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Life Arts    H2'ed 7/6/12

Last night's dream; inhuman humans

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For the last half of my long life I have recorded my dream or dreams first thing in the morning. Last night's dream did not feel like a night mare, but it was one of those dreams that I could not get out of. Even when I was awake the thoughts continued to swirl in my head. How could I have imagined such a gruesome dream?  As if dreams are imagination"

In the dream I was young, maybe 18, 19, with a group of other people, men and women. We had been given the task of heaping a group of people, a whole village perhaps, "in a "pyramid." The bottom was marked by a large square of caskets, I assumed there were dead people in there,  and boxes with living people, some of them with their hands tied with rope. We were supposed to heap up the ther people of the village inside that square. Tey were alive, mostly women and children, stunned it seemed. I knew that the purpose of heaping them up was that a truck with gasoline would come and then they would all be burned "like a big bonfire." In the dream I also knew that some of our group had made a barrier on the road to keep the truck away, but that eventually it would come through the cars and other obstacles we had put on the road. 

We were frantically working to save as many as possible, by breaking up the pyramid. In the dream I knew it was a sort of resistance. First putting heaps of people as far from each other as possible. against instructions. We worked like fiends, as fast as we could, running, dousing the coffins and bodies with cold water. Others were holding up the big gasoline tank truck.

It finally arrived, surrounded with armed people, some in gray uniforms. They unrolled a heavy snake and  started to spray the gasoline in a heavy stream. Almost immediately one of us thew a flaming chunk of wood into the gasoline that began to burn back to the truck and then blew up the tank killing the armed people around it. 

As quickly as possible we went to the widely spread heaps of people. Many, maybe most survived but with wounds and all of them in shock. 

The dream shocked me deeply. How could I even imagine something like that dream! But it was real. In sound and color, a fierce war against the worst humans can do. I could not get the images out of my head. Details, the faces of children. We kept saying "don't worry we will save you" or nonsense like that. Knowing full well that we could not. 

The worst of it probably was that we knew that this kind of thing is happening, this is possible. Humans can do something like this, it is already happening. I could not get out of the dream, I had to see it to the end, and then further. I finally wrenched myself awake and got out of bed. Still the dream in my head, in color, sound, cold and hot, fire and explosion, screaming voices. And I think in the dream some of us were killing the devils who had not blown up with the tank with their bare hands. We had no weapons, just a water hose, they had  guns of every description.

I began my day, opened the windows, made breakfast.An hour later I had a different reading of this dream. Obviously it originated in my own experience in occupied Holland, WWII (yes, I am that old).  Yes, you can learn to live with PTSD but it leaves scars that don't go away.  My years of resisting years before there was a Resistance. "They" could well have had the devilish idea to incinerate people, the tanker with gasoline, the soldiers--"they" did similar things. We had only our hands, a water hose, and feverish energy to do what we could do. We did not exactly win the war, but "they" certainly lost it. 

Maybe like today's 99% movement. Although from a distance that does not feel like much of a resistance as I remember mine. My memories include someone pushing a German soldier with all his weapons into a canal in Amsterdam -- after that the Germans were not allowed to walk singly, they always had to be at least two. 

Now 70 years ago, we knew we were occupied, and that meant we were at war. Now, here in this country, we are also occupied, at war and we don't want to know it.

A bit more than an hour after that second understanding of my dream a synchronicity. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now is in Spain, and she reported on the war there two years before the start of WWII. The town of Guernica was bombed by German and Italian planes, 75 years ago, 1937. Pablo Picasso made that famous painting, a copy hangs in the United Nations. The original hangs in Madrid. I have seen it and it takes the breath away. 

I used to think that the bombing of Rotterdam in early may 1940 was the first aerial bombing in history. I was wrong; it was Guernica, 1937. I watched the bombing on Rotterdam, early May 1940. The planes were World War One planes, double decker, flying low. We could see the pilots reaching down and throw down first explosives then incendiaries. Rotterdam burned for two weeks.

My introduction to resistance came a few months later when I discovered a coffee house with a huge sign on the door "Forbidden for German Army personnel." Of course I walked in. A wonderful jazz pianist, a saxophone, a few tables, a few people. Learned after a sort of interview with one of he guests, that it was out of bounds because the pianist/owner was black. (A few years later he was sent to one of the extermination camps where he was killed.) I was accepted, got the password, and after that whenever I entered the pianist would play a few bars of my favorite song to tell the others that I was "in". I learned how to resist without weapons but with an active imagination. Resisting to me seemed natural, easy to do. The country was new to me, I had relatives but did not really know them. The oppressive presence of a foreign force that imposed oppressive rules from the first day was all too obvious. 

Maybe today, in this country, it is not that obvious yet that we are occupied, at war. It took the citizenry of the Netherlands a while to accept that they had lost much of what they treasured. 

Much like today, here. We still don't want to know. Politicians running for office promise that everything will be fine, nothing to worry about. Politicians in office cook up the weirdest fables about who our president really is, and what he is planning to do in secret. I cannot help but sense that their revulsion for this president is that he is black (he is only half black).The Media make it easy to ignore what the reality really is: poverty, enormous and rapidly growing inequality, all systems broken except big business, big banks that can and do get away with scandals. Half of our budget for armies and "security" which is another word for counter-terrorism, another kind of terrorism. Don't we know by now that our terrorism grows new terrorists elsewhere?

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robert wolff lived on the Big Island, called Hawai'i

his website is He passed away in late 2015. He was born in 1925, was Dutch, spoke, Dutch, Malay, English and spent time living and getting to know Malaysian Aborigines. He authored numerous books including What it Is To Be Human, (more...)

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