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Several days passed without any incidents, but then a torpedo sunk a ship carrying tons of tea off the coast of Frommia. Mr Topolovski appeared on national TV immediately after the incident. Fuming and shouting, he condemned the attack, which according to him was a horrific war crime. He did not mention Galia or Mr Uzunov once, but it was clear whom he was holding responsible for the attack. “Twelve young sailors have been brutally murdered by those who are afraid of the truth. Twelve innocent lives have been lost at the hands of
thecowards with no outpride andor morals. The murderers and those who gave them the order must face justice.” His voice thundered and was heard multipliedin the homes of hundreds of thousands of times in the homesof his citizens, who were furious just as he was. They rushed into the streets and demanded revenge, their eyes blazing with fury. Only the strong police presence of the policeprevented them from torching Galia’s embassy.
The UN Security Council was convened again, but as soon as the ambassadors started talking, it was clear that the
UN SecurityCouncil was deeply divided and its members would never agree on a strong resolution condemning the act. In the end, the Secretary-General appeared in front of the media to express his frustration and powerlessness. He was a man in his seventies but seemed to have grown eight years older during those eight hours of debate. More wrinkles had formed on his forehead and around his eyes, which had sunken deep into histheir sockets. His voice was shaky and weak, and he was looking at the floor as if he was the culprit, afraid of his own conscience. It was clear that a one or two of similar debates and the man would not come out of them alive.
The UN investigation into the sinking of the ship found no concrete proof of
theinvolvement of the neighbouring or any other country. People in Galia and Mr Uzunov greeted the findings with jubilation, while people in Frommia and Mr Topolovski were angrier than ever before, accusing the UN of partiality and conspiracy. Protesters rushed into the streets once again with their flags and placards, and they yelled insults not only at Mr Uzunov but also at the Secretary General.
After a while, people returned to their work and everyday chores, but a palpable tension was building up in both countries. Tourists stopped coming, and travels were cancelled indefinitely. One after another, foreign embassies closed; their personnel packed their luggage and left. Meanwhile, the propaganda war between Galia and Frommia started, and nothing positive was being reported in either country about the other.
from a neighbouring country.Their differences were being accentuated and commonalities intentionally ignored. Both Mr Uzunov and Mr Topolovski did their best to incite their nations. They and their agitators went from town to town, from village to village and told people how the other side was evil and was plotting against them. The large crowds cheered them, waiving their national flags and promising they were going to stand besidewith them and sacrifice themselves to defend the honour of their land.
One day, the grim news came that a group of unknown attackers had killed ten soldiers
in the borderguarding a post on the Galia-Frommia border. Apparently, they were stillsipping their evening tea (with milk), when the despicable enemy assaulted themthey were set upon in the most cowardly way. The soldiers never had a chance to defend themselves. Their tea turned red with blood spurting from their bodies. Later, they all were awardedwere each posthumously awarded witha medal for gallantry and buried with full military honours.
As soon as seven days of national mourning ended, Mr Uzunov ordered his air force to destroy all major temples dedicated to tea in the neighbouring country. Within minutes,
theGalia’s planes were flying over the border and dropping their deadly load on the ancient beautiful buildings, which were turningturned intodust and rubble within seconds.
Even if Mr Toplovski and his compatriots had been expecting some kind of attack from Galia, they never thought it would involve the destruction of their temples.
were unimaginable.Such barbarity was inexcusable and unforgivable, and it caused an outpouring of anger and hatred. The people of Frommia promised vengeance, and their president had no choice but to retaliate in kind. Soon, the planes of Frommia’s air force flew over the border and attacked the ancient temples in Galia, causing destruction and chaos. The two poor countries started to throw at each otherfired all kinds of projectiles at each other: artillery shells, bombs, rockets and grenades, which caused demolitionled to the destruction of factories, homes and infrastructure.
Their conflict became
breakingmajor news around the world. People who had never heard about them before were now fascinated by their dispute. All kinds of experts were invited inon TV studiosprogrammes where they defended or attacked drinking tea with milk. Discussions were held at theleading universities with the participations ofnumerous philosophers and other intellectuals whoquoting Aristotle, Kant, Spinoza, Heidegger and other great minds to proveargue their point. Thus overnight, tea without or with milk turned into the most discussed issue within academia.
Other groups jumped on the bandwagon also. Celebrities, sportspeople, musicians, actors, writers and politicians
theyall took sides and passionately defended their standpoint. Rallies were held in themajor European and American cities, which looked likeemulated the rallies held in Frommia and Galia, albeit with much smaller crowds. But they shouted the same slogans, “Without milk!” or “With milk!” PopularRock and pop bands joined the campaign and performed at theconcerts visitedattended by thousands of young people who were keen to support either Frommia or Galia and their struggle for the truth.
As the conflict was spiralling into an ever-deeper abyss, and more people were dying, the world became more divided on this issue. It was impossible to summon the UN Security Council, because its members felt such an aversion to each other that they refused to sit in the same room, let alone to have any kind of discussion. The media tried to get some information from the Secretary-General, but he seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth.
TO BE CONTINUED
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