(May 24) Wow, what a day… I have finally arrived in Ecotopia – a trip that I’ve been anxiously awaiting for the past couple of months. After crossing the border into Ecotopia, I was expecting to stumble upon a pleasant utopia – people riding their bicycles, children playing in crystal-clear water, and boundless wildlife in nearby forests. Or maybe upon a society on the brink of collapse, plagued with starvation, crime, and poverty? News coverage of Ecotopia in the United States has recently become more and more apocalyptic after all.
Instead, my arrival was met with a bizarre scene: roughly 40-50 men carrying spears were leading a huge crowd of cheering Ecotopians to a hill overlooking the city. I immediately realized that I had arrived on the same day as the barbaric war games that concerned friends and family members have told me all about.
Nonetheless, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect: something along the lines of the Hunger Games – teenagers forced to senselessly kill each other for the enjoyment of the government? Or maybe something similar in resemblance to war reenactments – a gentle reminder of the dreadful history overcome by Ecotopians during their fight for Independence from the United States?
At first, I felt like I was watching a bad horror movie – I didn’t want to witness the spectacle, but I also couldn’t keep my eyes off it. However, after my initial shock wore off, the war games began to remind me of a choreographed dance (minus the spears, of course). One group would advance, then retreat, over and over until the other group made a mistake.
Although one of the competing men was eventually struck by a spear (a slight misstep separated him from the rest of his team, leaving him vulnerable and exposed), none of this seemed barbaric to me. Instead, members of each group supported and protected each other, any hostility between the two opposing groups evaporated as soon as the final blow was executed, and citizens from all walks of life came together to celebrate.