Interlude ט: The General Assembly

And Satan stood up against them in the global environment.

December 14, 1972
New York City

“Ladies. Gentlemen. Mr. Secretary General.

We are a proud people. Like so many of the other fledgling countries represented here today, our national identity was forged in a struggle against imperialist aggression, and it was our pride that told us to continue fighting when all other counsel urged surrender. It is with that same pride that I stand before you today as the newest member of the United Nations, honored to at last be recognized as part of the world community.

I am not the monster you think. In my spare time, I play the violin competitively. I help blind children. I raise awareness of healthy plant-based foods. And my country? We are not your enemy. We are strange, yes. But we share the same values as all of you, the same drive to build a more just and equitable world.

What the American Dream is in fantasy, we are in reality. We accept everyone alike, regardless of race, color, or creed. We put up no barbed wire, we turn back no boats full of refugees. We take heart in the old words of Emma Lazarus: give me your tired, your poor. Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send them, your homeless, your tempest-tossed, to me. And send them you do, a tide of humanity struggling toward our gates with a desperation that puts Ellis Island to shame, and we turn none back, nay, not even the meanest. Especially not the meanest.

What the workers’ paradise of the Soviets aspires toward, we have reached. There are no class distinctions: slave is treated the same as sultan, stockbroker the same as sailor. The almighty dollar has been cast low; no one need worry about hunger or illness, nor shiver in the cold for want of a home. Private property has been abolished, yet none feel its want. Marx describes capitalist society as “everlasting uncertainty and agitation”, but within our borders precisely the opposite prevails.

We do not persecute dissidents. We do not censor the media. We do not pollute. We treat men and women equally. We allow the practice of any or no religion. We fund no terrorists. We build no bombs. Our criminal justice system is free from bias, and its punishments are always just.

No, we are not your enemy. There are those here who would accuse us of a campaign of subversion, of trying to found an empire. Nothing could be further from the truth. Other countries bully their neighbors into becoming puppets or satellite states with their tanks and bombs. We lead by example. Our way of life spreads, not by the sword, but the unleashed yearnings of millions of people around the world.

Sixteen years ago, Nikita Khruschev threw down the gauntlet of Cold War. ‘History is on our side!’ he said. ‘We will bury you!’ Ladies and gentlemen, I maintain that even the slightest familiarity with history suffices to prove it is on our side. We will not bury you. Yet when you are buried, as all men will be, many of you who now count yourself our foes will find you have been on our side without knowing it.

No, we are not your enemy. You say we are your enemy, you hope it is true, but in your heart you know it is not. We are allies to each of you. Every time there is a protest to be crushed, you have called upon us for assistance. Every time there is an election to be won, you have turned to us for advice. Every time there is a war to fight, you have asked for our aid. And we have never been stingy in granting it. All your glory you have built with our tools. Tools we were happy to lend at no cost, save the tiniest of sacrfices, one with no effect on gross national product, one that produces no trade deficit.

Ladies, gentlemen, Mr. Secretary-General. I have no enemies in this room. We have always been comrades in spirit. Now we are comrades in name as well. For this, I thank you.”

When Thamiel had finished speaking, he lingered for a moment at the podium, almost as if daring anyone to object. No one objected. His second head remained locked in its silent scream. Smoke twirled around him like buzzing flies, and his skin seemed rough with cancerous growths in the dim light of the chamber. But it wasn’t just fear that kept the ambassadors quiet. These were diplomats – that is, liars – and for just a moment they saw themselves as they were and paid obeisance to the Prince of Lies.

A sudden gust of scalding wind arose seemingly from nowhere, knocked two of the delegates apart from each other, scattered their nametags. A puff of brimstone in the middle, which cleared as quickly as it had arrived.

On the right, HAITI.

On the left, HONDURAS.

In the middle: HELL.

The nameplate was tastefully on fire.