Yesterday, a young man came by my house and asked if I’d like to participate in a revolution. His organization had been going from door to door in all of the significant neighborhoods, he explained, collecting signatures. He asked me if I was outraged.
“I guess I could be happier,” I mused. At this, his face beamed.
“I feel your woe, friend, I feel your woe.” He handed me a clipboard, which was attached to a good thick stack of paper. At the top of the stack was a page of signatures, all indistinct and crowded around one another in grey glorious pencil.
“It’s been a good day for the cause,” he said with brash modesty. Underneath this page was another just like it, followed by three more. The fourth one after that was about half full.
“That’s where you come in, brother.”
“I see. And is there anything you’d need me to do for the cause?” It seemed like a reasonable question.
“No-” his voice was warm, chipper- “All we need is for you to write your name on that piece of paper. Let your voice be heard!” He pumped a fist into the air, like a character in a silent film gesturing elaborately.
“You don’t need me to make banners and signs?”
“Oh, we made all of those before we started collecting signatures. You really should see them (and I expect you will). Marvelous creations, really- the revolution’s colors are gold and red, and they’ll soon hang brightly and boldly from every corner, symbolizing the utter purity and noble blood of men yearning to be free.”
“What about slogans and rallying cries?”
“We thought those up right after we were done with the banners- they’ll echo through the streets and canyons, my friend.”
“I won’t be called on to fight in any sort of militia?”
“We don’t think we’ll be needing one, sir.”
“A bit over optimistic, wouldn’t you say?”
“Not really. Revolution has become a much more formalized process than in the days of old- thank the Lord.”
“What about a list of grievances?”
At this, the young man seemed offended:
“Do you really think we’d forget the most important part? It’s all on the clipboard. Very last page. I think you’ll be impressed.
I flipped past the last page of signatures, and saw a pristine document that read:
“We, the good people of the nation of __________, are hereby absolutely and irreconcilably dissatisfied with the regime of ________ and do declare an instant and total revolution, on behalf of the above signed. Our grievances are as follows:”
After which was a list of some 136 offences, outrages, and atrocities perpetrated by the current administration. The last twelve were penciled in.
“You can add in anything that bothers you, if it isn’t already on the list,” the young man explained.
“Seems fair. And the revolution aims to get rid of all of these things?”
“We are the arms and legs of the common people.” There was a collegiate gleam in his eye. “So what do you say, brother? Do you wish to change the world with the single stroke of a pen? Do you wish to end the suffering and struggling of the noble innocents within our borders, to banish tyranny and oppression from this land forever, to welcome in the smiling rays of the future sun?” He was making a full-court press.
There was a lengthy pause. Finally, I said: “I’m sorry, but I just don’t think that we’re ready for it now.” At this, his demeanor changed predictably, and his eyes narrowed.
“What the hell do you mean? What time is better than now?” I just shook my head and shut the door.
“You hypocrite!” I could hear it through the walls “You coward! You traitor! You sniveling ogre! When the glorious day comes, you’ll be first against the wall! You can try all you want, but you can’t keep back the winds of change, the people will have a voice,” etc.
I went back into the living room where my wife was doing a crossword puzzle. In the distance there were birds, singing.
About the Author
Omar Gheith is a 20 year old student at the University Of Texas