Artwork - Kendra Felizimarie F. Magsico and Joshua Patrick C. Santillan

Heralds of 21st Century Fall Tell tales of conquest, war, famine, and death – harbingers of the 21st century doom.

Jeff G. Tolentino

“I heard one of the four living creatures call out, as with a voice of thunder, ‘Come!’ I looked, and there was a white horse! Its rider had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering and to conquer. “ With tears rolling down her face, hands on firm grip on the steel bars and the scores of people behind her she uttered, barely audible but clearly understood, out of the many deafening pleas, a phrase of words sent the clearest message. “Help! Taliban coming.”


Unsettled, the dust in the air echoed the chaos of the distant air traffic from the last leaving plane. Past the perils of the barbed wire, a father pleads for a hand to reach her daughter. Overhearing past the concrete fence, a volley of gunshots made her grasp her father’s hand even more. Her fingers, wrestling their grip off her father and finally the US military troops. Beyond the line of concrete, he can only hope of an unfamiliar hand to care for her daughter who in that time badly needs medical attention.

“The mothers were desperate; they were getting beaten by the Taliban. They shouted, ‘save my baby’ and threw the babies at us. Some of the babies fell on the barbed wire. It was awful what happened,” shared a parachute regiment officer stationed at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport in an interview with the Independent.

In a video uploaded on Twitter by Omar Haidari which gained millions of views a few hours after it was published, amassed public concern worldwide. In his tweet Haidiri captioned “The chaos & fear of people is a testament to the international community’s role in AFG’s [Afghanistan] downfall & their subsequent abandonment of Afghan people. The future for AFG has decided for its people without its people’s vote & now they live at the mercy of a terrorist group,” Haidiri wrote.

As the two-decade western influence recedes power off the borders of Afghanistan, a long been opposing force seized control in no time. With its people opposing the current regime, many have fled to the neighboring countries in hopes of a better life. Unknowing of what is ahead, some, desperate for a way out, clung to the sides of C-17 planes. Leaving behind their hopes of coming back home, a foreign land offers a haven. With the new rise of power off south, a thousand more seek refuge away from their homeland and the masters it serves.

In an exclusive interview with Doha News, Suhail Shaheen, a spokesperson of the Taliban regime shared to the world a government for the people of Afghanistan.

“This government is the government of the people of Afghanistan. It is not a government imposed on our people as a result of occupation or an invasion. It is for all countries to respect the aspirations and demands of the people of Afghanistan.”


“I heard the second living creature call out, ‘Come!’ And out came another horse, bright red; its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another; and he was given a great sword.”

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., the 46th president of the United states of America, after twenty long years of western power and influence in the south has decided to end what he called as ‘the forever war.’ Set to fully withdraw its military force on the 31st of August 2021, allies of the western power deems receding their forces the best way in ending the US’ longest war as well as concluding decades of effort in remaking a foreign country with a military force.

“I was not going to extend this forever war and I was not extending a forever exit.” Biden stated his remarks on August 31, ending war with Afghanistan. “This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries,” he added.

Turning over the mindset of building a democratic rule in countries that never accepted them, the western power sees firm commitment on addressing global threats rather than continuing a war of which targets have been decimated a decade ago – Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

“This is a new world and the terror threat has metastasized across the world and well beyond Afghanistan,” Biden justified.

With the western forces’ deadline coming to its final hour, the Taliban regime officially starts in Afghanistan etching an epoch in their history where masters can now serve their own lands.

“We are proud of these moments, that we liberated our country from a great power,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman shared.

A sworn nemesis in the North, a lurking threat due east, and fragile treaty down south. The western superpower is in a tight spot. Whether the recall of force in Afghanistan is an end to a forever war, or a preparation to a one yet to come, one can only hope that ordinary men need not fight another rich man’s war.


“I heard the third living creature call out, ‘Come!’ I looked, and there was a black horse! Its rider held a pair of scales in his hand, and I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a day’s pay, and three quarts of barley for a day’s pay, but do not damage the olive oil and the wine!”

Throughout centuries of mankind’s spoils in its great wars, the land has been terraformed to reflect humanity’s greed for resource and power. Come the 21st century, an era of phenomenal modernization, humanity has less than a decade to its deadline in combating climate change and its impacts. Changing weather patterns, extreme weather events, and rising sea level among its many effects have risen dramatically in the last decade than it has in the last century.

“It is no exaggeration to say that what we do regarding emissions reductions between now and 2030 will determine the quality of human life on this planet for hundreds of years to come, if not more,” an excerpt from the book of Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac entitled The Future We Choose: The Stubborn Optimist’s Guide to the Climate Crisis.

With the world’s reserve of natural resources depleted, economic stability arises. Famine sweeps through third world countries and while differing in cause, a central link binds one crisis to another – political invariability. The lack of political and economic capacity of a nation is the center of why populations are vulnerable to starvation. Often, those of an authoritarian regime, unstable state of democracy, or an ongoing war.

Whether brought about by climate change or a human induced famine, the silk road of foreign trade for resource and food is in an eminent threat of being severed. The rise of power that rivals those of the western superpowers will bring about its demise. And in an onslaught of a global conflict, these rich nations have more to lose than that of the people who have got nothing more than what’s little left in their belly.


I heard the voice of the fourth living creature call out, ‘Come!’ I looked and there was a pale green horse! Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed with him; they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, famine, and pestilence, and by the wild animals of the earth.”

“I see four horsemen in our midst, four looming threats that endangers 21st century progress and imperial 21st century possibilities. The first horseman comes in the form of the highest geo strategic tension we have witnessed in years. Second, we face an existential climate crisis. The third horseman is deepened growing global distrust. The fourth threat is the dark side of the digital world. New technologies are being abused to commit crimes, incite hate, fake information, oppress and exploit people and invade privacy,” shared António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

As of April 2021, the Afghanistan war tallied 241, 000 people killed, civilian and military men alike. The shortage of food has brought about famine through the poorest countries of the world and has now been estimated to have caused the death of 3.1 million children. With a pandemic at hand, the Coronavirus disease 2019 has now reaped the lives of 4.52 million people around the world.

Conquest, war, famine, and death, the harbingers of the 21st century fall do not march alone. Humanity over the years has allowed them to trample civilizations. The endless wars for expanding territories and the heist of power has led to the extinction of once great empires. Should mankind continue to pave the path for the riders of doom, the fall of the great civilizations of the 21st century is likely to repeat like its predecessors of the past.

This is how humanity corrupts itself and corruption in its purest form is a subtle and deadly art.

Published: April 25, 2022