Odiseea lui Homer este probabil prima narativă asupra migrației, asupra suferințelor și dificultăților pe care exploratorii antichității, navigatorii plecați în căutarea unor noi teritorii aveau să le înfrunte.
Pentru Odiseu, întoarcerea în Ithaca a reprezentat scopul
întregului său travaliu. În contextul ciclului Troian, eroul persecutat de
Prometeu, zeul mărilor, va pribegi ani la rând de la un țărm la altul, doar
pentru a ajunge în final în insula natală și a-și recăpăta tronul, dar și
aceasta după eforturi semnificative. Odiseul homeric are parte de un final
fericit, el redobândindu-și statutul inițial și regăsindu-și familia, care îl
așteaptă loială și luptă alături de el pentru recuperarea regatului pierdut.
Dar ce ne povestesc odiseele modernității, istoriile a
milioane de oameni dezrădăcinați, care pleacă pentru nu mai au nici un fel de mijloace
de supraviețuire în țările lor de baștină? În cazurile cele mai nefericite aceștia
își asumă toate riscurile posibile – își vând toate posesiile traficanților de
oameni și trec oceanele în ambarcațiuni care nu sunt menite pentru asemenea
expediții – doar pentru a ajunge undeva unde nu sunt așteptați, unde le va lua
o viață pentru a-și câștiga un statut și așa, inferior.
Odiseul modern nu are drum de întoarcere, este lipsit de
putere, lipsit de orice demnitate. El vine într-o lume în care omul și-a
pierdut orice valoare, o lume care evaluează individul după abilitățile pe care
le deține și după venitul pe care și-l poate asigura, o lume care se
străduiește să se convingă că mai înțelege umanitatea, caritatea și
filantropismul, dar care arareori mai găsește resursele intelectuale și morale
pentru a restabili aceste repere.
Odiseul nostru trebuie să trăiască în mod permanent sub anatema zeului care l-a transformat într-un pribeag. El trebuie să digere singurătatea absolută și să trăiască în cercul restrâns în care societățile gazdă l-au izolat, privindu-l cu suspiciune. Luați strict sub acest aspect, Odisei ai acestui timp devin astfel nu doar migratorii ci și cei care aparțin unor grupuri minoritare și care, prin ceea ce îi constituie în mod prost înțeles predominant (un detaliu superficial/o diferență minoră), nu pot fi acceptați decât cu foarte multă duplicitate în corpul social convețional, care se va simți mereu asaltat de orice abateri de la direcțiile pe care el și le revendică drept esențiale și salvatoare, abateri pe care Odiseii aceștia le reprezintă în imaginația colectivă.
Aș vrea să fiu mai optimist în ceea ce privește lumea
contemporană, dar înclin să cred că omenirea a fost mereu animată de
intoleranță, competiție și individualism acerb. Dar cred că pentru ca Odiseul
modern să își facă simțită prezența în lumea care îl împrejmuiește el trebuie
să lupte feroce și să învețe repede. O nouă Odisee ar putea schimba chiar și
puțin modul în care oamenii își înțeleg semenii dezrădăcinați și nevoiți să
cutreiere pământul în căutarea unei scăpări.
O comunitate care nu se deschide lumii este sortită unei dispariții lente și triste. La fel și una care nu pricepe să tolereze. Demografia României arată ca la mijlocul secolului din 16 milioane de locuitori, țara noastră va avea 12 milioane de pensionari. Care va fi situația spre sfârșitul de secol? Ce se mai poate aștepta de la un stat atât de greu de administrat în care inegalitățile rampante împing oamenii la o emigrare în masă?Aceștia reprezintă un segment important al populației și anume muncitorii rejectați. Ei sunt cei pentru care “contractul social” a fost anulat. Răsplata pe care o primesc este uneori disprețul celor rămași și al autorităților responsabile de falimentul aparent ireversibil al României, dispreț orientat împotriva singurei surse oneste de venit a țării cât timp investitorii vin și pleacă luând mai mult decât au dat. Ce ne rămâne de făcut este să asistăm, în lipsa unor soluții palpabile, la radicalizarea celor care încă sunt în România, la destrămarea țesăturii sociale sub asediul sărăciei și al corupției endemice, la acutizarea exodului și, în final, la moartea unei țări. Realitatea nu iartă. Acesta nu va fi nici primul și nici ultimul popor care este șters din istorie. Suntem răspunzători de ceea ce urmează.
In the last part of this tale will disclose to
you what happened only a few weeks after Manuel’s return.
It was during at a great banquet given to
honour some foreign ambassadors.
In a resplendent hall thronged with guests
echoing with the clattering of cutleries and with people’s songs and laughter,
the tables were loaded with the best food and wine one could have ever imagined.
Yet, amid the festivities, Manuel stood up and, asking for a moment of silence,
“Hear me out, everyone! By now all of you know
of all my recent troubles and deem me to be a worthy man. I have done
everything in my power to restore my honour and to mitigate my beautiful wife’s
mistrust towards me. But none of you knows that what had happened was caused by
a untamed heart, one that unless made to confess, will never admit any of the
wrongdoings it has brought upon me and my dear Isabella.”
The commotion that followed brought the
celebration to an end. Then, at a sign from the king, all the guests suddenly
became silent. Bohemond asked Manuel:
“What do you mean? Wasn’t it by your own free
will that you endeavoured to go an fulfil the tasks you accomplished?”
“It was, my king. Hadn’t she sworn an oath not
to confess it, my wife should be able to tell us who made her ask of me all
those chores she did,. But even so, she doesn’t know the whole truth either,”
“I don’t understand! What is he talking about,
Isabella?” the king inquired.
The princess stuttered:
“Father… I… I mean… I got that letter, you saw
it. It had Manuel’s writing on it. Had I
known how much trouble it would cause; I would
have burned it. Father…”
“Please, my king, don’t blame her for
anything. Both I and Isabella had to learn that some things are not what they
seem to be, that some people, we tend to trust, can deceive us for their own
good,” intervened Manuel.
“Then what in God’s name is going on? Be quick and bring light upon
the matter!” spoke Bohemond gripped by anger.
“I shall, but only if you swear not the harm
that person in any way,” said Manuel.
“Why would you ask for such a thing?” asked
“I must. Do I have your word, my king?” asked
The king confirmed.
“Then know that before all this started, the
queen herself wanted to see me, for she desired my body and my love. After I
refused her, she swore herself to get read of me and remove the threat I
represented. And so, she persuaded Isabella to try my loyalty in ways no one
had done it before. In the end I lost my life. But you see, it wasn’t the will
of the heavens that her majesty’s plot would go undiscovered. I saw it myself,
but it was too late for me to divulge it.”
“This is pure nonsense? The boy is out of his
mind,” the queen uttered.
“This might be true, but it was you, my queen,
the one who forged the letter with the help of the powerful sorceress Amala,
one who everyone in this room has heard about. You don’t to admit it, but let
me assure you, you will,” said Manuel.
“Ridiculous! My king, his insults have poured
on me, long enough. Ban your so-called hero from the court. He is and adulterer
and most probably a wizard. Don’t let yourself be deceived by him. I tried to
warn you about this for so many times, but you were blinded by his pretence
kindness and bravery. There was nothing I could do to undo the spell he cast on
you. And now look at him, he is trying to undermine you, by taking me out of
the way. My king, I am the only one who now stands between you and a certain
death. Who will you believe: this cunning upstart or your ever-faithful wife?
Show this court and your guests what you are made of,” said the queen with a
decisive look on her face.
“Bring forth the sultan’s rose,” said Manuel.
“We will both kiss its petals and you shall find out who is right and who is
“Clearly you will not allow such a sham of a
trial, my king. Who can confirm to any of us that the story about the rose is fact
or mere superstition?” said Constance.
“It will be one of you two, my queen,” said
Bohemond, talking with as much resoluteness as Constance. “If you will both
hold onto your stories after you have touched the rose, there is nothing
neither of us can do but to agree with one side or the other, but if one of you
will admit his guilt then we can only hold the rose’s power as responsible for
it. Bring forth the sultan’s flower.”
And so, they did. And after each of the two
touched the rose’s petals with his lips, they were again asked to confess. While
Manuel’s version stayed unchanged, the queen admitted her intrigue in front of
all those people. The uproar that followed shook the whole palace. The king,
immediately ordered for the queen to be banished from the court, but Isabella
stood up and spoke:
“Father, husband and all you that are present,
listen to what I have to say. If this is the punishment you assign for my
mother, then I should join her wherever she goes. For if she was foolish enough
to fall in love with a younger man, I was even more of a fool to have listened
to her. My guilt surpasses her in every way. I know you will look at her and
judge. What she had done was both wicked and human in the same time. But, if my
husband agrees with me, I would like that the two of us leave this house never
to return. People of Antioch don’t
banish your queen. Let her live in the shadow of her sins. Manuel, this world
is not ours, I beg you, let’s build ourselves a new home and forget about the
“I agree, my sweetheart,” said Manuel and then
he turned towards the royal couple, “My queen, I forgive you, my king, I pray
that you forgive her too. Isabella, we shall ride far away this very night and
we shall forge us that kingdom you spoke of.”
And so, the two youths took the golden
peacock, the star and the rose and, together with just a few followers, they
travelled far, far away where no one could find them, and there they raised a
new citadel one that slowly grew to become a home for many wanderers and
exiles, growing into a place of great knowledge and art.
As for those they left in Antioch, I do not
know what happened to them. They grew old and died and were slowly forgotten as
it’s always happens with those who so briefly pass through this world.
Manuel had just found out that was to set off once again, this time to the court of the great sultan of Rum. What he had to bring from there was a holy rose whose petals once touched always compelled people to tell the truth. But this flower was heavily guarded and there were not many who would dare to venture and take it from the place where it lay?
Yet, again, Manuel put aside all fears and rode across the mountains until one day he arrived at the gates of the sultan’s city, which he entered pretending to be a Persian a merchant.
When night fell Manuel struggled to
find a way inside the palace, but everywhere he looked heavily armed guards
were watching it from high up on the stone walls. A silver crescent moon then
rose up a brightened the darkness, making Manuel’s quest even harder.
But then, out of nowhere, the blows of
a thousand horns shook the midnight air. A great host of soldiers coming with
their emperor from Constantinople surrounded the city and started wreaking
panic among its people. How was it that such a great army had passed unobserved
by their scouts, no one understood? But now it was too late. The city had to
defend itself. In the confusion that followed, many of the sultan’s guards left
the palace to go fight on the walls. It was then that the mysterious sight
Manuel had acquired when he sacrificed his eye led him to a small door behind
the palace. It their frenzy, some of the guards who rushed out through it had
left it open. Manuel entered that door and walked around a palace he had never
seen, knowing its every corner, its every hallway, and its every room. This is
how, unseen by anyone, Manuel found the holy rose hidden in a lavish inner
court with its pillars, and arches, and four whispering marble fountains. Under
the light of the moon the turmoil of the fight subsided in the distance. All
Manuel could hear now were a few crickets and the lazy trickling of those
fountains. The rose stood in the middle, surrounded by its thorny wreathing
bush. It had only one majestic, glowing bloom right in the heart of all those
entwined branches. To get to it, Manuel had to pass through its sharp thorns
who scratched and stung him without mercy. Ah Manuel, why was it that right
here your second sight had to fail you?
The boy picked the flower and hid it in
his shirt. He then got out of the palace the same way he got in and, eluding
both armies, he climbed down the city walls, stole a horse and rode way back to
Once he crossed his city’s gates he went to Isabella and gave her the rose. It was a beautiful summer morning. The girl gazed at her charming Manuel and, ignoring everyone around, she embraced the boy. But only a few seconds after a terrible shiver took over Manuel, throwing him to the ground. A thick, white foam started to pour from his mouth and the youth coiled in pain. With a desperate grimace, he looked for one last time at Isabella and screamed her name, then, after some excruciating five minutes he died killed by the holy rose’s poisoned thorns. That had been the real secret behind the great sultan’s rose safety.