Adonis Diaries

Rainbow over the Levant: Mariam

Posted on: October 17, 2008

Rainbow over the Levant: Mariam (1394-1399).  Part 4

Chapter 15: The second revolution (fiction, continue 21)

The political system was relatively stable; order and the rule of law were functional; peace on the borders was lasting longer than in the previous decades; yearly budget for the various ministries were allocated and plans were carried out decently.  A few worries were deeply disturbing the First Emir:  the system was reverting to a declining cycle of feudal and religious polarization during municipal and parliamentary elections. The old guards were sleeping on their laurels and insidious machinations of grand thefts of the public funds were agitating the population to open criticisms of the validity of the regime.  The First Emir suspected that foreign agitators were exploiting some of the valid arguments about the regime and he thought that the best strategy was to adapt taking side with the population against the opportunists and unprofessional officer corps in the various departments.

While fear of instability was a common tendency in the Middle East the underground sectarian organizations were extremely secretive and disturbing.  It was in these periods of anxiety that Sect-State behaviors would predominate the political landscape with two variants; the first variant being that a charismatic feudal Lord would take advantage of the particular structural and administrative traditions of his sect and appoint his spiritual leaders in order to further his hold on the temporal and spiritual power of his sect, like for example the Druze sect; the other variant being the supreme cleric usurping the temporal leadership in his sect and imposing the temporal leaders such as in some Shiaa sects.  The second variant of Sect-State was usually the more dangerous for any central government than the first variant or the other secretive sectarian organizations.

The Levant government was not immune to these fears in the society and a few Sect-States and secretive sectarian organizations were on the rise and such behaviors were spreading among its public servant members. Nevertheless, rational scapegoats were needed to tame the growing restlessness among the populace so that a closer investigation to the criteria adopted for hiring and assigning government service men were carried out and rumors of fraudulent activities were acted upon.  These decisive moves were well promoted and new recruits from disadvantaged families were interviewed and accepted to training facilities.

Besides, the First Emir, who was now in his late forties and was considered old by the standard of the time, had discovered new vocations in writing his memoirs and a hobby in aquarelle painting.  Actually, the First Emir was suffering from backache which made horse riding an excruciating exercise while his shortsightedness was an excellent excuse for discarding reading the accumulating documents.  For some time, his zest in daily running of the nation and ruling a wily people was waning and he was seriously contemplating taking longer time offs for doing what he enjoyed most.  The reality was that the First Emir was experiencing what is currently described as middle age crisis; he was becoming despondent because of subtle recognition that he had grown much older in physical and mental agility and endurance.  He was experiencing the nervousness and uneasiness of some kind of chemical addictions which caused many official sessions to be cut short and the tendency to implicitly relegating some of his powers to close associates because he could not shoulder further pressures.  The side effects were his harsher invective toward his associates when they failed to adequately carry out the delegated power on specific projects and programs and tended to maliciously blame them on usurping his power and sometimes because he had forgotten his verbal commitments or delegated commissions.

The First Emir would disappear incognito for a couple of days with a reduced group of his personal guards, all attired as normal citizens as to blend easily with the common people, and leaving a short message stating that he has gone on inspection of his kingdom so that to keep everyone of his civil servants on their toes. Actually, a few of his closest and oldest friends knew that the journeys were taking their beloved Emir to locations of his youth that provided him with splendid recollections and relieved the stresses of his conflicting emotions.  These short peregrinations were helpful mentally but left the First Emir in no better physical conditions on his returns; he was sick and depressed and used to confine himself in his private rooms claiming quality time to studying important and urgent plans.  His oldest friends were worried but the second generation of civil servants was feeling comfortable and secure in its sinecures before political troubles challenged the First Emir into action.

Individually and on many occasions the trio of Mariam, Mustafa and Gergis confronted the First Emir with the state of affairs in the Nations.  Mariam offered the First Emir facts on many political organizations already in action and most of them being financed by foreign powers and neighboring Viceroys and disseminating ideas based on religious beliefs to destabilize the State.  Mustafa argued that it would be to the advantage of the State to acknowledge the existence of these organizations and allow them to function within the laws of free associations and freedom of speech instead of letting them work underground. At least, Mustafa argued that the State would then be in a better position to recognize these secretive organizations and understand their political positions and be prepared to counter their ideas. With his usual diplomatic tact Gergis hinted that the best alternative would be to organize a grass root political party that would carry the right message to the future generations and sidetrack most of these dubious confessional underground parties.

At length, the First Emir was well prepared by his counselors to listen to the principles of a political party that might be capable of rejuvenating the Nation. Gergis expounded on the principles and articles of the Aram National Party.  For two weeks the First Emir felt restless and an ingenious plan of action was rehashed in his mind:  start a new revolution from the grass-roots beginning with new adherents of fresh and young officers and out best his earlier successes. It is very credible to assume that organizing from scratch was his best skill but it was more likely that it mould be an opportunity for the First Emir to reinvigorate his purposes to life though any potential successes were less convincing judging from the behaviors of his early decrepit conditions.

The First Emir reasoned from experience that reinventing the same political system would not establish a system that could secure the survival of a society for long.  Consequently, he reasoned that the outcome of another revolution must rely on a new vision to guide the process for a stable society that would survive calamities and political upheavals.  A new vision was needed but the First Emir could not pinpoint its characteristics and procedures but hinted out to Gergis to unofficially study the restructure of his administration.

In the meantime, Gergis sent Noura an urgent message to Florence summoning her to come back as soon as possible.  The message hashed out his new responsibilities as leader of an underground political party and proclaimed that he would be unable to carry out his duties without her support and close proximity.  Noura realized that the still bachelor Gergis had never married because she was his first and only love and decided that she would indeed grab this opportunity and join her best friend ever.


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October 2008

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