Thursday, August 14, 2014



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     Midori doesn't like the newcomers. They aren't crazy about her either. As soon as an unaware soldier shows up anywhere near her, we hear blood-curdling growling and some mighty cursing. Amur and Dular know Russian and they have a ball listening to Sawanni's men's colorful language, but today they took Midori to the forest, told her not to attack any soldiers and sent her off. She slunk away, but I am sure that she stays close by to keep her eye on us.
     Sawanni is in a foul mood. He disappears in taiga for hours and when he is around, he barks at his underlings and invents new chores for them. So far, all of them stay in the village, and we don't see them doing anything to evoke our fears. I am watching and waiting. 
     If Joon's and Anita's work is ever tested, it is now. I see the sternest of mercenaries give in to the pangs of their consciences and exhibit it in a variety of ways. Men talk among themselves, thinking of their families and the impact the wars had on them, comparing my children to their own or brothers and sisters left behind in  far away lands. They shut up as soon as they see Sawanni, but their resolve against doing what they came here to do is growing. 
     Tonight I hear Sawanni online with someone in command center. He insists that there are circumstances here that need to be investigated before taking action, but his superiors yell at him to just do what he was ordered to do. "Yes, sir!" - he replies and breaks the connection. 
     He comes out of the room and sees me. His expression is glum and doesn't bode well for any of us.
     At night there is a big commotion in the room next to ours: a lot of shouting and stomping of the boots. I dress and go to see what happened. As I peek into Sawanni's quarters, an unexpected sight freezes me on the spot: Sawanni is sitting at the table, glowering at all seven of his soldiers who have their weapons trained on him!
     They glance my way, and Sawanni springs into action. He knocks two of them down immediately, then grabs a gun and points it at the rest of them. 
- "Put your weapons down!" - he growls.
- "Sir, no sir! We will not let you sterilize this place!"
- "Do you want to die instead of these people?!"
- "Captain, don't you think that we've done enough? Where will it end?"
- "Put your weapons down!"

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     Suddenly, howls erupt all around our village. Men yell and run. A soldier who is, obviously, a chosen leader, nods to another one to go and investigate. I follow him.  We see red eyes in the foilege of the trees all around the village. Howls go on and on, the village's and the Evenks' dogs answer them and yip and bark in confusion. 
     Sawanni comes out of the house with a gun in his hands. He, apparently, won the argument. 
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The howling ends as suddenly as it began. For a few moments, the silence is deafening. Sawanni stops next to me, peering into the night woods. Dular and Amur join us, leaning on me from both sides.
     Sawanni turns to us, gun hanging from his arm, and asks in a conversational tone of voice: "So, what are we going to do now?" I am speechless: too many things are happening all at once. "Well, we could go and have a cup of tea!" - is the only thing that I can come up with!
     In my home's kitchen Sawanni and I sit at a table, warming our hands on earthen mugs of tea. I tell Sawanni that I have to explain things to him. If we are to cooperate in an attempt to save our people and the land, I need to be honest about the means by which we secured his and his unit's trust. At first, he is incredulous, then - paces the floor and runs out of the house. I don't know, if he will still be committed to the course that he has chosen when he comes back. 
     I see him outside, sitting on a log with his head in his hands. Dular and Amur are looking at him through the bedroom window. He stares back at them in wonder for a long, long time.
    jpeg (344×146)     In the morning, he gathers his unit and tells them that their mission of destruction is off. In fact, all who agree to do so can help me and the boys to restore peace to the world. Then I explain  about the boys' special ability to not only elicit  good will but also - stimulate a person's sense of right and wrong. Amidst the soldiers' barrage of questions, I begin to see that they are awe-struck and a little scared, but determined to support us.
     I wonder, if the hidden tendencies of goodness and fairness that were woken up in these rough men, would have ever asserted themselves without the aid of science. 
images (183×275)     We leave our sheltered life and the only place we have known since birth in the next two days. The Evenks say good bye to us. After a long,  long trek, shadowed  by Midori and her pack of wolves (she, finally, found a family that accepted her), we go on a plane ride to Yekaterinburg - a town in what used to bethe Ural Mountains. The command center of the army and the high ranking military officials that sent Sawanni's unit to taiga are there. It is time for us to meet them.
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