We need guidance on where the crisis in Egypt is going, and what it will mean for our world.
Close to a hundred of us are gathered in the meeting room, trusting that the speaker will give us the guidance we need. He is African-American, of later middle age. Scholarly and quietly authoritative, he holds the lectern easily but with enormously sober demeanor. We follow every word, deeply engaged
He tells us: "What is coming will be worse than anything seen in Germany in 1868."
When he voices that prediction, some people, especially the older ones among us, burst out in various sounds of shock and dismay. They don't want to believe him. He shakes his head mournfully and forcefully, and says "Mark my words."
Breaking news from Egypt, on the dream screen. Of all the dreams relating to Egypt that I have heard over the past week, this report, from a gifted New York dreamer named Margaret, may be the most fascinating.
What can the dream speaker mean, when he predicts that what is coming in Egypt will be worse than anything seen in Germany in 1868? On waking, this reference was mysterious to the dreamer, though she is no slouch at research and resolved to do some digging into 19th century history.
Bismarck was my first association. I dimly remembered writing an undergrad paper on how the Prussian statesman triggered a war in order to make an empire. My memory of the details was foggy, but Auntie Google soon gave me what I had forgotten. In 1868, when relations between Prussia and the France of Napoleon III were tense because of a struggle for the Spanish succession, Bismarck used deception to start a war. He tampered with a letter from his own monarch, Wilhelm I, to make the text read like an insult to the French - goading Napoleon III to declare war. The Franco-Prussian War that ensued was a disaster for the French, leading to the loss of Alsace-Lorraine and the declaration, in the hall of mirrors of Versailles, of the German empire in 1871. This was the birth of the German Reich, and it eventually gave us the Great War and all that followed.
1868 in Germany also saw the publication of a viciously anti-semitic novel titled Barruel , which depicts Jewish leaders plotting world domination. Material from this was used by those who concocted one of the most evil forgeries known to history, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, used by the Tsar's secret police and later by the Nazis to justify the assault on the Jews.
I don't know whether these are the associations Margaret's dream speaker had in mind, when he spoke of Germany in 1868, since I was not in that dream gathering. But it's not hard to see some relevance, in an age when wars are triggered and justified by false information.
Margaret adds: "I felt, both in the dream, and afterward, that our speaker was a time traveler who himself had suffered, and knew suffering -- and survival." Who better to ask about history - of the future or the past - than a time traveler? And we are all time travelers in our dreams.
"Battle of the Pyramids"(1798-1799) by François Louis Joseph Watteau.