Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mak Minah, Uncrowned Queen of the Temuan (repost)

"Minah Angong" by Andy Maguire (oil on fiberboard, 10" X 8")

Yes, I am pleased to tell you my story. But as I cannot write things down, I will ask my friend to help. He is among those who knew me well in my last years on this earth. I whisper these words in his mind’s ear, for he is still in the world of the living, while I am already back in the realm of spirit, and happily so.

Minah Angong's gravestone
My bones now lie buried on top of a hill overlooking the saddest sight you can imagine. Majestic hills stripped of trees, mountains blown up to make a dam. I may be dead but my spirit lives on in my songs, and in the sacred (and now badly scarred) landscape I love so dearly.  One day my songs will be heard and they will soften the hardened hearts of the greedy ones who destroy more than they construct. When men’s hearts heal, so will the land.

I was born in Pertak, Ulu Selangor, between two world wars, into the Temuan tribe. The identity card issued by the government says I arrived on September 14, 1930, and records my name at birth as Menah Anak Kuntom.  People knew me as Mak Minah because that was my stage name as lead singer with a band called Akar Umbi. Perhaps the most exciting moment of my life was when we performed before 42,000 people at the biggest stadium in Selangor. Afterwards, so many people came and congratulated me. I had a photograph taken with Sharifah Aini and Sahara Yaacob, who were also performing that night. We looked like three queens together!

Anyway, Menah or Minah makes little difference to me, since I can’t spell. Our names keep changing as we change. But once we write anything down, it becomes harder to change. Take my sister’s name: although we have the same father and mother, her name is recorded in her identity card as Indah Anak Merkol, after our  stepfather. My mother’s name was Beresih but all her children called her Mui, which is the Temuan word for Mak or Mother.

As a child I remember life was carefree and fun. Fish was abundant in the streams, and the forest supplied all our needs, except for luxuries like sugar, salt, and milled rice. Fresh meat was easily available as there were many animals that could be hunted or trapped.  We Orang Asli can eat anything, with or without legs or wings, as long as it’s not poisonous (we even know how to remove the poison from some wild plants so that they become edible). Apart from fish and wild boar, we also eat porcupines, pythons, leaf monkeys, deer, birds, and bamboo rats (whose flesh is very clean and sweet, as they feed only on bamboo shoots). These are all gifts of the Great Spirit That Dwells In Everything.

Mak Minah with younger sister Indah (1997) 

The only education I received was from my grandmother, who enjoyed telling us stories. She explained how human beings were seeded on Tanah Tujuh (which is what we call this physical world) by Mamak and Inak Bongsu, a brother and sister who survived the Great Flood by clinging to the top of a gaharu tree on Gunung Raja. 

My grandmother was full of wonderful tales about the beautiful elven races (Orang Halus) who left the planet for the higher heavens when the Difficult Times began. Some chose to remain, because they had grown to love the earth, but they gradually became invisible to human eyes.

Minah claimed she could summon the dragon,
totem of her tribal lineage (Peter Lau)
People ask me if Orang Asli have any religion. I always reply that we don’t need religion because our God is not separate from the everyday world in which we live. The Great Spirit That Dwells In Everything takes all forms and speaks to us as the song of the wind in the bamboo grove, or as the neverending gossip of the river. Sometimes it is the distant call of a mist-covered mountain. Other times, it is as close as a sleeping child breathing gently in its mother’s ear.

During my lifetime I saw how people became blinded by ambition and greed. They began to mine the earth for metals and log the forest for wood. With each passing year the land became hotter and the rivers became dirtier, so we could no longer drink the water without boiling it first.  With each passing year we had to walk farther and farther to find some bamboo or catch some fish because people would come into the forest and take out more than they needed. And with each passing year we saw more and more wilderness cleared so that towns could be built.

I enjoyed going to town where many things could be bought, but to do that we had to sell durians, petai, bamboo, cane (manao) and aromatic wood (gaharu) for cash. Yet I could never imagine myself living in a town where it’s always so noisy and hot. Like all Orang Asli, I dearly love the jungle which is our natural home and hunting ground. I would rather die than be forced to live in a town.

Japanese soldier in Malaya, 1942
When I was 12 the world turned upside down. Planes dropped bombs in the jungle to destroy bridges and railway tracks. We had to hide in caves on the slopes of mountains. For many years my family stayed hidden deep in the forest, for fear that we may be captured or killed by the invaders. During those war years we missed the taste of salt and sugar. We lived in the middle of the Malay Peninsula - far from the sea – and had grown accustomed to flavoring our food with salt bought from the Chinese merchants.  My mother taught me how to make cooking oil from the perah nut.

After the war life became even worse for us. The government put us all in detention camps, surrounded by barbed wire, and guarded by soldiers. They said it was to protect us from the communist guerrillas. Unused to suddenly being confined in a small space so close to town, many of our people became depressed, fell sick, and died. This is how I lost both my parents.

Sembo, Minah's favorite granddaughter
But I was already an attractive young woman with many admirers. My life stretched ahead of me like a newly laid road, and I had a taste for adventure. I found myself married to a man I hardly knew. At least he could take me away from the confines of the resettlement camp. We ran back to our beloved jungle and built a hut along the river, along with many others who could no longer bear living within a fence.

My first marriage was a tragedy. I was too young to be a dutiful mother. My children died of illness and my husband left me. For a while, I flirted with the idea of becoming a white man’s mistress. Then I met Angong who had recently become the Batin (headman) of Kampong Gerachi. He was a patient man with great wisdom. It was he who taught me the ceremonial songs passed down to him by his ancestors. Angong taught me to be proud of my noble naga (dragon) lineage. Not every family has an animal totem. Only those with some knowledge of jungle medicine (jampi) or who possess magical powers (dukun) have special allies in the animal kingdom. 

I bore Angong five children and greatly missed him when he returned to Pulau Buah, where souls go after they drop their physical bodies (which we call baju, or clothes). When my children grew up and started their own families, I moved to Kampong Pertak to live with my younger sister Indah and her husband Rasid. My elder brothers, Diap and Utat, lived nearby.  My eldest son, Ramsit, took over as Batin of Gerachi.

Minah Angong & Nai Anak Lahai with Akar Umbi lineup in August 1995

Mak Minah with Antares & Chandrabhanu
after performing 'Birthplace Reclaimed'
in 1993 (photo by Rafique Rashid)
It was fated that my life would begin to change in 1992. I met a few people from the big city who happened to be musicians. They heard me singing and decided to record my voice, adding musical instruments to give my traditional sawai (healing) songs a modern sound. The first song we created together was called Burung Meniyun. I was asked to sing it on stage during a performance by a famous dancer named Chandrabhanu who lived in Australia. I was surprised and touched that people in the big city would receive my humble song with such open hearts.  Never before had I sung for so many strangers in such a large hall! Chandrabhanu himself was quite a colorful character, dressed up as some kind of witch doctor with all sorts of strange objects dangling from his body. I found it exciting to meet so many new friends who were delighted to hear my ancient songs. 

It all happened so quickly. One moment I was just an Orang Asli widow gathering firewood and tapioca leaves in the forest and going fishing with my sister. Then suddenly I was on national TV singing for thousands of people in a huge stadium! I shall never forget the pleasure of hearing the loud applause and shaking hands with everybody afterwards. I felt proud to be able to please so many people with my simple songs. For once I could feel that no one was looking down on me, or ignoring me, for being an uneducated Orang Asli. 

Can you imagine how it feels to be recognized by someone in Ulu Langat who had seen my performance on TV?  When I went to the market in town, people came up to me and congratulated me on my performance. But back in Kampong Pertak, I was greeted with a mixture of wholehearted support and suspicion. Some whispered behind my back that I was soon going to be too sombong (proud) to be their friend. That really hurt my heart.

Minah performs at the first Rainforest World Music
Festival in Sarawak, August 1998 (Wayne Tarman)
I enjoy singing for people, and my late husband taught me that these songs handed down from our ancestors carry healing power. They are medicine songs. When I sing I can feel my spirit expand like a strong wind blowing through a tree. Naik angin, we call it.  Once I start I must carry on until the wind becomes a breeze and goes quietly on its way. If I don’t let the spirit wind flow (lepas angin) I can get very sick.

My first experience of flying was when Akar Umbi performed in Sarawak at the Rainforest World Music Festival. I had such a grand time and made even more friends. I returned to Sarawak with Akar Umbi the next year, for the last time. At the party after the close of the festival, my newfound friends sang me a rousing Iban farewell. My heart was light and heavy at the same time. Perhaps I knew this was our last meeting on this earth.

Photo by Roland Takeshi
Even as I felt the pleasure of being applauded, I could feel the pain of losing our past and future. The dam project would soon destroy Kampong Gerachi and its durian orchards. A man-made lake would fill the Selangor River Valley, drowning a once-beautiful forest, along with our ancestral graves. I could not imagine anyone so foolish as to declare war against the forces of nature.  Did they have no understanding of, or respect for, our deep love of the land? Were they totally unaware that destroying the land would mean the end of our livelihood and future?  We are the land. If the land dies, we die. 

My sister Indah and brothers Diap and Utat felt the same way that I did. We cherished our traditions and would never lose our heart connection to the land, even if we were offered vast amounts of money.  The Temuan tribe has lived here for many thousands of years; the hills and valleys and rivers are much, much older than that. Our fruit trees can live for over a hundred years and as long as we keep planting new ones, our great-great-grandchildren will never starve. But if they destroy the wilderness and put our people in housing estates and make us work in factories, our tribe will be disappear within a generation. Our nenek-moyang (ancestors) told us: “When Orang Asli are no longer visible on this earth, the sea will rise, the sky will fall, and everything will perish.”

Minah Angong by Antares (1999)

It all seemed hopeless. My own son, as headman, had signed an agreement with the dam builders and loggers, allowing the destruction to begin.  I tried to talk him out of it, but he silenced me, his own mother.  My sorrow ran deep.  Before it had even started the dam project had split our families apart. 

But there were thousands of voices raised against the dam, and I was glad that we had so many friends, people who knew the true value of the rainforest and fought hard to stop the destruction.  I was interviewed by many reporters and I told them how I felt about seeing our way of life being taken from us.  One reporter asked me: “Don’t you want to see your grandchildren getting a good education, which they can only get when development reaches the rural areas?” I replied: “All those who cut down the trees and make the hills bare, causing landslides and floods, aren’t they educated too? If that’s what being educated means, then we Orang Asli don’t want to be educated!” The reporter had nothing to say to that.

Minah gazes at the Indian Ocean at Batu Ferringhi, Penang, 1993 (photo: Rafique Rashid)

In a way, I’m glad I didn’t live to see the bulldozers and excavators arrive. Three weeks after I performed in Sarawak, I fell ill and surrendered my body to the earth. It has become part of the sacred landscape of my ancestors. But my spirit is reunited at last with the Great Spirit That Dwells In Everything and I am happy.

[Originally published in Off The Edge © Antares 2002, first posted 21 September 2014]




Tuesday, September 13, 2016

TIME TO COME CLEAN!



Reincarnational fragments – or, more accurately, aspects of my multidimensional Self - have been accumulating and reintegrating in my conscious memory since 1969. This isn’t a continuous process. Many years go by when I am not aware of or bothered by these furtive intimations of immortality.

Sometimes a parallel life inserts itself into my immediate reality and I don’t know what it means or how to use it until much later. For instance, I came across the name Cthulhu in my teen years, chancing upon some paperback reprints of H.P. Lovecraft’s gothic tales of terror. At the time all Cthulhu represented to me was some indescribably hideous and scary monster from the subterranean depths of our collective unconscious, something you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley.

Subsequently I read two stimulating novels by Colin Wilson (The Mind Parasites and Philosopher’s Stone) and there was further light shed on this Cthulhu character: Wilson acknowledged Lovecraft’s source material but painted a somewhat different portrait of this entity, the first God-King of Mu, whom he called Ktolo and described as a very lonely being that after aeons of absolute rule in this remote sector of the galaxy turned somewhat misanthropic and withdrew from mortal view. Within generations Ktolo had entered the realm of myth as The Ineffable and Terrifying Presence, the Nameless One All Souls Have To Face On Judgment Day, and so on.


In effect, Ktolo had become the Devourer of Souls, the Invisible God all men feared. He it was who installed the earliest machinery of remote government on this planet. It facilitated the smooth administration of Mu’s far-flung colonies and kept everything humming along in apparently orderly fashion. Greed and Fear, Carrot and Stick: the tried and tested Management Method still in use today, after all these hoary millennia.

Ktolo’s sad story might well have inspired the legend of the Beauty and the Beast, in that he had begun to regress to the point where he felt himself too grotesquely complex, too repugnant, too horrible to ever be loved. What became of Cthulhu-Ktolo? No one knows and no one dares speculate. We may assume that Ktolo got so bored with existence that he longed for death, a permanent end to it all. But, alas, dying is just as illusory and transient as being born: Ktolo found himself scattered over time in myriad incarnations, each with a built-in dread of regaining total recall, for that would only result in Ktolo finding himself trapped in his own ego for eternity.

We do know, from documentary evidence collected and translated by the enigmatic James Churchward, that after the long reign of Ktolo, one of his descendants rose to new heights of popularity as King Ahau of Mu (aka One Hunahpu). This was just before the destruction of Lemuria, circa 83,000 B.C.E.

It was after the March equinox, 1993, in Bundoora (an aboriginal burial site in Victoria, Australia, where once stood a prediluvian stone circle) that my memory of having been Ktolo reactivated. I realized then that even in my present incarnation I had retained the same consonants (KTL) in my 3D name, Kit Leee. For some reason, many people, even old friends, have insisted on addressing me as “Kitleee” instead of just “Kit.” Now I understood why!

The implications of my life as Ktolo only recently struck home, after I obtained a Skyview Astrochart from my friend Katharina Bless. My lifelong antagonism towards all forms of external authority (in other words, government, bureaucratic control mechanisms) suddenly made perfect sense. Who would know better how detrimental government was to true spirituality than the one who instituted it on this planet during the infancy of human civilization...

That's right, folks, I'm the bloody nincompoop who introduced bureaucracy to Earth!

And that’s not the end of it. I just finished reading a 730-page account of Sir Frank Swettenham’s career as a colonial agent in Malaya. He arrived as a fresh-faced cadet in 1871 and by 1883 had been appointed British Resident of Selangor. It took him another 12 years to become Resident-General of the Federated Malay States and another 6 to be made Governor of Singapore. Before he opted for early retirement in 1904, he was named High Commissioner of the Straits Settlements as well. In short, Sir Frank was perhaps the most ambitious and hardheaded imperialist that ever clawed his way to fame and fortune between the 19th and 20th centuries. 



And it was he who introduced the idea of “development and progress” to what was once a tropical sleepy hollow, more than 90% of which was covered with luxuriant jungle (today we’re lucky if there’s even 30% left). Indeed, Sir Frank Swettenham was the blithering idiot whose excellent but environmentally destructive work on behalf of Ego and Empire I’ve been battling to undo in the last 20 years.

Throughout his illustrious career in Malaya, Frank was known to support the political supremacy of the Malay chiefs and his final act, two months before he finally checked out at the overripe age of 96, was to write a strong letter of protest against the proposal of the Malayan Union which would have granted all ethnic groups full rights as citizens under the Union Jack. With the benefit of hindsight, this was perhaps a far better idea than leaving state affairs in the hands of unscrupulous pirate kings and scheming grand viziers.

Well, once again, I only have myself to blame because I was that pompous bastard (can’t recall how I stumbled upon this particular realization but I’ve known it since 1989).

As for other lives, other personae, there’s much I have to say – but not here, not now – takes too much work putting it all in words. Language itself tends towards linearity and can never satisfactorily express the nonlinearity of multidimensional experience. However, it CAN hint at interconnections and far-flung associations and inspire fairly instructive analogies and metaphors.

For now, let’s just say that I have no one to accuse of screwing up the world but various aspects of myself (including those directly involved with the Anunnaki colonization of the planet about 440,000 earthyears ago).

Yes, the atrocious misbehavior of covert agencies like Mossad, MI6 and the CIA stems from my own fear of being dethroned, of losing control. The megalomania of industrial tycoons like Bill Gates, Jr (a majority shareholder in Monsanto, the most evil enterprise on earth) is a spinoff of my own deepest, darkest desire to be the Sole Star in the firmament, the Only Living Deity (and a jealous one, to boot, who will tolerate no graven images lest they present my likeness in an unfavorable light).

So what does one do in view of this terribly incriminating self-knowledge? For a start, laugh and forgive oneself one’s apparent trespasses and stupidities. Next, to acknowledge that there is ultimately no one “out there” causing all these problems: it’s only bits of oneself that have yet to be brought safely home and celebrated as prodigal sons and daughters of our own limitless being. Why curse our experiential vehicles when they break down? We designed them and we must own up to minor design flaws, all of which can easily be rectified as soon as we learn to outgrow being embarrassed by our own excesses and oversights. Hey, Mr Hyde, you can’t hide forever...

By Chiron’s grace, may I be wholly reintegrated and healed, so that henceforth and ever after all will know peace, unity, harmony, perfect joy, and endless bounty.

The Entity Currently Going By The User ID:
ANTARES
~^@^~


[Written 9 January 2003, revised 12 February 2012 & 20 August 2015]

Sunday, September 11, 2016

BRINGING DOWN THE 9/11 HOUSE OF LIES (reprise)

[In this blogpost I was going to summarize my years of research on the 9/11 atrocities, rounding up my personal campaign to expose the cynical masterminds behind the monumental sandiwara (which in Malay means a political Punch'n'Judy show); but my friend Dave Blackman just passed me a link to a superb article by Steve Bhaerman (aka Swami Beyondananda) which covers all the points I was going to make and much more - and does so scintillatingly! I can do no more than help the good Swami spread this cogent message by reproducing it here in full, complete with all the handy hyperlinks...]

BRINGING DOWN THE 9/11 HOUSE OF LIES ~ The Final 'Leg' Of The Journey
By Steve Bhaerman
16 April 2007

It's a bit of a mixed feeling to realize that millions and millions of people who didn't get this distinction two, four or six years ago now understand that the "political' issues we now face aren't about right and left, they're about right and wrong. On one hand, what took you so long? On the other, thank God and welcome aboard. Although the media has downplayed it - it doesn't fit with the general stupidization program of creating a lot of heat but very little light - more and more actual conservatives and even members of the religious right are coming to see the Bush-Cheney regime as a rogue administration and a thin cover for criminal enterprise. Such right wing stalwarts as former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr and Richard Viguerie (one of the architects of the far right wing) have formed an organization to protect our civil liberties from our own government. Chuck Baldwin, an associate of Jerry Falwell, has become an open advocate of impeachment and writes a very articulate column.

These folks are far bolder than the Democrats in this regard, and they will play a key role when impeachment happens - and it will. Now some of you reading this who have a deeper spiritual understanding of love, forgiveness and the ways in which we do indeed create our own reality might be wondering "Gee, this whole impeachment thing seems pretty 'anti'. Shouldn't we be focusing on what we want instead of what we don't want?" Indeed, the point can be made that the failure of the Democrats in 2004 - aside from the minor issue of voting fraud in Ohio and Florida - had to do with John Kerry's approach of "Vote for me, I'm not as bad as George Bush," and failure to articulate any compelling positive vision. However, the real issue goes much deeper.

Ending The American Hostage Crisis


It has nothing to do with loving or hating George Bush, whose policies have educated and awakened more Americans than all of the "progressive" leaders combined. It does have to do with what we need to recognize as the American Hostage Crisis. The American people - and particularly our soldiers in Iraq - are being held hostage by a ruthless criminal cadre (this is not hyperbolic invective; the definition of "criminal" is "one who commits crimes"). The people up until now have been blackmailed into supporting a war of choice with the cynical cry, "Support our troops." As if our troops sent themselves over there and now we have to rescue them.

The people of America are now at a crossroads that will determine whether the world continues hurtling down the highway to hell, or whether we change course in the direction of our true human potential, what Swami calls "humanifest destiny." I say the world because if the United States honors the intentions of our founders and accepts the evolutionary role of genuine self-governance, the entire world will cheer - and breathe a sigh of relief. Under the guise of true moral authority, we will be able to isolate the sociopathogens in the world and deal with them as criminals instead of what we're doing now - killing the people the criminal elements are holding hostage, and creating new converts for the criminals.

There is something positive to be built, but it cannot be built on a foundation of lies. That is why the so-called "surge" or any other policy to "stay the course" in Iraq will not succeed. The entire structure -- why we're there, what's been happening since we got there, what our future intentions are -- all lies. Those troops we are "supporting" are being sent in as surrogate targets for George Bush and the American empire, an empire that isn't even ours but belongs to a slew of multinational corporations that could care less whether America lives or dies. That's what American soldiers are discovering, sadly, that their most ardent "supporters" at home have been unwilling to face. Until now.

America's next step - and only step - that can take us forward is to bring the Bush-Cheney regime to justice. This isn't about vengeance, it isn't about punishment. It's about truth. That element that has been so lacking in our political environment that it has caused a spiritual, psychological and political heartsickness in the heartland. This basic lack of integrity - that even those who overtly believe the lies still feel deep down in their guts - is why we have the Don Imuses and the Ann Coulters. Those are the people who keep us occupied with weapons of mass-distraction, who help us aim our rage at the wrong targets.

Their brand of free speech is what Caroline Casey calls a "toxic mimic" of the real thing. The freedom of speech and freedom of press the American revolutionaries risked life and fortune for wasn't so our "commonest" of commentators could sling invectives like "faggots" and "nappy-headed ho's" but to empower citizens by letting them know what's going on. In this regard, the record of our so-called "free press" is dismal, if not traitorous. Try initiating a real conversation about the unanswered questions and unquestioned answers regarding 9/11. There you will find a stone wall of silence, or loud screaming to drown out the truth. While up until now, very few have wanted to "go there," more and more people are awakening to the tragic truth that "there" has already come "here."


Cutting the Legs Out From Under Their Story

Just over two years ago, after what many of us realized was a stolen election (with Barbara Boxer the lone Senator to stand and raise the issue), I wrote a piece about the wall of lies. In the midst of the frustration and despair that many of us felt, I predicted the wall of lies would crumble. It wasn't a difficult prediction to make. In these times when the veil is being lifted everywhere, the "irony curtain" is no exception.

I wrote that the illegitimate "legitimacy" of the Bush-Cheney regime rested on a three-legged stool. The first leg was the belief they were fairly elected in 2000 and 2004. The second was the Iraq War and the reluctance of people to "change horse's asses in the middle of an extreme." The third was 9/11, and the official account of what happened that day.

At this writing, one leg is completely gone and another is severely splintered. More than two thirds of Americans now see the Iraq War as an unmitigated disaster, and a large portion of our armed forces are demoralized and angry. It is now being termed "an unpopular war," a phrase that begs the question, "And when exactly was the last 'popular war'?" Wait a minute ... I think I have it. The last popular war was the Battle of the Groups at the Brooklyn Fox Theater ... Dion and the Belmonts vs. the Drifters. I think it was 1960.

As for the legitimacy of the "elections", that issue broke through the soundless barrier a year ago when RFK, Jr. published his article in Rolling Stone. Timing is everything, and the timing of that article coincided with a general "upwising." Having seen mounting evidence of lying, cheating and stealing on the part of Rove and company, a critical mass of Americans (or at least Democrats) were able to accept the inconvenient likelihood that the Republicans cheated to win the election too. This awakened awareness and the voter mobilization that followed helped the Democrats win control of both Houses of Congress, despite any shenanigans. As lame as you may think the Democrats are, this was the first important step of restoring the balance of power and the rule of law. I contend it could not have happened without the widespread awareness that the Republicans were getting set to steal elections again.

So here we are. The "leg" called the Iraq War is gone. The "leg" called "these people were elected legitimately" is badly compromised. And yet, like the mad monk Rasputin, Bush and Cheney are still standing behind their stone wall. Subpoenas notwithstanding, they've entrenched and have no intention of giving in one iota. Because as soon as they do, the avalanche of revelations will cause their downfall. How long can this holding pattern go on? It can definitely go on indefinitely.




Unless we as a nation allow the 9/11 story to break through the soundless barrier. When this leg gets chopped off, Bush and Cheney will be gone.

More importantly, the truth will be revealed so that we can collectively "face the music" and set a new course. Never has any nation been in this position. Nazi Germany was forced to face their heart of darkness only by military defeat. Soviet Russia collapsed under the weight of its own unworkability. But now, for the "land of the free" to finally earn that name and claim our true inheritance, we must face what is perhaps the most profound betrayal in our 200 year history.

A Straussian Waltz Down a Slippery Slope

Although we would like to believe that the principles that guided America's founding fathers are still in operation, the sad truth is that the principles of truth, justice and transparency have been overridden by a new operating system called "neo-conservatism" which is neither "neo" nor conservative. The "neocon" is actually a very old con called "the end justifies the means." And that brings us to Leo Strauss, the man considered the "founding father" of neoconservatism.

Leo Strauss, who was born in Germany and who taught at the University of Chicago from 1949-69, brought Machiavelli into the machine age. He unabashedly believed in manipulation and deception, all of which he deemed necessary to rule the unruly masses. According to Shadia Drury, author of Leo Strauss and the American Right, Strauss believed that "those who are fit to rule are those who realize there is no morality and there is only one natural right -- the right of the superior to rule over the inferior."

Strauss was a strong believer in religion - as a way of imposing "moral law" on the populace, who would otherwise be out of control. He would have agreed with Marx that religion was the "opiate of the masses," only he had no qualms about being a drug dealer. The rulers, of course, didn't have to live by the rules of religion. Says Ronald Bailey, science correspondent for Reason magazine: "Neoconservatives are pro-religion even though they themselves may not be believers."

In the tradition of Thomas Hobbes, Strauss believed humans are inherently evil and need strong external control - and an external enemy. As he once wrote, "Because mankind is intrinsically wicked, he has to be governed. Such governance can only be established, however, when men are united - and they can only be united against other people."

According to Drury, Strauss believed that "if no external threat exists, one has to be manufactured." Interestingly enough, Strauss's neocon disciples William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle (along with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld) helped found a think tank called the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in the 1990s. A PNAC document, Rebuilding America's Defenses has been a guiding force for the Bush-Cheney White House. According to PNAC, the only way to assure America's safety in the 21st century is by being the only superpower on the block, what they referred to as Pax Americana. Of course, since the Iraq War many around the world are calling it a "Pox Americana."

Perhaps the most telling quote in the Rebuilding America's Defenses document refers to needing a "catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor" to mobilize the masses for this undertaking (pun intended). The neocons insist this was an innocuous quote taken out of context. However, when seen in the context of Leo Strauss's core beliefs, it's easy to make the connection and see the 9/11 attacks as the "catalyzing event" that launched the so-called "war on terror." In fact, author and theologian David Ray Griffin called his sober account debunking the official 9/11 story The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11. Whether or not the attacks were an "inside job," they were certainly used in classic Straussian fashion to create national unity and control through perpetual war.

Griffin, a well-respected mainstream theologian who has written and edited 30 books, contends that the official 9/11 story has been given the "halo of religious mythology." Like the infallibility of the Pope in the Church or the primacy of matter in scientific materialism, questioning the official 9/11 story is taboo. Consequently, most people fail to see the red flags that are literally in plain sight:

The official story was in place within 48 hours of the event, before any investigation was undertaken.

The official "remedy," the so-called Patriot Act (a 342-page document that many legislators signed without reading), appeared as if by magic and was ratified in an atmosphere of panic - right on the heels of Democratic legislators receiving packets of deadly anthrax, a crime that has never been "solved."

No satisfactory explanation has ever been given as to how and why the world's most sophisticated air defense system "stood down" in the most deadly attacks ever on American soil. And no one was held accountable.

Transcripts of testimony released at the insistence of 9/11 families - from firefighters, police and eyewitnesses - mention over and over again a "series of explosions" and the towers coming down in their tracks, "just like a planned demolition."

When there finally was an investigation, only testimony supporting the official version of the story was allowed. Imagine, if you will, a court case where there was no conflicting evidence ... case closed.

Time to Face Our Own Not-Seeism

The fact that these blatant contradictions have never been officially addressed stands as stark testimony as to how well weapons of mass-distraction have been used to keep the official story in place. Yes, the mass media has been complicit in failing to present an alternative view, and in marginalizing anyone suggesting otherwise as a "conspiracy nut." But it goes far deeper than that. The persistent "invisible belief" in America's intrinsic goodness makes it incomprehensible that the government in the "land of the free" would perpetrate something that horrendous against its own citizens. Like the Germans who heard about the death camps and were told it was "American propaganda," most Americans won't question the official story because the horrendous implications are too awful to contemplate. But the "Not See" era is about to end.

I'm going to apologize in advance for using a distasteful metaphor that many of you will find repugnant. But since this is the image that keeps coming to mind, I'm going to have to risk it. Think back when you were in college. You were at a party and had a little too much to drink. You're feeling wobbly and a bit nauseous. You are on the teeter-totter of a decision - to throw up or not to throw up. Throwing up. Ugh. You don't want to do it, it's disgusting. But then you realize, you have to do it. It is something the body is telling you to do, and you also know that when you've expelled the mess you will feel so much better.

That is where our body politic is today. We've literally had it up to here. But we've been reluctant to expel the toxins for all to see. Last year at this time, I had contracted to write a story on David Ray Griffin called Unquestioned Answers: A Non-Conspiracy Theorist Takes Aim at the Official 9/11 Story for a local mainstream publication. In the six weeks from the time the editor reluctantly okayed the story until the time I handed it in, she had undergone a change of mind. She told me, "I have come to believe the American government did indeed have something to do with the attacks, and the very thought of it makes me sick to my stomach."

Having to swallow what we've been asked to swallow over the past several years, purging might be the very best cure. So now the question is, what to do and how to do it?

There seem to be two approaches to the 9/11 issue. One involves jumping into the details of the mystery itself and trying to figure out specifically what happened. The problem here is what has already occurred - squabbling about the details, one group of believers in one conspiracy theory accusing another of spreading disinformation.

The other approach is the one I took with the David Ray Griffin article I published last year. Focus on stepping outside the official story, removing its "halo" and asking if indeed, it is the likeliest story. Here's why. No amount of "evidence" will convince anybody unless they are open to the possibility of the premise. The breakthrough will occur when a critical mass of people begin to put it together for themselves.

What opened me to a premise I was - like David Ray Griffin - initially closed to was reading about the "false flag" operations done by NATO during the Cold War and those like Operation Northwoods that was proposed but not initiated here (you can read brief accounts about those in the above-linked article on David Ray Griffin). When I combined this information with the realization I'd already come to - that Bush, Cheney, Rove & Company were capable of anything they could get away with - I had bridged the gap.

Time to Cut Off the Tale That's Been Wagging the Dog

What we face right now is perhaps the greatest opportunity for freedom yet experienced in America. It is an invitation to become "political adults" and step outside the puppet show called electoral politics and take a look at the inner workings behind the "irony curtain." It is here - and only here - that transformational change can take place. It's as big a step as our Founding Fathers made "eleven score and eleven" years ago by declaring themselves sovereign and government a servant.

We do this by educating ourselves and taking heart that so many people are awakening a new field of understanding now. There are many sites but here is a good one to start with because it offers a surprising list of well-known people in all areas of endeavor who question the official tale that has been wagging the dog for the past five years. Another excellent educational site is Mark Robinowitz's Oil Empire site because he offers some very sharp distinctions for sniffing out the truth when there are many different stories.

Finally, we must address this undressing of the cloak of secrecy with healing intent. In other words, we must be able not just to picture but to "feel" what it will feel like to no longer have to fear our own government. We must allow ourselves to see those inside the military, government and intelligence services who have not been "ethically-cleansed" coming forward with the missing pieces of the true story. We must begin now to create a "container" for truth, reconciliation and healing.

Every indication is that there are individuals at all levels of government and influence who are waiting only for a critical mass of Americans to be able to "hold" the true story. Once there is a "listening" for the truth, the truth will out. We encourage the truth through our own courage, and by speaking about politics outside the box as matter-of-factly as the media speaks about politics inside the box.

The simple secret to bringing down the wall of lies is this. When enough people see through the wall, it will cease to exist.

May "Good" bless us all.


Swami Beyondananda © 2007


[First posted 17 April 2007, reposted 11 September 2014]


THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL (revisited)

This was first published on 7 January 2007 when my blog was just a month old. As it's my birthday, I can't be bothered to do any serious writing, so I'll simply reload this piece, with a few minor revisions...


The root of all evil isn't MONEY, contrary to popular belief. It's JEALOUSY. How so? Consider the greatest of all possible evils - MONOTHEISM - as expressed in the utterly psychotic statement: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me, for I am a jealous god." You may substitute "goddess" for "god" and the results are equally abysmal.

Just ask yourself this: if you were indeed the One and Only Deity in Existence, would you be constantly looking over your shoulder in anticipation of rivals or threats to your Absolute Status? In Barbara Hand Clow's nebulous tome, The Pleiadian Agenda, I was struck by a powerful quote attributed to the Prophet Isaiah: "Monotheism breeds fanatical anthropocentrism, which eventually destroys Earth." How absolutely and tragically true.


Such a jealous, spiteful, insecure, and vengeful deity can only engender generations of jealous, spiteful, insecure, and vengeful humans. The Old Testament records the first instance of murder in the story of Cain and Abel. The archetypal case of sibling rivalry wherein a deity plays favorites with two brothers over their ritual offerings and arouses a jealousy so intense it leads to fratricide. Fast forward to Abraham and his sister-wife Sara, whose greed and jealousy result in the unjust expulsion of Hagar, the servant who bore Abe his first-born son, Ishmael. Behold, the remote descendants of Ishmael (generically known as Arabs) to this day continue to be cruelly treated by the remote descendants of Sara's freak-birth progeny, Isaac (generically known as Jews)!


My wife of 21 years, Anoora, is a real cutie... except when possessed by the demon, Jealousy. This demon she inherited from her mother, whose emotional insecurity was pathological to the degree that it drove two previous husbands to drink, distraction and, eventually, divorce. Anoora's ego insecurity very nearly drove me mad during the first few years of my sharing space with her. She couldn't even tolerate my having a conversation with another woman.

Yet, as time passed, she reserved the right to ogle every good-looking young man who came to stay with us - and after a while became emboldened enough to openly flirt with them. I'm happy to report that in the last two or three years, Anoora has finally matured and relaxed to the extent that she's now open to befriending my female visitors - sometimes to the extent of attempting to hijack their affections. The day Anoora manages to entice another man with her feminine charms, I would consider my Henry Higgins experiment a complete success. There's nothing sadder than being married to a spouse nobody else would contemplate borrowing for a wild weekend or even flirting with!

Now jealousy is in itself a self-fulfilling prophecy, in that the person you proclaim to love - and whose exclusive devotion and sexual attention you demand - invariably begins contemplating the pleasures of strange flesh as soon as nagging suspicion begins to rear its ugly, deformed head.

I can happily swear eternal allegiance, affection, and friendship to anybody who has won my heart... but to insist on exclusivity seems to me the epitome of insanity. Imagine vowing to eat at only one restaurant your entire life. That's an insult to FOOD!

The crux of the problem is that monotheistic religions have programmed their followers into believing there is only ONE way to be married, and only ONE interpretation of wedded bliss - and that's MONOGAMY!

My own parents were married for more than 60 years... but Dad probably had that many lovers on the side (and Mum quite a few too, though far more discreetly)... and most folks do indulge in a fair amount of "illicit" (read "unlicenced") sex, only problem being they have to be hypocritical and sneaky about their behavior - instead of being good-humored, honest, and open-hearted about their own testosteronal or pheromonal propensities. Of all the women I've known, perhaps only two or three were virgins before they met me - but I've certainly loved and cherished the others no less, and enjoyed them all the more for their sexual experience and emotional maturity.


I'm convinced that if POLYAMORY was included as another way to explore LOVE and HARMONY, the world would blossom into a spiritually wholesome and truth-valuing place - where deceit, hypocrisy, guilt, and vindictiveness cannot flourish, and destructive jealousy will be seen for what it is: an emotional disease!

As I embark on my 66th solar orbit, I feel sufficiently seasoned to declare myself a pantheistic pansexual. That's right, folks: everything and everybody is actually quite edible if your perception is pristinely unclouded.

Polyamory: The Next Sexual Revolution?

[First posted 7 January 2007, reposted 7 January 2011]