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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sercet's Scene #2

School is over;  the kids have been sent home. Sercet and Rhea walk on the same park where she had taken the children.

Seeing the same spot where the children had been sitting, Sercet says, "Your students are quite fiery. You have your hands full."
"I manage." replies Rhea with a smile.
"Perceptive too." continues Sercet, tapping his temple with his index finger. They both know he is trying to draw her into a debate. Sercet enjoys her sharp thinking, and her honest manner with him.
"More perceptive than they are given credit for. Yet, impressionable."
"Yet, their thoughts are ultimately their own."
"What are your thoughts?"
"On Haroun's outburst?"
Sercet nodded.
"The boy doesn't know better."
"But he's not completely wrong." Sercet smiles.
"No." Rhea half smirks. "Being right can have consequences, however."
"The Kinta's duty is to ensure the law is honored."
"What if the law is a dishonor itself?"
"That would only be true if its source was imperfect."
"God is perfection. Yet, does every law come from Him?"
"Isn't that is what the Revelation teaches?"
"That is what the Kinta teaches, yassat." she smiles. "The Revelation teaches that all authority comes from him."
"Can that authority be taken away?"

Just as Rhea was considering the question, they are interrupted by a boy's crying.

"Yasu, yasu! They're taking my parents away. Please stop them!" Haroun grabs hold of Rhea's skirt as he pleads. Not far behind Haroun, walks a young Kinta.
"What is the meaning of...", demands Sercet before he is cut off.
"The boy is to be protected from his parents." Interrupts the young Kinta. "Not only are they a threat to his faith, but to the people at large. We are all lucky that a loyal servant of God alerted us to their plot."
"What plot?" asks Rhea.
The young Kinta arrogantly looks at her, as if unbelieving her audacity to question him.
"You will answer her question." Sercet orders sharply. The young man hesitates, as he struggles with his pride. "Answer her!"
"They rebelled against God. They were plotting to destroy the Sun Fields." He answers with distaste on his tone. "That's what liberal interpretation of the Revelation engenders," he then says, looking at Sercet. "You are expected at the council, yassat."

Turning to Haroun, the young man commands, "We must go."

"The boy is not going anywhere," says Sercet, without moving as if expecting to be obeyed.
"What is your name?"
"Yassat Dygojikan, you are to bring Haroun's parents home, and you will bring the boy back to them."
"It is not your place to make this decision." Dygojikan answers defiantly.
"Young yassat, I won't repeat myself: You will stand down, or face the consequences. 
A pause. "But the council--"
"I will worry about the council. You may carry out my order." Sercet cuts him off, and turns his back on him.
Dygojikan, fearing the older Kinta's authority, and feeling humiliated, brusquely grabs the boy by the arm. "Let's go."
Sercet looks in Rhea's frightened eyes and suggests, "You should probably go home, yasu."
Rhea just nods, her response barely audible, "Yes yassat"


Days later, Sercet presents himself at the council meeting. The discussion has been going on for some time. A red faced council member is trying to berate Sercet about his action.

"But you have interfered with the enforcement of the law."
"Quite the contrary, yassat. My duty is to ensure the law is applied justly."
"And you have humiliated and challenged the authority of a fellow Kinta!"
"I simply exercised my privilege, as my rank and position entitle me, to intervene in a matter of the law.If you wish, as my peers, to hold an inquiry and trial regarding the facts of this family, and my subsequent intervention, you may as is the council's right. I am prepared to defend my actions according to what I have discovered."
At the members exchange looks, and some murmured conversation. A different member, with a more conciliatory if not entirely genuine demeanor, says, "Yassat Sercet. We have reviewed your evidence, and have found your explanation of the law to be usual. Further inquiries or a trial would be superfluous."
"Thank you, yassat."
"However," the council member continues, "We are concerned about your constant involvement with non-Kinta, seeing as your views are somewhat, shall we say, liberal."
"Have you found any problems with my interpretations of the Revelation that you wish to discuss?"
"Yassat," he replies dismissively. "As we all know, these matters are far from settled. They do require discussion, but this is not what this meeting was convened for." Then more personally and informally, "Sercet, all we ask from you is to keep more distance from non-Kinta...for a while. Your views could be misinterpreted, and might indirectly encourage rebellion against God."
"Have you proof of this?"
"No, but that is hardly the point.", the Kinta member protested
"But it is the point, yassat. Unless you have proof that I am misleading the flock, I will continue to be a light and a beacon for them, as we are commanded by the All Knowing." After a pause, "Now, if you have no further questions from me, I will take my leave,  yassat."

The council consults amongst themselves for a few moments, and Sercet overhears murmurs along the lines of "We can't hold him back with no proof." Then, with frustration in his voice, the Kinta member says, "We have no further inquiries, yassat."

Sercet nods and leaves the room


Sercet has come to see Rhea as usual at her school. For a moment she seems glad to see him, but as they converse he notices that her usual openness is gone.

"I wanted to apologize for what happened."
"It wasn't your doing , yassat." She says, as she quietly erases the chalkboard. "I appreciate what you did for Haroun."
"I just did what was righteous."
"Yes." She says, finding ways of keeping herself busy and avoid eye contact.
Sensing that she's holding something back, Sercet continues, "Yasu Rhea, you can still trust me."
"I know you are the same person I admire. I...It is not right for me to be so free with you, or to question matters of faith. "
"Nonsense, Rhea."
"It is better not to question things over which you have no power."
"Things can change...will change for the better, if we believe together, if we work together."
"Yassat, it's no longer safe. For me or for the children."
But Sercet senses something more underneath. "So you are surrendering. "You gave into fear."
To this, Rhea shows no response. A long silence goes by and Sercet says, "You'd rather forsake yourself and the next generation and the next to suffer in this twisted mirror of God's vision."
Suddenly, anger and defiance in her eyes. "You are right." She walks over to a poster with the Kinta's seal. "Belief and good intentions are not enough,"  she says as she tears the poster from the wall, and proceeds to rip it to pieces. "Maybe it should all be torn down."

Sercet can only watch in stunned silence as she continues to deface or destroy anything symbolic of the Kinta and their version if religion. Books, pictures, decorations, nothing is safe.  "Tell me, yassat: Why do we need the Kinta when all it does is gorge itself on our misery?" Her voice gets louder. "Why do we even need religion if this is the best it can do for us?"

When all her rage is spent, they both notice that a couple of the school servants are watching with puzzlement. One look from Sercet sends them scurrying.

"It's no use, is it Sercet?" She finally says, suddenly sounding tired and older than her age."We will never overthrow the Kinta."

"We don't need to. We can transform it, and everything outside it.We can renew God's true vision for us. Trust me, dearest Rhea."  He says, holding her for the first time since he's known her.

[See conflict breakdown here.]

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