Editor’s Note: This is the first of a five-part series examining the role of the communist government of China in spreading, and preventing a successful containment, of the Wuhan coronavirus. Parts 2 through 5 will appear each day for the rest of the week.
PREFACE: Red China’s propaganda machine is formidable and is unfortunately often aided by Western, even American, media. That machine has been put into full mobilization during this pandemic. Most Americans aren’t exposed to the raw data put out by the Red Chinese. The Center for Security Policy’s Dr. J. Michael Waller is maintaining an ongoing tracker of Chinese communist party propaganda. It can be accessed here.
The past month is without precedent in the United States. Our way of life, our society, our culture, our economy and our liberty have all to varying degrees been brought to a screeching halt by a pandemic resulting from a virus originating in Wuhan, China.
And, unless you are in complete denial, the overwhelming substantial evidence indicates that this virus came from Communist China due to neglect, incompetence or belligerence—or perhaps due to a combination of all three.
The Wuhan virus may have erupted by mistake, but the subsequent cover-up on the part of the Red Chinese government to conceal the truth about the nature and spread of the virus, first from the innocent Chinese citizenry and then the rest of the world, can only be described as nefarious.
So as you look out on the once-bustling streets across the United States that are now deserted, as you sit in your home self-isolating to prevent the spread of the virus rather than going about the business of your daily lives, as you watch the slick, high-tech 24/7 news networks covering the pandemic incessantly as if it was a major sporting event, as you think about our church pews standing empty every Sunday so that people can avoid each other, understand one thing: Red China did this:
“Beijing played down the threat from the virus, allowed large public gatherings, and failed to restrict travel from Wuhan Province until January 23. Chinese officials lied to the international community about the seriousness of the virus in Wuhan for weeks and refused to cooperate with international health officials. There also are reports that China pressured the World Health Organization to play down the seriousness of the virus in January.”—Fred Fleitz, President and CEO, Center for Security Policy
We can argue over whether the response to the pandemic on the federal, state and local level has been proper and effective, that’s fine, but we must not lose sight of the fact that, were it not for Xi Jinping’s communist regime in Beijing, none of this would be happening. NONE. OF. IT.
After conducting an investigation, even the New York Times concluded that the Chinese communist party is responsible for the global pandemic.
If China was not ruled by a paranoid, oppressive, totalitarian communist regime that cares almost as little about its own people as it does about the rest of the world, thousands of Americans who have died would be alive today and our economy, which was literally roaring 3 months ago, wouldn’t be in depression depths.
Some will say that I am scapegoating the Chinese.
That’s wrong on two levels:
- This has nothing to do with the Chinese people, who are no doubt as victimized by the Wuhan virus as the rest of the world. It has everything to do with the oligarchy that runs China: the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
- It’s not scapegoating because when you look at the available evidence, as we will cite in this multi-part report, you will see that, in fact, Red China is to blame.
By the way, make no mistake, this virus should properly be called the Wuhan virus because that is where it started. It has nothing to do with racism any more than naming the Spanish flu did a century ago. Ironically, some of those pundits who are now critical of the use of terms like Wuhan Virus, China Virus and the like, had no problem using such terms themselves…until the Chinese communist party began airing objections and calling such terms “racist.” Even official Chinese communist media were at one time referring to the virus as the “Wuhan Virus.”
But the story of how the Wuhan virus came to cripple the entire civilized world starts a long time before the last few months and there are a lot more aspects to this whole situation than meet the eye. Most importantly, how the United States responds to the Wuhan virus pandemic in the long-run will determine our future as a superpower, the leader of the free world and our very liberty.
America and the Free World will get through the Wuhan virus pandemic. But when we do we must not forget how all this started and what contributed to the panic. Communist China must be held accountable for the genesis of this virus as well as the lies and cover up that contributed to international confusion and panic. Red China is not our friend. Red China is not our business partner. Red China is the last huge outpost of a failed totalitarian system that has brought untold misery to the world—Communism.
What the communist party in Beijing has created over the past 30 years is a very wealthy but still hostile, communist oligarchy in China. They have spent much of their new wealth building a modern military machine aimed squarely at America.
As long the communists remain in power America must uncouple itself from China: No more dependence on China for our pharmaceuticals; No more dependence on China as a supply chain source.
Some will no doubt claim that decoupling from Red China is unrealistic, perhaps impossible and, to their way of thinking, undesirable. That is all nonsense.
“Every day this pandemic persists, and long after it is neutralized, we must remember the CCP bears by far the greatest responsibility of any party for this pandemic. If the CCP is not made to pay in a meaningful sense for the global catastrophe it caused, it will continue to act with impunity in its quest for hegemony, guaranteed.
This pandemic should represent the most tangible sign yet for all of America that we must decouple from communist China in every strategically significant sector. We cannot put our survival in the hands of a hostile adversary.” Ben Weingarten, The Federalist
Thirty seven years ago, on March 8, 1983, in a speech before the National Association of Evangelicals, President Ronald Reagan labeled the Soviet Union as an “evil empire.”
When asked what he hoped to achieve in the Cold War with the Soviet Union, President Reagan stated the objective clearly and simply: “Here’s my strategy on the Cold War: We win; they lose.”
Red China is every bit as evil an empire as the Soviet Union was. It’s time to wake up America.
It’s time for a similar clear objective to deal with Red China. That may mean that some morally and patriotically ambiguous titans of Silicon Valley might not make as much money as they had planned thanks to the use of communist slave labor, but our children will be safer in the long run.
It appears that the Wuhan Virus more than likely started back in November 2019, but if it weren’t for the fact that America has become hopelessly coupled to a communist Chinese government and system, that virus would not have turned into a pandemic that has infested much of our country. The 30 year process by which that happened is the true genesis of the Wuhan virus pandemic.
In 1999 on a radio program hosted by the late Ed Butler on the now defunct WTIX AM in New Orleans, I expressed concern that a communist Chinese company was poised to gain control of both ports at the ends of the Panama Canal.
A considerable amount of controversy ensued from that radio show and, when asked about it, the director of the port of New Orleans quipped, “I think we need to check our paranoia.”
Very few people wanted to believe that Red China could be another adversary in another Cold War like the Soviet Union had been. Nixon had made friends with the Chinese and all of that anti-communist rhetoric was supposed to be behind us.
The port director can be somewhat excused for his remark. After all, the port of New Orleans handles a lot of trade that travels through the Panama Canal and he didn’t want to offend the Chinese, who were about to control a key port on that trade route.
In 1999, few seemed to care that communist China was emerging as a world power.
Today, thanks to the Wuhan virus pandemic, few Americans are unaware of how our everyday lives are unfortunately intertwined with the Red Chinese.
Notice I wrote RED Chinese. There are two reasons for that:
- Red in this case means communist, not Republican. Make no mistake, the communists are in total control of China today, as they have been since 1949.
- A distinction needs to be made between the Chinese people—and all ethnic Chinese—and the communists who run the People’s Republic of China. I refer to communist China as Red China and the communists who rule the country as the Red Chinese.
Americans haven’t wanted to face reality but today the communist party in China is larger than the combined communist parties in the Soviet Union and Red China were in 1964. And thanks to 30 years of appeasement and accommodation by our politicians on both sides of the aisle and a disloyal or indifferent globalist business elite, we are faced with a new evil empire that is wealthier beyond Mao’s wildest dreams and armed to the teeth with modern weaponry aimed squarely at us.
A generation ago, under the rule of Deng Xiaoping, communist China began adopting aspects of market economics.
Many Western observers assumed that the incorporation of market economics into China’s political system would result in a freer China with close, warm relations with the U.S., the West and China’s free Asian neighbors.
The reality has been very different. China is not free and China’s relations with the world are often characterized by Chinese imperialism and tension.
We should have known, because we were warned.
Nobel prize winning economist Milton Friedman explained that economic freedom was a necessary condition for political freedom, but it is not sufficient for political freedom:
Friedman had, at the time, bought into the notion that political freedom would eventually take hold in China in spite of his admonition. But when China began to incorporate market economics into its communist economic system it did not change its communist political rule in any way. Instead, what we got were rich communists.
The communist party of China still rules China. China is best described as an oligarchy, a ruling system in which power lies in the hands of a small group of people. In China, the communist party rules. Within the communist party of China, the real power lies with the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, which is now made up of seven men, led by General Secretary Xi Jinping.
President Bill Clinton and many on Wall Street sold America on the idea that when China opened its markets to capitalism, liberty would invariably flow in and China would evolve into a free nation that posed no threat to the world.
The opposite has proven to be the case. China has maintained its totalitarian communist political system while it has amassed great wealth. And now, as we have seen with the recent controversy surrounding the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the U.S., China’s wealth has actually enabled the communists to enforce Chinese standards of freedom and liberty on Americans’ freedom of expression.
In case you had any illusions about whether the Red Chinese had softened through capitalism, just take a look at this excerpt from the Chinese national anthem:
Millions of but one heart we run towards the Communist tomorrow! Build our homeland, guard our homeland, and fight gallantly. March on! March on! March on! We, for tens of thousands of generations to come, Hold high the Flag of Mao Zedong, march on!
Many Americans don’t know much, if anything at all, about Mao. He is the father of communist China and ruled the nation up until his death in 1976. He led the charge to institute communist political repression. He is also the greatest mass murderer of the 20th century. He is thought to have been responsible for the deaths of as many as 70 million people through planned starvation, slave labor gulags and outright executions.
Mao is still revered by the communists in China today, particularly Xi Jinping.
The rulers of China haven’t changed as much as some might have us believe. Just last year, Xi Jinping issued this statement regarding pro-liberty demonstrations in Hong Kong:
“Anyone who attempts to split any region from China will perish, with their bodies smashed and bones ground to powder.”
If that sounds like something Saddam Hussein would have said, there might be a reason for that. Think about it. It could be that the only difference between Saddam and Xi is that Xi hasn’t had to slaughter anyone in the streets yet—not that the communists are necessarily opposed to such action. Remember Tiananmen Square?
In so many ways the communist oligarchy in Red China is an outlaw regime, a serial violator of international borders, trade agreements, and, of course, human rights.
As long as we keep enriching the Red Chinese by doing huge amounts of business with them, we are complicit in their imperialism, their outlaw trade policies, the oppression of the Chinese people, and a massive arms build up aimed directly at America—the subject of part 3 of this series.
In the 1980s, Chinese ruler Deng Xiaoping supposedly proclaimed that “to get rich is glorious.”
Deng is the communist Chinese ruler who is most often credited with introducing market economics to the Chinese communist political system.
The result over the past 30+ years has been that Red China has become extremely wealthy.
This has meant many things to Americans. “Like what?,” you might ask. Besides cheap goods and trinkets and cheap labor for Silicon Valley, what has this meant to Americans?
Well, just take a look at what the communist party of China has spent a lot of that wealth on.
For example, the wealth generated from that economic growth has enabled China to build a modern blue-water naval fleet almost from scratch.
Shortly after Operation Desert Storm the U.S. Navy was by far the largest and most modern naval force in the world with 529 total ships.
At about that same time, communist China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) included no modern warships—no aircraft carriers, no cruisers and no modern destroyers or frigates. The PLAN had a few nuclear powered submarines, but they, like China’s fleet of destroyers and frigates, were a full generation or more behind those that made up the U.S. fleet.
Today, almost 30 years later, the U.S. Navy has a total of about 291 ships.
Over the same 30 years, meanwhile, the PLAN has been transformed from a virtual non-factor to a major, modern blue water force. Today the PLAN is made up of around 400 ships and submarines. Most are no match for modern U.S. vessels, but that is changing—and rapidly.
As this is being written the PLAN has under construction as many as 3 aircraft carriers, a class of modern guided missile destroyers, two classes of amphibious assault ships and nuclear submarines to add to the 18 already in service.
How did the PLAN go from a virtual non-factor 30 years ago to the U.S. Navy’s chief challenger today?
The answer can be found in the meteoric rise of Red China’s economy over the past 30 years to the point that today it is the world’s 2nd largest. The wealth generated from that economic growth has enabled China to build a modern blue-water fleet almost from scratch.
China gets much of its wealth from trade with the West. In other words, we—you—have funded the PLAN, which is aimed directly at the U.S. Navy.
But that’s not the whole story.
As part of that trade, China has received direct technology transfers that it has used to modernize its entire country, its naval fleet and the rest of its military included. Without the huge infusion of high-tech know-how and gear, China would never have been able to develop the advanced radar systems, propulsion systems and weapons that make its fleet the modern threat that it is today.
In other words, we have financed and enabled a serious—and growing–threat that didn’t even exist 30 years ago.
On 1 October, Red China celebrated its 70th anniversary. To commemorate that event, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) put on a massive display of military power in the form of a parade. Along with the usual marching formations, tanks and armored and wheeled vehicles, the PLA displayed stealth aircraft, stealth drones, Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), Sea Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) and supersonic anti-ship missiles.
Make no mistake, all of that military hardware is aimed squarely at the U.S.A. Furthermore, much of the technology involved in the design, manufacture and operation of that advanced weaponry ultimately comes from Western—especially American—sources. Some of it was stolen, but a good deal of it was gleaned from civilian applications which were adapted to military use.
Many Americans don’t want to hear this for both political and business reasons, but the U.S. and China are adversaries. And China is today’s evil empire.
And now for the rest of the story: not only have we indirectly funded Red China’s military modernization program, but millions of Americans are unwittingly investing their hard-earned dollars in the very Red Chinese conglomerates that manufacture the weapons aimed at us. Among such companies are AVIC Aircraft Co., Ltd. and China Shipbuilding Industry Power Co Ltd.
AVIC manufactures components and parts for seven different types of fighter aircraft for Red China, including their new stealth fighter, the J-31, which looks suspiciously like the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 and F-35.
China Shipbuilding Industry Power Co Ltd builds power systems, including nuclear power systems for submarines. Its parent company, China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), builds warships and submarines.
Welcome to the new Cold War. Unlike the last Cold War, you’re funding both sides in this one.
But a massive, modern military aimed at us isn’t the only thing doing business with Red China has gotten us. Before the Wuhan virus, outsourcing manufacturing and jobs to Red China has also gotten us some other really bad deals, as we shall see in part 4 of this series.
Over the past three decades American jobs and manufacturing infrastructure have been increasingly moved across the Pacific Ocean to Red China.
This was mainly done in the name of “free trade” and globalization (never mind the fact that there has never been anything “free” about Red China—every business entity has at least 51% ownership by some government entity, including the People’s Liberation Army).
To be sure, some Americans have benefited from cheap labor and disregard for things like human rights and environmental protection by moving operations to China. At the same time, even more Americans have benefited from lower prices for products produced by cheap labor in China.
On the other hand, a lot of Americans lost their jobs over the past three decades as business operations were moved to Red China.
So there is a price to be paid for benefits. Nothing is free. Moreover, as I pointed out in part 3 of this report, sending all that business to Red China enriched the communist party there and enabled them to embark upon a massive military modernization and build-up.
But there have been other costs involved with choosing Red China as the destination for all sorts of manufacturing processes. Red China’s record when it comes to consumer product safety and responsibility has been nothing short of monstrous. Furthermore, it has allowed the Red Chinese to threaten to hold us hostage.
Consider the fact that Red China now reportedly manufactures as much as 80% of the pharmaceutical drugs consumed in the United States. As the Wuhan virus crisis began escalating and the Red Chinese began to take some heat, how did they respond?
They threatened to cut off the flow of medicines to the U.S.
That is not how a friend or business partner would act. Fortunately, there are initiatives in the works to bring that manufacturing back home.
But even before the Wuhan virus, there were examples of why it was a bad idea to let Red Chinese standards and practices be in charge of manufacturing our medicine.
Take the case of Valsartan, the popular high blood pressure medicine which was manufactured in Red China and had to be removed from the market because inspections revealed that it was laced with carcinogens.
The Wuhan Virus is certainly not the first toxic export from Red China. Trade ties with, and supply chains dependent upon, Red China have left a trail of misery in America for decades:
- Toxic Chinese drywall used in the construction of 100,000 residential homes in 20 US states from 2001 to 2009 caused a variety of health problems for innocent Americans.
- China exported toxic toothpaste containing diethylene glycol to the U.S. Diethylene glycol is better known as an ingredient in anti-freeze.
- In 2008, Chinese-made candy exported to the U.S., New Zealand and the Philippines contained formaldehyde and a compound called melamine which is ordinarily used in the manufacture of cookware.
- Speaking of melamine, in 2007, 4,000 dogs and cats in the U.S. died when dog food products manufactured in China were purposely laced with the substance to boost the protein content.
- In 2007, limits had to be imposed on imported Chinese fish after it was discovered that the Chinese were pumping them with cancer-causing drugs to offset China’s disgustingly polluted waters.
- Almost all our toys are now made in China. Hundreds of different kinds of toys have had to be recalled or removed from shelves because the Chinese have made them with lead paint (as well as other harmful substances), which has been shown to cause brain damage in children.
- Then there is what is perhaps the most toxic Chinese import, the deadly drug Fentanyl, manufactured in Chinese factories, which has been coming into the US from China for years, fueling the opioid crisis.
Ask yourself as our lives are put on indefinite hold, has enriching the Red Chinese while they poison us with diseases and toxic substances and use the proceeds to build weaponry been worth it in your mind?
Are you better off today because a generation of our politicians and businesspeople chose to outsource American manufacturing and jobs to Red China?
Fortunately, President Trump understands the situation and is prepared to lead America based on the reality of the world and not pie in the sky promises that communists are good friends and business partners…
“We should never be reliant on a foreign country for the means of our own survival….This crisis has underscored just how critical it is to have strong borders and a robust manufacturing sector….Our goal for the future must be to have American medicine for American patients, American supplies for American hospitals, and American equipment for our great American heroes. Now both parties must unite to ensure America is truly an independent nation in every sense of the word.”—President Donald J. Trump
America and the Free World will get through this Wuhan virus pandemic crisis. But when we do, we must not forget how all this started and what contributed to the panic. Communist China must be held accountable for the genesis of this virus as well as the lies and cover up that contributed to international confusion and panic. Red China is not our friend. Red China is not our business partner. Red China is the last huge outpost of a failed totalitarian system that has brought untold misery to the world—communism.
And, yes, the Red Chinese absolutely do bear responsibility for this unprecedented world crisis.
During the critical early days and weeks of the outbreak, the Red Chinese regime attempted to cover up the truth and punish doctors who wanted to warn the Chinese people and the world:
Early last December, a young doctor at a Wuhan hospital discovered the first case of illness caused by a heretofore unknown virus. He immediately established the link with an earlier epidemic that had begun in the same place and under the same circumstances, in 2002–2003: SARS, a viral pneumonia. The doctor, Li Wenliang, 37 years old, who died in February from exposure to the patients whom he cared for, had immediately posted his diagnosis on the hospital’s internal website in order to inform his colleagues. He was called before a disciplinary council of the local Communist Party and forced to repent and confess, in writing, that he had spread rumors harmful to the glory of the Party. A month later—a month too late—after further suppressing evidence from brave medical professionals, the Party recognized the explosive nature of the epidemic, which could have been confined to Wuhan but was now spreading throughout China, and then the world.
In a breach of usual global practice, Red Chinese officials refused to allow health officials from other countries to have unfettered access to data about the virus and its spread. Only when it exploded in Wuhan (a major air and rail transportation hub with people spreading the virus elsewhere in China and around the world) was China forced to admit the nature of the epidemic. But they still concealed much of the truth.
Eventually, to add insult to injury, an official communist party publication put out the absurd allegation that the US Army planted the virus in Wuhan.
What may have started out as simple malfeasance, incompetence or neglect on the part of the Red Chinese quickly morphed into nefariousness once it came time for them to take action and communicate with the rest of the world. As of January 14, Red Chinese officials were telling the World Health Organization (WHO) that the Wuhan virus was not transmitted from person to person. WHO then parroted this falsehood, reporting publicly via Twitter that there was no indication that the virus was transmitted from person to person.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is personally responsible for inflicting this pandemic on the world. As 60 Minutes Australia reported:
In January President Xi Jinping made a decision that would ultimately condemn the world: allowing 5 million people to leave the epicenter of the virus without being screened.
Let that sink in. FIVE MILLION PEOPLE TRAVELED TO AND FROM WUHAN WHILE THE VIRUS WAS RAGING.
At the same time that Red China was spreading this disinformation, they were doing something else: they were mobilizing their state-owned corporations and entities around the world to buy up medical supplies (such as the protective masks and hand sanitizer that have become so scarce in America and elsewhere) and ship them back to China.
The Sidney Morning Herald in Australia was the most prominent publication to report the details of this activity, but reports have started coming in from around the world, including here in the U.S. about similar shipments headed to China in January and February.
If all that wasn’t enough, now Red China appears to be cashing in on the pandemic by selling medical supplies to other countries and, as it turns out, at least a portion of those supplies have been defective, like the sale of substandard testing kits to Spain that were manufactured by a Chinese company that wasn’t licensed to manufacture them. Red China also victimized the Czech Republic with faulty test kits.
Speaking of World Health Organization, WHO seems to be all-too willing to buy Red Chinese excuses and repeat propaganda to the world. Maybe that’s because the head of WHO, Tedros Adhanom, owes his job to Red Chinese influence at the UN. Tedros has praised China for “transparency” and called their response a model for other nations to follow. Meanwhile, data reported by the Washington Post indicates that the actual number of deaths in China from the Wuhan virus number in the 42,000 to 46,000 range, more than 16 times what the communists admit to. The US intelligence community also suspects that Red China is lying about the extent of the Wuhan virus pandemic in China, including the number of deaths. The British believe that Red China may have 40 times as many virus cases as it acknowledges.
WHO can’t even say they weren’t warned and geopolitics appears to have played a role in what seems to have been a deliberate decision to ignore those warnings. You see, Taiwan, which has done a stellar job of controlling the spread of the Wuhan virus on their island, warned WHO that the virus was contagious. Weeks later, WHO was still parroting Red Chinese propaganda that the virus did not appear to pass from humans to humans. WHO has a record of neglecting and ignoring Taiwan because of Red China’s influence over the organization.
That’s a shame because Taiwan is one of the real success stories in this tragic pandemic.
WHO’s performance in this pandemic has been so shameful that the Oxford University publication Our World Data recently announced that they will no longer use the organization’s data. In other words, the very organization at the UN that is supposed to lead the international effort to control a pandemic has been rendered a retrograde force by communist corruption.
At this point we don’t know for sure how the Wuhan virus started. There are several theories out there involving the Wuhan research facility and the so-called “wet markets” in close proximity to that facility, but all the current evidence is circumstantial. Nevertheless, the circumstantial evidence pointing to the Wuhan Institute of Virology is extremely compelling.
No doubt the Red Chinese regime will destroy any evidence pointing to the actual origin, including “disappearing” doctors who have tried to tell the truth. Foreign journalists who have looked into what has been going on in China have been expelled for daring to tell the truth. The Red Chinese are going to extraordinary lengths to ensure that they control the flow of information about the pandemic. The Trump administration is pushing back by considering expelling the large numbers of Chinese “journalists” working for Red Chinese state-run media outlets here in America. There is no such thing as a true journalist in Red China. All of the “journalists” that President Trump is considering expelling are all employees and agents of the Red Chinese government.
There is no possible legitimate excuse for Red China lying, misleading and concealing information about the virus once it was starting to spread. The Red Chinese have the blood of Americans, Italians, Iranians and scores of other nationalities on their hands as a result.
The Trump Administration is mounting the nation’s first challenge to the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party since President Nixon opened up to Chairman Mao. This crucial effort is in response to Beijing’s repeated accusations that the United States military is behind the COVID-19 virus.
…a strategic, coordinated effort appears to be emerging to counter Beijing’s sophisticated, multi-part propaganda strategy to deflect blame away from its own coverups, disinformation, and censorship.
Red China’s propaganda machine is formidable and is unfortunately often aided by Western, even American, media. Most Americans aren’t exposed to the raw data put out by the Red Chinese. The Center for Security Policy’s Dr. J. Michael Waller is maintaining an ongoing tracker of Chinese communist party propaganda. It can be accessed at CommunistPropaganda.com…or at:
America is at a crossroads. If the Wuhan virus doesn’t wake us up to the threat posed by the 21st century Evil Empire in Beijing, then nothing will. And if we don’t wake up to that threat, we will be sentencing ourselves and the rest of the world to permanent subservience to communist domination. Ronald Reagan’s words are even more powerful and relevant today than they were in 1964 when he delivered them:
“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness.”