To Avoid the Unavoidable (I)

#toavoidtheunavoidable

Introduction

This post is part of an initiative, presented under the hashtag #toavoidtheunavoidable (and in Spanish: #evitarloinevitable), which is born out of the frustration of the common citizens as they feel overpowered by the inertia of a spiral of decadence. It is, therefore, a call to any and all voices coming from civil society: from the realms of the arts, journalism, activism and/or education, who may wish to join this conversation: to share their fears and possible solutions to avoid an existential crisis that, at the moment, appears as unavoidable.


From my perspective as an expatriated Colombian based in Australia, I would like to begin the discussion by highlighting two interconnected situations: one on a local (and regional) scale and the other one on a global one, which are both progressing to a critical point:

A.) The brewing of a coup (either of a military or civilian nature) in Colombia (and the possibility of this escalating into an international conflict with Venezuela within the context of a new Cold War between China and the USA).


B.) The systematic destruction of fundamental ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest.

The conversation that this project proposes contemplates two stages. In the first one, the aim is to create and consolidate a journal (and data base) of the fears and nightmares provoked by the reality of the last months and years and how they reflect on the collective unconscious (and therefore could be defined as an archive of local dystopias). This could also help to expose local authors and creators coming from civil society: the arts, journalism, the academy, etc.; and thus lead to the second stage, which aim is to gather and debate possible solutions to the dystopias identified during the fist stage.

Sample No. 1 – The Bolivarian War (fragment for the book Notes on the Meta*)

The text that I include below is the translation of a fragment of a story that is told through the voices of the four participants in a debate, which takes place in what could have been the most popular of the digital universes know as Virtual Agoras (which are to emerge and proliferate during the mid 21st century), who appear under the avatars of the Sneaking Elf, the Amazon Queen, the Mysterious Monk and the Troll; together with the moderator, who appears under the avatar of the Fairy Godmother. The text was originally written between March and May of 2020.

(…)

Sneaking Elf

All right! Shut the fuck up! I’ll give you my version of the Bolivarian War… I know this is going to raise a few eyebrows, but … they had it coming. I mean, when you go off, so far away from the righteous path, you are bound to suffer some kind of consequences. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the people who suffered the worst of it actually deserved it, but that’s how it goes. There has never been a war without innocent victims. That’s what they call collateral damage. I’m as saddened as anyone else by the images of corpses under rubble and by the sounds of screaming children. It should not have happened this way and it’s not their fault that it happened this way… but, unfortunately, it had to happen. Since the turn of the century, from the rise of the so-called ‘Twenty-first Century Socialism,’ the people of Latin America set the clock in motion towards their own demise. Now, it feels like a joke from the gods (or the goddesses) that it was actually a woman, from a Hispanic background: the first female president of the United States, who ordered the bombing of Caracas. I guess that’s something for the Queen to reflect on.

Amazon Queen

First of all, Mice-Roy, what kind of account of the Bolivarian War is that? Not only did you fail to provide any sort of socio-economic or political background, but you ended up tarnishing the memory of the victims with your morally corrupted and stupefying claim that they probably didn’t deserve their fate, but they certainly had it coming. If this was a lesson on ancient philosophy, you would not only get a zero on your ethics, but you would also fail on your logic.

Sneaking Elf

I believe, your majesty, that your judgement has been stained by the Troll’s influence. I could, of course, rant endlessly, as he does, mashing up little quotes and twisting them around in order to fit my own arguments. I could also bore the hell out of our audience with a detailed account of every single tiny incident within the Bolivarian War. But I don’t think that’s what they are expecting to hear from us.

Troll

The only thing I believe from what you just said, is the part about you boring the hell out of our audience. I don’t think you can present a detailed or even a superficial account of the Bolivarian War. I also believe your remarks are quite shameful, Mice-Roy, as you seem to be the only one within this panel who has an ethnic and/or cultural attachment to this subject.

Sneaking Elf

Perhaps I don’t know all the exact dates and figures regarding this conflict: but if you really want to hear my version of the Bolivarian War, here it goes: it all starts at the turn of the millennium, when the Venezuelans elected that freak Hugo Chavez and began their descent into communist mayhem. Then, after two decades of witnessing, first hand, the crisis prompted by their neighbours’ decision, the fucking Colombians decided to follow the same path and elected another communist extremist like Gerardo Piedras. While all of this was happening, the Russians and the Chinese saw it as the perfect occasion to fish in trouble waters and continue to cause havoc in the American’s backyard.

This comment from the Elf provokes a new outburst of noise and chaos, which lasts for a long time, until the Fairy Godmother finally intercedes.

Fairy Godmother

That’s a really fucked up way to justify a magnicide.

Sneaking Elf

I’m not justifying it. I actually think it would have been better to let Mr. Piedras fuck up on his own, instead of turning him into a martyr. Yet, as critical as Piedras’ assassination may have been, I believe its impact on a global scale is dwarfed by other events that also happened during the twenties. Who remembers this story when, on the same year, we had Donald Trump dying of a mysterious heart attack? Or the year before, when we had the Hong Kong Jam? Not to mention the outbreak of the First Coronavirus and its subsequent and furious return a few years later. This is, of course, leaving aside all the raging wild fires burning all over the planet or the war between India and Pakistan and the escalation of violence across the Middle East (which I may add, ended up with the cancellation of the Qatar World Cup in 2022).

Troll

Certainly not a self-hating speak like you, Mice-Roy. By the way, apart from dodging the subject of Piedras’ assassination, you conveniently forgot to mention the Market Crash of ’21 and the first flood of New York City.

Sneaking Elf

What do you want me to say?

Troll

Why don’t you start by sharing your view on the military coup that followed Piedras’ assassination?

Sneaking Elf

I grant you that is, yet another, unfortunate event… unfortunate but necessary.

Fairy Godmother

Keep pushing it Mice-Roy: that comment is likely to win you back plenty of the support from those ‘full-of-cum’ machos the Queen was talking about.

Sneaking Elf

Whatever! The fact is: after two decades, it’s easy to judge the decision of the Colombian generals: but if they haven’t done what they did, not just the country, but the entire freaking continent would have fallen into chaos.

Amazon Queen

Only, it did fall into chaos: or what do you call the destruction of cities like Caracas and Bogota?

Sneaking Elf

I don’t know, it’s still too early to tell, but in the long run, I believe we’ll be able to call it a sad and even tragic, but ultimately, useful moment of cleansing.

The Elf’s comment is followed by a profound moment of silence.

Sneaking Elf (cont)

Perhaps I should rephrase this last statement. I just realised it did not sound right.

Troll

On the contrary Mice-Roy, it sounded extremely right. I could even hear the goose-steps marching under your squeaks.

Sneaking Elf

I’m not talking about the people: I’m talking about the decaying infrastructure that is no longer an obstacle to construct new, improved versions of these cities.

Troll

Like small, tropical version of Hitler’s Germania.

Sneaking Elf

Would you let me continue with my account?

Troll

Go ahead Mice-Roy: I won’t stop you from digging yourself deeper into the ground.

Sneaking Elf

What I’m trying to say is that, as disruptive as the Bolivarian War may have been, it would have been worse to let the communist coalition simply take over the entire freaking region. Besides, it wasn’t the military government in Colombia who began the hostilities with Venezuela.

Amazon Queen

What are you saying? Of course it was them! Together with the Bolsonaro government in Brazil. They were the ones who sent a coalition army to try to bring down the democratically elected government of Venezuela. It’s also important to remember how on that occasion, the Venezuelans responded with just a warning

Sneaking Elf

Give me a break! First of all, sending your bombers to fly over another country’s major cities, even if it’s only to drop paper messages, is more than just a warning. Most importantly, the combined military incursion into Venezuelan territory was not the first action in this confrontation. Prior to this, the Venezuelan government had already began their hostile policies by supporting terrorist organisations in both Colombia and Brazil.

Amazon Queen

What terrorist organisations?

Sneaking Elf

Are you serious? How about notorious guerrilla groups like the old ELN and the New FARC in Colombia or the infamous bio-terrorist organisation known as Os Novos Diabos in Brazil?

Troll

This is why I say the Drunken Cockatoo would be a better Mice-Roy than Mice-Roy, at least she puts her spin on some of the clichés she hears on the media.

Fairy Godmother

Children, please! We need to move on with the monk’s polyphonic reply…

(…)

Mysterious Monk

It starts with the already mentioned episode that got to be known as the Paper-rain of ’22, when the Venezuelan air force violated the Colombian air space to send a warning message, in response to the incursion by the Colombian and Brazilian armies into Venezuelan territory.

On that occasion, thanks to a rapid mediation by other regional governments like those of Mexico and Argentina, the conflict didn’t escalate and a fragile truce was achieved. Nonetheless, there were consequences, which in time would lead to the main war. The most important of them would be the conformation of a demilitarised zone around the border between Colombia and Venezuela. In time, this zone would become the first supra-national reservation in the world.

There were many critical voices against this policy: starting with the Bolsonaro government in Brazil, who saw it as a threat to their sovereignty over Amazonia. There was also the recently appointed Pence administration, who saw it as an intrusion by the Chinese and Russian governments in a region that, as the Elf mentioned, they have always considered their backyard. Yet, there was not much they could do about it, because, on the one hand, Bolsonaro had to deal with a growing opposition, emboldened by the liberation of former president Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva. He also had to focus on the threat represented by Os Novos Diabos and their legendary leader: the Cacica Caimana (also known as the She-caiman Shaman of Amazonia).

On the other hand, the Americans had to deal with their growing internal violence and, on the international front, with the aforementioned trade war with China (not to mention the eruption of the Indo-Pakistani war and the escalation in the conflict between Sunnis and Shia all across the Islamic world).

Therefore, the situation in South America remained stable, although quite tense, for a few years, until the so-called Revolutionary March of 2025, which led to a new wave of left-wing governments that emerged all over the region. By then, the Americans had voted the Republicans out of government and elected their first female (and first Hispanic) president: Mrs Sonia Gutierrez.

Mrs Gutierrez, at first, tried to establish friendly relations with the new wave of leftist governments, but this effort soon was challenged by the deal signed between the Mexican government (and backed by the governments of other nations like Venezuela, Nicaragua, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia) and a coalition formed by the most powerful drug cartels in the continent, which ended up with a general pardon and the unilateral legalisation of cocaine and other formerly restricted substances.

To all this, we must add the pressure coming from certain members of the American Congress, as well as by the one coming from the UN: to withdraw their support to the military government in Colombia. Hence, after a couple of years of increasingly troubled negotiations (in which the Americans kept losing control over the region, until they ended up with Colombia and Brazil as their only significant allies in the entire continent); and in response to the economic sanctions that the coalition of leftist governments imposed on Colombia and its military rulers (which followed their unilateral decision to legalise cocaine and promote a major industry around the coca leaf), Mrs Gutierrez opted to support the military action promoted by the Colombian generals, and thus ordered the bombing of Caracas. In retaliation, the Venezuelan government bombed Bogota and, as they say, the rest is history.

*This book is still a work in progress, although there is a preliminary edition in an ebook (i.e. PDF) format, which the reader can download from this link: https://mr2books.gumroad.com/l/MQhyR

Or find more information about it by following this link: https://www.mr2books.com/notes-on-the-meta