To Non-Obscurantist Forces

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Gods aren’t often known for apologising for earthquakes and the like, and instead rely on credulous acolytes to ascribe them to human transgressions – in the same way robbers, murderers and politicos always blame their upbringing or someone else. Anyway, Hermes dropped by this week to explain that the thunderbolts that have been striking the country left, right and centre are the fault of sectarian lobbyists, and to regret any inconvenience caused. By the way, he’s also known as the Divine Trickster but that’s another story.

Zeus, of course, had a difficult childhood which, according to current thinking, helps to explain some of his eccentricities. His father, Kronos, was in the habit of eating all his children to ensure they wouldn’t eventually try to usurp him. It has similarities with the way political leaders try to eliminate any possible successors who might threaten them. Goodness knows what’s going to happen to Poor Arvin, while there’s no obvious heir apparent in any of the other parties. Anyway, Zeus was spirited away from Kronos by his mother and somehow survived unscathed, except emotionally.

He’s unhappy with things just now and the latest strikes were designed to dispose of those in the grip of the Maniai, the femel daemones who induce madness and irrationality. Unfortunately, thunderbolts are difficult to control at the best of times and, by way of further excuse, there’s a strong suspicion that some of Zeus’ helpers are on synthetic drugs, smuggled onto Olympos from China and Mauritius. They seem to have been woofing them down, probably because it’s the year of the Earth Dog – according to non-Hellenic sources.

Zeus is particularly allergic to self-serving praying mantes and it’s obvious from the timing whom the recent thunderbolts tried to eliminate. However, clan leaders, often self-appointed, are a slippery lot, turning their coats every ten seconds, so they make difficult targets. He can’t understand how any sane mortal can condemn articles and books they haven’t read and films they haven’t seen, while everyone knows that religious festivals are often accompanied by holy smoke. À la campagne, even elderly ladies let slip a knowing smile at the mention of gandia. As for bhang, it’s readily available in ayurvedic outlets in Modiland.

Indeed, there’s been similar irrationality there, with extremists tearing down posters and threatening cinemas. For Zeus’ sake, Padmaavat only exists as a mythical queen in a poem. It’s a further pity that the country’s overlord is so tolerant of rightwing extremists. There’s not much difference here, where politicos kowtow to them on the assumption they represent powerful voting banks. At least, for once, the Emir hasn’t been burning newspapers…

As a rogue and vagabond offence still exists, designed to deal with any nuisance for which there’s no better indictment, it ought to be surprising the police haven’t stepped in to stop the grandiose threats to this dear rag. Typically, the charge dates back to colonial times. In Malawi, the High Court has declared it unconstitutional, so people will no longer be arrested there for walking at night. That may provide some local comfort. But, despite the changes in Dear Old Blighty, abortion and other anal laws remain on the statute books in lands where retrograde forces rule people’s lives.

Even in these progressive isles, some still use only rear-view mirrors rather than front windscreens, which may explain the number of road accidents. Perhaps the real need is for a law to prevent unenlightened religious and tribal chieftains intruding in what should be personal matters – or having the cheek to tell people how to vote.

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