Tales from the crypt... the spirit Nil has already unveiled former incarnations as African rebel queen Nzinga and as the brains behind the Russian Revolution.
Queen Nzinga must have been one of your longest lives if she spent more than 30 years fighting the Portuguese slavers.
You’re right: and I lived half my life before even becoming queen. I was 81 when I died in 1663. A pretty good age considering that with all the wonders of development and modern technology someone born today in Malawi can only expect to live till they’re 39.
We hear quite enough about that sort of thing as subscribers to the New Internationalist, thank you very much. Change the subject.
To what? The results of the latest Etheric Olympics, perhaps? Jesse Owens got to pit himself against Emil Zatopek up here recently.
A sprinter against a marathon runner? What kind of contest was that?
When you’re points of light without legs, it works rather differently. Or perhaps you’d rather hear how Teddy Roosevelt had to be locked up for protesting too vehemently against the US giving up what he regarded as his greatest achievement, the Panama Canal.
Hasn’t he been reincarnated yet, then?
He’s made it to the head of the queue two or three times only to find that he was due to be born in countries like Kyrgyzstan or Equatorial Guinea. He’s only prepared to accept an incarnation as an American – and a white American male at that. It’s bull-headed in the extreme: an elementary knowledge of the future tells him that the American Empire is beginning its Decline and Fall. But I guess some part of him still thinks he can turn it into a Thousand Year Reich.
Won’t he need to be a Hispanic woman to win the US Presidency in 50 years’ time?
Try telling Teddy that. He can’t even accept the idea that the black baseball star Ken Griffey Jr will one day hit his home runs from the Oval Office.
He still won’t be able to persuade the rest of the world to show any interest in that game. It’s enough that every five years we have to suffer Kevin Costner films where he maunders on about whacking things with a big stick.
Which was always Teddy’s thing too, when you come to think of it – he said the essence of diplomacy and foreign policy was to ‘speak softly and carry a big stick’. He saw it as the responsibility of ‘civilized’ countries like the US to act as stewards of ‘barbarous’ ones, which was what led him to invade Cuba and force an American ‘economic director’ on the Dominican Republic.
The only thing that’s changed is the language. At least Teddy Roosevelt was honest about being a right-wing bigot who wanted the US to rule the world.
And at least Teddy knew where the Philippines was. George W Bush also has no shame about being right-wing but probably thinks Niger is a state in the US South where all the shoe-shine boys come from. Teddy’s greatest gift to the world was the teddy bear: it was inspired by the day he refused to shoot a bear cub which had been tied to a tree by an aide to offer him an easy kill. Prepare yourselves for the toy of the 21st century – a nuclear warhead for the nursery, the ‘Gorgeous Georgie’.