Saturday, May 5, 2018

Part 4. Olive's Boys

After a decade fighting a lost war against the growing authority and legitimacy of the Peoples Republic of China and gradually being abandoned, first by the U.S who had bigger problems in Vietnam and finally by the Generalissimo in Taiwan himself, Olive would slowly shift the ideology of her private army from an anti-communist force to a rebel movement fighting for the autonomy of her people, financed through opium profits and benefitting her retinue of sycophants and opportunists, fighting against Thai, Burmese and even Kuomingtang state power.

The animating spirit of Olive's boys would mutate and dissolve as it flowed through the jungles gathering tribesmen of the mountains and defectors from the mainland; they married with locals and absorbed the landscapes and traditions of the people. In the alps of Northern Burma, amongst verdant crops of tea and cherry blossom, it was the scarlet poppy plantations which gave a new vitality to the economy and power to her soldiers.

Yet the opium never ceased to appear monstrous to Olive and the locals, bearing both good and evil, its dark, alien power symbolized by the ghostly red, white and blue orbs they saw showering the night sky.

Her power would increase as the demand for opium surged with the outflow of drug addicted US soldiers from Vietnam and the trade routes devised by veterans through the 'cadaver connection', a method for smuggling bars of heroin in the coffins of dead US soldiers slaughtered by the Viet Cong. The opium would flow from the hills of Kokang to the tributaries of the Mekong through warzones and across seas into the neon drenched streets of Harlem. 

The opium wars between Britain and China in the 19th century would be followed by what would become a secret, Third Opium War, as Olive's opium generals fought the Thai-Burmese forces who were attempting to reassert control over the rebel Shan states and the communist insurgencies that honey-combed the border, as well as the United States D.E.A which was desperately trying to dismantle the heroin trade they'd nurtured a decade earlier in what might perhaps be called the Fourth Opium War, or as it was known amongst the rulers of that nation, 'the war on drugs'.

In the bloodless coup d’etat of 1962, Olive was swept up in the wave of usurpations and abductions in Rangoon along with all the other Shan State Saophas and Myeosas. The twilight coolness of her prison cell forgave the summer heat and in a haze of vapour from that sticky black ball she dreamt of lost love and the elongated, proboscis tongue of female spirits burning her womb.

In these situations, it was difficult to judge whether it was a problem of supply or demand, just, rebellious or lost causes which propelled the situation.

"เราต้องต่อสู้กับความชั่วร้ายของลัทธคอมมิวนิสต์ต่อไปและการสู้รบคุณต้องมีกองทัพและกองทัพต้องมีปืนและซื้อปืนคุณต้องมีเงิน ในเทือกเขาเหล่านี้เงินเพียงอย่างเดียวคือฝิ่น"


'We have to continue to fight the evils of communism and to fight you must have an army, and an army must have guns, and to buy guns you must have money. In these mountains, the only money is opium.'

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