The True History of the 20th Century
"We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men."
It is undeniable that history has been falsified time and time again in - well - history. But it is not so often realised that this was far more so in the 20th century than in any other period in history, despite the vast amount of documentation that existed, and even exists today, to prove that 20th century history is, well, full of it. Or rather, empty of it: for it has totally, but totally, neglected to mention the most important part of 20th century history: viz., the History of the Clowns.
To properly discuss 20th century history, however, it is necessary to discuss at least some of what went on before that period.
Since time immemorial, Clowns - individually and collectively - have been laughed at. Even in the old days, when they were called Jesters - even in the still older days, when they were called Wits - Clowns were the laughingstock of humanity. The very term "Clown" had become a term of derision. Even today, if a law firm wishes to insult another law firm, they speak of the others as "Those Clowns across the street." To hear lawyers - the very scum of the earth - speak thus of Clowns, is a telling indictment. The persecution that Clowns have historically suffered at the hands of others - those who are sometimes called non-Clowns - has historically been horrendous. Indeed some Clowns, notably the sect called the Mimes, even resigned themselves to lives of silence and subjugation behind walls of imaginary glass.
This persecution, as well as the feelings which engendered it, came to be called, in nineteenth century Europe and North America, anti-Clown Sentiment - which however, being quite a mouthful, was shortly thereafter shortened to anti-Sentiment. Those who harboured such feelings came to be called anti-Sentimentarians or anti-Sentimentalists, and the sentiment itself came to be called, somewhat contrary to logic, anti-Sentimentarianism or anti-Sentimentalism - in line with the term anti-Semitism which began to be applied around the same time to the same sort of feelings when they were harboured vis-à-vis the Jews. Very often anti-Semitism and anti-Sentimentarianism went together.
One has to remember that Clowns had traditionally been prohibited from earning a living doing "normal" work. In a few cases, admittedly, they couldn't actually do such work, because they were physically or mentally incapable of it. Some of them were very little, physically speaking; others had some deformity or other which made them the butt of jokes; and yet others could not help giggling when asked to do something solemn, like functioning as a prosecutor or a judge in a court of law. Rube Goldberg, a Jewish Clown, had even been kicked (literally) out of engineering school - whereupon he had picked himself up, dusted off his pants and gone on to invent a large number of totally useless inventions, many of which are still being force-fed to students in public schools the world over in lieu of corporal punishment, which has been banned.
Partly as a result of their mental and physical unfitness to do "normal" work - but by no means solely for that reason - many professions were denied to Clowns. For even when they were capable of doing the work, they were prohibited from actually doing it. For instance it was often asked, sometimes in the very newspapers, "What would happen if, God forbid, one of our elected Presidents turned out to be a Clown?" In many countries Clowns did not even have the vote until the mid-20th century, and in some countries they had to carry identity cards identifying themselves as Clowns. (Not that it was really necessary, for in general their appearance and clothing set them apart from the rest of the population quite readily.)
Of course this segregation caused Clowns, for the most part, to keep the company of their own and shun the company of their non-Clownish neighbours. Besides, they found the company of non-Clowns boring and stultifying. Non-Clowns tended to be serious. They also tended to be rather humourless, which was a strict no-no in the Clownish way of life. Clowns found such people dull, plodding, tedious and backward. So it comes as no surprise to find, from all the available documentation, that by and large Clowns tended to marry other Clowns. A considerable amount of inbreeding of course resulted, making the Clownish way of life rather clannish. As a consequence, Clowns also tended to look alike, or at least alike enough as to make it easy to tell who was a Clown and who was not, even when they were not wearing their zany outfits.
And also as a consequence, Clowns tended to identify, not so much with the citizens of the countries they lived in, but with other Clowns, no matter which country they came from. When a Clown met another from halfway round the world it was immediately Hail fellow well met in Wilmette, while if they ran across a non-Clown who lived just a few blocks down the road in Wilmette itself, they almost always got the cold shoulder, and often worse: much worse.
Such was the awful situation in which the Clowns found themselves in the nineteenth century, especially in the West. Mind you, this segregation and persecution wasn't unique to the Clowns. Jews, Gypsies and Witches - among many other minority groups - had also been segregated and persecuted for centuries. However it was, and still is, the tendency of each such group to concentrate on its own sufferings, for the most part ignoring those of the other groups. (Quite understandably so, of course.)
It was in this atmosphere of stifling repression that in the late nineteenth century the great German Clown Santa Clausewitz or Clownsewitz - the pronunciation, and thus the spelling, of his last name differs, depending on which side of the Rhine it is uttered - wrote (in German) his now-famous pamphlet, translated into English variously as Clown Country or Clown & Country. In it he argued, and rather cogently I might add, that the very existence of anti-Sentimentarianism cried out for the establishment of a Country the Clowns could call their own: where they could live free of persecution and discrimination, just like the citizens of any of the other countries of the world. In his pamphlet he logically and methodically outlined the way in which this aim could be accomplished: peacefully, legally and very satisfactorily for all concerned. It was, indeed, so well written and argued that the Jew, Herzl, upon reading it, immediately realised that the same solution could be applied to what he called "the Jewish question", and thereupon wrote (also in German) a pamphlet of his own, translated into English as The Jewish State. And the Witch, Hazel, also wrote a very similar pamphlet, but unfortunately it got burned.
Despite the excellent reasoning and logic of Clausewitz's pamphlet, however, most Clowns of Clausewitz's own time found it hard to take his words seriously. The fact that they found it hard to take anything seriously might have had something to do with it. But that per se was hardly a mitigating factor. After all, some of them said, this was a solution to a centuries-old problem: even though it was no laughing matter ... unfortunately. An effort at least should be made at seriousness.
For that reason, a few Clowns of that era did take Clausewitz, if not quite seriously, then half-seriously. They argued, and with some justification, that Clownish society had over the centuries become analogous to an upside-down umbrella. An upside-down umbrella, they explained, catches the rain rather than shedding it: and as such it becomes a thing to be trashed rather than treasured. That, they said, was the reason the Clowns had been trashed for centuries. What was needed was to turn the "umbrella" "right-side up", as it were. This could be accomplished by the Clowns shedding their erstwhile frivolity, just as an upright umbrella sheds water, and replacing frivolity with solemnity. Once the Clowns became solemn, or at least serious, they would be accepted into non-Clownish society without too much of a problem. It might be very hard for them to do this, conditioned as they had been to frivolity for thousands of years: but at least they should give it a try. At any rate this was the argument, hotly discussed in Clownish circles at the time.
Some other Clowns argued further that this, though an admirable start, was not going to be enough. They said that Clausewitz was right: Clowns needed a Country of their own as well, where they could shed their frivolity without economic hardship. Clausewitz himself had not specified exactly which country might become the Clowns' own Country - in his pamphlet he had written "Let sovereignty be granted to us over a tract of land large enough for Clown and Country: the rest we shall manage for ourselves" - and as a half-hearted suggestion he had expressed the hope that the Belgians might give the Clowns the Congo, which was no use to the effete Belgians anyway, since at that time it didn't have any of the amenities of civilised living, certainly not Stella Artois beer or sauce Hollandaise. But Clausewitz wasn't particular: he'd take, in the name of the Clowns, any country he could get.
He did have a preference, however, and so did most of his readers. They based this preference on an ancient document, more than two thousand years old, and written - in jest, of course - by some ancient Clowns, or Wits as they had been called then, in the now-virtually-dead Sanskrit language. This document essentially stated that the Wit or Court Jester of King Suddodhana, the father of the Buddha, who had ruled over a tract of land which now forms a part of Nepal in the Himalayas, had been promised - in jest, of course - by the King's son, Prince Siddhartha (the Buddha-to-be), that the Wit could have the neighbouring land of Tibet as an inheritance for himself and his kind for ever and ever. The document also stated that this gift was conditional upon the Jester showing the Prince the Way to Enlightenment; but this bit was hardly ever mentioned when referring to the Promise, since the Wit had not, in fact, been able to show the Buddha-to-be the Way to Enlightenment, though he had managed to make the sad Prince chuckle once in a while.
Nevertheless, because the document mentioned "Enlightenment", and because the Wit had helped to some extent to relieve the sadness of the Buddha-to-be in the latter's time of distress as he meditated upon the boundless suffering of all sentient beings, this text had become part of the Tripitaka, the "Collection of Three Baskets" comprising all the sacred works of Buddhism, vaster in extent than the sacred texts of any other religion. It had also been translated into many languages, notably Chinese, Korean, Cambodian, Thai and Japanese, and was now regarded and even chanted as a scared mantra by not just millions but literally billions of people, even when they did not fully understand its esoteric meaning - which essentially was, that laughter was an excellent medicine for depression, and although not quite in the same league as Nirvana or Prozac, might do in a pinch.
Scholars had analysed the document in great detail over the centuries, and had long argued that it could not possibly have been written at the time of the Buddha - and thus the Promise of the Land of Tibet could not have been historically made to the Wit in question - since in the days of the Buddha and of his father, Sanskrit was not the spoken language of that region. They had argued that this document could therefore not have been written much earlier than other Buddhist documents written in "scholastic" Sanskrit, such as the Maha-mula-madhyamika-karika of Nagarjuna, who had never even known the Buddha personally, and who wrote in Sanskrit simply because it was the style at that time to do so, much like in medieval Europe it was the style to write in Latin. Other scholars had argued that it was an obvious interpolation by early Christian missionaries, who had come with the Apostle Thomas to India shortly after Christ's crucifixion, and who had based the story upon the Promise of the Land of Canaan made by the Lord God to Abraham in the Bible. Yet others had argued that it was an interpolation all right, just not a Christian interpolation, but rather obviously a Buddhist one: for it was not permitted for Buddhists to take anything unless it was specifically given to them, and since around 2,000 years ago - i.e., about 500 years after the Buddha's passing on - most of India had reverted to Hinduism, the Buddhists had wanted Tibet as a consolation prize. The scholarly arguments - sometimes heated - continue to this day.
But such scholarly analyses hardly made much impact on the Clowns, since they did not take them seriously. The fact, here again, that - at least up till that point - they did not take anything seriously might have had something to do with it.
But now they did start taking at least the bit about the Promise of the Land of Tibet seriously. After all, over the centuries, the Land of Tibet had been hyped almost beyond belief. It was the highest and therefore clearly the holiest land in the world, a land flowing with yak milk and (in winter, frozen) honey, where the sky was a deeper blue than anywhere else, and where the sun, moon and stars shone the brightest of any place on earth, to such an extent that the very scriptures could be read by starlight alone; only the most righteous of people could breathe its sublimely rarefied air, so clear that snow-covered mountain peaks two hundred leagues away seemed as if they were right in front of one's freezing nose; it was sacred to three of the world's great religions - Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism - for it contained within itself the sacred mountain Kailasha, the sacred lake Mansarovara, and the sources of the three sacred rivers Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra (not to mention the mythical Sarasvati, which was said to flow underground and could not be seen); and of course was home to the Holy City of Lhasa, abode of the Potala, the largest palace in the world, to get to which one had to climb a thousand steps, whereupon one entered rooms after rooms, infinite in number, being mystically and mysteriously added unto even as one toured the palace as a visitor; a city where the most whimsical and sacred cow in the universe, the yak, roamed and pooped upon its streets paved with gold, evoking roaring laughter from passers-by just by being looked at, let alone having its name uttered. It was a land obviously made by Providence for Clowns, the land in whose direction all stand-up comedians faced every time they took up the microphone before an audience, the land whose Holy Name the celebrated Clown Cosmo Kramer was said to thrice mutter to himself every time he lay himself down to sleep.
A lot of this was myth, of course, but it had a solid base of reality as a substrate. Previous pilgrims to the Land of Tibet had indeed reported many such things, though not in quite so highly embellished a fashion. So in the early years of the 20th century a few hardy - some called them foolhardy - Clowns undertook to go there and start the process of establishing the Clown Country, to "do the preparing", as they called it: they meant, preparing the way for the ingathering of the Clowns, in keeping with the ancient circus saying "Prepare ye the Way of the Clowns". They called themselves "Clausewitzists" or "Clownsewitzists", which however, being quite a mouthful, especially the ending, was usually shortened - though admittedly not by a lot - to "Clausewitzes".
The Clausewitzes realised, of course, that theirs was an uphill task. Indeed just getting to Tibet was an uphill task, because Tibet's lowest point was 10,000 feet or so above sea level, and even from there the only way to go was up. These guys had to be the toughest of the tough, for their task was not only to make a New Country for the Clowns, but also a New Life for themselves. It was a New Beginning, they said - and rightly so - for all Clown-kind. They called themselves "Risers", having, as they said, "Risen to the Occasion". Besides, they had had to rise a great deal above sea level to get to Tibet, and also in their New Life had to rise pretty early to get to their fields to start tilling them by the crack of dawn; so their self-applied epithet "Risers" was quite apt.
In keeping with the "upside-down umbrella theory", to which of course they subscribed (as all the Clausewitzes did), they decided to completely shed their erstwhile Clownish frivolity "as an upright umbrella sheds rain". To this end they gave up their zany costumes and instead groomed and dressed themselves like everybody else, but simply - which made them stick out like sore thumbs in Tibet, since the Tibetans of those days hardly ever groomed or dressed themselves like anybody else, let alone simply. The New Risers in Tibet cracked no more jokes, certainly not in public; and if they ever laughed - which was seldom, or by mistake - they attempted to do so only in private, or in the privy. They banned balloons, whoopee-cushions, bells and whistles from their modest homes, and raised their children to be at least solemn if not downright sullen. Parents would proudly say to guests, referring to their morose son, "He's so magnificently sullen, isn't he? We're so very proud of him."
The Clowns had come to Tibet from many parts of the world, and not all of them spoke the same language. That made communication a tad difficult at first. And they could not pick up Tibetan, which was complex and nuanced beyond comprehension. They had to decide upon a common language, not counting, of course, their own common language of laughter which they now shunned. They decided that no more serious language existed than Sanskrit, in which the very Promise of the Land of Tibet to the Wits had first been enunciated. So they all decided to revive Sanskrit in a simplified form. This was by no means easy, of course. They had to make a huge effort. But since the only alternative to speaking in Sanskrit was silence, and since the Clowns - especially the more extreme sect of Clowns known as the Mimes - had been accustomed to silence all along, they managed somehow, even at the start. And with time, a simplified form of Sanskrit did become their common language in Tibet, especially since that was the only language their children learned in school and spoke at home. Indeed it was the parents who mostly learned the "mother-tongue" from the kids.
Their original plan had been to purchase as much land as they could in the name of the Clowns, so as to settle on this "reclowned" land the millions upon millions of Clowns they were confident would soon follow in their footsteps. But of course they started their Colonies modestly, having purchased relatively small plots of land which they could cultivate with their own hands. No point in purchasing much more land than they could chew the fat on, they figured. When more Clowns arrive, they can buy more for themselves. Besides, in those days land could be purchased in Tibet for peanuts, quite literally, since the (largely vegetarian) Tibetans valued peanuts for their oil and protein and other excellent nutritional qualities, and also because it was very hard to grow peanuts in Tibet.
Since the Clowns considered themselves now emancipated and finally living in their own Country, they started doing work - serious work - of the kind that had been denied to them before, such as cultivating the reclowned land, and building on it roads, streets and houses. They had no experience with such tasks, but they figured, "We'll figure it out as we go along." They worked long hours, came home bone weary, and tried their best to keep a straight face at dinner, which was hard for Clowns to do when they were tired. Still, they tried their best.
The local Tibetans had known Clowns for centuries, but these New Risers were Clowns of a different colour: a very different - and drab - colour. The Tibetans could only scratch their heads in bewilderment. (Of course the fact that some of them suffered from itchy scalp may also have had something to do with it.) The Tibetans were initially not quite sure what to make of the New Risers. They, being familiar with Buddhist texts, had of course known all about the legend of the Wit in the court of King Suddodhana, but they asked themselves, "How on earth is it possible to believe that the Lord Buddha - or rather the Lord-Buddha-to-be, who was to become the very embodiment of wisdom - could have promised the Land of Tibet to these Clowns?" In Tibetan Buddhism, this particular sacred text had been interpreted to mean that the Buddha-to-be had promised the Land of Tibet to the Tibetans, the true Wits, who had the wit to see that wit and wisdom went together. The Clowns of the New Riser Colonies not only seemed to be singularly lacking in wit, they also seemed to be singularly lacking in wisdom, especially when seen trying to sow peanuts in their frozen fields in the Tibetan winter, hoping for a bountiful spring harvest wherewith to "reclown" yet more land.
However, the Tibetans soon figured out what was going on. (Of course the fact that the Clowns made no secret of what they intended to do might have had something to do with it.) The Tibetans came to realise that there were going to be massive waves of immigration of Clowns from around the world, who were more numerous at that time than the Tibetans. The Clowns were going to become the majority of the population in the territory, "reclown" pretty much all the land in it, and set up their own Country there, with its own Clownish institutions: its own Clown parliament, its own Clown courts, and its own Clown currency. Exactly how all these newfangled institutions were going to function - whether in the traditional Clowning manner or in some other, more serious and neutral fashion - was initially not all that clear, but most of the New Risers being ready and even eager to shed their Clownish ways, the broad consensus was that these institutions would be modelled after the best European institutions of the nineteenth century, with a peppering of Clownish spice thrown in here and there to make them all stand out clearly as institutions of the Clowns' Own Country.
When the Tibetans finally got the gist of it they were appalled. Most of them had no idea even where Europe was, and some of them - the more learned ones - doubted its very existence. They thought it was a mythical land, alternatively known to Buddhism as the "Western Paradise of the Bodhisattva Amitabha", which had been mentioned once in a while in the Buddhist texts. Yes, these learned Tibetans admitted, the scriptures did speak of such a land; however, they explained, these scriptural texts, like many others, were not supposed to be taken literally, but rather figuratively and allegorically, as describing quite another plane of reality. Besides, even if Europe did exist on the earthly plane, they said - which they seriously doubted, they hastened to add - its institutions could hardly be suitable for Tibet, which was a Land Unto Itself: one to which no other place on earth had any parallels, or even, for that matter, any perpendiculars (except those going straight down). How could the Tibetans live as a minority in their own land, following Clownish laws administered by Clownish courts? Wouldn't that be a denial of their very rights?
The upshot was that a great deal of resentment began to ferment in the Tibetan society. Some of them appealed to their leaders, the Lamas or Ulamas, to do something about it. The Lamas were also appalled, but for quite another reason: they did not want to lose their socio-politico-economico-religious power over the people, painstakingly built up over centuries. They knew that the Clowns would never accept the Lamas' interpretations of the scriptures: why, the Clowns had already rejected the Lamastic interpretations of the text mentioning the Promise of the Land to the Wits. And the Lamas also knew that if the Clowns set up a Clown Country in Tibet, the Lamas' days were numbered, since the Clown population would eventually be bigger than the Tibetan, and Clowns did not listen to Lamas. To the Lamas, all this was a bolt out of the blue - indeed, out of the deepest blue in the world. "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" they said. (Of course the fact that they lived very close to the sky might also have had something to do with it.)
Some of the Clowns had even approached the Dalai Lama, the titular Head of State of Tibet, and requested His Excellency, ever so politely, to grant the Clowns sovereignty over the Land. When His Excellency's eyebrows had risen ever so slightly, yet all the same quite perceptibly, upon hearing the request, the Clowns had hastened to add "... or at least over a sizeable but contiguous - definitely contiguous - part of the Land". In return, they said, they would disclose to the population several totally novel jokes, which had never been heard before, and were sure to raise the standard of cheer of the Tibetans considerably: indeed more than they - the Tibetans - could ever have dreamed of. They - the Clowns - would hand over these jokes, they said, despite - or rather because of - their vow of solemnity, since they did not want to obtain something for nothing, and since they could not use the jokes themselves any more. They were sure that this would be a fair exchange: sovereignty was, after all, just an idea, a concept, an airy nothing, though admittedly an excellent and very desirable airy nothing; but then, so were their jokes.
His Excellency, after having exchanged with his honoured guests the customary silk scarves and partaken of the customary tea seasoned with yak butter and salt, had equally politely declined the transaction, explaining that it was nothing personal - because Buddhists did not believe in a personal self anyway - but that such a grant of sovereignty just wasn't on the cards at the time, and was unlikely to be so any time soon. The Clowns had walked down the thousand steps of the Potala completely nonplussed as to why their eminently reasonable request had been turned down. Some of them thought His Excellency was just having a bad day. "All we want from him is sovereignty over the Land", they said; "it's not like we've come to rob him or anything. We offered a very fair exchange. His Excellency will surely come round eventually, perhaps after a nice hot bath."
However, others in the Clown Colonies did not believe His Excellency would do so. Moreover, they argued, His Excellency was hardly the right person to approach: he was a religious leader, like a Pope, but did not possess temporal power, like a President. The right people to approach were the Great Powers of Europe, as Clausewitz himself had pointed out in his pamphlet. "Politics is just war by another name", he had written, "and these days the only people who can wage war like it should be waged are the Great European Powers." The New Riser Clowns asked, rhetorically, "How many divisions has the Dalai Lama?" India being already firmly under British Rule, the British would surely not mind granting sovereignty over the neighbouring Land of Tibet to the Clowns, since very clearly the British themselves didn't want it, otherwise they'd have taken it already. What was needed was to approach the British Crown, who would be only too willing to put the might of the British Empire behind the Clowns' efforts, especially if they could be bribed with a joke or two: for the English, unlike (apparently) the Dalai Lama, had a great sense of humour. After that it would be plain sailing. At all events, such was their argument.
One has to remember that in those days the Clausewitzes were in a distinct minority among the Clowns of the world. Most Clowns found them risible. (Of course the fact they found anything and everything risible might also have had something to do with it.) Besides, European Clowns did not find the prospect of a long trek all the way up to Tibet amusing. In those days - around the time of the First World War - there were no roads in Tibet, and motor vehicles in Asia were few and far between. Why would a Clown in Europe give up a cushy circus or birthday-party job for a life of hardship, even if it could eventually liberate him from discrimination? It was a laughable proposition, according to them.
Nevertheless some Clausewitzes did exist even among them. One such was a very famous English Clown who went under the nom de cirque of Dr Wisejoy. He sympathised greatly with the Clausewitzes, whose solemnity he found rather comical in an inexplicable sort of way; however he did not, at that time, want to move to Tibet, since he was doing very well in England. Important people came to his performances; at one time the King himself had attended. He had fans in high places. So the Tibetan Clausewitzes asked him to approach someone high up in the British establishment, and thereby get His Majesty's Government to grant them sovereignty over Tibet.
One of Dr Wisejoy's more enthusiastic fans was the British Deputy Foreign Secretary Sir Oscar Wilde (no relation however to the celebrated Irish author), who, because of the similarity in their names, also fancied himself quite a wit, and was therefore very friendly towards Wits in general. He was readily amenable to drafting a letter on Whitehall stationery saying that "His Majesty's Government have often smiled, and surely will smile again and again - and on occasion may even laugh aloud heartily - upon the notion of establishing of a Clown Country in Tibet: provided of course that this does not infringe upon the religious and civil rights of the non-Clown population of Tibet, or the rights, such as they are, enjoyed by non-Clausewitzian Clowns outside Tibet". (The Deputy did not know how to spell "Clausewitzist", so he made up his own veddy English term "Clausewitzian".) He even added a small yellow happy-face below his signature, so as to make the document absolutely and undeniably official, at least in the eyes of the Clowns. He felt he was quite safe in issuing such a Declaration on his own initiative, since his boss, the British Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour, had issued a very similar declaration in favour of a Jewish Homeland just a few weeks before, and so the Deputy figured he could hardly get fired for doing the same sort of thing. Dr Wisejoy was overjoyed at being handed the letter, which he immediately copied and sent off to Tibet.
Waving copies of the "Oscar Wilde Declaration" - as this important document came to be called - the Clown Colonists celebrated by throwing wild parties, in which jokes were taboo, but drinking and feasting, singing and dancing weren't. They even invited some of their Tibetan neighbours. As the Clowns danced arm in arm around the halls, their Tibetan guests, most of whom understood neither Sanskrit (which language the Clowns by then spoke fluently) nor English (in which language the Declaration was written), sat on their chairs lined up against the walls and twirled their prayer wheels with the words Om Mani Padme Hum written on them, marvelling at the mysterious ways of the One Mind, which according to the teachings of the Lotus-born Guru Rimpoche, the Tibetan reincarnation of the Buddha, was the Supreme Reality: nay, the Only Reality. Later, after the celebratory activity had subsided somewhat, a few of the Tibetans who did understand English came quietly to the Clown leaders and tried to explain to them that the Oscar Wilde Declaration was rather obviously a joke, and not to be taken seriously; but since by then - more than two decades after Clausewitz had written his pamphlet - the Clown Colonists had "righted the umbrella" very thoroughly, they didn't get jokes any more. Besides, they replied, "We have to take everything seriously now: we've taken a solemn vow to that effect, for the sake of our children and our children's children, for ever and ever."
The Tibetans, therefore, decided from this point on to take the Clowns seriously too, even though up till now they hadn't. A delegation of Tibetans made the long trek down to New Delhi to try and persuade His Britannic Majesty's Government that a serious mistake had been made by the issuance of the Oscar Wilde Declaration. They had a meeting with the British High Commissioner, Sir Henry McMohan-Dasz, and argued to him that it was they, the Tibetans, and not the Clowns, who had a prior right, as indigenous inhabitants, to sovereignty over the Land of Tibet. Sir Henry - whose father had been Scottish, grandfather Indian and great-grandfather Danish, and was as a result not at all patronising toward Asians the way most other British officials were - sympathised with the Tibetans, and entered into an agreement with the Tibetan delegation to the effect, essentially, that His Majesty's Government would definitely support an independent Tibetan state in Tibet under the rule of the Dalai Lama.
The Foreign Office Mandarins in Whitehall, when they heard of this agreement, were a bit concerned at first; however, Whitehall was mostly staffed by Christians, who strictly followed Christ's teaching "Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth". They discovered, after diligent inquiry, that the Oscar Wilde Declaration had been signed by Sir Oscar with his right hand, while they knew from their files that Sir Henry was left-handed; and so after due deliberation they decided that from a rigorously Church-of-England point of view there was no essential conflict between the two.
The Tibetan delegation returned to Tibet quite satisfied, but upon reaching home they discovered that no one had bothered to inform the Clowns about their agreement with Sir Henry. They had no way of knowing that this was standard operating procedure in His Majesty's Government, where even the Prime Minister's Office hardly ever knew what the Foreign Office was doing until the following morning, when the newspapers arrived. There being no newspapers in Tibet at the time, this source of information was closed to the people - Tibetans as well as Clowns - who lived there. When some of the Tibetans tried to communicate to the Clowns, in their broken Sanskrit, the gist of their agreement with Sir Henry, the Clowns simply waved copies of the Oscar Wilde Declaration in their faces. And when in rebuttal the Tibetans showed the Clowns copies of the McMohan-Dasz document, the Clowns pointed out the lack of a happy-face under Sir Henry's signature, which was a clear sign that the document was legally invalid, "... if not", added the Clowns, "an outright forgery."
One has to remember that all this was happening while the First World War was still raging, though nearing its end. At the end of the War the League of Nations was formed - of which Great Britain was the most powerful member, the Americans having opted out - and it was decided by the League that Britain would keep India for itself, and also exercise a certain amount of control over Tibet until it could be decided who, the Clowns or the Tibetans, should eventually exercise sovereignty over it.
The majority of Tibetans started getting a bit angry as a result of Britain's failure to stand by Sir Henry McMohan-Dasz's agreement to unequivocally support an independent Tibetan state, and many opposed even limited and temporary British control over Tibet, which they considered a violation of their right to self-determination. The situation was all the more complicated because of the concurrent British promise, under the Oscar Wilde Declaration, to support the creation of a Clown Country in Tibet. Tibetans were not Christians, and did not believe that the left hand should not know what the right had doeth; so they found the British position in this regard self-contradictory at best and duplicitous at worst. The rising tide of Clownish immigration and land "reclownment" in Tibet generated increasing resistance from the Tibetan peasants, local lay leaders, and Lamas. They had reason to fear that this would lead eventually to the establishment of a Clownish state in Tibet. Tibetans opposed British control over their territory, however tenuous, because it thwarted their right to rule themselves; and they also opposed massive Clownish immigration because it threatened their demographic position as a majority and as a sovereign people in the land of their forefathers. (It is worth noting that Tibetans constituted over 85% of the population in those days.)
So what happened four or five years after the War was hardly unforeseeable. Clashes broke out between Tibetans and Clowns, in which a few - approximately equal numbers - of both Tibetans and Clowns were killed. It must be remembered that although Tibetans were by and large a peaceful people, they were descended from the same ethnic stock from which were descended the Mongols, who lived on their Northern border - in fact the fourth Dalai Lama had been a Mongol himself, and his very title was Mongolian in origin and signified "Ocean of Wisdom" - and so the Tibetans, like the Mongols, were experts in many different kinds of ancient martial arts. Indeed it was rumoured that the art of the Ninja had spread to China and thence to Japan from ancient Mongolia, the inhabitants of which had originally developed it during and before the time of Genghis Khan. Many Tibetans, like the Mongols before them, were still quite expert the ancient martial arts, though as Buddhists they were enjoined to be strictly non-violent. However, this was an injunction more often honoured, among many Buddhists the world over - as for example the Zen Buddhist samurai of Japan and the Shaolin monks of China - in the breach than the observance.
The Clowns were somewhat taken aback at the attacks, having imagined that the Tibetans shared their joy in the reclowning of the land and the ingathering of the Clowns, but they now saw that they had been sorely mistaken. They still couldn't understand why the Tibetans might want to actually attack them, however, and the only reason they could think why this might be the case was the inherent anti-Sentimentarianism of the Tibetans, which they must, of course, share with all non-Clowns. So in the next few years, the Clowns decided to beef up their defences. To this end they formed units called The Guards, whose duty it was to guard the Clown Colonies. They purchased some World War I surplus rifles, and where they didn't have rifles they drilled with sticks. They marched up and down, paraded in the streets of their Colonies, and sang songs.
Such were the humble beginnings of what was to become widely perceived, especially in the West, as the most efficient and invincible army the world had ever known, against which the might of millions availed not, an army which never lost a single battle and indeed was capable of winning major wars in less than a week, an army whose soldiers, each of whom was a match for ten thousand of the enemy, were armed to the teeth with the most modern and lethal weaponry money could buy. The Tibetans, however, would come to perceive this noble band of brothers in quite a different light. But we are jumping ahead a bit in our history.
The shock of the early clashes had caused the Clowns to engage in heavy and lengthy discussions among themselves as to what should be done by them on a long term basis. They had many contradictory opinions on the subject, and their meetings were noisy and tumultuous, in keeping with the ancient saying "Put three Clowns together and you'll get a circus". Of course it was clear to all by that time - if indeed it hadn't been so before - that if the Clowns were to achieve their goal to set up their own country in Tibet, the Clown population would have to be a majority in the territory. The Tibetans in Tibet being far more numerous than the population of the New Riser Colonies of the period, the only way the Clowns were going to become a majority in their own country - and thereby turn the Tibetans into a minority in their own country - was by massive Clown immigration. The inexorable logic of the argument was in the back of everybody's mind as they discussed the matter this way and that.
A Russian Clown called Popoff was quite clear and explicit in his proposals: he argued, essentially, "It's either us (i.e., the Clowns) or them (i.e., the Tibetans)". In a pamphlet of his written in Russian, and translated into English under the title Adamantine Barrier, he had written: "Clown colonisation, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native [i.e., Tibetan] population. This colonisation can, therefore, only continue and develop under the protection of a force independent of the local population - an adamantine barrier which the native [i.e., Tibetan] population cannot possibly break through. This, in toto, must be our policy towards the Tibetans. To frame it any other way would be hypocrisy." He said he was ready and willing to help in the construction of such an "adamantine barrier", whatever it took.
Another Russian Clown, who went by the circus name of "One Of Us" (in other words, not "One Of Them"), visited Tibet for a few months, and agreed with the logic that it was "either the Us or Them". However, he left after a short while, saying he wasn't about to do anything "in defiance of the will of the native [Tibetan] population" to ensure a majority for the Clowns - even though he did claim that the Clowns had a greater right to the Land than the Tibetans, for the former had been sorely persecuted, while the latter hadn't been. Still, he wasn't about to "treat the Tibetans with hostility and cruelty, trespass upon their land unjustly, and beat them shamelessly for no sufficient reason, let alone brag about it" (as, he said, he had seen some of the other Clowns do.) He said "this is a despicable and dangerous inclination", and added: "Apart from the political danger, I can't put up with the idea that our Clownish brethren are morally capable of behaving in such a way to other humans; and unwittingly the thought comes to my mind: if it is so now, how terrible will be our relation to the others if in truth we do achieve at the end of times power in the Land of Tibet?" He was heard muttering under his breath, as he was making the long trek down to the plains, "If this be the Coming of the Clown of Clowns, I do not wish to see his coming" (alluding to the ancient prophecy of the end of days, when the Greatest Clown of Them All would come down to earth in all his glory and make everybody laugh so hard that only Clowns, and not a single non-Clown, would be left in the entire world.) Still, he eventually returned to Tibet, and spent his last five years there.
Then there was the famous Clown who had taken on the name of Dick van Great-One, having been called - much more prosaically - Dick Brown by his parents. ("How famous can one get with a name like that?" he had asked rhetorically). When he "rose to the occasion" and went to Tibet he decided to adopt another, more Clownish name, and although he dallied for a while with the thought of calling himself Dick van Dyke, his friends pointed out that the term "Dyke" also had another, more (in his days) unsavoury connotation, so he decided instead to go by the name of Dick van Great-One, which sounded even more in keeping with Clownish traditions than Dick van Dyke, and was also a sure-fire way to attain renown. "Besides", he said, "I've always wanted a hyphenated name". Although he did dress like everyone else, as did all the other Clown Colonists, he did not groom his hair like everyone else, since that would not suit his new name. He instead grew his hair and made it stick out from his head in a most distinctive manner, till it almost looked like a lion's mane. He retained however his original first name, Dick, for obvious reasons, and to make it clear to everyone that he wasn't a Dyke.
His was a complex but charismatic character. His charisma would eventually lead to his becoming the Clown Country's first Prime Clown, and he was to hold the post for a longer total period than any other Prime Clown in the Clown Country's history. In the initial years of his "rising" he used to say "Tibet is not an empty country ... on no account must we injure the rights of the inhabitants." In those days van Great-One often returned to this point, emphasising that Tibetans had "the full right" to an independent economic, cultural, and communal life - but, he was always quick to add, "not political": political rights, he always held, were the rights of the Clowns only. It should be noted, however, that van Great-One, like many of the Clowns of the period - who had been prominent in the socialist and communist movements in Europe (one recalls in particular the celebrated Marx Brothers, who had written huge treatises and powerful manifestos on the subject) - had a rather peculiar way of determining "rights". He determined that rights sprang not from the past but from the future, and in the 'twenties he declared:
"We do not recognise the right of the Tibetans to rule the country, for Tibet is still undeveloped and awaits those who will build it." In the late 'twenties van Great-One asserted that "the Tibetans have no right to close the country to us [i.e., the Clowns]. What right do they have to the vast reaches of the Tibet plateau, which is so sparsely inhabited?" And in 1930, he said "The Tibetans have no right to the Tsang Po [i.e., Brahmaputra] river, and no right to prevent the construction of a power plant [by Clownish concerns] thereupon. They have a right only to that which they have created, and to their homes." In other words, in van Great-One's view the Tibetans had no political rights in Tibet because they had not done much in it other than building monasteries and stupas, which in his secular eyes - he was not particularly religious - was as good as not building anything at all. As a result, if the Tibetans did have any rights, those rights were confined to their places of residence and worship.
Others, however, were not quite so drastic in their attitude. They argued that the land of Tibet was vastly under-populated, and as a consequence there was enough room for all, Clowns as well as Tibetans. For instance, in 1921 a British politician, Sir Winston Templemount, who was to play a leading role in the Second World War, and who to the end of his days supported the Clowns in establishing a Clown Country, had said: "It is manifestly right that the scattered Clowns should have a national centre and a national home and be reunited - and where else but in Tibet with which for 2,000 years they have been intimately and profoundly associated by Buddhist scriptural Prophecy? We think it will be good for the world, good for the British Empire, but also good for the Tibetans who dwell there. [...] They [the Tibetans] shall share in the benefits and progress of Reclownment." And later in the same year Sir Winston had assured a Tibetan delegation headed by Lobsang Rampa which had come to see him in New Delhi, where he was on a visit, that the Tibetans' rights would always be preserved: "[The Clowns would not] take any man's lands. They are not like that. They will not dispossess any man of his rights or his property. [...] There is room [in Tibet] for all."
However Sir Winston also subscribed - and that too of logical necessity - to the absolute imperative that the Clowns eventually must aim at becoming a majority in Tibet. Without a clear Clownish preponderance in the population there was no way a genuine Clown Country could conceivably be created. If Clowns were to remain a minority of the population in their own country they would, as everywhere else, remain a minority (and to this Sir Winston normally added, as it were in parentheses, "duh!") - and as a minority the Clowns would be subject to the same unfavourable conditions they had been subject to everywhere else. So what, he asked rhetorically, would be the point of establishing a Clown Country, then? (Sir Winston was very good at rhetoric.)
As a result of all these highly persuasive arguments, Dick van Great-One had clearly stated, even as early as the last days of World War I, that his objective was to create in Tibet a Clownish majority. He said in November 1917: "Within then the next twenty years, we must have a Clownish majority in Tibet." This thought was to become the dominant leitmotif of his career - as, indeed, of most of the Clown Colonists.
Nor did they keep it a secret: all Tibetans knew what they intended to do. Indeed as early as March 1911, 150 Tibetan notables had called upon the Dalai Lama protesting land sales to the Clown Colonists. His Excellency had responded: "We are not xenophobes; we welcome all strangers. We are not anti-Sentimentarians; we have lived with Clowns for centuries, and we acknowledge the jocular superiority of the Clowns. We not only do not hate Clowns, we actually like them: they make us laugh. But no nation, no government could open its arms to groups [...] aiming to take Tibet from us. That, most assuredly, would not be a laughing matter." Nevertheless, the Dalai Lama of that time had not called for any armed insurrection against the Clowns.
However, a few years after the War the Dalai Lama had passed on, and his place had been taken by an infant, who, according to the Tibetan custom, had unerringly picked out His late Excellency's personal possessions - and only those - out of a collection of similar items, not all of them belonging to His late Excellency. As a result of this prodigious feat, the infant now became His (current) Excellency. His Excellency at such a tender age being unable to take decisions of greater moment than his choice of Pablum (known in Tibetan as Tsampa), the reigns of Tibetan government - such as they were - were pretty much up for grabs, at least until His Excellency grew up. It should be noted that although Tibetan custom did have rules for the interim period when the Dalai Lama was still too young to satisfactorily perform his official duties, those rules, though clear, were also complex, and thus difficult to enforce. In the political struggle that followed, the Punching Lama pretty much grabbed and held on to all the reigns of government - such as they were - of Tibet.
The Punching Lama, who as his name implied was far more pugnacious than the Dalai Lama, did not take to the Clowns' "reclownment" of Tibetan territory any too kindly. Nor did he like the idea of Tibetans being turned into a minority in Tibet. Besides, he too, like anybody with a mathematical background higher than Grade Three, could see that it would be impossible to set up a Clown Country in Tibet without the Clowns becoming a majority and the Tibetans, as a consequence, a minority, in their own country. But this, he argued, would be contrary to the Tibetan interpretation of the Promise of the Land of Tibet to the Wits, as explained in great detail in the scriptures. The Punching Lama made repeated trips to China to drum up international opposition to the Clowns, and made speeches to the Tibetan people exhorting them to - as he picturesquely put it - "take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them." Of course this did not endear him to the Clowns, who began to accuse him - as they began to accuse Tibetans in general - of anti-Sentimentarianism. Tensions flared up on both sides.
The British had to step in. They sent a few thousand soldiers to Tibet, and tried to calm the tensions. Being soldiers, of course - and that too soldiers of the most powerful Empire in the world at that time, with all their spit and polish - they had just the opposite effect. Neither the Clowns nor the Tibetans trusted the British to support their side against the other, especially after they had both seen how the British had not let their left hand know what their right hand did. And yet both sides realised that they had to try and get as much British support as they could, because the British Empire held all the real power in the world in those days. Delegations were sent by both sides to the British, to try to win them over.
In the meanwhile there were yet more clashes, and more Clowns were killed. The Clowns decided to beef up their military, or rather paramilitary, organisation, which they now termed "Defence", since that was what it was intended to do. They stopped their silly marching in the streets and instead organised their paramilitary units along guerrilla principles: they kept themselves hidden, amassed arms in secret, struck when least expected, and then vanished into the night. The British Army, with its regimented thinking, could not deal with them.
Oddly enough the Clowns learned many of their guerrilla tactics from a British officer, a Clausewitzist himself, who, though not a Clown, was almost crazy enough to be one. His name - I kid you not - was Oddfellow, and he behaved very much like one. He refused to tuck his shirt into his trousers, hated uniforms, never polished his shoes or buttons, would not salute or say "Sir" to his superiors, and considered the British soldiers to be "blithering idiots" (which, to tell the truth, they were, since they marched in step.) He believed he had a chance to create a great army from scratch - which very few had had a chance to do in all of history - by training the Clowns in unique methods of fighting which he had thought up all on his own. These methods took advantage of small and intimate groups of fighters who knew each other and the terrain intimately, and who were thus able to take advantage of the night and of silence in mounting surprise raids, against which there could be no pre-planned defence. Oddfellow and Dick van Great-One used to have heated arguments, but at bottom they liked each other.
Some of the British tolerated Oddfellow having all these contacts with the Clowns, because they too sympathised with the Clausewitzes' aim of establishing a Clown Country in Tibet. Other British officers hated him, and eventually had him transferred out of Tibet - but not before he had managed to train a nucleus of Clownish fighters in his methods, which were highly effective. This nucleus trained others, and eventually the entire adult Clown population ended up well trained in these tactics. In keeping with the teachings of Oddfellow, they also did not wear uniforms, never polished their shoes or buttons or marched in step, did not salute their superiors or call them "Sir", and considered the British to be blithering idiots. Sometimes they even went around with their shirts untucked.
The British Government in London attributed the continuing clashes to Tibetan fears of massive Clown immigration, which was continuing apace. They issued several "White Papers" - as they called instructions issued to those they governed (they retained Yellow Papers for instructions issued to their own subjects). In these "White Papers" they ignored their own previous commitments, and in one of them called, as a compromise, for "limited Clownish immigration, according to the capacity of the Clown Colonies to support it". By this they hoped to appease both the Clowns and the Tibetans. Of course - and as usual - they had the opposite effect. Whenever the British issued a White Paper in favour of the Tibetans or against the Clowns, Dr Wisejoy would persuade someone in Whitehall - and sometimes even the Prime Minister himself - to issue another White Paper or some other kind of document saying exactly the opposite. And whenever this happened the Tibetans would send delegations to the British - they did not by that time have to go all the way to New Delhi, for the British were now in Lhasa itself - to persuade them to rescind their previous promises to the Clowns. The British, of course, had no difficulty issuing pieces of paper to both sides against either side, for no one in the British Government had the faintest idea what their left or their right hand did. They left all such spiritual conundrums to the Church of England, which did not issue Papers at all, whether White or Yellow.
At one time the British hit upon the idea that they would divide the Land of Tibet into two parts, one for the Clowns and the other for the Tibetans. They set up a "Royal Commission" under Lord Lemon Rind, which after due deliberation came up with the idea of splitting the country and giving 33 per cent of it - the part nearest the Himalayas - to the Clowns, and the Tibetans could have the rest of it, and that part could become part of China, since Tibet often had been claimed - by the Chinese (who else?) - to have been historically a part of China. The Tibetans living in the 33 per cent which would be given to the Clowns were to be transferred to the other part, if necessarily forcibly: for despite several waves of immigration, the Clowns were still at that time less than 20 per cent of the total population. They would not become a majority even in the 33 per cent of the land allotted to them unless the Tibetans living there were transferred out of it.
The British had no difficulty in advocating a forcible population transfer, since they weren't the ones being transferred. And the Clowns were all in favour of it too, since they compared their own "rising" and "ascension" to the Land of Tibet as a "population transfer". The fact that their migration from their places of origin to the Land of Tibet had been altogether voluntary, while that of the Tibetans was intended to be forced upon them, was, in the view of van Great-One, a "minor detail", for he said: "You must remember that this system embodies an important humane and Clownish idea, to transfer parts of a people to their own country, and to settle empty lands". He added: "With compulsory transfer we [would] have a vast area [for reclownment] [...] I support compulsory transfer. I don't see anything immoral in it."
The Tibetans, for some strange and inexplicable reason, didn't quite see it that way, and flatly rejected both the Royal Commission's proposal as well as the idea that they should be forcibly transferred away from the fields they had cultivated for generations. And to be fair, the Clowns rejected the Royal Commission's proposal too. Some of them rejected it because they did not want a mere 33 per cent of the territory - they wanted all of it - but they were the less thoughtful ones. It was clear to all Clowns who thought about it that the problem was, and always would be, a demographic one, not a territorial one. No matter how large - or small - a territory the Clowns wished to control, they could not possibly control it unless they were a majority in it. One of the more moderate Clowns, who was called by his Clown companions "Moe Shut-up" (or more accurately, "Moe, Shut-up!", with the appropriate pause between "Moe" and "Shut-up!"), said in a meeting - and very perceptively at that, expressing the valid concerns of both sides (the following is taken verbatim from the transcribed minutes of the meeting):
"The territory of the proposed Clownish state would not be continuous; its borders would be twisted and broken; the question of defending the frontier line would pose enormous difficulties [...] [T]he frontier line would separate villages from their fields. We cannot accept that. [...] Moreover the Tibetans' reaction would also be negative because they would lose everything and gain almost nothing [...] in contrast to us they would completely lose that part of Tibet which they consider to be a Tibetan country and are fighting to keep it such. [...] They would lose the richest part of Tibet; they would lose major assets, the barley fields, the artisan centres and the most important sources of revenue for them, so that they would become impoverished; they would lose most of the areas close to India and Nepal, their major trading partners, which would also be a loss to the hinterland regions. [...] It would mean that they would be driven back to the less fertile and more remote parts of the Tibetan plateau. [...] A Clownish territory [i.e., a Clown County] with fewer non-Clownish subjects would in one sense make it easy for us, but it would also mean, from another point of view, a procrustean bed for us; while a plan based on expansion into larger territory would mean more Tibetan subjects in the Clownish territory.
"For the next ten years the possibility of transferring the population would not be practical. As for the long-term future: yes, I admit that I can see regarding this a vision, so to speak, not in a mystical way but in a realistic way, of a population exchange on a much grander scale and including larger territories. But for now, we must not forget who would have to exchange the land - those villagers who live more than most of the others on irrigation, on barley and apricots and peaches, on pears, small apples, raspberries and walnuts, in houses built in river valleys, near streams running down the mountains, on livestock and property and easy access to markets. Where would they go? What would they receive in return? [...] This would be such an uprooting, such a shock, the likes of which had never occurred, and could drown the whole plateau in rivers of blood. [...] Those Tibetans who would remain would revolt; and how would the Clownish state be able to suppress the revolt without assistance from the British Army?"
As usual, at the end of his diatribe everyone else at the meeting said, all together and on cue as it were, "Moe, Shut-up!" However, it is to be noted that Moe was getting to be increasingly influential in Clownish circles, though not quite as influential as Dick van Great-One. Eventually he was destined to serve a brief two-year stint as Prime Clown of Clown and Country, after van Great-One had resigned in a huff. But once again we are getting a bit ahead in our history.
Anyway, to get back to the history, every Clown - and indeed every Tibetan as well - realised that without transferring the Tibetans out of the territory of the proposed Clown Country, there could be no Clown Country at all. They differed only on what should be done about it. The Tibetans were unanimously united in their opposition to being transferred out; the Clowns were just as unanimously divided as to the measures they should take to accomplish the transfer. That minor point was the only difference between them, and it appears to have been such a small ideological difference that one wonders, looking back on the whole mess, that so much blood has been shed over such an insignificant thing. "Well", as they said often enough in Tibet, on both sides, Tibetan as well as Clownish: "that's life - or rather, that's death."
As mentioned above, Clowns were divided as to what should be done to accomplish the transfer. Some Clowns - a very few - wanted to stick to Clausewitz's original plan, which was, to keep buying more and more land from the Tibetans until the Clowns had enough land to set up a Clown Country in it. The whole process of establishing a Clown Country was supposed to have been a simple business transaction. The Tibetans had the land; the Clowns wanted it; the Clowns would pay for it; and the Tibetans would leave. As simple as that. As Clausewitz had pithily put it, "Business is just war by another name." The entire country could change hands just as if it had been conquered militarily; but all it would take was a sufficient number of cart-loads (or yak-packs) of peanuts.
However, some of the Clowns figured out the flaw in the scheme, which Clausewitz had unfortunately overlooked: namely, the more land Tibetans sold in Tibet, the less land the sellers could buy inside Tibet where they could set up shop once they moved. And they couldn't set up shop outside Tibet - say, in China or India - because in China and India peanuts were plentiful, and even a whole cart-load might not buy much land, or maybe only just enough land to bury oneself in. So the price of land in Tibet would go up progressively, and eventually would reach astronomical heights. As Moe said, "There won't be enough peanuts in the whole world to persuade the last Tibetan to leave: just where could he go?"
As a result, most Clowns preferred to do something more about it: that is to say, use some incentive other than a solely monetary one. Dr Wisejoy, for instance, wanted the British Army to help out. In his view, the Clowns should have no other task but land reclownment. All Power Politics should be left to the Great Powers, he felt, of whom Britain was at that time the most Powerful. When arguing the Clowns' case to the Foreign Office in London, he convinced them by expressing his reasoning in mathematical terms. He said: "There are over 16 million Clowns world wide, while there are only a little over 1 million Tibetans. How can the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many?" The officials in Whitehall, of course, would invariably nod their heads in acquiescence - as they did with everyone who talked with them about abstruse things like mathematics - since all of them, to a man, had been educated classically at Oxford, and not mathematically at Cambridge. They figured that whoever was clever enough to make an argument with numbers in it - especially numbers running into the millions - must already have performed the necessary calculations to ensure that the sums were correct; and so they were always prepared to defer judgement in such cases to the mathematicians.
Other Clowns felt that they could not rely on the British, since they were blithering idiots - the British, that is; not the Clowns of course. Prominent among this group of Clowns was Popoff. He organised an organisation, which he called, in all seriousness, "The Organisation" - since by that time Popoff had purged his being of every trace of a sense of humour. The aim of the Organisation was to secure with iron determination just two things: a Clown Country, and a majority of Clowns in it. And they aimed at doing this with Clown clout alone - they disdained British help. Basically their idea was to scare the Tibetans out of their wits, so that they would vamoose and leave their country to the Clowns. The Organisation would make every Tibetan an offer he couldn't refuse. "That's perfectly sound business", members of the Organisation used to say, adding: "and war is just business by another name." Their standard operating procedure was to chop off a yak's head and quietly place it at the feet of the bed of a sleeping Tibetan, so that the first thing the Tibetan would see in the morning when he awoke was the chopped-off head. Invariably the next thing he'd do was pack his bags.
This being a distinctly Italian technique of persuasion, Popoff made a few trips to Italy to see if he could learn some more techniques along the same lines. He became buddy-buddy with friends of Mussolini, since he - Mussolini, that is - had several thousand such tricks up his sleeve, more than any other Italian at the time: even more than Al Capone. "This guy is serious, deadly serious, not like those other Clowns", his henchmen would say to Il Duce when Popoff had left the Palazzo Venezia after having sipped tea with Mussolini's fellow-fascists. Upon his return to Tibet, Popoff decided to jettison all that silly stuff Oddfellow had taught the Clowns, and instead instituted brown-shirt uniforms, in the Italian fascist style, for members of his Organisation: even going so far as to insist that the shirts must be tucked into the pants. He also insisted that everyone march in step, salute their superiors with the fascist salute, and call them "Sir". These superiors too, like Popoff, purged their beings of every trace of a sense of humour. One of them, in all seriousness, called himself "The End" (of the line, so to speak), and had a sign on his desk: "The buck stops here". He also was destined to end up as a Prime Clown of the Clown Country, many decades later, and even win a Nobel Prize for (making or breaking - take your pick) the Peace.
But in those days the British weren't at all amused by the Organisation, and used to refer to it and its leaders as "terrorists". They all had to meet and conduct their affairs and chop off yak heads in utter secrecy. In secret they also ridiculed the British, derisively sneering "terrorists, shmerrorists", and adding proudly "We're F***ing Freedom Fighters, not terrorists." A splinter group, which was actually more extreme than Popoff (if that can be believed), even went by the name of the FF"F. The two primes between the second and third Fs signified that they were a secret organisation, and not a f***ing public one. The FF"F was led by a Clown who had gone to such great lengths to purge himself of every trace of jocularity that he even called himself "Stern" - which he truly was.
Although Popoff could recruit only a small minority of the Clownish population into his Organisation - probably because he insisted on every recruit purging his being of every trace of jocularity, even though that at a time most Clowns were still incapable of so high a level of commitment - nevertheless most Clownish leaders more or less agreed with Popoff's well-reasoned conclusion that if the Tibetans could not reconcile themselves to a Clown Country in Tibet, then armed force, rather than a compromise of goals, was the only possible response. By the early 1920s, after violent Tibetan protests broke out in Lhasa and the surrounding countryside, most leaders of the Clown Colonies recognised that it might be impossible to bridge the gap between the aims of the two peoples. Building the Clown Country would lead to an unavoidable clash, since the Tibetan majority would never agree to become a minority in their own country. In fact even van Great-One had stated - and rather bluntly, at that:
"Everybody sees a difficulty in the question of relations between Clowns and Tibetans. But not everybody sees that there is no solution to this question. No solution! There is a gulf, and nothing can fill this gulf. [...] I do not know of any Tibetan who will agree that Tibet should belong to the Clowns. [...] We, the Clowns, want this country to be ours; they, the Tibetans, want this country to be theirs."
As tensions increased in the 1920s and the 1930s, the Clausewitzes realised that they had no choice but to coerce the Tibetans to acquiesce to the status of minority. Van Great-One perceptively stated in 1937, during the so-called "Tibetan Revolt":
"This is a national war declared upon us by the Tibetans. [...] This is an active resistance by the Tibetans to what they regard as a usurpation of their homeland by the Clowns. We are defending ourselves militarily, as we have every right to do. [...] But the fighting is only one aspect of the conflict, which is in its essence a political one. And politically speaking it is we who are the aggressors, and it is they who defend themselves."
This grave conclusion did not, however, lead van Great-One to negotiate with the Tibetans: instead he became even more determined to strengthen the Clownish military forces so that they could compel the Tibetans to relinquish their claims. He beefed up his paramilitary Clownish "Defence" force, and recruited all able-bodied adult Clowns - males as well as females - into it. However, unlike Popoff, he was very conscious of world opinion, and realised that unless he had both the might of the British Empire on the one hand, and the sympathy of the rest of the world on the other, on his side, he and indeed the entire Clown Colony (as they now called it, before the establishment of Clown and Country) was going to be marginalised - as Popoff himself had been. So publicly he distanced himself from Popoff's Organisation, whose members the British were trying to hunt down (with little success, I might add, since they were blithering idiots - the British, that is; not the Organisation of course - and besides none of the British spoke a word of Sanskrit despite having been for two hundred years in India.)
However, privately van Great-One wasn't at all unhappy with the good work Popoff's Organisation, and even the FF"F, was doing, and in his heart he wished them well: just not so well that he'd lose political ground to them. Van Great-One saw himself destined for Greatness, and he was hanged if he wasn't going to make himself the most indispensable Clown in the Clown Colony, so that come time to choose the first Prime Clown of the Clown Country, the Clowns would unanimously choose him. To this end he courted everyone, from Dr Wisejoy on the one hand to the rank and file on the other, and from the British on the one side to the USSR on the other. He was even capable of quoting scripture - in the original Sanskrit, at that - when it suited him, for although he was not himself of a religious bent of mind he knew that many others were, and come election time it might not be such a good thing to find them alienated. He had a gift for languages, and taught himself Polish, Russian, Turkish, German, English and French, and even acquired a smattering of Schwyzerdeutsch and Afrikaans - in addition to speaking Sanskrit of course, in which he had become quite fluent by the time he was an adult. The only language he never bothered to learn was Tibetan, since come election time he didn't anticipate any Tibetans voting for him. In fact he didn't anticipate any Tibetans voting at all.
As a result of van Great-One's appeasement of the British, they did not bother him or his "Defence" paramilitary forces too much, even though officially the British classified them as "terrorists" too. However, when the so-called "Tibetan Revolt" broke out in 1937, with the Punching Lama calling upon all Tibetans to - as he picturesquely put it - "punch the Clowns all the way down the Himalayas", and protesting the continued Clown immigration and reclownment of land, the British had to step in and separate the warring factions. In 1938 alone the Organisation and the FF"F killed about 120 Tibetans, with a loss of only 8 Clowns. The British called in reinforcements from Britain, and imprisoned many Tibetans and some members of the Clownish "Defence" forces. They tried to imprison the members of the Organisation and the FF"F too, but these Clowns were too clever for the British by half. Only a few of them got caught. (Of course the fact that there were only a few of them to begin with - compared at any rate to the majority of Clowns in Tibet, who belonged to van Great-One's "Defence" forces - might have had something to do with it.) Some Tibetan leaders were deported by the British. "The Tibetans are revolting", said the British to one another, turning up their noses: "we've got to get them out of the country." (Of course the fact that by and large the British considered all Asians revolting might have had something to do with it.) The Punching Lama himself escaped to China in the nick of time. The British - and the Clowns too - breathed a sigh of relief.
It must be recalled that by this time Hitler and his Nazi Party had been firmly in power in Germany for quite a while. The Nazis were nasty towards everyone unless they were blond and blue-eyed and had swastikas tattooed on the outsides of their upper arms. They were particularly nasty towards Jews, Gypsies, Gays, Witches and Clowns, as well as anyone who was physically or mentally handicapped. If there had been any Blacks in Germany they'd have been nasty towards them too. The Clowns in Europe had begun to call the Nazis "Nasties", and with good reason. In America, a British Clown living there, a chap by the name of Chaplin, made a movie entitled The Great Dictator, in which he made The Great Dictator look ridiculous. The Führer was furious. "He made me laugh", fumed the Führer to his henchmen, adding: "and you all know how completely laughter undermines my furiosity." The Führer issued decrees to the effect that all Jews, Gypsies, Gays, Witches and Clowns must leave Germany, "or else". At that point in time he had left unsaid what "or else" was supposed to mean, but the Jews, Gypsies, Gays, Witches and Clowns had all got the point. The Nasties were far nastier than the Italians. They did not make anyone an offer he could not refuse: instead they refused to make any offers at all. They just dictated their terms, and expected everyone to answer "Jawohl mein Kommandant. Heil Hitler."
As a consequence, quite a number of Jews, Gypsies, Gays, Witches and Clowns did leave Germany. Some of the German Jews migrated to Palestine, where the Jewish people were in the process of setting up a Jewish State; and some of the German Clowns migrated to Tibet, where the Clowns were in the process of setting up a Clown Country. Some of the German Gypsies migrated to India and Egypt and Romania; some of the German Witches migrated to Salem, Mass.; and some of the German Gays migrated to San Francisco. Even though the Gypsies, Witches and Gays were not keen on setting up their own states or countries, they nevertheless found sanctuary among their own kind in all the places where they went. This was especially the case with the Gays in San Francisco, even though they did not call themselves "Gays" at that time, and indeed tried to disguise the fact that they were Gay. (That mass influx of Gays during that period is the main reason why San Francisco has such a high Gay population today.) The Witches in Salem established the Witches' League for Public Awareness, a non-profit educational network dedicated to correcting misinformation about Witches, which invites you to visit their web site to learn more about them. The handicapped Germans had nowhere to go, since they were not welcome anywhere, the excuse at that time being that there were no handicapped spots for them. They stayed behind in Germany, which was most unfortunate for them. In fact it was most unfortunate for any Jews, Gypsies, Gays, Witches and Clowns who stayed behind in Germany. The Blacks, who were not in Germany in the first place, stayed behind in Africa and in the United States and in the Caribbean, and tried their best not to go to Germany. They did not always succeed, however, and one of them, Jesse Owens, took part in the Berlin Olympics, in which he won all the races. Nazi Germany being a racist state, the Germans loved it, and Owens "was cheered as loudly as any Aryan", as Jesse's coach, Lawrence N. Snyder, wrote in the Saturday Evening Post of the time.
However, as indicated indirectly above, not all the Jews, Gypsies, Gays, Witches and Clowns left Germany. Some of them did not want to go, having built up their lives there over generations. Some even thought of themselves as Germans first and Jews, Gypsies, Gays, Witches or Clowns - as the case may be - second. They thought they were being patriotic by staying behind. They only realised afterwards, when walking through gates above which was written Arbeit Macht Frei, just how mistaken they had been.
Furthermore, not all of them migrated to the places indicated. Some German Jews migrated to Britain and America and Canada and Australia, some German Gypsies to Ireland, and some German Gays to Paris - which is why it eventually came to be known as "Gay Paree". Besides, even at that time France did not exercise any form of legitimised discrimination towards its Gay community, at least while they did not come out of the closet, and anti-Gay violence was virtually non-existent - which was more than could be said even for San Francisco. (The German Gays migrating to Paris could not have known, of course, that the Nasties were going to follow in their footsteps a few short years later.)
However, not all the German Jews, Gypsies, Gays, Witches and Clowns found sanctuary in these other places. Some - indeed many - German Jews were prohibited from setting foot in the USA and Canada, and entire boatloads were turned back. In the '30s, going through upstate New York, it was common to see signs reading "No Jews, no Negroes, no dogs". The dictator of the Dominican Republic, Trujillo, made an offer to take in 100,000 Jews, but was turned down - and quite rightly so, since it was widely understood that he wanted the German Jews only so that they could interbreed with the native Dominican population, and thereby lighten the general skin colour. The German Gays were even worse off than the German Jews, at least if they were openly Gay; for then they were not wanted in any country at that time, since there was scant likelihood of them interbreeding with the native population and thereby lightening the general skin colour.
Clowns, too, could not find sanctuary in some countries: notably (but not exclusively) Italy and Japan, which along with Germany came to be known later as Axisofevil countries. However it should be noted that in sharp contrast to the other groups the Nazis hated, the Clowns were not universally hated by them: that is to say, the Nazis did not hate all Clowns, only the jocular ones. The Nazis, like the fascists before them, did not mind the serious Clausewitzes. Clowns who had totally shed all traces of jocularity were tolerated in Germany, and even welcomed if they were visiting from another country, since they posed no threat to the Führer's "furiosity" (as he had called it). And indeed the feeling was mutual: a member of the FF"F, for instance, who called himself "Izzy Radium, the Stone-breaker", even approached the Nazis via an intermediary with a proposal to put the might of the FF"F behind that of the Wehrmacht in the event of a war. The Wehrmacht rebuffed the offer, thinking the macht of the FF"F was "negligible", given their small numbers. The Nazis only realised afterwards, when they were living under assumed names in Argentina, just how mistaken they had been. Izzy Radium also went on to become, many decades later, a Prime Clown of Clown and Country.
Of course, just as when courting the British, both sides, Clowns and Tibetans, tried in turn to curry favour with the Germans as well. So now it was the Punching Lama's turn to bid for German patronage. He sent his agent, Sonam Gyatso, who had studied in Germany and had for a long time been in contact with the German consulate in Lhasa, to Berlin with an offer: if Germany would "support the Tibetan independence movement ideologically and materially", then the Punching Lama would respond by "Disseminating National Socialist ideas in the Tibeto-Mongolian world; [and] combating Communism, which appears to be spreading everywhere, as it already has in Mongolia, by employing all possible means". He also proposed "continuing acts of terrorism in all British- and Communist-controlled territories inhabited by Tibetans or Mongolians". If the Germans won, he swore "to utilise only German capital and intellectual resources". All of this was in the context of a pledge to keep the Clownish and Aryan peoples apart, which task was delicately referred to as "maintaining and respecting the national convictions of both peoples".
In this way the Punching Lama hoped to obtain Germany's support in preventing the Clowns from turning the Tibetans into a minority in their own country, which the Clowns had solemnly vowed to do: even, if need be, violently and against the wishes of the indigenous population. The Nazis rebuffed the Punching Lama too, thinking that no matter how good he was at boxing, he would be no match for a Schmeisser assault rifle. Besides, they believed that acting violently against the wishes of indigenous populations - as long as the population was not German - was a positive mitzvah. They only realised afterwards, when passing through gates above which was written Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch'entrate, just how mistaken they had been.
Much of this was happening while the Second Word War had not yet started, but war clouds were already looming on the horizon. As they drew nigh, the British realised that they were going to need all the help they could get. So now it was their turn to court both sides, Tibetans as well as Clowns. Early in 1939 the British issued a White Paper limiting Clownish immigration into Tibet, and promising to get out and leave the Tibetans with full independence there in 1949, and thus effectively rescinded the Oscar Wilde Declaration. Thus they tried to appease the Tibetans, who were not revolting any more. In this way the British also hoped to curry favour with the Chinese against the Japanese, since the Chinese had designs on Tibet, and would not have liked to see a strong Clown Country established there. The Chinese did not mind the prospect of Tibet becoming an independent (Tibetan) country, since such a country would have been a walkover for the Chinese Army.
To the Clowns the British promised nothing, but it was clear, even though left unsaid, that the British Army was soon going to be tied up elsewhere, and thus would not be able to expend the manpower needed to hunt down any more Clown terrorists, or even the FF"F "shmerrorists". The British knew that the Clowns would appreciate the British Army getting off their backs for once. The Clowns did appreciate it. Van Great-One went so far as to send a bunch of Clowns to fight in the British Army against the Nazis. They called themselves the Clown Company. But the Clowns were not about to restrict their immigration numbers. Van Great-One said: "We'll fight the White Paper as if there were no Nazis, and we'll fight the Nazis as if there were no White Paper." He could defiantly say such a thing since at that time the Clowns in Tibet vastly outnumbered both the Nazis and the British there.
The FF"F, on the other hand, who did not outnumber even a birthday party let alone the Nazi Party, tried to gain strength by making as many friends as they could; for Izzy Radium had a saying "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." Since the FF"F had lots of enemies, and the enemies in turn had lots of enemies as well, it was a cinch for the FF"F to find lots of friends, whom they called FFF"F, or "Friends of the FF"F". The FF"F approached the Italian Fascists and the German Nazis, the enemies of the British, and spoke of them as friends; and they also spoke of the British as friends, since they were the enemies of the anti-Sentimentarian Nazis. In this way the FF"F could claim that both the Germans and the British were their friends, which was a lot more than the mainstream Clowns under van Great-One could claim. History has proved the FF"F right on all counts. The British defeated the Nazis, thus putting and end to German anti-Sentimentarianism; and the enormous cost of the War initiated by Germany put an end to the British Empire, causing the British to withdraw from Tibet, thereby leaving it open to reclownment.
Popoff, for his part, proposed an Organised take-over of Tibet. In August 1939 he proclaimed that it would take place in October of that year, for according to his prognosis, the Nazis would not go to war. He calculated, using careful logic, that the Great European Powers would not let themselves be dragged into another major conflict, since it would mean the downfall of at least some of them, as had happened in the wake of the First World War. He had failed to factor into his calculations the fact that the Fascists and the Nazis were blithering idiots, and as a consequence might actually go to war against the largest Empire in the history of the world (not to mention Russia as well as America in addition to it) regardless of the distinct possibility - nay, the virtual certainty, given the sheer size of their opponents - that many or even most of them might not emerge from it alive. Even after the outbreak of the Second World War Popoff tried to take comfort in the "phony war" - the period of military inactivity immediately after the Polish campaign - to tell a friend that "I still don't believe in a genuine war."
Accordingly Popoff planned to lead a caravan of the Organised who would assault the Potala. Simultaneously other members of the Organisation would seize Government House in Lhasa, where the British were headquartered, and hold it for 24 hours. A Provisional Clownish Government would be declared. After Popoff's inevitable and foreseeable arrest and - quite conceivably - execution, those of the Organisation's members who were in Europe and America would proclaim a Government-in-Exile. The self-sacrificing plan was obviously patterned after the 1916 Easter Monday uprising in Ireland, where the leaders were duly executed after their surrender, but whose gesture had triggered off a popular revolution which ultimately led to the British evacuating southern Ireland. Popoff could not conceive that his heroic venture could fail to inspire the mainstream Clausewitzes under Dick van Great-One, the most powerful force among the Tibetan Clowns, and he expected that they would follow his Organisation in throwing off the British yoke.
To put Popoff's plans into full perspective, it should be borne in mind that the Organisation had shifted its attentions from the Tibetans to the British in the wake of the May 1939 White Paper, which finally put an end to Britain's patronage of Clownish dreams in Tibet. The Paper had envisioned curtailed reclownment, had limited Clownish immigration to 75,000 for the next five years, and had called for a Tibetan-dominated state there within ten years. The Organisation's answer was to start a bombing campaign against British installations. The British reacted much more forcefully in response to the attacks on themselves than they had ever reacted to the Organisation's campaign against the Tibetans, since it was the integrity of their own skins and property which concerned the British the most. The then-commander of the Organisation - Popoff, being on one of his frequent trips abroad, had ceded his place to a deputy, a Clown who went by the name of "David", as in "the Clownish David vs. the British Goliath" - was arrested in late May. And on top of that, during the night of the 31st of August the British police rounded up the rest of the Organisation's High Command while they were discussing the merits - and demerits - of Popoff's harebrained scheme.
When the reality of the war finally sank in, Popoff, to his credit, was rather apologetic, and notified the British that he would shelve his fight against them for the time being for the sake of the war effort. So in late October 1939 the British released his deputy from detention. However, a majority of both the leadership and the ranks of the Organisation shunned Popoff's pusillanimous position and, under Stern's stern leadership, continued an increasingly isolated mini-war against Britain: one which, sorry to say, didn't impress the Nazis in the least. Popoff himself popped off from a broken heart a few months later in America, where he had gone to drum up support for a Clown Army. His unsympathetic American audience - at that time America had not yet entered the war, and most Americans were against it anyway - told him that if he wanted to fight, he should pop off to Canada and start fighting. Most Clowns, whether in or out of Tibet, never liked him, whether alive or dead, despite the fact that he was quite a convivial and talented fellow; and even after he died van Great-One continued to sneer at the Organiser, whom he often referred to as "Nikolai Hitler" (Nikolai having been Popoff's first name), and refused to allow his remains to be brought back to Tibet until sixteen years after the establishment of Clown and Country.
It should be mentioned, by the way, that virtually all the Clausewitzes sneered at those Clowns who were not Clausewitzes - which in those days was the vast majority of them. In 1936 the youth organisation of the Clausewitzes, known as The Young Guard, had published the following, which basically says it all: "A Clown [i.e., a Clown other than a Clausewitz] is a caricature of a normal, natural human being, both physically and spiritually. As an individual in society he revolts and throws off the harness of social obligations, knows no order nor discipline."
As a result of this attitude, when the great Clown calamity - which eventually came to be known as the Bonfire - fell upon the European Clowns, many Clausewitzes felt in their hearts that they had deserved it, for not rising to the occasion and doing their bit to reclown the Promised Land of Tibet. The Clausewitzes were always ready and willing to help Clowns rise to Tibet and reclown the land, but were not at all happy to help the European Clowns escape the calamity by finding sanctuary in any other country. Even van Great-One said, and that as early as 1938: "If I knew it was possible to save all the Clowns of Germany by their transfer to England, and only half of them by transferring them to Tibet, I would choose the latter - because we are faced not only with the accounting of these Clowns, but also with the historical accounting of all Clowns for all time to come." In the wake of the Krackerjack - as the 1938 crackdown on the German "Klowns" by the German "Nasties" came to be known - van Great-One commented that "the human conscience" might bring various countries other than Tibet to open their doors to Clownish refugees from Germany. He saw this as a threat to his own efforts to establish a Clown Country, and warned: "Clown Colonisation is in danger."
Even van Great-One's sympathetic biographer, a Clown called Saturday Moon, acknowledged that van Great-One did nothing practical for the rescue of Clowns from Hitler's clutches, devoting his energies to post-war prospects. He delegated rescue work to a deputy, Itsy Bitsy Greentree, who stated: "They will say that I am anti-Sentimentarian, that I don't want to save the out-of-Colony Clowns, that I don't have a varm Klownische harz ... Let them say what they want. I will not demand that the Clown Corporation [of which van Great-One was at that time the CEO] allocate a sum of £300,000 or [even] £100,000 to help European Clowns. And I think that whoever demands such things is performing an anti-Clausewitzist act." He also stated in a speech given in 1943: "When they come to us with two plans - the rescue of the masses of Clowns in Europe or the reclownment of the land - I vote, without a second thought, for the reclownment of the land. The more said about the slaughter of our people, the greater the minimisation of our efforts to strengthen and promote Clown Colonisation. If there would be a possibility today of buying packages of food with the money of the UCA [i.e., the United Clownish Appeal, founded in the U.S. in 1939 to provide financial support for Clowns throughout the world] to send it through Lisbon, would we do such a thing? No. And once again no!" (Nevertheless the UCA, to its credit, disregarded Greentree.)
As late as 1943, while the Clowns of Europe were being exterminated in their millions, the U.S. Congress proposed to set up a commission to "study" the problem. A Clausewitzist leader solemnly going by the name of Stephen the Sagacious, who was the principal American spokesperson for the Clausewitzes, came to Washington to testify against the rescue bill, because it would divert attention from Clown colonisation of Tibet. This is the same Stephen Sagacious who, in 1938, in his capacity as leader of the American Clownish [i.e., Clausewitzist] Congress, wrote a letter in which he opposed any change in U.S. immigration laws which would enable German Clowns to find refuge in America. He stated: "It may interest you to know that some weeks ago the representatives of all the leading Clownish organisations met in conference [...] It was decided that no Clownish organisation would, at this time, sponsor a bill which would in any way alter the [American] immigration laws."
The callous indifference of the Clausewitzes to the fate of their Clownish brethren in war-torn Europe, and indeed their active hindrance of the steps that others wished to take to save them, was in sharp contrast to the way members of the other communities who were persecuted by the Nazis behaved: especially the Jews, who were also at that time quite busy, especially those setting up a Jewish State in Palestine. Of course it is well known that Jewish people stick by each other and help each other out in time of need, so that should hardly be surprising. The Jews in Palestine, poor though they were at the time, helped save hundreds of thousands of Jews from the horrors of the Holocaust, regardless of where their endangered brethren could find refuge.
As for the other groups the Nazis persecuted, even the Gays had done their bit for their fellow Gays by joining the French Resistance and welcoming the Wehrmacht to Gay Paree so gaily that the Gestapo did not know from one moment to the next whether they were screwing the local citizenry or getting screwed by them. And as is so well known as to be hardly worth repeating, the Witches worldwide had helped in the war effort immensely by casting spells on the Führer: which in fact is the chief reason - or so the Witches have always claimed - that the Führer made so many stupid mistakes, like invading Russia and declaring war on America, which cost him dearly and in the final analysis made Germany's defeat possible.
In sharp contrast, the Clowns in Tibet did not even bother to make the Führer laugh, thereby undermining his furiosity. (Of course the fact that they had managed by then to purge their beings of every trace of a sense of humour might have had something to do with it.) This obtuseness did not prevent them, of course, from later hurling accusations against the whole world for its indifference toward the great Clown calamity, or from pressing material, political, and moral demands on the world because of that indifference.
In Germany, as the war progressed, things got worse for the Clowns - as they did for Jews and Gypsies, Witches and Gays, and others too. Of course the Nazis prohibited any further emigration, so despite the Clowns "fighting the White Paper as if there were no Nazis" - in van Great-One's words - they could not get many Clowns out of German-occupied Europe. Millions of the European Clowns were herded into railway box cars, never to be seen again by human eyes: only by inhuman ones. However, in stark contrast to the situation regarding the Jews, there was no written directive from the Führer to liquidate all the Clowns - or at least such instructions have never been found, and no written references to them have been found either. The Clowns were all liquidated - usually by gas - by Nazi underlings who probably imagined that they were carrying out the Führer's implied instructions. In this way, most likely, the top Nazi brass tried to keep their names clean. Records of the numbers of Clowns liquidated were not kept, either - again in stark contrast to how other German activities, such as the liquidation of Jews, were recorded: i.e., most meticulously. So although it is known for certain from German records that six million Jews died in the Nazi death camps, it is not known for certain how many Clowns were murdered by the Nasties. All we know is that there must have been at least six million. Perhaps there were more; certainly, said the Clowns, there could not have been less.
Anyway, the number "six million" because popular among the Clausewitzes, partly because it was so huge as to be horrendous, and partly because the Clausewitzes did not want to play second-fiddle to the Zionists. They wanted to have at least as much suffering on their side, so that they could get the rest of the world to sympathise with them too. Eventually they were to set up a "Bonfire Museum" on a hilltop near Lhasa, where they would take visitors from abroad the moment they landed at the airport, so as to nip all further criticism of their activities in the bud. How could anyone utter a word against a people who had suffered so much? They even brought Clausewitz's remains to Tibet from Germany, and buried them next to the Museum, marking his new grave with a simple black stone with just one word engraved on it: "Santa".
The end of the War brought great hope to the Clausewitzes, since the enormous effort to fight the Nasties had reduced Great Britain to a right little tight little island, and it was evident - as Popoff had predicted - that the British Empire was about to pop off. The Brits would soon be pulling out of India and Tibet - among other places hitherto under their control - and that would leave the Clausewitzes only the Tibetans to deal with, which, the Clausewitzes figured, would hardly be a problem.
What happened next has, in recent years, been researched so extensively that it would be impossible to recount it all. The "New Clown" historian Bozo, whose Clausewitzist (i.e., serious) name is Morris, was one of the first to tell it like it really was - contrary to the myths believed by most Clausewitzes after the establishment of Clown and Country - in his book Birth of the Tibetan Refugee Problem, 1947-1949 (Oxbridge University Press, 1989). Others who have seriously researched the Tibetan-Clownish conflict before, during and after that period have been Clowns of such enormous scholarly stature as Norman Frankenstein (whose parents narrowly escaped perishing in the Bonfire), Prof. "Big Daddy" Slime (pronounced "Shlaim"), who teaches at Oxbridge, and the famous M.A.D. (Massachusetts Academy of Dialectics) professor of linguistics Pleasance Hotsky, who travels all over the world lecturing on the subject of Tibet. With so much material to draw upon we can only give a summary of the subject, and we shall have to leave it to the reader to follow up with additional reading of his own.
As soon as the war in Europe ended, the Clown Corporation formally presented its demands - and "demands" is le mot juste! - to the British Government in May 1945 as follows (this is a direct quote from Great Britain and Tibet published by the Royal Institute of International Affairs or RIIA, also known as Chatham House - one of the world's leading institutes for the analysis of international issues):
"(1) That an immediate decision be announced to establish Tibet as a Clown Country.
"(2) That the Clown Corporation be invested with all necessary authority to bring to Tibet as many Clowns as it may be found necessary and possible to settle, and to develop, fully and speedily, all the resources of the country - especially land and power resources.
"(3) That an international loan and other help be given for the transfer of the first million of Clowns to Tibet, and for the economic development of the country.
"(4) That reparations in kind from Germany be granted to the Clowns for the reclowning of Tibet, and - as a first installment - that all German property in Tibet be used for the resettlement of Clowns from Europe.
"(5) That international facilities be provided for the exit and transit of all Clowns who wish to settle in Tibet."
However, the newly-elected Labour government in London did not accede to them.
So, to back up their demands with force, in October 1945 the Clown "Defence" organisation under van Great-One's leadership began a collaboration with the Organisation - i.e., Popoff's "Organisation", now under the leadership of the most serious Clown remaining, the one who called himself The End (of the line, as it were), and with the FF"F. Together they now called themselves "The United Resistance". The Defence, being bigger than the other two organisations combined, had veto power over operations. They started by blowing up trains in November, and the central British Intelligence building in December. In February of 1946 they blew up some British aeroplanes, and in June some bridges. The former were left over from the war, and were largely useless anyway, but the latter were very important, since without bridges over the raging Indus and Tsang Po rivers, most of Tibet was virtually isolated.
The British, in an effort at putting an end to what they oxymoronically called "Clown terror", had rounded up thousands of Clowns in June 1946, including Moe Shut-up, and had incarcerated them in a specially-built internment camp. Moe, for once true to his name, had shut up, and the Brits could get nothing out of him. So instead they confiscated vital documents, including the text of the agreement between the FF"F, the Organisation and the Defence to form the United Resistance. In retaliation, the United Resistance decided to strike their biggest blow to date against the British Empire in July when, disguised as Tibetan porters, six members of the Organisation smuggled in 350 kilograms of explosives concealed in milk churns into the kitchens of the King of Klowns Hotel in Lhasa. The resulting explosion destroyed most of its southern wing. This was the most elegant and prestigious hotel in Tibet, which had been built by Chinese Clowns (not Clausewitzes, but sympathisers nonetheless) during the early 1930s, and which because of its prestige, and because it was easy to guard and centrally located, had been requisitioned by the Brits to serve as their headquarters. The intelligence documents confiscated by the British from the Clowns were kept there for analysis.
Prior to carrying out the operation the then head of the Defence, a Clown who called himself Sneeze (Bless you!), had sent a letter to End in which was written, inter alia:
"a) At the earliest possible opportunity, you are to carry out the operation at the 'chick' [code name for the King of Klowns Hotel] and at the house of 'your servant and jester' [code name for the Marx Brothers building, another building in use by the British, which the FF"F eventually decided not to blow up]. Inform me of the date. Preferably at the same time. Do not reveal the identity of the implementing body - either by announcing it explicitly or by hinting.
"b) We too are preparing something - will inform you of details in good time. ..."
The Organisation sent a telephone warning to the Brits in the hotel about twenty minutes before the big bang, but the warning went unheeded. The explosion killed 91 people: 28 Brits, 41 Tibetans, 17 Clowns and 5 others. As usual the British, with their regimented thinking, were helpless against such guerrilla tactics. Methods developed to fight the Wehrmacht were useless when fighting against Clowns determined to make the British look ridiculous. (The Clausewitzes did not mind making others look ridiculous: they just didn't want to burst out laughing themselves.) The staggering - at that time - death toll from this operation sent shock waves throughout the world, which were especially felt in Whitehall. At first the British denied having received a warning, but that lie was soon debunked. The lies that were not debunked were the denials of van Great-One, who denounced the Organisation as "an enemy of the Clowns" from Paris where he had gone to drum up support for a Clown Country, and continued to his dying day to make the bombing of the King of Klowns Hotel out to be an exclusively Organisation operation, with no input from his Defence organisation - despite extensive documentation demonstrating the exact opposite. Such was his charisma, however, due to his impressive appearance, that most Clowns believed van Great-One, and indeed many of them believe his version of those events to this very day.
To be continued ...