This post has been germinating for awhile.
I started reading the works of Albert Camus about a month ago — not just reading, but reading obsessively, reading and rereading, every book of his that I could get my hands on, searching for the deeper meaning in his words. Deeper meaning in the writing of Albert Camus is not hard to find. This may be merely the hallmark of a great writer and a great thinker — that his works can be read on many levels — but my obsession with Camus’ work has come to assume proportions that are somewhat disturbing to me, though ultimately I am reassured by what I have found there.
Raised outside of any religious tradition, I have no congenital penchant for the perception or interpretation of prophesy, or for the active seeking of divine revelation. As I child I completely rejected the idea of divinity, and saw the adherents of organized religion as misguided fools, mental midgets who required scripture and dogma to guide their behavior and belief — and I have not strayed entirely from these sentiments. I have no great love or respect for those who would hold up their own religion above other religions, who would make war on religious grounds, who would use articles of faith to justify the persecution of others.
I created this website with only science in mind. Several years ago, when I first saw the footage of the collapse of World Trade Center, Building 7, I was stunned and perplexed. Curiosity led me to seek the causes of the collapse. Several months of research led me to the hotly contested topic of thermite. Ok, said I. Let’s see the evidence.
Allegedly a paper, documenting the presence of thermitic material in World Trade Center dust, was published in 2009. Every reliable source directed me to the same .pdf file, the same url. When I went to that address, my computer would go through the motions of downloading the file, but the file would never load. I could let my computer work on this task all day, and the task would never be accomplished. I attempted to obtain the paper in this way for several weeks, to no avail.
The inaccessability of this paper piqued my interest in it all the more. Finally I sent $15 to Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, to obtain a hard copy. I proceeded to photocopy it in its entirety, and to distribute it, both electronically and in hard copy, to the physics and chemistry departments of Smith College and UMASS Amherst, the Northampton district office of Jim McGovern, and after that, to whomever I could interest in the topic, completely at random. I would urge others to do this with any documents that you deem important and that you worry may be subject to electronic erasure. Once information is liberated in this manner, it is untraceable. This is the best method for undermining the Internet control structure.
At the end of the day, I checked again for the .pdf file, and somehow, magically, it appeared exactly where it was purported to be, with no exceptional loading time. A miracle.
This experience demonstrated to me that I had discovered a whole branch of knowledge, 9/11 Truth, which was being heavily censored, suppressed and subverted. At this point, I decided to find all information available on the subject, while it was still extant. In my research, I came across a huge volume of disinformation. Much of it was carefully disguised to seem genuine at first, but as one would read further, it would wade into the realm of reptilians and Illuminati. And a whole branch of disinformation seemed devoted to discrediting the thermite hypothesis, so convincingly, in fact, that on several occasions I nearly abandoned the hypothesis. In the end, the sheer volume of anti-thermite rhetoric helped to confirmed my belief that the hypothesis was exceptionally dangerous to the 9/11 myth.
Any real investigation of the 9/11 crime would start with dust samples, with documented chains of custody, from the World Trade Center catastrophe. This is hard evidence, easily tested, which undoubtedly the FBI possesses in abundance, but on the subject of which the Bureau remains eerily silent.
Seeing the profusion of disinformation, I decided to find the most reliable sources of scientific and anecdotal evidence, and to compile all the resources here in this blog. There are so many bad actors roaming around in cyberspace, it is hard to know who trust, but I trust my own discernment, and my own good intentions. I hope that you do too.
What began this digression was my assertion that science was the basis of my thinking when I started this website, and ultimately, it still is.
Before I ever ventured into the realm of 9/11 Truth, I took some small pride in being a wordsmith, a poet, and as such, I try to write succinctly (which I may or may not be doing here) My desire to express thoughts in as few words as possible led me to the question, “Could I express the sum of my research in a single word?”
That word is “nanothermite?” printed by a Silent Smith-Corona manual typewriter. This single word expresses a question , the answer to which brings the 9/11 myth crashing down, like a building being reduced to rubble by controlled demolition. I began by printing bumper stickers, thereby making the word clearly legible from a short distance and easy to disseminate. Later I took one of the bumper stickers, superimposed a grid over its face, and then, on larger grid traced on a strip of white-painted plywood, I traced the word again, affixed blue painter’s tape around the letters’ edges, and with black spraypaint, created the infamous sign. Now the word could be seen at an even greater distance. This technique of enlargement by grid was one of the first methods taught in my ninth grade art class.
I try to make my art easily reproduceable. Please save and print ‘nanothermite?‘ enlarge by photocopy to large size, employ the grid method, and you can make a similar sign, or fill the whole wall of a building, if you’d like.
And from this digression within a digression, I return to my original topic, the role of Albert Camus as prophet in my personal cosmology. It is my non-religious upbringing that allows me to accept unrecognized prophets without fear of blasphemy or apocrypha. The God I choose to recognize will forgive my mistaken beliefs, as long as they come from a place of good intention.
When I came to Camus’ book, Exile and the Kingdom, Carol Cosman translation, I was temporarily banned from the /r/OCpoetry sub-Reddit, where I had been enjoying a period of inspired creativity. In this forum I was (and still am?) highly regarded by some, bitterly maligned by others, and in this context, was able to enlighten many others in the little community. My ban was the result of my persistence in the promulgating my beliefs about 9/11. Word may have gotten to authorities that I was winning too many converts too easily. My persistence in this regard insures my exclusion from all groups in our society. The only means of maintaining the ridiculous 9/11 myth now is an insidious complex of social pressures, formulated by social scientists in the employ of the Pentagon, implemented by agents in our midst, and allowed to function by you, my weak-willed friends, idiot cattle.
Everywhere I have ever existed, for any significant length of time, I have ended up as a teacher and a leader, reviled by all formally-recognized teachers and leaders, my teachings suppressed, for undermining all non-merit-based hierarchical structures.
This brings to mind one of my poems, respect. The second half of this poem I have yet to write. The same teacher, to whom I show such deference and respect in the piece, came to significantly erode my respect for authority, though the fact is not reflected in the already-written portion of the poem. He taught us a paper game. As I recall, there were three dots on the first line, five dots below that, seven dots below that. Two players would take turns making a horizontal dash across either one or two dots. The object of the game was to cross off the last dot. My recollection of the rules is hazy at a distance of so many years, but I do remember that the game was fun, and I was good at it. The teacher instructed the class to choose the best player from their midst, to face him in a final round for a prize, or maybe just for bragging rights. At any rate, I was chosen. I proceeded to the blackboard at the front of the class to play the big game. In the end he was left with two dots, one directly above the other, through which he proceeded to draw a vertical line. When he did this, there erupted twitters of protest from around the classroom. “Wait, you can’t do that.” “I thought only horizontal lines were allowed.” I thought that he was making a show of cheating, just as a joke, but he wasn’t. He had changed the rules. I appealed to the class, “Let’s have a show of hands — who thought the rules were thus and so?” Overwhelmingly the class sided with me, and those who did not showed signs of confusion and uncertainty.
The teacher reprimanded me for appealing to the class. He ordered me to write the definition of respect some arbitrary number of times. The writing of respect was reserved as punishment for infractions of a set of clearly-enumerated rules. I asked that he show me the rule that I had broken. Since my behavior did not violate any of the rules already extant, he created a new one, just for me: “commandeering,” the definition of which was formulated specifically to include my crime. Under threat of further punishment, I grudgingly did my penance.
“non-interference with the valid rights of an individual or group, and any effort made to safeguard those rights.” This was a formative experience in my life.
Twenty years later, I found myself on a solar field in Springfield, Massachusetts, overlooking the IBEW Local 7 union hall. A seasoned electrician, though just recently licensed, I comported myself as a professional, and distinguished myself there as a valuable member of the team. Jeff D. and I were responsible for cutting lengths of thick, watertight-flexible-metallic-tubing to bring thick wires out of the load side of the small combiner boxes, on their way to the larger combiner/inverters. We had been in the same class in electrician school, but we had never had an opportunity to work together. It was a pleasure to work with him finally, and to catch up on all that had happened in our lives since school. We were an effective team, and we did our job cleanly and efficiently. At some point, however, I found myself in a position that precipitated the writing of another poem, like a bowling ball. The “still-young man” described in this piece was a journeyman newly out of his apprenticeship, with aspirations to be a foreman, and apparently with the connections to make this a reality. Shortly after the situation that I describe in this poem, I was instructed by my foreman to go back to the field we had just finished wiring and to re-torque all the lugs in the combiner boxes. The job was simple, and it could have been accomplished quickly, but I was instructed to stay there at least until lunch time. Meanwhile, the general foreman and the representative of the general contractor were taking a tour of that portion of the field. I was being hung out to dry, and I knew it. I was laid off the next day.
Our local business agent informed me that there was another solar field in progress in Chatham, Mass., on the very elbow of the Commonwealth, and if I were willing to travel, I could go there to work right away, so I went. The weather was different from what I was used to, sunny, cool and windy. The coastal storms are frequent but brief. The sandy soil, scrubby trees, mighty hawks and sea fowl, the flat land, all were a change of scenery from the heavy rolling hills of western Mass. After work I would explore the little tourist towns, beaches and dive bars of Cape Cod. It felt much like a vacation.
Most of the guys there were from Local 103, Boston, relatively few were locals from 223, Cape Cod, a few were from Local 99, Providence, and there was one compatriot from Local 7. No stranger to being a stranger, at lunch time the first day I staked out a cinder block and a wire reel outside of the overcrowded trailer, poured myself some black coffee and settled into the solitude to which I am accustomed. I was joined shortly by a few guys from 103, who cajoled me to join them at The Jonathan Edwards Motel, in Dennisport, at a significant savings over the motel I had found in Orleans, also a shorter drive from the job. To this day, I wonder if John M. was serving some military function at the time we met. He came to me immediately, as if it were his job. An Army Ranger’s uniform always hung at the back of his vehicle, as if he were ready to turn soldier at a moment’s notice. Alcohol flowed freely in the evenings, and one day, I had only to say the word marijuana, and there it was. Cool. Regardless of what caused our paths to cross, he was a good friend. He said he made a point of being present for the duration of every union election, just to make sure that everything went smoothly. People like him, who stand up for freedom and fairness, do credit to the uniforms they wear. Several times, however, he strongly implied that he had been involved in military operations that could not be openly discussed. We made a point of not talking politics.
Jonathan Edwards was a serious dive. The swimming pool at the center of the court was murky and brown, the proprietress careless and loud, the walls of the rooms dingy and cracked, the carpets threadbare. We really lived it up there, drank copious amounts in the evenings, toured the local seafood joints, and came to refer to ourselves as the Jonathan Edwards crew. We bore the moniker as a badge of shabby valor, and we took our lunches together for the duration of the job.
I did my job zealously and efficiently, adjusting massive concrete ballasts so that aluminum rails would fit neatly across the top. “Lieutenant Dan,” from Local 99, had somehow positioned himself as foreman of our crew. He boasted of many jobs in solar fields, factories and power plants across the country, but his practical aptitude was nil. He fretted constantly about the positioning of the blocks, the laying of the rails, the tightening of bolts. All these simple tasks he would belabor out of all proportion. Every day he would take us aside to relate his latest epiphanies on the shifting of concrete blocks [that didn’t need to be shifted], the leveling of rails [that didn’t need to be leveled], the measuring of things [that didn’t need to be measured.] He drove everybody nuts. He was constantly dropping between the rows of ballasts to do sets of pushups, and when not torturing the minutiae of our idiot grunt work, would ramble on about the Apocalypse. Finally we found that if we could send him across the field for material, he would be happy, and we could do our jobs in peace.
At some point I was transferred to a panel-hanging crew, and we hung many solar panels, at a rate of maybe two-hundred a day. Our crew crept gradually across the field and we were happy. The weather was nice, everybody had fun, joking and smoking in the open air. I developed a reputation, not only as an effective and versatile field hand, but as a funny, knowledgeable young man, with interesting views on American history. Everything was going along so smoothly, we were soon informed that we would no longer be required to work any overtime. The overtime was the only thing that made this arrangement worthwhile. Food and lodging were expensive and being away from home a hardship. I began to notice that some of the guys were starting to grumble in my direction.
It was around this time that I met Guy L., big-bellied Italian, lazy as the day is long. He told stories of how he used to work hard, used to be a runner, a “shoppie,” but that he had been burned and kicked to the curb too many times, and he lamented the blubbery lump he had become as a result of all this. When I would try to pick up a panel to place it on the rack, he would lean his prodigious mass on the opposite corner to make it unmoveable. All day we would go along like this. I would do everything in my power to get work done, and he would do everything to prevent me. In the end, I could only laugh and listen to his stories, because really it made no difference to me. At the end of the day our foreman would come to us and ask how many panels we had hung. “Fifteen,” we told him one day. “Cases?” he asked. “No, fifteen panels,” we replied. He looked at us with a smirk and moved along down the line. All the men became like ninjas in the field, wrenches poised in their hands, as if to tighten a nut, carefully concealed and ever watchful for foremen. John M. eventually struck off on his own, “fucking the duck,” his catch phrase.
I was the only one who roamed freely and unafraid, having already demonstrated my willingness and ability to work, and my aptitude for the job. For the time being my goals had changed. The men wanted overtime, and I was not going to keep them from it. I spent my days meandering from crew to crew, asking if anybody needed anything, helping to coordinate projects and the staging of materials, but visibly unconcerned with accomplishing anything. I carried around with me a three-foot piece of steel, which I used for various purposes, among which was propping up crates in danger of tipping. Along the side of this implement was written, “Marley’s prop. Do not cut.” Even in slack mode I found ways to distinguish myself as valuable and versatile, an asset to the team. Willing and eager to do any job when asked, able to learn new routines quickly, I was there to help. Occasionally a foreman would ask me, “Who is your foreman,” to which I would give my stock response, “God is my foreman.” The whole crew of eighty men was in open revolt, and in this way we got our overtime back. By being defiant and unafraid I earned the respect of the crew.
At some point, a foreman took me aside and said earnestly, “Deadlines are creeping up, and we really need to get going again.” And so I was reactivated. I moved ballasts, lugged panels, pulled wire, and finally I found myself in the inverter crew, teamed up with Artie “the one man party,” chain-smoking, wild-haired, hard-drinking electrician — I can spot one a mile away. He was the type that would never approach a job with any sense of entitlement — just a lifetime of experience and a huge canvas sack, overflowing with every electrical tool in existence. Now it was time for me to prove myself.
When I first came to his crew, Artie could not conceal his skepticism. Who is this kid, thought he, prancing around with his ridiculously-labelled prop? Of course the other foremen had been observing me carefully up until this point, and they would not have put me in this place if they did not trust my abilities. At the big inverters, an improper connection can result in large-scale damage, hazardous to man, machine and profit margin. A set of wires simply cut too short can cost many thousands of dollars in material and lost time.
To make a long story short, I comported myself well. All wires were terminated properly, and the huge several-football-field-sized machine was soon ready to “dump-electrons,” as they say in the solar business.
The last day was announced, and on that day we were all ready for the axe. Our paychecks, we were informed, would be delivered by Fed-Ex, and as the truck pulled up the drive, I was the man that yelled unceremoniously, “Here comes the Fed-Ex truck!” Everybody but the locals and the foremen were expecting to get canned, and we all did. But this layoff was like no other I have ever experienced. Every man on the field was family now, after three months of working side by side. The lay-off was more like a graduation ceremony. There was applause for every name read, joking, handshaking, exchanging of phone numbers and plans for the after-party.
What I am getting at here, in an obtuse and circuitous manner, is that there are intangible qualities that we bring to the experiences of life and work, that cannot be adequately gauged by any conventional measure of success.
The effectiveness of a corporate executive is measured by the extent to which he is able to streamline his company, by eliminating jobs, using cheaper materials, litigating effectively to deny compensation to all other entities. For these functions he is rewarded handsomely. He may earn more money in a month than I could hope to earn in five years, but does this mean that he has worked harder than I, that he has contributed more to the health and well-being of his comrades? Not necessarily. All it signifies is his willingness to operate ruthlessly and effectively in his own self-interest, without questioning the foundations of the structure that would place him at the top.
Two Bushes have now been president, and hopefully the American people have learned their lesson. These men are not put in this position for their wisdom or depth of vision. Again, it is only their willingness to participate in the enslavement of the human race, a lack of concern for the future of life on earth, and a willingness to serve ruthless masters, that entitle them to the trappings of political power. All of us who pay taxes in this country and contribute to the sustenance of the Big American Death Machine, demonstrate the same willingness, to a greater or lesser extent.
This system is clearly broken. And those who participate in the system — even the Bushes — are not truly to blame for their crimes.
Albert Camus had the wisdom to see this. He took it as his responsibility, as judge-penitent — one who had willingly participated in a system he knew to be corrupt — to absolve the wrongly-convicted in the highest court.
From here on, Camus and I will together take you on a brief tour of the human psyche, and more specifically, my own personal psychosis. To his immortal writing I will merely add emphasis and provide notes.
First note: Here is where my thinking begins to deviate from strict rationality and linear time-based reality. My hope is that, by here acknowledging the strangeness of my thinking, I can mitigate whatever doubt this may cast on my other work.
Before we dig into the long passages, allow me to present the most compelling piece of evidence that Albert Camus is familiar with my work, and is (yes, I know how strange this sounds) speaking specifically to me, and about me.
From the second chapter of A Happy Death:
There were living faces, familiar encounters, and a passing breath of life in which he at last felt his own heart beating. And it allowed him to avoid the faces of the three secretaries and the supervisor, Monsieur Langlois. One of the secretaries was quite pretty and had been recently married. Another lived with her mother, and the third was a dignified and energetic old lady whom Mersault liked for her florid way of talking and her reticence about what Langlois called her “misfortunes.” The supervisor would engage in peremptory arguments with old Madame Herbillon, who always emerged victorious. She despised Langlois for the sweat that pasted his trousers to his buttocks when he stood up and for the panic which seized him in the presence of the head of the firm and occasionally on the phone when he heard the name of some lawyer or even of some idiot with a de in front of his name. The poor man was quite unable to soften the old lady’s heart or to win his way into her good graces. This afternoon he was strutting around the middle of the office. “We really get along very well together, don’t we, Madame Herbillon?” Mersault was translating “vegetables,” staring over his head at the lightbulb in its corrugated green cardboard shade. Across from him was a bright-colored calendar showing a religious procession in Newfoundland.
[Most of this quotation is irrelevant, but I include it because I enjoy the description of Madame Herbillon, and her implacable hatred for Monsieur Langlois. The old lady reminds me of my dear deceased grandmother, with her argumentative nature and her contempt for the man whose trousers are persistently pasted to his buttocks. The long quotation also puts into focus the incongruity of the single focal sentence about translating “vegetables.” “Legumes” is not a difficult word to translate. No translator would hesitate for a moment over that single word, so what is Camus talking about? As I said at the start, this post has been germinating for the better part of a month, and new synchronicities have become evident to me in that time. I have provided here a link to my poem, vegetables, and I will further discuss its significance later. And finally, I was interested by the last sentence about the religious procession in Newfoundland. My dear, departed grandmother came from Prince Edward Island. These “were the living faces, familiar encounters, the passing breath of life” to be found in this passage.]
Exerpt from The Fall:
Knowing what he knew, familiar with everything about man — ah, who would have believed that crime consists less in making others die than in not dying oneself! —
[On many occasions have I felt that I would best serve this cause by dying, leaving all who have followed my work, and whose thinking I have affected, to carry on without me, either individually or in a group. My effectiveness lies largely in my ability to act independently and unpredictably. My skill at compelling others to act or follow is sorely lacking. Truthers are a notoriously stubborn bunch of non-conformists, and any attempt to compell them to act in a concerted manner is much like herding cats.]
brought face to face day and night with his innocent crime, he found it too hard for him to hold on and continue. It was better to have done with it, not to defend himself, to die, in order not to be the only one to live, and to go elsewhere where perhaps he would be upheld. He was not upheld, he complained, and as a last straw,he was censored.
[As I said earlier, at the time I started reading Camus, and building a rough outline for this blog post, I had been banned from /r/OCpoetry. Over the years I have demonstrated with the nanothermite? sign in many places, and hundreds of people have taken pictures, recorded interviews and other exchanges, exchanged contact information with me. When I went to see Pope Francis, I had just concluded an interview with a journalist from the Associated Press when I was hauled away by the NYPD. Dozens of school children took pictures as I resisted being moved for half a city block. There is no record of my activities anywhere on the Internet, except where I have posted it.]
Yes, it was the third evangelist, I believe, who first suppressed his complaint. “Why hast thou forsaken me?” — It was a seditious cry, wasn’t it? Well, then, the scissors! Mind you, if Luke had suppressed nothing, the matter would hardly have been noticed; in any case it would not have assumed such importance. Thus the censor shouts aloud what he proscribes. The world’s order is likewise ambiguous.
Nonetheless, the censored one was unable to carry on. And I know, cher, whereof I speak. There was a time when I didn’t at any minute have the slightest idea how I could reach the next one. Yes, one can wage war in this world, ape love, torture one’s fellow man, or merely say ill of one’s neighbor while knitting. But, in certain cases, carrying on, merely continuing, is superhuman. And he was not superhuman, you can take my word for it. He cried aloud his agony and that’s why I love him, my friend who died without knowing.
The unfortunate thing is that he left us alone, to carry on, whatever happens, even when we are lodged in the little-ease, knowing in turn what he knew, but incapable of doing what he did and of dying like him. People naturally tried to get some help from his death. After all, it was a stroke of genius to tell us: “You’re not a very pretty sight, that’s certain! Well, we won’t go into details! We’ll just liquidate it all at once, on the cross!”
[It has occurred to me that when I stand in place, as I am wont to do, holding the nanothermite? sign, my standing figure, in conjunction with the long horizontal sign, forms a cross, and in my solitude, I feel like a man forsaken by his people. I try not to dwell on the significance of this.]
But too many people now climb onto the cross merely to be seen from a greater distance, even if they have to trample somewhat on the one who has been there so long. Too many people have decided to do without generosity in order to practice charity. Oh the injustice, the rank injustice that has been done him! It wrings my heart!
Good heavens, the habit has seized me again and I’m on the point of making a speech to the court. Forgive me and realize that I have my reasons. Why, a few streets from here there is a museum called “Our lord in the Attic.” At the time, they had catacombs in the attic.
[The bulk of this post I have written here at the Lilly Library, in Florence. My attic apartment, a few blocks away, is very much like a museum, and I wish that more people would visit, so that I could give them a proper tour. I have shells and rocks and other natural curiosities, a shrunken head, interesting artwork (my own carefully tucked away in a closet), and bookshelves stocked with some of the finest literature written in the English language.]
After all, the cellars are flooded here. But today — set your mind at rest — their Lord is neither in the attic nor in the cellar. They have hoisted him onto a judge’s bench, in the secret of their hearts, and they smite, they judge above all, they judge in his name. He spoke softly to the adulteress: “Neither do I condemn thee!” but that doesn’t matter; they condemn without absolving anyone. In the name of the Lord, here is what you deserve. Lord? He, my friend, didn’t expect so much. He simply wanted to be loved, nothing more. Of course, there are those who love him, even among Christians. But they are not numerous. He had forseen that too; he had a sense of humor. Peter, you know, the coward, Peter denied him: “I know not the man… I know not what thou sayest… etc.” Really, he went too far! And my friend makes a play on words: Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” Irony could go no further, don’t you think? But still they had no triumph! “You see, he had said it!” He had said it indeed; he knew the question thoroughly. And then he left forever, leaving them to judge and condemn, with pardon on their lips and sentence in their hearts.
For a proper understanding of this poem, I must relate to you an exchange between myself and the good doctor, Alan Chartock on his afternoon radio call-in program, Vox Pop. The day’s topic was the schism between the House “Freedom Caucus” and “mainstream” Republicans. I called the show, first, to ask if Dr. Chartock knew what was the point of contention between these two factions, and then to suggest that the it could lie in the fact that 9/11 is a big, ugly lie. He took this opportunity to relate to me a line that his parents had used on him as young man: “Sometimes you just have to eat your vegetables,” to which I responded, “If by vegetables you mean fourteen solid years of fake news, then I guess I don’t want vegetables anymore. I am done eating vegetables.” Along with my pledge for the station’s recent fund drive, for which I had written the poem 1-800-323-9262, I sent a hand-typed copy of vegetables. On October 13, the morning of the Paris Attack, the WAMC roundtable (the morning news-discussion program) was to be recorded before a live audience at the Linda Norris Auditorium in Albany, so I brought the sign there, and stood vigil at the front door. As Alan Chartock walked toward the auditorium, I smiled broadly and bade him “Good morning.” He looked at me as if I were a perfect stranger, and asked, “So, what does that mean?” I was flabbergasted. As I said, I have been communicating with Dr. Chartock for years. It is inconceivable that at this late date he is still unfamiliar the thermite debate.]
For it cannot be said there is no more pity; no, good Lord, we never stop talking of it. Simply, no one is ever acquitted any more. On dead innocence the judges swarm, judges of all species, those of Christ and those of the Antichrist, who are the same anyway, reconciled in the little-ease. For one mustn’t blame everything exclusively on the Christians. The others are involved too. Do you know what has become of one of the houses in this city that sheltered Descartes? A lunatic asylum. Yes, general delirium and persecution. We, too, naturally, are obliged to come to it. You have had a chance to observe that I spare nothing, and as for you, I know that you agree in thought. Wherefor, since we are all judges, we are guilty before one another, all Christs in our mean manner, one by one crucified, always without knowing. We should be at least if I, Clamence, had not found a way out, the only solution, truth at last…
No, I am stopping, cher ami, fear nothing! Besides, I’m going to leave you, for we are at my door. In solitude and when fatigued, one is after all inclined to take oneself for a prophet. When all is said and done, that’s really what I am, having taken refuge in a desert of stones, fogs, and stagnant waters — an empty prophet for shabby times, Elijah without a messiah, choked with fever and alcohol, my back up against this moldy door, my finger raised toward a threatening sky, showering imprecations on lawless men who cannot endure any judgement. For they can’t endure it, tres cher, and that’s the whole question. He who clings to a law does not fear the judgement that reinstates him in an order he believes in. But the keenest of human torments is to be judged without a law. Yet we are in that torment. Deprived of their natural curb, the judges, loosed at random, are racing through their job. Hence we have to try to go faster than they, don’t we? And it’s a real madhouse. Prophets and quacks multiply; they hasten to get there with a good law or a flawless organization before the world is deserted. Fortunately, I arrived! I am the end and the beginning; I announce the law. In short, I am the judge-penitent.
Yes, yes, I’ll tell you tomorrow what this noble profession consists of. You are leaving the day after tomorrow, so we are in a hurry. Come to my place, will you? Just ring three times. You are going back to Paris? Paris is far; Paris is beautiful; I haven’t forgotten it. I remember its twilights at about this same season. Evening falls, dry and rustling, over the roofs blue with smoke, the city rumbles, the river seems to flow backward. Then I used to wander in the streets. They wander now too, I know! They wander, pretending to hasten toward the tired wife, the forbidding home… Ah, mon ami, do you know what the solitary creature is like when he wanders in the big cities?…
[Camus reminds us to return to Paris.]
Another passage from The Fall, which follows shortly after the the one previously transcribed:
You are curious to know my pontifical adventures? Nothing out of the ordinary, you know. Shall I have the strength to tell you of them? Yes, the fever is going down. It was all so long ago. It was in Africa where, thanks to a certain Rommel, war was raging. I wasn’t involved in it — no, don’t worry. I had already dodged the one in Europe. Mobilized of course, but I never saw action. In a way, I regret it. Maybe that would have changed many things? The French army didn’t need me on the front; it merely asked me to take part in the retreat. A little later I got back to Paris, and the Germans. I was tempted by the Resistance, about which people were beginning to talk just about the time I discovered that I was patriotic. You are smiling? You are wrong. I made my discovery on a subway platform, at the Chatelet station. A dog had strayed into the labyrinth of the passageways. Big, wiry-haired, one ear cocked, eyes laughing, he was cavorting and sniffing the passing legs. I have a very old and very faithful attachment for dogs. I like them because they always forgive. I called this one, who hesitated, obviously won over, wagging his tail enthusiastically a few yards ahead of me. Just then, a young German soldier, who was walking briskly, passed me. Having reached the dog, he caressed the shaggy head. Without hesitating, the animal fell in step with the same enthusiasm and disappeared with him. From the resentment and the sort of rage I felt against the German soldier, it was clear to me that my reaction was patriotic. If the dog had followed a French civilian, I’d not even have thought of it. But, on the contrary, I imagined that friendly dog as the mascot of a German regiment and that made me fly into a rage. Hence the test was convincing.
[In this passage, Rommel’s war in Africa is analogous to the destabilization of northern Africa that came with the “Arab Spring,” that insidious Twitter-revolution instigated series of revolutions, funded and armed by the US State Department.]
[“The French Army didn’t need me on the front…” I have hesitated until now to make any significant comment on the events in Paris, not because I have no opinion, but because I try to keep our focus on the crime of 9/11. American public opinion is now reaching a tipping point in regard to The Big Lie. When we finally decide to stand up for ourselves, and become vocal in our rejection of the myth, there will be no turning back. The entire order that has hidden behind it for all these years will be removed from power, and hopefully some better, more humane order will arise in its place. The dog in this passage represents the American people, dumbly and obediently led from one manufactured crisis to the next, inexplicably blinded to all preceding history. When I first read this passage, the events in Paris had not yet occurred. What initially drew my attention was the conjunction of the German soldier, and reference to “the test.”]
In a now infamous quote, Karl “Turd-blossom” Rove once said that journalist Ron Suskind belonged to “what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality… That’s not the way the world really works anymore.” He continued “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
This is what we are left with once again, following the attacks in Paris: a new manufactured terror event to investigate, a new rabbit-hole to fall into. This is why I always attempt to bring our focus back to the crime of 9/11, which has been thoroughly investigated, and which could now be prosecuted in a court of law, if any law enforcement agencies had the will to do that.
For awhile I tried to keep up with the steady terror stream, and to keep up with new attacks as they occurred, but there are just too many now, the details are always sketchy, and each one fractures our community further. We have had fourteen years to investigate the crimes of 9/11. At the core of our national identity is the narrative of that event, and to not properly understand it is to not understand ourselves. Ten years from now, we will have a far better understanding of what transpired in Paris, but this is too long to wait. History is occurring now. We need to stay focused on 9/11.
With this having been said, I will provide a few links that cast serious doubt on the official account of the Paris attack of Nov. 13, 2015:
I no longer have the emotional energy to keep up with all this. Even if the event were perpetrated exactly as the mainstream claims, and not under the guidance of Western Intelligence, the debate over admitting Syrian refugees is far more nuanced than what we are being fed.
American responsibility for the arming and funding bad actors is Syria, thereby precipitating the Syrian refugee crisis, is well-documented, not terribly controversial, even in mainstream circles.
The Syrian refugee crisis reeks of a human trafficking operation. We welcome widows and orphans with open arms, but about males of fighting age, we are no so sure. These will be carefully “vetted” by the State Department. Knowing what we know about 9/11, and about the nature of the Syrian Civil war, is it safe for us to trust the “vetting processes” the U.S. State Department and the Dept. of Homeland Security.
What they are trying to do now is flip the script. For so many years I have inveighed against the xenophobic agenda behind the 9/11 Lie. Now our masters are trusting in our anti-racist instincts to open the floodgates to all manner of unsavory characters, who can then, posing as “radical Islamists,” stage a whole series of attacks confirming the anti-Islamic rhetoric of the state.
The goal of American policy-makers is the Balkanization of all the countries of the Middle East, for the purpose of isolating Iran. All the terror attacks, regardless of their provenance, will be used as justification for military actions and covert destabilizations in this region. In the long term, on a path of militarist logic, along which a sane thinker would never bother to proceed, the choking off of Arabian fuel will cripple Russia and China in World War III.
The discussion is deeply nuanced, but here again, I lack the energy to delve any further into this debate.
The Guest is the fourth story of six that comprise the book Exile and the Kingdom. Here, without further ado, is Albert Camus’ short story, The Guest, in its entirety:
The schoolteacher watched the two men climb toward him. One was on horseback, the other on foot. They had not yet tackled the steep path that led to the school, built on the hillside. They were struggling more and more slowly in the snow, among the stones, on the vast expanse of high desert plateau. From time to time the horse visibly stumbled. They were not yet within earshot, but he could see clearly the jet of vapor coming from the horse’s nostrils. One of the men, at least, knew the country. They were following a path that had disappeared several days ago under a dirty white cover. The teacher calculated that they would not be on the hill for half an hour. He was feeling cold; he went back into the school to find a sweater.
He crossed the empty, icy classroom. On the blackboard the four rivers of France, drawn with four different colored chalks, had been running toward their estuary for three days now. The snow had fallen abruptly in mid-October, after eight months of dryness, without any rain to ease the transition, and twenty or so students who lived in the villages scattered on the plateau had stopped coming. They would have to wait for good weather. Daru now heated only the single room that was his lodging, which was adjacent to the classroom and also opened onto the plateau to the east. His window, too, like those of the classroom, looked toward the south. On that side, the school was situated a few kilometers from the place where the plateau began to descend southward. In clear weather one could see the purple masses of mountain foothills that opened onto the desert.
Feeling a little warmer, Daru returned to the window from which he had glimpsed the two men. They could no longer be seen, so they must have tackled the steep path. The sky was lighter; the snow had stopped falling during the night. Morning broke with a dirty light that became only a little brighter as the ceiling of clouds lifted. It was as if the day were just beginning at two o’clock in the afternoon. But this was better than those three days when the thick snow fell amid incessant darkness, with little gusts of wind that rattled the double doors of the classroom. Daru had patiently borne the long hours in his room, leaving only to go to the shed and look after the chickens and take in the allotment of coal. Fortunately, the truck from Tadjid, the nearest village to the north, had brought fresh supplies two days before the blizzard. It would return in forty-eight hours.
Besides, he had what he needed to sustain a siege, the little room, crowded with sacks of wheat, which the administration left him in reserve to distribute to those of his students whose families had been victims of the drought. In reality, misfortune had touched them all since all of them were poor. Every day Daru would distribute a ration to the children. They missed it, he knew, during these bad days. Perhaps one of the fathers or big brothers would come this evening and he would give them fresh supplies of grain. They had to bridge the gap to next harvest, that’s all. Now cargo ships full of wheat were arriving from France, the worst was over. But it would be difficult to forget that wretchedness, that army of ragged ghosts wandering in the sun, the plateaus charred month after month, the earth shriveling little by little, literally scorched, every stone bursting into dust underfoot. The sheep had died then by the thousands, and a few men here and there, without anyone noticing.
Before this wretchedness, Daru — living almost like a monk in his remote schoolhouse, and content even with the little he had with this rough life — had felt like a lord, with his whitewashed walls, his narrow couch, his unfinished shelves, his well, and his weekly supplies of water and food. And suddenly this snow, without warning, without the release of rain. The country was like that, a cruel place to live, even without the men, who didn’t help matters. But Daru had been born here. Anywhere else, he felt exiled.
He left and walked out on the terraced ground in front of the school. The wo men were now halfway up the slope. He recognized the horseman as Balducci, the old gendarme he had known for a long time. Balducci was holding the end of a rope, leading an Arab who was following behind him, his hands tied, his head bowed. The gendarme made a gesture of greeting to which Daru did not respond, entirely occupied as he was in looking at the Arab dressed in faded blue djellaba, his feet in sandals but covered with socks of crude oatmeal wool, wearing a short, narrow cheche on his head. They were approaching. Balducci held his animal at a walk so as not to hurt the Arab, and the group was approaching slowly.
Within earshot, Balducci cried: “One hour to do three kilometers from El Ameur!” Daru did not answer. Short and square in his thick sweater, he watched them climb. Not once had the Arab raised his head. “Greetings,” Daru said when they reached the terraced ground. “Come in and warm up.” Balducci got laboriously down from his animal, without letting go of the rope. From under his bristling mustache he smiled at the teacher. His small dark eyes, deep-set under his sunburned forehead, and his mouth surrounded by wrinkles, gave him an attentive and industrious look. Daru took the bridle, led the animal to the shed and came back to the two men, who were now waiting for him in the school. He urged them to come into his room. “I’m going to heat the classroom,” he said. “We’ll be more comfortable there.” When he entered the room again, Balducci was on the couch. He had untied the rope that bound him to the Arab, who was squatting near the stove. His hands still tied, the cheche now pushed back, he was looking toward the window. Daru saw at first only his huge lips, full smooth, almost Negroid; the nose, however, was straight, the eyes dark and feverish. The cheche revealed a stubborn forehead and, beneath the sunbaked skin somewhat discolored by the cold, the whole face had an anxious and rebellious look that struck Daru when the Arab, turning his face toward him, looked him straight in the eyes. “Go next door,” said the teacher, “I’ll make you some mint tea.”
“Thanks,” Balducci said. “What a chore! I can’t wait to retire.” And addressing the prisoner in Arabic: “Come on, you.” The Arab stood up slowly, holding his bound wrists in front of him, went into the schoolroom.
Along with the tea, Daru brought a chair. But Balducci was already ensconced at the first table, and the Arab had squatted against the teacher’s platform opposite the stove, which stood between the desk and the window. When Daru held out the glass of tea to the prisoner, he hesitated at the sight of his bound hands. “Perhaps we can untie him.” “Sure,” Balducci said. “It was for the trip here.” He was about to get up. But Daru, setting the glass on the floor, had knelt next to the Arab. Without saying anything, the man watched him with feverish eyes. Once his hands were free, he rubbed his swollen wrists against each other, took the glass of tea, and inhaled the burning liquid in small, quick sips.
“Good,” Daru said. “And where are you headed?”
Balducci pulled his mustache out of the tea: “Here, son.”
“Odd students! Are you sleeping here?”
“No. I’m going back to El Ameur. And you’re going to turn in this comrade at Tinguit. They’re expecting you at headquarters.”
Balducci looked at Daru with a friendly smile.
“What’s this nonsense,” the teacher said. “Are you kidding me?”
“No, son. Those are the orders.”
“Orders? I’m not…” Daru hesitated, not wanting to insult the old Corsican. “Well, that’s not my job.”
“Hey, what does that mean? In wartime, people do all sorts of jobs.”
“Then I’ll wait for a declaration of war!”
Balducci nodded approval.
“Okay. But those are the orders and they include you, too. Things are moving, it seems. There’s talk of rebellion next. In a sense, we’re already mobilized.”
Daru remained obstinate.
“Listen, son,” Balducci said. “I’m fond of you, and you must understand. There are dozens of us at El Ameur to patrol the territory of a small district, and I must get back. I was told to hand this guy over to you and return without delay. They couldn’t keep him there. His village was in an uproar, they wanted to free him. You must take him to Tinguit during the day tomorrow. Twenty kilometers shouldn’t frighten a tough guy like you. After that, it’ll be over. You’ll have your students again and your comfortable life.”
Behind the wall, the horse could be heard snorting and pawing the ground. Daru looked out the window. The weather was definitely improving, it was growing lighter on the snowy plateau. When all the snow melted, the sun would reign again and burn the fields of stone once more. For days, the unchanging sky would again spill its dry light over the solitary expanse where nothing spoke of man.
“So,” he said, turning again toward Balducci, “what’s he done?” And before the gendarme had opened his mouth, Daru asked, “Does he speak French?”
“No, not a word. We’ve been looking for him for a month, but they were hiding him. He killed his cousin.”
“Is he against us?”
“I don’t think so. But you never know.”
“Why did he kill him?”
“Family business, I think. One owed the other grain, it seems. It’s not clear. Anyway, he killed his cousin with a billhook. You know, the way you’d kill a sheep, zip!…”
Balducci made a gesture of drawing a blade across his throat, and the Arab, his attention attracted, watched him with a kind of anxiety. Daru felt a sudden anger against this man, against all men and their filthy spite, their inexhaustible hatreds, their bloodlust.
But the kettle was whistling on the stove. He served Balducci more tea, hesitated, then served the Arab again, who drank avidly for the second time. His djellaba fell half open as he raised his arms, and the teacher glimpsed his thin, muscular chest.
“Thanks, kid,” Balducci said. “And now, I’m off.”
He stood up and went toward the Arab, pulling a small rope out of his pocket.
“What are you doing?” Daru asked drily.
Balducci, interrupted, showed him the rope.
The old gendarme hesitated.
“As you like. You’re armed, of course?”
“I have my hunting rifle.”
“In the trunk.”
“You ought to have it near your bed.”
“Why? I have nothing to fear.”
“You’ve cracked, son. If they rise up, no one’s protected, we’re all in the same boat.”
“I’ll defend myself. I’ll have time to see them coming.”
Balducci started laughing, then suddenly the mustache covered his white teeth again.
“You’ll have time? Okay, that’s what I was saying. You’ve always been a little crazy. That’s why I like you so much, my son was like that.”
At the same time he took out his revolver and put it on the desk.
“Keep it, I don’t need two weapons from here to El Ameur.”
The revolver glistened on the black paint of the table. When the gendarme turned toward him, the teacher inhaled the smell of horse and leather.
“Listen, Balducci,” Daru said suddenly, “all this disgusts me, and your boy first and foremost. But I won’t turn him in. Fight for myself, yes, if need be. But not that.”
The old gendarme stood in front of him and looked at him severely.
“You’re being stupid,” he said slowly. “Me neither, I don’t like it. To put a rope on a man., even after years you don’t get used to it and yes, you even feel ashamed. But you can’t let them get away with it.”
“I won’t turn him in,” Daru repeated.
“It’s an order, son. I repeat it to you.”
“Fine. Repeat to them what I’ve told you: I won’t turn him in.”
Balducci made a visible effort at reflection. He looked at the Arab and at Daru. Finally, he made up his mind.
“No. I won’t tell them anything. If you want to break with us, go ahead, I won’t denounce you. I have orders to hand over the prisoner: I’m doing it. Now you’re going to sign this paper for me.”
“That’s pointless. I won’t deny you left him with me.”
“Don’t get nasty with me. I know that you’ll tell the truth. You’re from this place and you’re a man. But you must sign, that’s the rule.”
Daru opened his drawer, took out a small bottle of purple ink, the red wooden penholder with the sergeant-major pen he used to trace penmanship models, and he signed. The gendarme carefully folded the paper and put it in his wallet. Then he headed toward the door.
“I’ll walk you out,” Daru said.
“No,” said Balducci. “It’s no good being polite. You’ve insulted me.”
He looked at the Arab, still in the same place, smiled ruefully, and turned back toward the door: “Farewell, son,” he said. The door banged behind him. Balducci appeared outside the window, then disappeared. His footsteps were muffled by the snow. Behind the partition, the horse stirred excitedly, the chickens flapped about in alarm. A moment later, Balducci passed in front of the window again, leading the horse by the bridle. He advanced toward the steep path without looking back and disappeared first, the horse following. They heard a big stone rolling softly. Daru came back to the prisoner, who, without moving, had not taken his eyes off him. “Wait,” the teacher said in Arabic, and he headed toward his room. As he crossed the threshold, he changed his mind, went to the desk, took the revolver and stuck it in his pocket. Then, without turning around, he went to his room.
For a long time he lay on his couch watching the skuy Gradually close over, listening to the silence. It was this silence that had seemed difficult to him in the first days of his arrival, after the war. He had requested a post in a small town at the base of the foothills that separate the high plateaus from the desert. There, rocky walls, green and black to the north, pink or mauve to the south, marked the frontier of eternal summer. He had been assigned a post farther to the north, on the plateau itself. In the beginning, the solitude and silence had been hard for him in these merciless lands inhabited only by stones. Sometimes the furrows seemed agricultural, but they had been dug to find a certain kind of stone useful in construction. The only labor here was harvesting pebbles. Otherwise, people scratched a few shavings of earth accumulated in the hollows to enrich the meager village gardens. This is how it was, stones allowed to cover three-quarters of this country. Towns sprang up here, flourished, then disappeared; men passed through, loved each other or cut each other’s throats, then died. In this desert, neither of them, Daru knew, could truly have lived.
When he got up, no sound was coming from the classroom. He was astonished at the surge of joy he felt at the mere thought that the Arab might have escaped and that he would find himself once more alone with no decision to make. But the prisoner was there. He had simply stretched out on the floor between the stove and the desk. His eyes were open, he was staring at the ceiling. In this position, his thick lips were most noticeable, as though he were pouting. “Come,” Daru said. The Arab got up and followed him. In the bedroom, the teacher showed him a chair near the table, under the window. The Arab sat down without taking his eyes off Daru.
“Are you hungry?”
“Yes,” said the prisoner.
Daru set two places. He took flour and oil, kneaded a flat cake in a pan, and lit the little stove with butane. While the flat cake was cooking, he went out to the shed to gather cheese, eggs, dates, and condensed milk. When the flat cake was done, he put it to cool on the windowsill, heatedup the condensed milk diluted with water, and to finish, beat the eggs into an omelet. In one of his movements, he knocked the revolver stuffed into his right pocket. He set the bowl down, went into the classroom, and put the revolver in his desk drawer. When he came back into the room, night was falling. He put on the light and served the Arab: “Eat,” he said. The other took a piece of the flat cake, brought it quickly to his mouth, and stopped.
“And you?” he said.
“After you. I’ll eat, too.”
The thick lips opened a little, the arab hesitated, then bit resolutely into the flat cake.
With the meal just finished, the Arab looked at the teacher.
“Are you my judge?”
“No, I’m keeping you until tomorrow.”
“Why are you eating with me?”
The other fell silent. Daru got up and went out. He brought back a camp bed from the shed, opened it between the table and the stove, perpendicular to his own. From a large trunk that stood in a corner and served as a file shelf, he pulled out two blankets, which he arranged on the camp bed. Then he stopped, felt useless, and sat down on his own bed. There was no more to do or prepare. He had to take a look at this man. And so he looked at him., trying to imagine this face transported by rage. He couldn’t imagine it. He saw nothing but the dark, shining eyes, the animal mouth.
“Why did you kill him?” he said in a voice whose hostility surprised him.
The Arab turned away from his gaze.
“He was running away. I ran after him.”
He raised his eyes to Daru, and they were full of a sort of unhappy questioning.
“What will they do with me now?”
“Are you afraid?”
The other stiffened, shifting his eyes away.
“Are you sorry?”
The Arab stared at him, his mouth open. Clearly, he did not understand Daru. At the same time he was feeling clumsy and awkward with his big body squeezed between two beds.
“Lie down there,” Daru said impatiently. “Its your bed.”
The Arab did not move. He appealed to Daru:
The teacher looked at him.
“Will the gendarme come back tomorrow?”
“I don’t know.”
“Are you coming with us?”
“I don’t know. Why?”
The prisoner got up and stretched out on top of the blankets, his feet toward the window. The light from the electric bulb fell straight into his eyes, which he closed at once.
“Why?” Daru repeated, standing in front of the bed.
The Arab opened his eyes under the blinding light and looked at him, forcing himself not to blink.
“Come with us,” he said.
In the middle of the night, Daru was not asleep. He had gone to bed after undressing completely — he usually slept naked. But when he realized he was in bed with nothing on, he hesitated. He felt vulnerable and was tempted to get dressed again. Then he shrugged his shoulders. He had seen others like that, and if need be he would break his adversary in two. From his bed he could observe him, stretched out on his back, motionless as ever, his eyes closed under the violent light. When Daru put the light out, the shadows seemed to congeal at once. Again the night came alive outside the window, where the starless sky gently shifted. The teacher soon distinguished the body stretched out in front of him. The Arab never moved, but his eyes seemed open. A light wind prowled around the school. Perhaps it would chase the clouds away and the sun would return.
In the night the wind increased. The chickens became agitated, then quieted down. The Arab turned on his side, with his back to Daru, who thought he heard him moan. He waited for his breathing to become stronger and more regular. He listened to the breath so near and daydreamed without being able to sleep. In the room where he had slept alone for a year, this presence disturbed him. But it disturbed him also by imposing a sort of brotherhood, which he rejected in the present circumstances, familiar as it was. Men who share the same sleeping quarters, soldiers and prisoners, develop a strange bond, as if shedding their weapons with their clothes, they were joined together each evening, beyond their differences, in the ancient community of dreams and fatigue. But Daru shook himself, he did not like this nonsense, he needed to sleep.
A little later, however, when the Arab stirred imperceptibly, the teacher was still not asleep. When the prisoner moved a second time, Daru stiffened, on the alert. The Arab raised himself slowly on his arms, with an almost somnambulistic movement. Sitting on the bed, he waited, motionless, without turning his head toward Daru, as if he were listening attentively. Daru did not move. It occurred to him that the revolver was still in his desk drawer. It would be better to act at once. He continued to observe the prisoner, however, who with the same smooth movement placed his feet on the ground, waited again, then began to stand up slowly. Daru was about to interrupt him when the Arab began to walk, this time quite naturally but with extraordinary silence. He was heading toward the door at the back that led to the shed. He lifted the latch cautiously and went out, pushing the door closed behind him without shutting it. Daru had not moved. “He’s running away,” he thought. “Good riddance!” Still, he listened with keen attention. The chickens were not stirring; therefore the other man was on the plateau. A faint sound of water came to him, which he understood only when the Arab was framed in the doorway again, carefully shut the door, and lay down once more without a sound. Then Daru turned his back to him and slept. Still later, from the depths of his sleep, he seemed to hear furtive steps outside the schoolhouse. “I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming!” he repeated to himself. And he slept on.
When he awoke , the sky was clear; the poorly installed window let in a cold, pure air. The Arab was sleeping, now huddled under the blankets, his mouth open, in complete abandon. But when Daru shook him, he started in terror, looking at Daru without recognizing hm, he started in terror, looking at Daru without recognizing him, his eyes wild and such a frightened expression on his face that the teacher took a step back. “Don’t be afraid. It me. Time to eat.” The Arab shook his head and said yes. Calm had returned to his face, but his expression was absent and distracted.
The coffee was ready. They drank it, both of them sitting on the camp bed, chewing their pieces of flat cake. Then Daru led the Arab under the shed and showed him the faucet where he washed up. He came back into the room, folded the covers and the camp bed, made his own bed, and tidied up the room. Then he passed through the schoolroom and went out onto the terraced ground in front of the building. The sun was already rising in the blue sky; a bright and gentle light was flooding the desert plateau. On the steep path the snow was melting in places. The stones would appear again. Crouched on the edge of the plateau, the teacher contemplated the deserted expanse. He was thinking of Balducci. He had insulted him, he’d sent him off, in a way, as if he did not want to be in the same boat. He could still hear the gendarme’s farewell, and without knowing why, he felt strangely empty and vulnerable. At the moment, from the other side of the school, the prisoner coughed. Daru listened to him, in spite of himself, then, furious, threw a pebble that whistled in the air before landing in the snow. The idiotic crime and the man himself revolted him, but to turn him in was dishonorable; just thinking about it filled him with humiliation. And he cursed both his own people, who had sent him the Arab, and the man himself who had dared to kill and hadn’t known enough to run away. Daru stood up, took a turn around the terraced ground, waited, motionless, then went into the school.
The Arab, Leaning over the cement floor of the shed, was washing his teeth with two fingers. Daru looked at him.
“Come,” he said.
He went into the bedroom ahead of the prisoner. He slipped on a hunting jacket over his sweater and pulled on his walking shoes. He stood waiting until the Arab put on his cheche and his sandals. They went through the schoolroom, and the teacher showed his companion the way out. “Go on,” he said. The other did not move. “I’m coming,” Daru said. The Arab went out. Daru went back to the room and made a packet with biscuits, dates, and sugar. In the classroom, before leaving, he hesitated a moment in front of his desk, then he crossed the threshold of the school and locked the door. “It’s that way,” he said. He took the path going east, followed by the prisoner. But not far from the school, he thought he heard a slight noise behind him. He retraced his steps, inspected the surroundings of the building; no one was there. The Arab watched him without seeming to understand. “Let’s go,” Daru said.
They walked for an hour and rested near a kind of limestone needle. The snow was melting faster and faster, the sun was quickly swallowing up the puddles, furiously cleaning the plateau, which gradually dried out and vibrated like the air itself. When they set off on their way again, the ground echoed beneath their feet. Here and there a bird sliced the space in front of them with a joyous cry. Daru took deep breaths of the fresh light. A kind of exaltation rose in him before the vast familiar space, almost entirely yellow now under its cap of blue sky. They walked another hour, descending toward the south. They reached a kind of flat perch, made of crumbling rocks. From there the plateau hurtled down to the east, toward a low plain where they could distinguish a few sparse trees and, to the south, toward the rocky outcroppings that gave the landscape a tormented aspect.
Daru surveyed the two directions. There was nothing but sky on the horizon, not a man to be seen. He turned toward the Arab, who was looking at him uncomprehendingly. Daru held out the packet to him: “Take it,” he said. “It’s dates, bread and sugar. You can hold out for two days. Here are a thousand francs, too.” The Arab took the packet and the money, but he kept his full hands at chest level, as if he did not know what to do with what he had been given. “Now look,” said the teacher, and he pointed to the east “that way to Tinguit. You’ve got a two hour walk. In Tinguit, there’s the administration and the police. They’re expecting you.” The Arab was looking toward the east, still holding the packet and the money against his chest. Daru took his arm and turned him, a little roughly, toward the south. Below the peak where they stood, they could make out a faint path. “There, that’s the trail across the plateau. A day’s walk from here you’ll find pastures and the first nomads. They will welcome you and give you shelter, according to their law.” The Arab turned back around now toward Daru, and a sort of panic appeared on his face. “Listen,” he said. Daru shook his head: “No, be quite. Now I’m leaving you.” He turned his back and took two big steps in the direction of the school, looked indecisively at the motionless Arab, and started off again. For a few minutes he heard only his own steps echoing on the cold earth, and he did not turn his head. A moment later, however, he turned around. The Arab was still there, at the edge of the hill, his arm hanging now, and he was looking at the teacher. Daru felt a lump in his throat. But he cursed impatiently, made a sweeping gesture, and set off again. He was already at some distance when he stopped again and looked. There was no one on the hill.
Daru hesitated. The sn was now rather high in the sky and beginning to burn his forehead. The teacher retraced his steps, at first uncertainly, then with decision. When he reached the little hill, he was streaming with sweat. He tackled it at top speed and stopped, out of breath, at the top. The fields of rock to the south stood clearly etched on the blue sky, but on the plain, to the east, the vapor was already rising. And in this light haze, Daru, his heart aching, discovered the Arab slowly making his way along the road to the prison.
A little later, standing in front of the classroom window, the teacher watched distractedly as the yellow light leaped from the heights of the sky and spread across the whole surface of the plateau. Behind him, on the blackboard, among the meanderings of the French rivers, a clumsy hand had traced in chalk the inscription he read: “You turned in our brother. You will pay.” Daru was looking at the sky, the plateau, and beyond at the invisible lands that reached all the way to the sea. In this vast country he had loved so much, he was alone.
I have chosen not to add emphasis or notes to the preceeding text. The story elaborates, in parable form, Daru’s experience in the role of judge-penitent.
In lieu of commentary, I will direct your attention to the writing of H.G. Wells’ chapter on Jesus of Nazareth, from his book, The Outline of History. Here is the second half of that chapter:
It was not merely a moral and a social revolution that Jesus proclaimed; it is clear from a score of indications that his teaching had a political bent of the plainest sort. It is true that he said his kingdom was not of this world, that it was in the hearts of men and not upon a throne; but it is equally clear that wherever and in what measure his kingdom was set up in the hearts of men, the outer world would be in that measure revolutionized and made new.
Whatever else the deafness and blindness of his hearers may have missed in his utterances, it is plain that they did not miss his resolve to revolutionize the world. Some of the questions that were brought to Jesus and the answers he gave enable us to guess at the drift of much of his unrecorded teaching. The directness of his political attack is manifest by such an incident as that of the coin
“And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” which in view of all else that he had taught, left very little of a man or his possessions for Caesar.
The whole tenor of the opposition to him and the circumstances of his trial and execution show clearly that to his contemporaries he seemed to propose plainly and did propose plainly to change and fuse and enlarge all human life. But even his disciples did not grasp the profound and comprehensive significance of that proposal. They were ridden by the old Jewish dream of a king, a Messiah to overthrow the Hellenized Herods and the Roman overlord, and restore the fabled glories of David. They disregarded the substance of his teaching, plain and direct though it was; evidently they thought it was merely his mysterious and singular way of setting about the adventure that would at last put him on the throne of Jerusalem. They thought he was just another king among the endless succession of kings, but of a quasi-magic kind, and making quasi-magic profession of an impossible virtue.
“And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying Master, we would that thou shouldest do, for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: but to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared. And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John. But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many”.
This was cold comfort for those who looked for a due reward for their services and hardships in his train. They could not believe this hard doctrine of a kingdom of service which was its own exceeding great reward. Even after his death upon the cross, they could still, after their first dismay, revert to the belief that he was nevertheless in the vein of the ancient world of pomps, and privileges, that presently by some amazing miracle he would become undead again and return, and set up his throne with much splendour and graciousness in Jerusalem. They thought his life was a stratagem and his death a trick.
He was too great for his disciples. And in view of what he plainly said, is it any wonder that all who were rich and prosperous felt a horror of strange things, a swimming of their world at his teaching? Perhaps the priests and the rulers and the rich men understood him better than his followers. He was dragging out all the little private reservations they had made from social service into the light of a universal religious life.
He was like some terrible moral huntsman digging mankind out of the snug burrows in which they had lived hitherto. In the white blaze of this kingdom of his there was to be no property, no privilege, no pride and precedence; no motive indeed and no reward but love. Is it any wonder that men were dazzled and blinded and cried out against him? Even his disciples cried out when he would not spare them the light. Is it any wonder that the priests realized that between this man and themselves there was no choice but that he or priestcraft should perish? Is it any wonder that the Roman soldiers, confronted and amazed by something soaring over their comprehension and threatening all their disciplines, should take refuge in wild laughter, and crown him with thorns and robe him in purple and make a mock Caesar of him? For to take him seriously was to enter upon a strange and alarming life, to abandon habits, to control instincts and impulses, to essay an incredible happiness. . . .
Is it any wonder that to this day this Galilean is too much for our small hearts?
 Matt. xii. 46-50.
 Mark. x. 17-25.
 Mark. vii, 1-9.
 Mark. xii. 13-17.
 Mark x. 35-45.
At Donald Trump’s recent rally at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, I was in fine form. I was alternately slam poet, scientist, friendly man at a bus-stop, garden-variety firebrand and revolutionary, preaching the good word to people as they waited in line to enter. Sometimes the job can be fun, but mostly it just feels like a job.
Still not a religious person – not in the Mithraism blood-cult connotation of the term – but I have recently begun to accept the cues from the universe in charting my course. This morning I stopped in the coffee shop at the end of my street, hoping to find a warm winter hat that I seem to have lost. It was not there, but I was hungry, so I ordered a sandwich. As I sat at a long counter and ate my sandwich, and noticed an unattended newspaper at the table behind me. There was an article in the paper about the Trump rally scheduled for that night at the DCU. I also read my horoscope. “Tonight,” it said, “go where the action is.” And so I went.