Monday, June 27, 2016

Chapter 35

Ony'a arrives to observe her brother's tribunal. Lagos describes all the reasons why he should be found innocent and why it is the invaders of his planet who should be found guilty. His words move the members of the tribunal except for the Maceoran Rin who decides to take justice into her own hands before others have a chance to rule on his innocence or guilt.

An excerpt:

Lagos took a deep breath and held himself as high as his exhausted body would let him. “Of the charge of treason I say I am not guilty, for treason is betrayal against one’s own state. I stand before you a Myshkan, not a Kevutian. I was not born on Kevutu nor do I owe any allegiance to that land. You may occupy my planet, take my property, enslave my children, and fill me with your philosophies but, as long as I live, you cannot take my heart. My heart belongs to Myshka, to Rishivon–its true name. There is nothing you can do to change that. Taking my life will only assure that my devotion can never be altered. Therefore, as a child of the Mother Rishivon, I cannot be guilty of treason against a foreign government. At worst, you can brand me a Myshkan loyalist.

“Of the charge of trespassing I also say I am not guilty. How can one be accused of trespassing on one’s own property? The chantry of the Masters was built long before Kevutu ever took to flight, long before you even knew we existed. It was built before even most of the provinces had been built. It was the first building of our people and it held the great Masters who taught us how to construct our provinces, build our homes, survive. A home is where a person finds his or her strength and refuge because hard work and a lifetime of struggles and triumphs have gone into it. Invading and stealing the home of another does not make it your own. Like a precious memory, a home cannot be inhabited by another and retain the same meaning. It can be occupied but the purpose of its being, so constructed and initiated by its original builders, can never be fulfilled and realized merely by filling its space. Therefore, I cannot be guilty of trespassing for I have gone nowhere but on the lands of my own people.

“Of the charge of sedition I say, once more, that I am not guilty. I did not cause, through word or deed, the people to rebel. You, yourself, did that by erecting large politically charged banners along the columns of our most sacred and precious building. The symbol of the Double Y is more potent, more calamitous than any long diatribe calling for disobedience could possibly be. In a single symbol is all that reminds us of being occupied by those never invited to our lands. It reminds us of those who are here to take our history, our work, our lands, and our possessions. It reminds us that we are not in control of our own destiny–an inherent and basic right of any free people. It reminds us that we are under the control of a people unlike ourselves. The symbol itself, not me, is the sedition. I am innocent of the very thing you have brought on yourself.

“Finally, on the charge of insurrection, I must admit my guilt, but I also claim that I cannot be held accountable for this crime because the authority that you claim is invalid. You have obtained it through fear and power–forces that are anathema to the heart and destructive to life. More than that, they are the very things that are poisonous to your own image of perfection.

“Fear: the fear of death, the fear of pain. This is how domination begins. Fear causes one to seek protection and safety and many are willing to give up their own freedom for that security. Fear is what allows power to flourish and power can only be exerted through control. By its own definition, power curtails freedom, curiosity, and expression. Power requires separation and hierarchy. Everything becomes focused on maintaining that hierarchy at all costs. Any expression of freedom must be sacrificed at the altar of maintaining control. Every person becomes trapped inside their role as the dominator or the dominated. The end product of both these roles is misery, for even the controller is locked into patterns of alienation and antagonism. Misery cannot be the focus of a good life nor can it be the main ingredient of perfection.

“Yes, perfection! I know of your religion. It is no longer just your own. When you come to a place you bring all the things that are part of you as well: your ideas, your philosophies, your obsessions, your prejudices. No matter where you land you will always step on your own footprint. You have been taught all your lives that perfection is the goal of every worthy citizen and that such perfection is best sought through the wisdom and guidance of your corporations. They told you that perfection will lead you to happiness and that a life lived in perfect happiness will lead to an afterlife with more of the same. They told you that the pursuit of perfection will lead to contentment with the order of things and joy will come in acting your part within that order. But, I have just demonstrated to you that the very act of forcibly exercising power over others leads to the misery of all. The very act of invading the home of another and violently enforcing your own will over those who do not share your own values makes any pursuit of perfection impossible. Your imposition creates great suffering and that agony is returned to you in the very act of trying to enforce it. You deny for yourselves any chance for achieving your greatest goal. You deny yourselves your own opportunities to seek perfection.

“Therefore I proclaim innocence to your charges and I do not recognize the authority from which they stem.”