Sir, Have you ever even considered burning shit down?

Our Exclusive interview with the esteemed Fyre Monkey on the right of dissent

“Fire Monke” (image owned by Joshua Collins)

I sat down with my good friend and mentor Fire Monkey (also spelled Fyre Monke) over plantains and kool aid here in Colombia to get his opinion on current events in the world. Our conversation is reprinted below, edited only for clarity and space.

JC: Hello, Fire Monkey. Thanks for agreeing to chat. Why don’t you explain a little bit about what you do.

FM: Fyre Monke

JC: Excuse me?

FM: It’s pronounced Fyre Monke.

JC: That’s what I said.

FM: No you said “Fire Monkey”, which is an allusion to a cousin of mine from Chinese mythology, more commonly known as “The Monkey King” aka Sun Wukong aka Son Goku. That’s cultural appropriation, and if you do it again I’m leaving the interview.

JC: Umm…deepest apologies. Well, Fyre Monke, can you explain a little bit about what you do?

FM: No problem, Joshua. Some of your readers may already be familiar with me, but to any newcomers who might be suffering under the poor fortune of not having been blessed with the knowledge of my grandeur, allow me to introduce myself. It is I, the illustrious Fyre Monke, destroyer of worlds, patron saint of lost causes, the chaos-bringer, lover of anarchy and justice, ardent supporter of those who struggle in the streets against tyranny. Also ardent supporter of those who struggle in the street against inconvenience. Alright, ardent supporter of people struggling in the streets for just about anything as long they’re not assholes or fascists. Well, sometimes assholes too, but that depends highly on context. Here, take my card.

JC: Wow, you really wrote all that on a card…is that a picture of the Monkey King Sun Wukong on the back? I thought….

FM: Look, let’s not get caught up in details. I believe you had some questions about policy and social issues?

JC: Right, yes, let’s get to it. 2019 was a year of record civil unrest, and 2020 is following in that path. Some experts…


JC: Err…did you just shoot flames out of your eyes?

FM: Of course not, Please continue.

JC: Some experts predict that 2021 will be even more fraught with social uprisings as the impacts of COVID-19 become more apparent and nations lift preventative lockdown measures. What do you think can be done to help prevent widespread unrest?

FM: I’m sorry I don’t understand the question.

JC: …



FM: These roasted plantains are quite good. Thank you for inviting me here today.

JC: Right. Next question. A global rise in populism and widespread growth of both conspiracy theories and disinformation networks have been an important topic of conversation in culture and media lately. Do you see this as a widespread problem preventing the encouragement and development of democracy in global society?

FM: No.

JC: I’m sorry, can you elaborate? Why not?

FM: Look, information, dis-information, what’s the difference really when we get down to the bottom of the issue? I’m not concerned about “facts” and all this ‘blah blah blah’ you windbag journalists are always going on about. Democracy is simple, you smash the tyrannical hierarchy and then you let people live their lives. The details will sort themselves out.

JC: Ah ok, so you would consider yourself a minarchist then?

FM: Hell no. Labels and teams are for only suckers and windbags like you. I focus on the important bit, liberation and the creation of truly free peoples. Does this cafe serve tea?

JC: Just herbal tea.

FM: Perfect, i don’t believe in the existence of proper tea anyway. It’s a construct of an unjust society. Mind if I order a cup? You said you’re picking up the tab, no? I don’t carry money. I find it to be annoying.

JC: Yes, of course, please. What would you say to people who posit that as these global social movements emerge and create connections and communications networks between one-another, forming what some refer and transnational solidarity, it becomes harder for States to to discredit them or lie about conditions on the ground?

FM: Look, computers seem neat. They make cool glowy images and I quite like pornography, but technology is just silly toys humans made to feel better about themselves if you take a step back and really look at it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are some exceptions- fireworks for example, I like fireworks. And really really fast spaceships seem pretty neat. It would be cool to burn shit down on Mars. I would like to do that someday.

What’s important here is smashing the tyrannical hierarchy. It’s like the people who are always telling me to read Peter Alex CroBumpkin..

JC: I’m sorry do you mean Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin?

FM: That’s what I said, yes. anyway. All this “theory” is just rules, man. I dislike rules. I get to like page two and I want to reply, Sir, have you even considered burning shit down? I consider myself a monkey of action. You humans talk too much. More flame, less lame, that’s what I always say.

JC: Fair enough. Final question: do you think it’s possible to solve the problem of scarcity inherent in market-based economies, or do you think that a better solution would be to try and build a society more focused on people than capital, and a follow-up. Do you think that hierarchies will still naturally emerge even in a stateless society?

FM: OH MY GOD YOU’RE SO BORING! This is why you don’t have a girlfriend. Look, Joshua. Burn shit down. Just burn shit down. It’s simple. Freedom. Action. Anyway thanks for the chat, I have to get going though. I have a tindr date with a cute “mona” here in Bogota this evening.

Luck with your boring ‘blah blah blah’ article. Chao!

Joshua Collins is a freelance journalist and photographer based in Colombia. He has worked for Al Jazeera, VICE, the New Humanitarian and various other organizations in Latin America. For more stories you can follow him on twitter or at his website Muros Invisibles.

A reporter on immigration and world affairs, based in Cucuta, Colombia. Bylines at Al Jazeera, Caracas Chronicles, New Humanitarian and more

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