18: Good Guy? Bad Guy?
by Jimmy Abdul Gandhi Geronimo Rogers
Day 200 in the CountUP came and went and I must admit, I was feeling really
On paper we were looking pretty good. By
that point, 85 Heads of State had written to say that they supported the idea
of a worldwide day of peace on January 1. 10,000
organizations had signed on as cosponsors. 2000 classrooms of kids had pledged their support
-- and they were writing letters, performing our peace play, and having peace
fairs and assemblies in their schools and communities. There were 100,000 people on our mailing list
who received our weekly email newsletter. The
Peace On Earth Arts Center had published eighty-three books, ninety-six CDs and
were marketing forty-two videos, although we weren’t anywhere near breaking even,
yet. In fact we were still giving most
of them away to schools and community service organizers for events. Our daily
CountUP column was costing us $150,000 a week, but it supposedly reached a readership
of 25 million in 15 countries.
200 Day mark was celebrated in over 100 locations in 22 different
countries. In fact we’d long passed the 10,000 event mark
-- having co-produced events in more than 100 countries for
over 100 different “better world days,” like Environment Day
the week before; International Day of Families, World Health
Day and Memorial Day for Peace in May; Earth Day and the 250
Day Mark in April; United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and
International Peace, and the International Day for the Elimination
of Racial Discrimination in March, and scores of other events.
In fact, on our websites and in our CountUP column you’d
find that every day was a Better World Day for some group or
some country. And the next week, on the summer solstice, we
were gearing up for our biggest cosponsored event yet -- World
Peace & Prayer Day which was being broadcast live on the
But still we hadn’t broken through to the mainstream media.
Still 99% of the world had never heard of One Day In Peace. And most of the Heads of State and organizations
that had signed on supported it, but had no intention of doing anything.
I hadn’t given up believing that we would reach that threshold at which
an avalanche would occur, rapidly spreading out throughout the world.
I was keeping something from the others that both reaffirmed my belief
that this would happen, and created, or rather compounded a tricky moral dilemma
that Jess and I found ourselves in.
sort of anticipated both halves of the dilemma.
Actually I’d created one of them, although, in my defense, at the time
I hadn’t totally thought it through. Looking
back, I’m not sure what I was thinking. It actually seemed rather twisted, the more
I thought about it.
Jess had realized it of course, when she first began to care about the
campaign. She cried on my shoulder and asked me how her
uncle could have been so cruel. I tried
to get myself to tell her it was really my fault, but I couldn’t find the courage,
and I remained silent for fear that she would hate me. Coward! But
I’d get her out of it, somehow.
You see, she was stuck in a Catch-22. If
we succeeded in helping to bring One Day In Peace, Global Missiles Unlimited would
continue to manufacture weapons of mass destruction.
If we failed, one of the world’s largest perpetuators of war and suffering
would no longer be in the killing business. We both knew that if Global Missiles got out
of bombs, the niche would just be quickly replaced by another greedy corporation.
So it really wasn’t a hard decision in that regard.
But Jess would also lose all of her inheritance as well. That was a little
hard to swallow.
other complication, which I hadn’t really told her about yet, was that according
to the way the will was phrased, we had to successfully bring ONE DAY IN PEACE.
The idea of a worldwide day of peace was spreading slowly, but in quite a number
of instances, the new cosponsors were spreading other catchphrases, like “PEACE
FOR A DAY on January 1.” What if when the
media finally picked up the message, they promoted an alternate phrase like that
one, and that was the “banner” under which the world ushered in its first day
of peace. When Sir Reginald’s will became
public, would activists insist on the letter of the law so that Global Missiles
would cease to be, even if for all intents and purposes the world was peaceful
for a day?
The other upsetting complication had huge Machiavellian overtones. Ever since we first discovered the campaign
was being monitored, we kept a vigilant counter-surveillance operation going.
A few weeks before, one of our teams intercepted a memo from Darzol Inc.’s
CEO, Roger Skyler, which I knew would infuriate the rest of the team, as well
as at least half of the organizations cosponsoring our campaign.
Skyler and Darzol Inc., if you believe the Internet, were involved in countless
conspiracies -- all designed to take over the world. As one of the world’s leading dry goods / cola
/ cereal / pharmaceutical / TV network / book publishing / record label / computer
software / professional baseball / football / hockey team / racehorse owning /
car / plane / oil / biotechnology / genetically altered food / cigarette manufacturing
conglomerates, this mega-corporation stood out as one of the most evil of the
evil-transnationals in the counterculture’s battle against globalization.
Roger Skyler, to some, was seen as the very devil himself.
Unlike many of my fellow activists, I felt strongly that globalization
wasn’t necessarily the mighty evil they viewed it as.
It could be used to bring the world together.
I really wanted to believe that Mr. Skyler, as he so often claimed, honestly
wanted to save the world, and that he truly believed that he was trying to bring
the world closer so that we could help each other to be a healthier planet.
His corporation made tons of money, but his foundation was doing a lot
of good in the world, too. He claimed
that he was on a spiritual journey in his life, and I wanted to give him the benefit
of the doubt.
Skyler was especially feared because he was a leading proponent of the biotechnology
revolution. Having a strong science background,
I didn’t have the knee-jerk reaction that many change-the-worlders seemed to have
these days towards science. It’s true that
science and technology could be used to create a frightening “brave new world,”
but it could also help create a better, healthier, safer world for all.
I continued to try to hold off passing judgment about Roger Skyler’s intentions.
Regardless of what really motivated him, though, Skyler’s intercepted memo
was going to upset the group, and I remained silent about it.
We pushed on with the campaign and slowly (very slowly) it began to pick
up in acceleration. The CountUP, and stories
about the compassionate acts it was inspiring in communities, were being featured
more and more in magazines. ‘CountUP’ was casually mentioned in the dialogue in
several of the summer-season’s TV sitcoms. The real icing on the cake was the news that
four major recording stars had just agreed to a 21-city One Day In Peace concert
tour to begin in August.
Still, I kept completely silent about Skyler’s memo.
That is until July 15th when Skyler’s office contacted me on Peacetopia,
and Angel in Costa Rica and requested a meeting with us.
We called an emergency meeting of our own and everyone was quite upset. “What does HE want with us?” Angel seethed.
The others all felt the same way. I had
to tell them. I pulled out the memo and
read it to them.
“The One Day
In Peace campaign needs to be carefully monitored. Its simplicity and universal appeal make it
extremely dangerous. How can anyone say
no to the idea of a day of peace? And yet an unbridled campaign like this one
can lead to uncontrolled societal transformation. It’s too big and widespread
to shut down. An all-out counter-effort
should be seriously considered to obtain managed results. Our analysts have determined it is very close
to the profitability threshold and our intervention at this juncture could reap
us tremendous financial benefits. All Level
One corporate allies should be involved immediately in operation PEACE DAY.”
The room was completely silent as everyone tried to digest the implications.
“So, what’s he going to do ... try to buy us out?”
Jess fumed, breaking the silence. She
of course had been all too familiar with hostile takeovers in her many years with
“What nerve!” Artie agreed.
“Maybe he’ll pull a cease and desist on us -- his fancy lawyers will find
some way to claim the campaign is all his... after all the work we’ve done!” Angel
grumbled, and buried her head in her hands.
“I’ll get our legal team to look into our options,” Jesse assured her.
Merle put his arm around Angel. “Honey,
don’t get upset. Even if they do steal
the idea and pour tons of money into it -- really get it out to all corners of
the world and get the media on board 110% -- well would that be so bad? Isn’t
that what this campaign is all about -- finding ways to inspire others to make
this idea their own and spread the word in their own ways.”
what exactly do they mean by ‘managing social transformation’” Angel sobbed. “We all want the world to change, but a ‘New
World Order’ can be a utopian paradise or a fascist nightmare. There’s a fine line, and it all comes down to
“Look,” Merle sighed. “People are
smarter than that. They’ll be inspired by the idea and it will
transform them.” He wiped away some tears
from Angel’s cheek.
"'One Day In Peace' is a great mantra..." Merle sighed. "And there's
magic in those words, for sure. But do we really care if we end up not getting
any credit for making it happen, if it really happens? It'll change the world
for the better, and we'll know that we helped it to happen, even if some megalomaniac
ends up getting all the credit."
Everyone agreed, and I had to as well.
Except then it wouldn’t work out for Jess.
But I couldn’t say anything in front of the group.
No one knew what Jess’ real motivation was for getting involved in this
peace effort. That wasn’t her motivation
now -- she really cared, but would they respect her if they knew the truth? I would never do that to her.
“We’ll all meet with him, of course,” Angel said after we agreed to give
Skyler the benefit of the doubt and listen to what he had to say.
looked panic-stricken, and almost immediately brought up the fact that she and
Art were at a crucial point in their training sessions with the team for the Peace
Bus tour -- and they had to stay on Peacetopia to make sure the peace fair itinerary
was set with the BetterWorld Clubs that would be hosting them on the college campuses.
I knew they had over a month to prepare, and there was no real rush, but
I suspected that Roger Skyler and her Uncle had been associates, and she was worried
that she’d be recognized.
Merle, too, apparently just had to get back to Costa Rica.
He had been heading up a team to produce a film based on the One Day In
Peace campaign, and they were deeply involved in the final stages of the editing.
He just had to get back right away or they’d never keep on schedule to
get into the Fall Film Festivals in order to get it out in some theaters by Christmas.
Maya and Johnny Chen were in the middle of preparing for a huge 100,000-
participant indigenous celebration in the Andes steppes, and she, too, had to
So, it was just Angel and I that would fly to New York to meet with Skyler. Before we left, I took Jess aside and told
her why her future depended on 'One Day In Peace' being the banner for the world’s
campaign. The tears flooded her eyes again
and she silently cursed her Uncle; I bit my tongue and said nothing.
Chapter | Next Chapter Table
of Contents | Preface | Ch 1
| Ch 2 | Ch 3 | Ch
Ch 5 | Ch 6 | Ch
7 | Ch 8 | Ch 9 |Ch
10 | Ch 11 |
Ch 12 | Ch
13 | Ch 14 | Ch 15 | Ch
16 | Ch 17 |
Ch 18 | Ch
19 | Ch 20 | Ch 21 | Ch
22 | Ch 23 |
Ch 24 | Ch
25 | Ch 26 | Ch 27 | Ch
28 | Ch 29