COMMUNICATION FROM ARKAY OF KORENDOR
Date of reception: 6 July 1989
Love and light, my Terran friends. With the somberness of the last message somewhat abated by the passage of days, I wish at this time to respond to a few points that Bob Renaud has brought up over the past few months.
I shall begin this potpourri with some important information concerning the astonishing series of events that occured in the nation of China over the past several weeks.
Let me say at the beginning that, for better or worse, the Alliance was intimately involved in the incredible display of desire for democracy that spilled into the streets of China, and culminated in the truly wonderful yet ultimately tragic protest in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
This is not a movement in that oppressed nation that began in recent times. The democracy-seekers have been active for many years within China. It was a potentially disastrous decision on the part of the government, through the urging of Omegan officers therein, that forced the Alliance into action.
Our own agents informed us that a "clean-up" operation was being planned that would seek out and destroy every vestige of this "underground" movement.
The purge as formulated would have resulted in the deaths of over 63,000 citizens in every part of the nation. This was an intolerable concept to us, and we chose to step into the picture in as direct a manner as was possible without revealing our nature. This involved posing as "cell" members, and providing for the various cell leaders a means of communication and interface that had previously been unavailable.
As well, a select group of the highest-ranking leaders were given "leaked" copies of the documents that detailed the upcoming purge, with the proviso that whatever they did with them, their existence was not to be made known. This was achieved by the ruse that certain sympathetic people in the government would be killed if news of the copies were made available.
The leadership agreed to this one stipulation, and using our equipment and techniques they initiated a series of communications that quickly went far beyond our original intention of merely preventing the slaughter of their many good people by government agents.
Although we provided the means, it was the hatred of oppression that was the spark which ignited the events in the Square. We had long studied the Chinese system and felt that we had a fair grasp on the way the people felt about Beijing's rule and communism in general.
The lust for democracy that filled the minds and hearts of those people went far beyond what we had anticipated in our analyses. Even the risk of death could not quench the fire that burned in their souls.
So it was that we witnessed the plans and then the actions that ended in the occupation of Tiananmen Square. We stood aside and marvelled as the hundreds of thousands of young people gathered for the many days of peaceful demonstration.
Instead, it was within the Chinese government that our interference was most directly felt. Our agents did all in their power to hold back the desire of the leadership to snip this blossom of democracy.
The government took action when we could no longer impede the military response without jeopardizing our positions, or as you say, "blowing our cover". We did, however, pass word to the movement leaders that it was forthcoming and unpreventable.
The brutality and violence of the repression that destroyed the protests is history. The world will not soon forget the scenes of blood and tears that illuminated the bankruptcy of the communist way of government. In this, the demonstration achieved its goals.
The credibility of the Chinese rulers was irreparably damaged, and the seeds of ultimate rebellion were sown in the hearts of the people. The taste of the democratic way created in those beleaguered citizens an undying hunger for freedom and human worth that no amount of propoganda and oppression will take away.
Beijing crushed the demonstration, but in so doing it sealed its fate. We of the Alliance now foresee the next century dawning on a free China.
In the aftermath of the protest, most of the movement's highest leaders vanished into an "underground railroad" that spreads over the whole of China. It is now a logistical impossibility for Beijing to carry out its purge, and in any event, the government does not want to risk destroying what few shreds of good will remain around the world.
Compounding their difficulties, it happened that some careless clerical worker managed to mislay certain vital lists before he went on vacation and was never seen again. However, such things prove the inevitability of what you call "Murphy's Law", do they not?
In reflecting on these past weeks, the Alliance has acknowledged that our actions were perhaps premature, and that the need to prevent the wholesale killing of the movement's membership could have been addressed in a less dramatic and far safer way.
Yet, it was not our actions that resulted in the events in the Square. So intense is the Chinese population's desire for freedom, a thing that none alive have ever known, that they faced death gladly for the opportunity to confront the government and to voice their wants in the public forum, with the entire world watching and hoping.
It is a basic truth throughout the universe that life without liberty is death without dying. The people of China have brought this knowledge to your world. Heed it well, my friends.
My second topic is a problem that is nearly as old as Terran history, and will probably continue to exist for as long as humanity exists. I refer to the irrational practice of racism.
At this point, I suspect that loud alarms are sounding in some of those reading these words. Let me say that if this subject will offend you or "raise your hackles" as being not the business of alien visitors, then this is a good place to stop reading.
My intention in this series of communications is to write on whatever subject I see fit. The "New Age" is by definition the end of the Old Age and all of its many wrongs. These wrongs I will address, and "let the chips fall where they may".
The phenomenon of racism is, if not unique to Earth, at least so rare that I can find no instance of it in Alliance records. It must be said that this is a natural consequence of the existence of very few planets with a multiplicity of races.
Two theories have been advanced to explain this amazing diversity:
1 - Your various races are descended from lines originating elsewhere and "imported" to Earth;
2 - You have a common ancestry that was subjected to genetic experimentation by outsiders, or by technologically adept cultures that have long since died.
The second premise finds favor as a result of our researches and those of Confederation scientists who have made long-term studies of your people. The conclusion was prompted by intensive analysis of the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecules that blueprint all carbon-based life's genetic structure.
In all races on Earth, no matter how much seeming difference exists, the DNA shows only superficial variances that account for racial characteristics such as skin hue, eye shape, and so on.
Yet, we are at a loss to explain the origin of those deviations, which do not exist elsewhere in the Alliance realm, even on many worlds essentially identical to Earth, nor amongst people that you would be unable to identify as being alien to Earth.
We have rejected the possibility of natural causes. Although evolution can bring change to any race, it cannot by itself alter the DNA code at a level sufficient to create the profusion of racial variations found on Earth.
The evidence points inescapably to the bizarre concept that millenia ago a technologically sophisticated society performed DNA manipulation on the early ancestors of your modern races. Whether this scientifically advanced culture was itself Terran or from outside will never be known, but their handiwork is obvious to us who have never before seen this variegation of races.
Whatever might be at the root of your numerous races, the important point is this: for all your surface differences, you are of a kind. This being the case, the ugly and vicious phenomenon of racism has no scientific justification whatsoever. What differences do manifest themselves between, for example, caucasians and blacks, are purely cosmetic.
There is not the merest logic in using these visual dissimilarities as a basis for pronouncing one or the other a superior lineage. The reasoning is no more rational than saying that a blue automobile is superior to a red one. If racism has no scientific truth, no foundation in physical reality, why does it persist in your society? The reasons are manifold. I will touch on just three of them.
Tradition is perhaps the greatest contributor to racism's longevity. In many areas of the country (and world), the hatred of other races is integral in the social structure. The areas of the United States where the black race was brought in as slave labor have over the decades maintained an aversion to the black people that is primarily a matter of social and cultural conditioning.
If a child sees a parent or adult display fear or hatred of another race, even though it may not be an overt act, it is inevitable that the child will adopt that feeling, being certain that it is proper because grown-ups did it that way. Prejudice may not always be taught, but it is always well learned.
The second major factor might be called a strain of xenophobia, the fear of outsiders or strangers. Because a person of another race is often visibly different, there is a tendency to fear that person, because he or she is so unlike oneself. This is not an uncommon reaction, but it is caused more often than not by ignorance.
Fear of the unknown goes hand in hand under this category. During the past few decades the premise that one should never trust a stranger has been drilled into your people from earliest childhood. When that stranger is not only an unknown person but of another race, there is a compounded reaction that is more than the sum of its parts.
The third contributor to racism is the myth of racial purity that I cited briefly. Whether white or black or yellow, there is in each race a pride of being that dominates common sense. In this, one does not alone fault the white race, although the majority of overtly biased organizations tend to be white-oriented. This will no doubt spead to other races as time passes.
If there are not yet any black counterparts to the Ku Klux Klan or similar groups, it is not because there is a lesser interest amongst blacks in keeping themselves racially pure. This is a thread that runs through the fabric of all races. Inter-racial unions may be a good way to open the doors between your races, but they will be looked upon with distaste by both involved sides. What does he or she see in one of THEM?
There are other lesser causes that preserve the evil of racism. Whether it is practiced by whites or blacks or hispanics, whether it is based on color or national origin, it continues only because it is allowed to continue.
It is not a natural phenomenon. It is a result of social factors, and as such can be eliminated. The first step is to force your people to become aware that you are all from a single place in time, and that "in the beginning" your entire population had one mother and one father.
Call them Adam and Eve, if it will make the truth easier to learn. Their identity is less important than that some long-past event created the racial variations that exist today.
Your skin may be white or it may be black, but your blood is red and is the same as any other. Your eyes may be round or almond-shaped, but they see the very same world as any others. Your family may have come from Germany or Poland or France, but they have come to the one country where all are welcomed as equals -- or so it should be.
Look around your world, my Terran friends, and study the diversity of its people. Black or white or yellow, they have minds that think and feel the full range of emotions that all human beings share. If you are white, do you love with a different love than your black brother or sister? If you are black, is your joy at the arrival of a new child a different joy than that of your white neighbor? Do you experience a different sorrow when a loved one passes on?
Throughout God's universe are a myriad of races of such variations that you cannot begin to conceive of them. There are beings that are so unlike us in the body that it is only through communication that we have determined that they are indeed living creatures.
Yet, they share with all of us the bond of their feelings. They know with us the joy and the sorrow, the love and the hate, the laughter and the tears. They are born, they live and they die, to go on to the higher realms. They are in every important way human beings.
As I have said before and will say many times more, it is not one's body that makes one human, but the spirit, the soul, the life essence. It is the undying manifestation of God's glory in ourselves that renders us human.
Once that great, eternal truth is known by all citizens of Earth, then the time of racism will be past. With this knowledge, differences will become welcomed rather than feared.
We of other worlds relish the opportunity to meet and enjoy rapport with others unlike ourselves, and be assured that we have met a great many whose alienness would be beyond your capacity to accept.
As a man of Korendor, my native form is "humanoid" but quite different from yours, and we would probably find each other genuinely unlovely were we to meet in our respective physiques. Yet, our differences are trivial when compared to some races that we have contacted in our travels. As you say, their photographs would appear in the dictionary next to the word "ugly".
If you find reason to distrust or hate your fellow Terrans based on skin pigmentation, how much more would we by that logic have cause to feel those things when we encounter these beings. Yet, we actively seek out their company and conversation.
The reason is simple, and you have an expression that says it quite well: beauty is only skin deep. So likewise are the traits that characterize your world's diverse races.
It is the person within the body that determines its worth. Look beyond the external to the mind and heart and soul and spirit of the individual. You will find a human being very much like yourself, caring, sharing, needing, and loving.
Extend yourself to that person, and you will open the portal to harmony between all your people of whatever racial or national lineages. Know that person as your kin in God's universal family. Accept and love that person as a human being. The atrocity of racism cannot for long exist when the light of knowledge and reason shine upon it and expose it in all its grotesqueness.
Your people have progressed far in science and technology,and yet in the philosophies of life you retain many ways of the primitive. What can one say of a species that celebrates this year the twentieth anniversary of walking upon the moon, yet will hate each other on the basis of complexion?
The advice that you give to your children is appropriate here: grow up!
My last discussion is considerably less weighty than its predecessors, and deals with language. Let me open with an observation that the language of this communication, English, is by far the most irrational, confusing, unruly, disorganized and exception-laden tongue that it has ever been my task to learn (although its plethora of adjectives is truly wondrous).
This is certainly not a surprise to any of you. One need only question the new arrivals to America who are struggling with learning English to obtain verification of my opinions.
What other language can take four letters, "ough", and create words like through, bough, tough, though and cough and make not one of them sound like another?
One can pare a pair of pears, but how can one cut a pair of pants with a pair of scissors when there is but one of each? If there is a louse on a mouse in a house, why are there lice on mice in houses? For an eye-opening example of a completely confusing word, spend a few minutes with the dictionary entry for "set".
There is an interesting word that was invented to bring out the inherent difficulties in English: "ghoti". The letters "gh" are from "laugh", "o" is from "women", and "ti" is from a word such as "action". Ghoti is therefore pronounced "fish", an interesting bit of trivia for your next ghotiing trip.
To anyone who is a newcomer to the English language, I offer my most profound sympathies.
Within the vast realms of space are an all but infinite variety of languages and dialects. Each world may have hundreds of tongues (as on Earth). The ability to conduct ourselves on an interplanetary basis derives from the fact that there are a small group of formal languages common to every planet of the several interstellar groups.
The Confederation's major language is known as "Solex Mal", which can be freely translated to "tongue of all". It is perhaps an overestimation of its universality, but it is widely known, and it is the formal diplomatic language used by the Confederation in dealing with other groups.
Far less common is "Solex Teka", a precise, specialized science-oriented language, again of Confederation origin and used exclusively by them.
A "subset" of Solex Mal is called "Solex Kiro", used for official records and communications. One might compare it to the "legalese" used by the legal profession in America. It is a highly formalized and complicated version of Solex Mal, judiciously avoided by the Confederation citizenry.
The common tongue of the Alliance is "Galingua". It would be much easier for a Terran to learn than Solex Mal, because it became a small part of your own world's tongues.
In the second part of my message on Korendian history, I related that a ship was sent here about 1500 of your years ago, which arrived here about 500 years later. The infusion of Galingua into Terran languages was one of their influences on early cultures.
Unlike English, Galingua is a very structured and unambiguous language. Every letter has one sound only. Verbs are declined by a single set of rules without variation. Nouns follow a similarly precise pattern, and plurals have but one format. Grammar is simple and direct. The contortions possible in English do not exist in Galingua.
This is a logical consequence of the purpose of Galingua -- a language common to every world. It would be foolish to create a tongue that defied one to learn it, and then expect that it would be welcomed on over 740,000 planets. Although it is a dynamic and flexible language, it remains basic in structure and purpose.
As such, Galingua is assuredly not a language suitable for the nuances of informal writing, fiction, drama and other literary pursuits where sentences are called upon to do far more than inform. As such, a second language has been created to address those needs.
Called "Taralingua" (literally, "common tongue"), although it shares the structured basics of Galingua, its form and grammar are far more amenable to "rule-bending" for effect or impact. It more closely approaches the informality of everyday usage. Other than for official uses, it has replaced Galingua for communication within the Alliance, to the extent that when one speaks of Galingua, the reference is to Taralingua.
It has opened countless doors to the sharing of cultures. At one time, each literary work had to be translated to every planetary language where it was to be presented. Imagine doing this for over 740,000 worlds, each with possibly hundreds of languages and many dialects, the enormity of the task is evident. Yet, this laborious effort has been accomplished countless times in the past millenia.
If one considers magazines, daily news issues, and the electronic media, the logistics become staggering. Now, a single translation to Taralingua renders every work universal in scope within the Alliance.
Taralingua has united the Alliance as never before. It is a most welcome change, and long overdue.
In my next communication, I will relate in some depth the mission of our first explorers to Earth. For now, as always, it has been my honor to address you, and as always I hope that you have found in these words some nourishing "food for thought".
If I have opened your mind and your heart to some of the difficulties faced by your nation and world, if I have broadened your knowledge and your perspective, then I am well satisfied.
Va i luce, and peace be yours.
I am ArKay.
© 2008 Robert P. Renaud -- all rights reserved