An election is taking place in Baku today. The city is quiet as a result. Walking here to the Maiden Tower in the Old City I saw more police about. We were told there would be because they`re ensuring against disruption.
This outdoor cafe beside the 12th Century Maiden Tower is divine. Water is running from a stone tap. Water is boiling on a grand stainless ornate pressure cooker' There are ferns about and trees for shade. A cool breeze wafts through. I imagine knights and ladies picnicking here, their horses grazing where now three cats lie licking their fur.
The Turkish coffee is strong and hot. I`ve an orange fantina soda as well. The standup cooler where the sodas and canned drinks are stored is the only incongruity in the setting. Otherwise, this space seems of an indefinite age. Now, hearing jazz music in the background ,I found myself thinking of Humphrey Bogart and Casablanca. I could suspect that all the `usual suspects' might gather here in the evening. I`m their first customer. The black vested waiter wearing a green fez continues to set up tables.
Over breakfast this morning at Noah`s Ark Hotel, I felt badly answering the Israeli Rosemary`s questions about Canada. I found myself focussed on the horribly fatuous skewed irrelevant CBC news programming. I shared with her how frustrated I was with the media representation in Canada. I was thankful that Dr. Ney stepped in and said, "Canadian people are generally very decent but not very involved.'
I had been telling her that the big stories were Quebec's wanting to outlaw all religious symbolism including the cross I wear in the midst of the greatest story of corruption in the history of Canada. The politicians of Quebec were collectively in bed with the mafia and by extension, because of the dominance of Quebec in Canadian politics, the country at large was corrupted. I talked about social communism and political correctness, the reign of terror of sexual harrassment, all the anti male, anti family and abortion celebration, with the newest media favourite, euthanasia, all the while a man sits dead for 36 hours in the largest provincial teaching hospital with an `enquiry' only now taking place. The only good news I heard before leaving was that the federal government is planning to stop the promotion of heroin but marijuana promotion continues to progress, a stupid and stoned electorate the only guarantee that Canadian politics and media can continue as they are.
This had Rosemary telling me her very popular Israel joke. A Jewish Tourist goes to Israel and loves his heavenly experience there. So he comes back as an immigrant and finds himself in hell. He asks what happened. The first time you were a tourist but now you`re an immigrant, she says. We laugh about how well this joke could apply to most countries and even to marriage for some. She is frustrated that whatever goes wrong in her country for the people, is explained as `necessary for security'. She says how she loves Israel and we all commisserate that politics the world over is about choosing
'least bad` of alternatives. The political leaders Rosemary knows and admires themselves are frustrated but talk of compromises they`re forced to make to get anything good done. Rosemary is working to help the Christian Palestinians who are not like the jihadists but are treated poorly because of the ethnic background without consideration of their religion.
The conversation moves to discussion of America and France where we think the politics are even worse because of the emphasis there on arms sales. The Polish and French women have arrived for breakfast, along with the Nigerian.
She had told us the night before of generations of men dying in a fight with the authorities which they never win but so far has cost their village 200 lives. She'd been doing therapy with men armed with rifles and pistols, telling us of the time, when in role playing, she said she`d be the government and things had gone quickly from good to bad.
'Why do you promise us food, and clothing and shelter and work but never keep your promises, ' they`d said, "then they were all standing round me shaking their weapons with rage. I was afraid then. But after a couple of weeks they put their weapons aside and we all began to talk about solutions we might find without gunfire because they admitted guns hadn`t been a solution",
Only later did I talk about Canada `s Colonel Hatfield and our making the Space Station`space arm'. I shared that Canada`s greatest military contribution was typically Canadian, `We make the greatest body armour in the world, the ceramic and kevlar suits that the world`s leaders all want if ever they have to go to a war zone. Canadian body armour is the best in the world."
And then we were all talking about the things we liked best about our individual countries. Rosemary loved how the Israelis made proposals even if they had so much difficulty getting them implemented. "We know what would work, we have the best ideas and everyone contributes to this. The community really works to help each other always."
The Polish woman talked about the cooperation in her clinic while the Nigerian talked about how much her people got done with so little.
"My people are still superstitious and no one wants to work with the mentally ill but one very old psychiatrist and a handful of nurses take care of thousands of people who are mentally ill seeing to their care and comfort with so little resources. We believe in prayer and miracles do happen.:
The French woman shared a similiar experience as a tourist before coming to live in France. "Everyone is happy and speaks of well being so it`s very pleasant but then you realize everyone is drinking a lot and then they are crying and talking about all the stuff they try not to remember."
Everyone felt sadly about the abortions in all their countries. The Israeli said that over 6 million jews were killed in the Holocaust and yet since 1948 "we`ve killed a million or two of our own people." "When the government realized this they began to look at pro life in a different way."
Dr. Ney spoke about a species killing it`s own and the conspiracy of `overpopulation and the dying planet`. Fear mongering and alarmist reasoning has been going on since ancient days when the people of Columbus times thought Europe was overpopulated. Yet today we can produce more food than is necessary and every year massive amounts of foods are wasted to maintain agricultural prices.
We talked about algae and Buckminster Fullers plans for sea dwelling. The advances in materials are evident in the original architectural designs of Baku. I shared how my friend sold $5 market items packaged as a 2000 millenium survival kit at $25 a piece to become a millionare on peoples fear and gullibility. The Science of Fear is a classic text addressing how the marketting of any number of campaigns to have us give our money to fear mongerers works every time.
At that point we talked about the vulnerability of the aging and the scams that are being enacted. The one that I `d heard in Canada was being done in Poland too.
In the end we all loved our own countries and homes and missing them talked of them , wanting to make improvements and fearful of the death and fear cults that for a while had gained control by insisting their solution was the only solution. What comes from talking to people from different lands and religions in a city as beautiful as Baku is that there are so many different possibilities. Killing, whether abortion or war, should never be the first and only solution though so many , especially those who profit from this, present it that way.
Walking here I passed the ruins of St. Bartholemew 's Church. Now bells are ringing and it's time for me to be back beginning another day of workshops.
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