As long as this country wants to maintain an empire, Phoenix, by any name, is a necessary concomitant to maintaining that empire.

Empire, a fragment consisting of texts written in 2023 that should have been complemented by additional texts of the sort, is possibly to remain a fragment. To save it from disappearing into the scrapheap, it is released to the public web now, an extended aphorism of sorts, fraught with remembrance of other instances in history, other places where the empire ravished, presumed authority, and committed international crimes.

The list of such instances and places is long then, for ever since the empire grew to become confident in its own exceptionality, it is set on bringing freedom and democracy to the peoples and people so lucky to be chosen by the empire as its beneficiaries. It is set also on bestowing the rules‑based order upon the world, where the rules, of course, are what the empire deems best for all of humanity. And so the empire styles itself the champion of liberalism, while painting its adversaries as authoritarian snake pits. If you won't side with us and our freedom‑loving ways, quod the empire, there's nothing left for you but bondage. All the while the empire's own disenfranchised cannot speak of any freedom they are enjoying. Take the 1985 MOVE bombing, where the Philadelphia Police Department simply dropped two bombs on a residential building from a helicopter. Such is the empire's freedom.

Or, thinking of other places that the empire chose to democratize, take Iraq, and specifically the battles of Fallujah in 2004. The pretext for invading Iraq had rested upon Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction, for which no credible evidence was ever presented. The ones actually using chemical weapons were the US troops dropping white phosphorus on residential areas, where civilians were burnt to death by the chemical agent.

I would like to dedicate this project to the memory of Ali Jan, an Afghan non‑combatant who died in an extrajudicial killing in 2012, when Corporal Roberts‑Smith of the Australian Defence Force kicked the unarmed and handcuffed Ali Jan off a cliff before ordering another soldier to shoot him. Roberts‑Smith was awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia in 2011, the highest award in the Australian honours system. His larger-than-life portrait can be admired at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

With the US encroaching on Australia, and Rio Tinto's boys in Australian governments both Coalition and Labor eagerly handing the country to the empire on a silver platter, I still want to hope that in a few years' time I won't find myself living in the US' largest military outpost. Tactical hope, perhaps, against the odds. But.

Naarm / Melbourne, 3 Sep 2023

Jonas Santoso
https://jonassantoso.com (opens in a new tab)