Dark dreams
by Eva Lyman
A beautiful rose, waxy petals a luscious bright pink, lies translucent on a clean, brightly coloured deck. I step onto the boards, to have a closer look at the rose. The floor buckles, I begin to sink, and black industrial ooze comes over the edges: I jump back in shock. I look again at the rose, and see it is actually fake: already, the crepe paper begins to soak up the foul ooze. I wake up to a dark reality.

A big snowplough pushes a pile of snow toward the curb, and suddenly a stiff leg pokes out of the dirty white mess. The driver stops, takes a shovel, and digs out the body of an old woman. She is frozen solid. He calls the police on his cel; they refuse to come. "Just leave her there, we'll call the morgue. No doubt another old dame who couldn't afford to heat her place. They come out on the street like beetles, begging for mercy, and freeze to
death." The driver thinks: "Just another sign of the times. It happens all the time. Few people can afford to heat their homes properly with the cost of fuel. And it doesn1t end there. Water is getting out of reach of the poor and the old. They can1t afford to shower any more, many get dehydrated. I can barely afford these high charges even with my pay. It's privatize this, privatize that, and everthing costs ten times what it used to. Yep, sign of the times." He gets in his cab, and moves on.

A young woman sits in her car, and scribbles a note. She writes: "Mommy, and Daddy; I can1t go on. No matter how hard we work, we can1t make it. I hardly ever see our little Ricky awake any more, except on weekends , and he's groggy even then. He1s in preschool, and I swear they are drugging him. Nowadays, the teachers are from some foreign country, they barely speak English, and have no education to speak of. But the privatized school corporation saves money by importing them. To keep the kids in line the teacher is ordered to feed them some drug to dumb them down. I wish I could stay home, but we can1t afford it. Dick just got notice he1s being laid off. He freaked out, beat the shit out of me last night for no reason at all. I1ve had it. I1m taking Ricky with me. This is no world for a child. I hope God forgives me." She turns the ignition key. The car slowly fills with smoke. She picks up her sleeping child, and hugs him, tears running down her exhausted cheeks.

A Native Elder sits on a rock in a high mountain valley. He observes the building of a spanking new luxury resort a few hundred yards away. He nods sadly, as the heavy machinery tears up still more of the fragile surface of the slope. "Yes," he thinks, "this is where the grizzly moved down from across the pass up there. Right where that big hole is now. And I used to hunt up here all my life. The deer, the mountain goats, and sheep, were so numerous you always got some. Now all that's gone. And for what? For the pleasure of a few hundred extra rich people from around the world. Those rich people, they don1t care that this is our ancestral land, from time out of memory. Why, most of them are from some other part of the world, and they don1t even know we exist." The roar of the graders and other machinery reverberates in the valley. Suddenly a huge avalanche thunders down from the peak, and destroys the worksite, killing everyone. The snow barely misses the Elder. He looks up to the sky, and smiles. "Thank you, Creator, thank you for hearing my thoughts. All my relations!" He gets up slowly, and picks his way down the slope, along the edges of the avalanche.

Once there were deep forests, Pure mountains, clear lakes; The seashore was peaceful Even in storms. But now there1s no more peace in the land! Where has it gone, The peace, and the glory That healed our spirits, Our bodies, our souls? For now there1s no more Peace in the land! The busy men, the money men Came like ants, and swarmed; They logged and they mined; A few got all the power. But now there1s no more peace in the land! Some people are asking: what is real wealth? Could it be power that's minted in gold, or is it the richness of deep inner peace? Will it come back, for the land's all been sold? And now there1s no more Peace in the land!

Are the snippets of life described above just dark dreams, or is that the reality we will face as unelected corporate power rules Canada?

There was a time, 30 or 40 years ago, when it was seen as obvious by all, even to elected dofficials, that government had the sacred duty to act as watchdog over corporations, to make sure the people were protected against the excesses of unbridled greed. Government was making, and enforcing rules for the citizens' benefit and protection.

Unfortunately the roles have been reversed, and government is now the flunkey for the transnational corporations, making sure no citizen impedes unpre-cedented corporate profits. The abstract economy, rather than real people, rules.

What that means is that the power of unelected wealth and their profit motives rule, not only the human beings of the world, but also their elected officials. The corporations pay them off with political donations and promises of directorships after their political careers end. This situation is completely absurd, and in defiance of all logic. But, tragically, it is actually being put into practice. If it wasn1t so devastating, it would be farcical, a suitable topic for a political satire. It may have seemed to be a joke to some at first, something impossible to believe, but now it is a deadly reality, a battle for survival on the parts of the average citizens of Canada, and the world.

Luckily, many Canadians are beginning, slowly, to wake up, and wonder if the pap they hear on the mainstream media is actually a pack of lies and diversionary tactics to keep them uninformed of reality. The realities of their daily lives just do not seem to correspond to the irrelevancies in the media.

So what can we do? Here1s a thought. While it seems that people are powerless in the face of this corporate takeover, we must remember that corporations are economic entities which survive on profit. And if Canadians do not like their policies they only have to stop buying the product or service marketed by the corporation in question. This is the new way to vote.

For example, United Parcel Service is trying to put Canada Post out of business and cost us Canadians millions via their suit against Canada under NAFTA. Hopeless situation? Well, in a sense. But Canadians could still have the last laugh if we simply chose to give our business to Canada Post. We are always
told that consumers rule, aren't we?

In a dictatorship, a lot of items can be stood on their head. In Nazi Germany, many Germans did not agree with Hitler's policies. A German friend once told me his reaction to being forced to shout "Heil Hitler" all the time. He stood this order on its head by raising his right arm in Nazi salute while standing at the urinal (using the left to support the action on hand), and shouting "Heil Hitler".

We are entering a new sort of dictatorial time, with the outrageous power of the (unelected) transnational corporations. Yet, who can really force consumers to use a certain service, buy a certain product, and so on?

It does take determined and informed consumers. Canadians must become aware of what is at stake. The alternative places Canadians in the same position as an old world goose, penned up for force feeding.

So while we have choices, let us exercise them in a patriotic and sovereign way.

At this time in history, it is critical for all activists and resisters to continually inform the public. For this reason I applaud all the resisters and educators who took the time, paid the money, and went to Quebec City to take a stand. Vive la Liberte! Vive la Fraternite Mondiale! Je vous remercie!

Formerly a planner in governmental agencies across Canada, Eva Lyman now lives in B.C. where she devotes her time to environmental advocacy projects and freelance writing.