By Giuseppe Porcaro

The existential odyssey of a heartsick politician to save a war-torn, post-austerity Europe from algorithmic autocracy

I was shaken. I looked towards the top floor. They had installed a special platform with a silver frame outside the window where he had fallen. From there a metallic rope ran down to the ground, where it attached to a hook on a statue of a lion crowned by an eight-pointed star. The statue stood just in front of the marble wall, a tribute to Holy Mary-Inanna, our supreme goddess of love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, combat, and political power.

On the side of the wall, there was a small, decrepit shrine with a photo of Papastratis and a few burned candles. Alexi Papastratis was the owner of Matrix, the company financed by the mighty Mogilevich. Papastratis had this idea of transforming Kalochori into a theme park-style district for long time. He tried with the Saudis, the Egyptians, and even Chinese investors, before turning to Mogilevich and his collateralized debt obligations. In Thessaloniki, he was considered first as a savior, then as a devil. When an anonymous youth group kidnapped and killed him, the zone went up in flames, catching local and national institutions by surprise. The protest became a symbol of revolt against the housing bubble burst, as well as the corruption and mediocrity of national elites to handle the situation.

I drew closer to inspect the last section of the memorial. It was a time capsule placed in a transparent cube filled with a gel suspension. I glanced at its contents. There were several objects, small flags of former nation-states, coins, and a pile of documents, including a copy of the infamous Constructions & Free Zones Act.

Ratified by most of the Unions members and proposed by Greece, under pressure from the Mafia and several other companies, the Act whitelisted the hiring of private troops to defend building sites and special economic zones, while prohibiting the use of air power and drones.

Gone were the days when national armies split into several competing organizations, such as Fernando Alejandro Martínez Security Services Inc., the G.O.I.™, or the Premier Régiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes®. The Act seemed the best tactic to prevent the spread of violence, but instead it escalated Kalochori’s insurrection into a continental civil war. Fences and closed-circuit cameras were installed to defend construction sites and free economic zones everywhere. Troops were hired by companies, landowners, free zones’ managers, and subcontractors to be in charge of scaffolding or the security of the site. People saw these as provocations, and they responded by smashing anything vaguely resembling a building area, including works in progress on the streets. Retaliation followed, and in few weeks, the death toll skyrocketed.

The time capsule read: Please do not open until the year 3009. We cannot guess what the next millennium holds for the world. But we are confident that you will have a greater understanding of human politics, and that we will have made some contribution to that understanding. We wish you continued success in the pursuit of peace.

I wondered if they would really know better in a thousand years.

I returned to the lion statue, bent my knee on his foot, and prayed. “Holy Mary-Inanna, be blessed for the reincarnation of all those who died, and for accompanying the living, so that they shall peacefully seek the three cardinal virtues: Karma, Shinto, and Hedonism. Amen.”

Then I returned to the car, switching my thoughts to Janine, asking myself where she could have been in that very moment, what she would have said if she had been there with me. “Clumsy boy,” she would have probably said, giving me a lesson on how to stand straight and tall and not let mobile phones fall apart or get lost. After that, she would have given me one of her signature pieces of advice that would have fixed everything, because she always knew best, and I would have followed, happily.

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