drive a car, but the new public transport is free for everyone.
It is true, you have to share your electrical appliances and cut back on water, but you don't have to pay personal bills and any environmental-friendly project is supported by the government.
It is true, you have lost your right to vote and you had to surrender the right to buy everything that’s on offer in the world – however dangerous. You lost this right because no one was able to convince enough people to make voluntary sacrifices for the future.
Five years ago, I took on me the task of improving the economy. We are only a small country; we have limited resources and we must share them. Have you noticed that no one in this country has slept on the streets or been hungry in the last five years?
I am dictator so thatI can use my talent to make sure that five years from now, everyone still has food.
That is why it remains forbidden to possess basic necessities that have not been declared.
And it remains forbidden to use food stamps to buy other foods. But as of today, the voluntary exchange of other goods or services is allowed. You are free to use the internet for this, but some goods may not be imported.
Education remains in the hands of the state, but as parents you have the right to educate your children yourself or to organize common learning groups.
Health care remains free and under state control.
The media and the internet remain free and free of censorship.
It remains mandatory for every healthy adult to work two days a week for joint projects and to put themselves at the service of the emergency watch. In addition, you can volunteer for work of your choice.
And because other governments cannot accept the idea of this dictatorship – because they themselves want to maintain the illusion that they live in freedom – the army will be kept ready for emergencies for the next five years.
Yes, Burenia is a dictatorship. It will remain a dictatorship until we have created a way of life that can ensure a good future for our children, grandchildren, animals and plants – who are also entitled to this Earth.
And I intend to remain dictator for as long as it takes. This means – no more and no less – that I have the last word and every resident has to ask me for permission if he or she wants something that includes the common good or public life.
But I will listen. I am open to new ideas and opinions. I'm not an omniscient person on every level. I need you to give me advice. I am open to criticism as long as it is supported by reasons.
Do not be fooled by the propaganda of other countries. Yes, I protect my position with the help of the police and the army – just as they do elsewhere. But those will not be used to attack other countries and they do not have the right to lock someone up without my permission or cause harm or pain to anyone in any way.
I take responsibility for the actions of all the people in this country, and that makes me the ultimate judge. If you feel that you are being treated unfairly, then you address me and I will listen to both parties before making a decision.
No, Burenia is not a democracy, but in every way you are freer than you have ever been before.
I thank you.
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