Mangala God of War & Empire


A Rich Tangle

Mangala, it should be told, is not the most intellectual of Gods. Yes, Mercury was well positioned at the time of his birth (if a GoWoE could indeed be said to have been "born"), but Mars, sad to tell, cast his violent and brutish influence throughout. Such is the luck of the spermish draw (or deish, should you prefer). So it goes in Valhalla's dysfunctional family.

Yet, there are times when Mangala uses his head, and so he did:

How interesting, this tangled skein. Army upon army, plot upon plot. My godson Frank Herbert, did he live, would be beside himself with happiness at so much fodder for future literary success. Baron Harkonnen would be in transports of delight.

Here is a truth for you: Empires are built on power, power on money, and money flourishes best when it is dampened by blood. Too little, and empire crumbles to dust. Too much, and empire drowns in the ambition of its undertaking.

Here is another: The great magnates of empire waste not a moment weeping for the dead, theres or the other's, nor a second wringing their hands over the fate of theories, such as democracy, or human rights, or love. Ask a magnate, Why empire?, and this is the reply: There's the profit.

Such is the paradigm that informs the Empire's acts in all times: Empire provides profit, profit requires power, power demands money, and money needs a sprinkling of blood, like incense to ward off malevolent fate.

The managers of intifada follow those truths and that paradigm, as relentlessly as does the Moon Calf who reigns over Empire today. They neither weep nor wring, and the Dark Robes write their own definition of profit, not as oil but as top power and the ability to control the bodies and thoughts of men.

Behind each--be it Moon Calf or Dark Robes--stands the inchoate folk, following only the paradigms of joy, fear, hatred, false memory, and, when their better natures rise, the paradigm of love.

(Mangala paused thoughtfully.)

All very pretty, but frankly, my worshipers, one can scarcely follow the game without a program. It's like this:

Moon Calf and the other stock in Empire's barnyard decided last year that their people would not stand for a long sojourn in this lovely land between the rivers. So they hatched a plan to turn Iraq over to minions cut to their own specifications.

From the folk of Iraq the plan drew outrage, for having been promised freedom, they saw themselves rewarded with unending slavery. If one is not free--and the occupied by definition are not--then one can only be a slave. My eyes see no gradations at the boundary: Sort of free is a lot like sort of dead, or sort of pregnant.

The Empire bided its time, for of time, it thought, it had abundance, and from its armed bunkers espied a youthful Dark Robe much louder and more courageous than the rest, a man who said to Empire: This must not stand. We are not your chattel.

And from Empire came a quiet and secret thought: This man must go. Using the tools of bureaucracy and law, Empire sought to wrest the levers of growing power from the young imam, and felt little surprise when that act stirred up a dust eddy. They saw it as an opportunity to rid themselves of a problem and thereby ensure their success.

For the money was growing a little bit dry, and it was time to moisten it again with a sprinkling of blood.

Others among the Dark Robes--armed and brutal men who remembered the days of Saddam with more than a little nostalgia, and other men, equally armed and technically proficient, thought briefly and concluded that this was an excellent opportunity to move closer to the Caliphate's return--joined the imam's revolt against the occupiers. The magnates of Empire had not been surprised by the revolt, but its vehemence was slightly more than their planners had expected.

And so the sides were drawn: "This Must Not Stand" in mortal combat against "This Man Must Go", now increased to "These Men".

From now, it is only a question of Empire applying well tested procedures, tested in Palestine by the Israelis and in Iraq itself during the push to Baghdad. It is only a question for the Dark Robes of applying equally well tested procedures tested in Palestine by Palestinians against the Israeli occupiers. Events will move forward with all the predictability of surgery once the scalpel has made its first slice.

For the folk, of Empire and of Iraq, it is a far more stirring drama: Freedom vs., well, Freedom.

For has not the Moon Calf said, "These people hate freedom and we love freedom and that's where the clash occurs."?

And is not the man who, upon finding an intruder who has forced his way into the house, seeks to throw the bastard out, also seeking freedom?

Where does freedom lie? In a ballot box, or in running your own country free of outside interference?

(Mangala shrugged his shoulders, his mighty and impressive burst of intellectual brilliance having run its course.)

Freedom, for this god of war and empire, is to have none above me.

But please, don't tell Zeus or Yahweh I said so, OK?

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