One revolution is past and one revolution is still to come.

Revolutions are powerful instruments of change and they know not friend from foe. First they achieve the inward purification, then the outward transformation. The Americans purged themselves of the British and all Loyalists, then turned outward and conquered half a continent and reached across the seas towards Asia. The Spaniards purged themselves of the Moors, then turned outward and conquered the New World. The French purged themselves of all royalty, then turned outward and conquered Europe, sweeping away states and dynasties and all petrified institutions of the mediaeval world. The Germans and Italians fused their city states into modern nations, then tried to conquer other nations. The Japanese swept away their feudal lords, restored their Emperor, then turned outward to conquer Asia. The Russians purged their land of all things Tsarish, purified their communist system, then turned outward to establish it elsewhere. The Iranians purified themselves and built their theocracy, then exported their own brand of fundamentalism elsewhere.

Shall I go on?

In 1989, Eastern Europe awoke, purged itself of all things Communist and established democratic government. The message travelled east, into Russia, and toppled Communism there as well. But it also turned westward. The Germanies reunited. Italy began the massive task of purging itself of the Mafia and political corruption. Britons shamed the Queen into paying taxes. The Canadian electorate annihilated the Tory party and purged it from all meaningful political life. South Africa freed its political prisoners and made the transition to full democracy. The Yemens reunited. The Koreas want to talk to each other. Cambodia reverted to monarchy. Hong Kong is demanding democratic government before absorption by China. And, in America, Ross Perot stirred up the slumbering American pride in democracy and Bill Clinton defeated the most popular president in US history. George Bush spoke of a New World Order, but failed to realise that there was as little room in it for him as for Gorbachev.

We played the Fanfare for the Common Man and the world heeded this call. It rippled out in concentric waves across the planet and washed up on foreign shores. It is fainter now, but it persists and speaks to us still.

Now we must prepare for the next wave.

The Overture will be played in 1998 and the curtain will rise in 1999. The revolution of the spring will fail, but that of the autumn will triumph. The cracks will appear in August, the disturbances in September and October, the flood in November and the consummation will come at Christmas.

Where will it strike? I cannot be certain, but I suspect Europa. The unification of Europe has been in the offing for years. But the time for it is now. This event will unleash unbelievable power, locked up for decades in repressed desires and aspirations.

And likely also a war. The Year 2000 will precipitate a major conflict with the potential to drag on into 2003. The years 2002 and 2003 will be cold and dark. Pollution and dust levels will be severe. Disease and epidemics will be a constant danger. Of this much we can be certain. What is unknown is how the world will get into this state, but the limited use of nuclear weapons in a regional war comes to mind immediately.

The world will begin to right itself in 2004, the Wood Monkey, when it will be possible to make a fresh beginning and to pick up where we left off in 1999. We will begin to absorb and integrate the loose ends created in the chaos of the turn of the century. The future will seem much less uncertain a decade from now, when the dust has settled.

And then what? ...

Created: August 1996. Last updated: 12 Jan 1997.
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