We are in the year 2045, one in which equality has finally been achieved. The decree of Social Justice J 562/2045 sanctioned by the National Executive Power, establishes the need to adopt adequate measures for the eradication of any element that produces inequality in the population. With this, the State undertakes to regulate people's lives so that no one is unjustly superior to another.
No one can be quicker or more agile than another. No one can be smarter than anyone else. In schools all students must pass, regardless of whether they have studied or not. The PISA reports plummeted, though these results will never be made public. The smartest students stopped making an effort, being their talents denigrated and persecuted for, in the words of the citizens themselves, they did not show solidarity with their peers.
The challenge for us today is to regulate wills, for human beings are creative and their minds are unique. There is no collective brain, everyone thinks and acts for himself. Consequently, individuals will always be born with different tastes and personal preferences, willing to seek their own happiness. That I intrinsic to man, that invaluable essence is what we most want to suppress.
For unfortunately, in this society there are still people who dare to betray reason. People who declare themselves, in their fatal conceit, individuals. Beings that do not wish to be led and stand in the way of our pursuit of happiness, on our way to perfection. And in a perfect society, there are no mistakes. There cannot be. But if someone were to threaten the credibility of that perfection, people must continue to believe in equality.
Early in the morning, screens across the country were invaded by the same image. A minister had been assassinated and for some strange reason, one of the most important programs in the country featured a man the president had never seen. The minister's face had become smaller, but was still present on the side.
“There is nothing more human and perfect than our imperfection, and nothing more worthy than to be unequal by nature,” said the blond man, who could not have been more than forty years old. “What else are we willing to sacrifice? Our will? How can we reconcile lives worth living if we are forbidden to choose?”
The journalist sitting behind his desk held his mouth half open until he stretched back and burst out laughing. In every home, bar and restaurant, however, people had their eyes glued to their televisions.
“In this world mediocrity is rewarded and envy is harvested. Are there any men with integrity who have not yet left the country? To all those proud of having some defect like me, may I invite you to gather on such a relevant date for us—Friday, July 9. There are people who don’t want us to speak out, but to serve those who produce nothing, and return to our homes with our mouths shut. Those people who despise us, but don’t recognize how much they need us.”
“Why don't they cut this?” the president asked.
“He's just a madman looking for attention.”
“Precisely. Madness attracts masses. It creates followers. I want that show shut down now,” ordered the president getting up from the luxurious armchair. “Before...”
“On July 9 at midnight we will declare our right to pursue happiness. We will stand up against this ideology of having rights without responsibilities, against this unjust doctrine of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties.”
There were several seconds of silence until the journalist laughed again. The other stayed just as quiet, he was a thin, tall man, his hair and beard barely grown blond. He had blue eyes, something quite peculiar. Everyone instantly realized that his defect was precisely intelligence, but attractiveness played an important role.
“Why should we follow you?”
“Don't follow me. Follow the ideas. Ideas don't disappoint like men. Ideas don't die.”
“Mr. President?” someone called him.
But the most powerful man in the country was fixed on the dangerous calm of that interviewee. With a simple nod he could have his assistant make a call, alerting another man who in turn would dial a number on his own phone. In a second, he could do all that and more, yet he kept watching.
“Why do you look at your watch so much?” the journalist asked out of the blue, trying to change the subject.
The interviewee smiled. The minister's face was replaced by a building full of smoke that gradually covered the entire screen. It was the Casa Rosada—seat of the Executive Branch, from which fireworks were shooting out as it fell apart. People were running everywhere and it was more than likely that some of them were injured.
“You think it's funny?” the journalist questioned clenching his fists slightly.
The president waved to his assistant, who left the room.
“Right now, hundreds of men are making calls to try to disrupt this channel. The police must be on their way to arrest me and question you for allowing me the show. Do I think it's funny? That was just to remind some people that power is exercised everywhere, I just went to grab it. Still, it saddens me what a man has to do these days to get attention. It's no longer enough to pick up a pan. You have to take a shovel and get in—"
“You're finished already? You do nothing but look for excuses to justify what you’ve triggered. There are riots in Plaza de Mayo. People are divided and confronted. But you're laughing.”
The man pulled a worn silver coin out of his pants and tossed it to the journalist with his thumb.
“In Unity and Freedom,” the fat face paled as he read. “Where did you get this?”
The man could not believe his eyes. Those coins ceased to circulate years ago, being replaced by ones whose motto instead was In Unity and Equality.
“Truth is that there is something wrong with this country,” the interviewee addressed the camera. “Our former exponents, everything has been erased from history…”
“I’m sick of listening to you.”
The journalist waved his hand as if ordering him to leave, but he looked at him, this time more serious than before.
“You are responsible as well."
“And why is that?"
“You say and think what the government wants, you make fun of the people you interview. All in order to get a few crumbs—”
“What would you know, pal,” he called him on familiar terms for the first time, sitting up a little in his seat.
“Has anything ever been taken from you? Your family? Your friends? Do you have any idea what it's like to live outside this building?”
The journalist shook his head and glanced at a colleague standing to one side of the camera, motioning with his head to call the police. The young man nodded and exited the room.
“Do you know what they do to those who think for themselves, as my wife once did?”
“I am not—"
The man took out a Bersa Thunder from inside his black blazer and pulled the trigger. Two bullets went through the journalist's chest and one through his neck. The fat body fell on the desk in an awkward position, and blood soaked all over the wooden surface, as well as the papers around. Screams flooded the room and the staff rushed out. The blond man was still seated and turned back to the camera, the gun on his thigh. After half a minute, all screens in the country cut out.
“The popular journalist Pablo Rodríguez was murdered during a live broadcast of his program by one of his guests,” commented another journalist.
A few minutes later, the building where the program was taking place was filled with police. However, the murderer had escaped before they arrived. He had been identified as Dante Burgos, and the president decided to meet privately with other ministers.
“All witnesses were detained,” the Minister of Security said.
“Anything else?” asked the president looking at each of them.
“Security cameras captured an image of a possible suspect, just prior to the explosion. We are still trying to identify the subject.”
“Do you have anything to add, Rossi?”
The Italian suddenly looked up.
“The explosives used were homemade from over-the-counter chemicals, so it is very difficult to trace them. Whoever this guy is, he knows what he’s doing. And he doesn’t work alone...”
“We cannot allow doubt or rejection of the principles that shape our society to be instilled. I want this terrorist found.”
But the man who had been identified as Dante Burgos was still missing. It was not until a week later, that a deputy of the ruling party was murdered in his apartment, just as he was getting ready to take a bath. A bullet in the head had prevented him from doing so.
“You think he was killed?” asked a cameraman before the program began.
“It's obvious, but we got to say something else. It's not our job to spin around the matter,” a commentator shrugged. “We were already given a more entertaining version of the story.”
“And what does it say, that he committed suicide?”
However, many cases of corruption started to come to light and although the media hid it, people were already divided and it was evident in the streets. One day, in a usual march full of posters and people writing on cars and walls, a driver who wanted to go to work hit the gas and ran over a man, killing him on the spot. The surrounding crowd soon went mad and he was beaten out of the car.
July 9 was approaching, and factories began to close followed by stores. This was something that had never happened before. Tension in the city grew more and more. On the one hand, the public sector together with the government itself, and on the other hand, to a lesser extent, the private sector that refused to produce and gathered in squares or in front of the Presidential Quinta de Olivos, with signs that read We don't get plundered. The media did not usually show them because they were not groups of many people.
That same Friday night the president disappeared. The streets began to fill with hundreds of thousands of people, all walking peacefully without leaving a trail of destruction behind, as was always the custom. For the first time the country was at a complete standstill, and at the same time on the move without the government proposing and leading the march. They were people leaving their homes of their own free will.
On the terrace of a building, two men brought the president and placed him on his knees. Then they took the black bag off his head, and he focused his eyes. Next to him was one of the ministers. It was the Italian Rossi. The terrorist, however, was standing in front of him with a gun in his hand. The same Bersa with which he had killed the journalist.
“Dante Burgos,” stated the president. “From the moment I saw you in the show, I knew you'd come to me. You and I are just the same.”
“No. I am not driven by the desire to direct or control others. I am not interested in power.”
“If given the choice between ruling and submitting, you would choose neither. Is that true?”
“You know that killing me is like cutting off the head of a hydra.”
“The never-ending story of mass rebellion.”
The president smirked.
“You would have made an excellent Minister of Culture. I can’t imagine anyone but you choosing which part of the story to tell.”
Taking the safety off the Bersa, Dante Burgos lifted his arm to point it in the direction of the president's face, who looked as if asking for help from the minister, but the latter remained serious. He no longer trusted him because he had discovered in his quinta a secret room reserved for art, full of forbidden books and paintings by old artists as well as his own.
“Are you afraid of dying, having tasted the omnipotence of God?” Dante Burgos asked.
The president's lips trembled and his eyes opened wider. It was just before midnight. People were gathering all over the country and the gendarmerie stood in front of them, aiming rubber bullets ready to stun. The soldiers waited for the orders that would authorize them to repress, yet these never came. A single shot echoed in the darkness, while the president’s body collapsed on his back on the floor.
The minister's bodyguards started to raise their guns, but Dante was quicker and managed to kill them. The bullet that stopped him came from the minister's own gun, who approached to look at him with deep disdain like a dying dog in the street. Still, just as he was about to shoot him in the face, they heard several explosions. The sky began to light up in different colors.
Dante Burgos managed to pull himself back upright, and as the minister watched the spectacle he ran toward him, wrapping his arms around him and throwing himself into the void. The wind riddled their faces for several seconds and Dante allowed himself to close his eyes, listening to the fireworks he had prepared for that July 9, Independence Day.
Vielen Dank für das Lesen!