The Pyramid of Power

Posted: February 12, 2015 in Excerpts
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“When Hope Came”

(soon to be available on

Hope shook her head and looked questioning at her great-uncle: “I don’t understand, what time?”
“In time,” the Professor answered, “the world of the stone age people would change completely and then it would look more like this:
With a single key-stroke all the equations and graphs on the Professor’s wall had disappeared and were replaced by the over-sized image of a painting, headed by the title ‘The Pyramid of Power’.
“But that’s not really a pyramid,” Hope commented
“No, not really,” the Professor agreed
“Did you make that image?” Hope asked
The Professor shook his head: “An artist did it more than 200 years ago.”
Hope sighed with relief, since she could utter her opinion without reservations now: “It is really ugly.”
The Professor smiled and added: “But it’s still quite interesting, isn’t it?
Hope had to agree, the image was somehow fascinating in all its ugliness:
pyramid of power
The lowest three levels of the structure portrayed seemed actually to form the foundation of a pyramid, getting progressively more narrow while gaining in height.
Built, however, was this structure not on solid ground but on a quaking mass of swirling and intertwined snakes, some of them hissing with open jaws showing sharp teeth dripping with poison. Dozens of snakes were also crawling inside on the floors of the building or winding themselves around the structural columns.
But looking more closely at the strange-colored floors, walls and columns, Hope realized that the whole structure itself was made of snakes biting in each others’ tails.
Caged inside the snake-structure were people. Some were sitting apathetically on the ground, images of desolation. Others were huddled together, their faces expressing fear and pain. Still others, their faces distorted with anger, were wielding guns and knives or only sharp elbows and large fists to push and press others to the ground using those fallen bodies as stools and ladders to climb up onto higher levels.
From the second level upwards most people wore nooses around their necks. The ends of the ropes were held either by people on higher levels, or more often they were connected directly to the structure of the strange building. But all those who held ropes, were also threatened to be strangulated by other ropes around their own necks. And like the whole structure of the building itself so were the ropes really nothing else but tail-biting snakes.
But strangely enough those very noose-ended snake-ropes were actually very vital for the structure of the building. For from the fourth level on, the building was no longer a solid whole but a mass of dozens and dozens of smaller pyramid-like structures floating and swirling above without gravity tying them to the ground or the rest of the structure. What connected them with one another and with the lower levels on the ground were alone the snake-ropes twirled together.
While some of the smaller structures had an obvious pyramid-form, especially those where the people inside wore uniforms, others looked distorted and skewed to one side with no real top. Still others looked as if they were constricted around the middle by an old-fashioned corset.
Just like in the lower levels, so contained each of these smaller edifices also caged in people. And just like the others below so would most of the people in the floating structures try as well to reach the higher levels of their particular structure, and that by all means possible. Some had stabbed knives into the backs of their neighbors and were now using those very knives as ladders to higher levels.
Some of them however had succeeded somehow in getting outside their own structure and were now trying to use the twirled snake-ropes to climb from one structure to the next, not realizing in their weightlessness that they weren’t climbing up but side-ways or even down.
But just like on the lower levels each one of the people was wearing a snake-rope tied around his neck.
Surrounding the structures were floating tanks, flying missiles and planes dropping bombs. Each of these pieces of armament were connected with a snake-rope to certain men inside the floating parts of the fake pyramid.
In the middle of the mess of floating edifices and weapons was the image of something that looked a bit like a giant eye with the people inside surrounding the iris. But like most of the structures which started out as pyramids and weren’t any really, so was the giant eye skewed and distorted. In some way this eye was mirroring the faces of those men inside which also were distorted, showing mostly fear and hatred. But they also had the look of people who were nearly strangulated by the nooses around their necks, snake-ropes connected directly to the snake-walls.
The whole painting seen on the giant screen of the Professor’s wall had an aura of total hopelessness. Everyone was trapped or caged and close to suffocating. There was no way out. And even the background was of a dreary gray…

The Professor went on: “Most of the time the people even in the Dark Ages did not lie deliberately to their children, their students, their neighbors, their readers or their listeners. They just didn’t know any better. They were repeating what they had learned and trusted to be true. When they did lie they trusted it to be necessary to protect a greater good.
And so like every other community the pyramid of power was stabilized by the trust of the people.
But in the long run lies just aren’t a very stable foundation, more and more of them are needed to keep the old ones alive.
In time the deceptions became too obvious to go fully unnoticed. And still, most people couldn’t see them, because of their need to trust. But there were a few people with a very special talent…”
“I know, I know,” Hope interrupted, “the grumpies, they had the talent to distrust…….but…nobody believed them.”
“Well,” the Professor said, “nobody, but other grumpies… first. But these were the times when the precursor of our Peace-Web had been invented. Now people were able to communicate with one another over far distances and share information without the use of the news-outlets and outside the constriction of teacher-schools. And so, when the grumpies from all over the world could talk to each other, their body of knowledge grew and the truth started to shine its first rays of light unto the mass of lies.”
Now the Professor turned back to the ugly painting, pushed a series of keys and turned it into some kind of animation.
Hope also turned around and watched with fascination what was happening now.
The image zoomed out slightly and now you could see that the gray surrounding which had caused the dreary atmosphere were actually dark clouds. These clouds started to rip apart and small rays of a sun that was still mostly covered started to light up the image. The rays hit the lower parts at first.
The Professor explained: “Slowly but certainly the truth would rock the foundation of lies on which the pyramid was built upon”
The snake-pool at the foundation transformed and turned into mush and the structure started to tremble.
“Yeee,” Hope cheered, “the truth-light is poison for the snakes.”
The Professor smiled and nodded: “And the grumpies´ communication was noticed by others. “
Some of the people within the structure who before had looked apathetic were hit by rays of light and started to lift their heads.
And the Professor continued: “In time the seeds of truth planted in the hearts of those who didn’t believe them at first started to sprout. And the non-grumpies started to join in the pursuit of truth, being able to see what their own fear had hidden from them before. Finally they were able to leave what had caged them in before.”
By now a growing number of people had left the structure and begun to build houses outside it. Some were already tilling the soil and planting food.
The clouds were thinning out more and more and the sun-light had become stronger reaching now to the upper parts of what was supposed to be a pyramid.
The Professor went on: “With more and more truth coming to light of day the trust of the people in the marauders´ structure, which once had fed into it and stabilized it, eroded. And slowly but certainly the pyramid would crumble.”
The animation showed the decay of the structure. The snake-walls and floors started to wither and then to dissolve into dust. The people in the higher levels let go of the ropes in their hands, instead they used their hands to loosen the nooses around their necks.
Every time anyone of the uniformed men let go of the ropes in his hands some tanks turned into tractors, and missiles turned into cranes. A machine gun that before had been in the hands of one of the uniformed men on the lower levels had now, after he had left the structure, transformed into a plowshare drawn by an oxen.
The snake-ropes, which had connected the different parts of the structure, turned into slithering slopes at first, allowing some of the people to slide safely to the ground. Eventually, however, the ropes turned into dust, like the rest of the withering structure. And those who had missed their opportunity and were still inside, when the floor finally dissolved under their feet, had a rather uncomfortable lending. Because, with the disappearance of the strange structure, it seemed that normal gravity had set in again.
And the Professor went on:
“But different from all the earlier fears, this was not the end of the world. The sky hadn’t fallen and the seas hadn’t risen to cover the lands. Only a pyramid had disappeared from the face of the earth. The people, however, all those who had been inside, they still existed. And the lands to grow the food and the houses to live in and the technology and resources to build, make and trade things were still there as well .
And because the destruction of the corrupt structure had been a slow process, it had given most people enough time to adjust and rebuild their trust, focusing it now on something better than a pyramid of power.”
The Professor looked up to the ceiling, while Hope following his gaze nodded in understanding, then he continued: “And the knowledge needed would now be shared. Information would now no longer be monopolized and partitioned, and therefor the knowledge of all people would be growing and growing.”
The image zoomed out slightly more to show a landscape of villages and small towns surrounded by fields, meadows and woods.
The Professor ended his tale: “The Dark Ages had faded into the pages of time and our age had begun to rise.”
The image zoomed in again to show the spot, where the pyramid had been before but now had disappeared without a trace, making room for the construction site of what was quite obviously Hope’s village…

Lebanese flag

One month ago I came to Beirut the capital of Lebanon. Here and all over the country, where ever you go, you constantly meet Syrian refugees as well as Iraqis.
Lebanon a country with a population of only 4 and a half million native citizens has taken in about 1.2 Million Syrian refugees and the number is growing still. Already since the beginning of the second Gulf War countless Iraqi refugees have entered the country fleeing violence, chaos and destruction at home. While many of these Iraqi refugees have sought and found asylum in Western countries, there are still an estimated 100,000 Iraqi refugees inside Lebanon, most of them are unregistered and without legal rights.
These enormous numbers of refugees have had a large impact on Lebanese economic conditions. Rents for working class housing have sky-rocketed, since the refugees now, according to some Lebanese friends, rent all the available spaces, with six or more people occupying a single room paying several times the rent that has been asked of Lebanese tenants before the Syrian civil war. At the same time wages have fallen drastically, since the refugees are ready to work for far lower pay.

This, however, is not the only reason why there are also more and more hostile feelings against the refugees in this country. Sunni refugees are often suspected by both Christian and Shiite Lebanese of sympathizing with or even supporting the radical Islamists, like ISIS which is called the Da’esh here or the Al Nusra front or other Al Qaeda affiliated groups.
Public anger has then increased enormously after the Da’esh had, in a cross-border raid, taken over the Lebanese village of Arsal, which also houses a large camp for Syrian refugees and the local army station.  29 soldiers and policemen were captured, some of the Sunni captives were released, while those of other sects and religions are still kept as hostages.
Two of the captives so far have been murdered by beheading. Although the first soldier murdered was a Sunni man, there are still great fears of the public outrage that the murders might lead to sectarian violence.
But this is exactly what nobody wants here in Lebanon the long decades of civil war are still a recent and horrifying memory. And therefore great efforts are made both by individuals as well as by political parties and groups to diffuse sectarian distrust and fear which might lead to hatred and violence.
An example of these strenuous efforts are those of the parents of the murdered soldiers as reported about the family of Abbas Medlej, a Shiite family:

The family of the Lebanese soldier who was executed by ISIS Saturday called for unity against takfiri groups, saying citizens need to support the state and the Army, not slip into civil strife.
“Our choice remains as is, Lebanon a country of coexistence for all its components,” said the statement by the family of Abbas Medlej Saturday night, appealing for calm. “The terrorist act that killed our son Abbas is a crime against all Lebanese; Shiites, Sunnis, Christians and Druze.”
The Medlej family called for Lebanese to prevent “takfiris from penetrating into our national fabric,” and thus stop them from achieving their goal of division among the Lebanese…

Similarly the family of the other executed soldier, Ali Al-Sayed, a Sunni, as reported by Lebanese News :

In a bid to challenge rising sectarian tensions, the families of the two Lebanese soldiers executed by ISIS joined together in prayer Friday.
The family of Ali Al-Sayed traveled from north Lebanon to the Al-Ansar, near Baalbek, to offer condolences to the relatives of Abbas Medlej.
Medlej and Sayed were both kidnapped by ISIS during the Arsal clashes last month and were later beheaded by the fundamentalist group.
The two families, one Sunni and one Shiite, gathered for a joint prayer at the village’s mosque led by the Baalbek and Hermal Mufti Sheikh Bakr al-Rifai, who stressed on the importance of “Muslim unity and coexistence.”

And then there are the statements of religious Hezbollah leaders like the Head of Hezbollah’s religious committee, Sheikh Mohammed Yazbek, who, along with Industry Minister Hussein al-Hajj Hassan and a delegation from Hezbollah, visited the Baalbek town of Al-Ansar to offer condolences to the relatives of Lebanese Armed Forces soldier Abbas Medlej:

Sheikh Yazbek told LBCI that martyrs Ali Al-Sayyed and Abbas Medlej represent the entire Lebanese nation, stressing that Lebanese authorities should exert more efforts to face terrorism.
Sheikh Yazbel also stated that terrorism does not differentiate between Shiites, Sunnis, and Christians, urging Lebanese citizens to unite their efforts in order to face this threat.

Hezbollah, as both a political party and a Shiite militia, has before been considered not a friend but competition to the Lebanese army. But in spite of everything the Lebanese people of all creeds and political sides try to do, the country isn’t safe.

There are forces at work, which do not originate in Lebanon, forces which do their utmost to inflame tensions and in doing so to create conditions for a new civil war.

The Lebanese daily The Daily Star writes in its English edition on September 25:

Worrying reports emerge of ISIS plans to wreak havoc in Lebanon

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: There are reports that ISIS is looking to create trouble and instability via the sleeper cells it is believed to have implanted across the country.
Lebanese security sources said that ISIS was trying to create strife in areas in Lebanon’s north, south and the Bekaa Valley in order to undermine the country’s stability.
The starting point of this plan was the five-day clashes in Arsal, which have since been followed by sporadic incidents in north Lebanon such as gunmen opening fire on a Lebanese Army position Tuesday, leading to the death of soldier Mohammad Khaled al-Hussein…
As Islamist militants fighting in Syria search for different ways to get hold of supplies needed in the ongoing war there, Lebanese political factions have been forced to mobilize to keep pace with the fast-moving developments.
For the first time in a long time, the various Lebanese security bodies have decided to join efforts in their fight against terrorism.
This has been made all the more urgent since senior security sources revealed that ISIS has been intensifying its efforts to create pockets of support across the country…
The security authorities have warned that ISIS and the Lebanese branches of the Nusra Front and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades have united in order to establish a haven in the border area stretching from the north through the Bekaa Valley to the Shebaa farms in the south.
According to reports, if ISIS is to conduct attacks in these areas, they will be led by a figure known as Sheikh Abu Hasan al-Ramlawi.
Ramlawi – who goes by a nom du guerre – is a Palestinian who holds a Jordanian passport. Security forces marked him as an important figure because he used to mobilize Islamists in Deraa in southern Syria, before moving to an area closer to Lebanon.
Ramlawi is believed to have moved toward the Syrian part of the Golan Heights and Shebaa until he reached the area’s Lebanese Sunni villages, where he has reportedly been working on forming armed groups.
As a result of the sensitive location of this area, Hezbollah is believed to be monitoring the situation closely.
There are fears that Israel might try to take advantage of these developments to target Hezbollah. Some even believe that Ramlawi may have been coordinating with Israeli secret service agency Mossad in order to manipulate events in Syria.
Such reports pushed Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah to give a speech Tuesday emphasizing the party’s position on the war against terrorism, while rejecting Lebanon’s participation in an international anti- ISIS coalition. Nasrallah also called on the Lebanese government to negotiate from a position of strength with the Islamist militants from ISIS and Nusra Front who are holding at least 21 soldiers and policemen…
But even the travesty of the kidnappings seems to pale in comparison to dramatic developments predicted to be on the horizon.
In a statement, Sheikh Sirajuddine Zureiqat, a spokesman of Al-Qaeda-affiliated group the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, said he would be coming to Beirut soon. This statement was dismissed by Nasrallah in his speech.
Zureiqat is believed to now be with the Lebanese captives, which if true would be a dangerous indicator that the Nusra Front, ISIS and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades are starting to unify within Lebanon.
The threat posed by ISIS’ alleged sleeper cells is being taken sufficiently seriously that it prompted Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt to make a tour around Wadi al-Taym – a predominantly Druze area very close to the Syrian border – over the weekend.
The move comes as the Druze community is reporting feeling directly threatened by these extremists groups. As the area that the groups are believed to be interested in contains large numbers of Druze, it is natural to fear that the Druze would be displaced were the groups to take over. Therefore the targeting of the Druze in Shebaa is being prepared for.
The Lebanese government also senses the danger that the country is in, and is fully aware of the complications ahead. One senior political source compared the expected turmoil to the aftermath of Israel’s invasion in the summer of 1982.
Prime Minister Tammam Salam wants to get through the crisis with as little fallout as possible, and he is currently in New York working on ensuring Lebanon has a safety net amid the regional turmoil

From Syrians, both Sunni Muslim and Christian, that I met here in Beirut and during my one-week stay in Syria I have heard nearly the same words again and again in helpless sighs: “We are like pawns, who are used in a game by outside powers who play with us. But we do the suffering and dying.”

The Lebanese are very close to feeling the same helplessness, being tossed around by ruthless forces in their power games, forces which have no regard for the livelihood, the safety, the dignity and the lives of most human beings, forces who are ready to go over mountains of dead bodies to reach their aims.