After centuries of subjugation and oppression, the Independence movement was growing in Tamiriland. Like so many of the younger, more educated generation of Tamiris for whom tradition was not the beginning and end of everything, I got involved – inevitably.
The Espolamian government was having none of it, Tamiriland being blessed with extreme wealth, rare minerals required in manufacturing some of the world’s more advanced technologies, which stimulated our desire for independence even more.
When one’s countrymen are held in poverty by a government that’s sitting on countless trillions of dollars of assets, whose members and buddies are ostentatiously flaunting symbols of obscene wealth like huge mansions and private jets, forever accuse them of envy. We wanted a decent slice of the cake.
They have also been trying, since the decolonisation of Espolamia, to suppress our ancient religion, shoving theirs forcibly down our throats.
The demonstration was therefore two-pronged – financial and cultural.
I reckon fifty thousand people thronged City Square when I mounted the podium to give my carefully rehearsed speech that afternoon, by which time they’d been very warmed up by the preceding speakers.
I was raising the pitch very nicely when I saw a flash from a top floor window of City Hall, which was opposite the podium. I knew instinctively that the flash came from a firearm and that if the aim was accurate I had about one second to live.
I seemed to be held immobile by an invisible hand but was quite calm as the projectile struck my heart and I died.
The light changed to red, then pink, amber, yellow and luminous blue as I fell to the platform, hearing the staccato rattle of automatic weapons.
A calm, quiet voice entered my head but not through my ears. ‘Do not be afraid, Anoush. Your name is eternal because you are never-ending. Your martyrdom was planned and soon Tamiriland will be free. Your time has come to be the force that will achieve that freedom. Those that are dying here and now are part of the plan and will be forever celebrated in our country’s legends.”