The flames licked ever higher, guzzling with ferocious intensity everything they could envelop, scorching every square inch they could reach and entrancing all with the spectacle of the awesome power of man’s first technological discovery. Barely anything was left now, the once-proud roof had collapsed and all that was left was the pitiable frame of what had been a symbol of state power, of governmental legitimacy. The fire, still as strongly ablaze as it had been hours before, consumed all, banished all. It lit up the dark, indicative of the light that was shining now for every citizen who witnessed it, a beacon of hope for the new dawn every man, woman and child would now surely see. The winds of change fanned this conflagration, and nothing could ever be the same again.
And still they watched.
The crowd, which had grown at tremendous speed as news of the inferno had spread throughout the city and surrounding towns, did not know what to make of their fellow observers. The people had expected some sort of response as vicious in its intensity and as unforgiving in its outcome as the sparks which had ignited it. They had grown accustomed to the overreaction of force which was the cornerstone of this so-called democracy. To stand here now, before the funeral pyre of an abominable status quo, and see its defenders refuse to lift a finger in its defence, left all bemused but, far more importantly, feeling empowered and, yes, liberated.
With grim resolve, they watched.
Nobody could have forseeen this turn of events – if any in the ruling elite had, they would surely have reversed the decisions which doomed them. All the ruthless cuts to the state service, all the attempts to blacken the name of the public sector, all the heartless promotion freezes and wage cuts, all the bars on recruitment… All led inexorably to this turning point, this single overarching moment, this syllable of time.
In solemn regard, they watched.
The police, the firefighters, the ambulance crews… They flinched not, they hurried not, they gestured not. They watched. With granite stoicism they chose to watch the edifice of a corrupt regime be reduced to cinders rather than spend another day propping it up. Finally, they had as one realised that the system they had been supporting was the very system that was making their lives a misery. An epiphany had touched every one of them, as they conceived of their erstwhile existence as mere pawns, tools for the establishment to wield without reward or recognition. Their own brutalisation, and that which they had meted out, was being extinguished by this most beautiful bonfire.
And so, they watched.
★ Solidarity brothers & sisters ☭