(1937-12-16) An Interview With Cassius Malfoy
Details for An Interview With Cassius Malfoy
Summary: Phil gets a big break when she lands an interview with the controversial Cassius Malfoy.
Date: December 16, 1937
Location: Cafe Tasseo
Related: Plot: Unity • The published interview: The Voice of Unity: An Interview With Cassius Malfoy

Café Tasseo hums with the conversation of the early lunch crowd, shortly before noon. Seated at a small table tucked away in a far corner of the room, Cassius Malfoy waits patiently, his eyes drifting over some legal document or another to pass the time. He is attired in a tailored grey suit with his usual high collar. It is a relatively plain affair, letting the quality of the cut and fabrics speak for itself.

There is something to be said for fine quality items. Though she does not live the life of one of the wealthiest denizens of the wizarding world at present the fine make of her clothing and the bearing of Phil's demeanor show her to have been reared as one. After entering the public room of the building she pushes back the hood of her cloak and closes the door quietly behind her. Wide guiless eyes move over the room and come to rest upon the face of Cassius. With sure feet shod in black leather boots carry her over to his table. "Good afternoon, Mr Malfoy," she offers as a quiet interjection upon his solitary reading.

Cassius tucks the reading material away immediately, rising to greeting Phil with a smile. "Miss Rowle, thank you so much for joining me." Ever the gentleman, he takes out a chair for her to invite her to the table, seating himself only after she is settled.

Phil gives him a polite smile and then lowers herself into the chair that Cassius has pulled out for her. "Thank you." She takes a small notebook and pencil from the pocket of her cloak. "I have been looking forward to this since receiving your reply." She sets the items on the table in front of her.

Cassius lifts a finger to get the attention of a server. "As have I. I was beginning to become disheartened by the apparent lack of interest on the part of the Daily Prophet. I am pleased to know there are still journalists who will dig deeper for the truth." When the server arrives, he places his own order, adding, "And whatever the lady desires."

Phil orders a simple French tisane then opens her notebook and turns to an empty page. "It saddens me to say, but I have begun to suspect that some I work with may have their own political agendas and that they have forgotten the task they were charged with — to present the truth, unaltered, to the public." She shrugs off her cloak, half turning to settle it across the back of her chair then adjusts the sleeves of her dress.

Cassius spreads his hands, nodding, "That is all I ask of you. The truth is what I offer to the people. Only truth will break the chains that bind us. Ah, but I get ahead of myself. This is your interview to conduct." He smiles, gesturing to her. "Please, ask what you will of me."

Phil smiles faintly as if she were in agreement with his passion on the subject. "I would begin — that is I would like to begin by asking you to counter the advertisement which has bandied about your family name as part of a conspiracy." She lifts her gaze and watches Cassius from beneath her lashes as her pencil is poised to write.

"Ah yes, the writing of the so-called Luther Martinus. I find it interesting that my opposition now chooses to hide behind a pseudonym. Particularly one derived from the name of a Muggle whose words of protest were responsible for a major revolution of one of the most powerful Muggle institutions in the world. I think, perhaps, they do not realize which side of this issue they are on." Cassius chuckles, shaking his head. "Frankly, it is a cheap attempt to strike a blow at my family in an effort to discredit me, personally. Worse still, it is a lie. There was initial resistance to the Statute, from many corners. But history will show that the Malfoys have long been staunch supporters of secrecy. I am the first to stand against it. Even more interesting is that they also cite the name of 'the Grindelwalds,' implying that Gellert Grindelwald's ancestors have historically tried to thwart the Statute. I should be very interested to see what evidence exists of this."

Phil presses her lips together to hold back the unprofessional laughter that comes at Cassius' last quip. She instead nods and makes note of what he has said. "How is it that you have come to be at odds with the majority of your family on this issue, Mr Malfoy?" She cants her head to the left causing her hair to fall that way.

Cassius arches an eyebrow at her. "Am I at odds with them? I'd not heard that many in my family had taken a stance. I generally do not mix politics with family life. The exception, of course, being my sister, Edwarlinda Malfoy. She is a firm believer in Unity, and has lent her voice to the cause as well."

Phil looks back at her notes. "You said you were the first Malfoy to stand against the statute, does that not put you at odds with your family?" She looks up again. "Or has the family as a whole shifted their position with regards to the statute?" She is quiet a moment. "Or am I to understand your meaning to be that you see your personal viewpoint that and your politics being separate from your family and your relationship to them?"

Cassius leans back in his chair, folding his hands before him. "I do not know that my family takes an especially strong stance for or against the Statute. I imagine we'll be hearing from them soon enough. But like most of the silent majority, I would not presume to speak on their behalf. I do not rely upon my family name to draw attention to this issue. That has been done solely on the part of my opponents."

She nods with understanding and is silent for a few minutes as she makes adjustments to her notes, taking care to get the wording correct. After she has finished she at last takes up her drink that was set before her by the server. A careful sip is taken before the cup is returned to the saucer. "How is it that you have come to speak for Unity and what do you think your campaign will be realistically able to achieve?"

Cassius nods gratefully to the server for the tea, taking a satisfying sip. "Mm, first let me say that I am not the only voice of Unity. But I initially spoke up for the repealment of the Statute of Secrecy, largely due to what I see happening among the Muggles. A scant few years ago, the Muggles brought the world we all inhabit to the brink of devastation. All of the signs show that it is about to happen again. It is plain to me that we cannot sit by and wait to be destroyed. This is a storm we cannot weather, nor should we. I have always felt a strong sense of responsibility for the world. As a student of Muggle history and culture, I can recognize that wizards have certain gifts, and it is our duty to use those gifts for the betterment of the world. By hiding from the Muggles, we have shirked our duty, and denied them what could have been valuable guidance. I could not bear to be silent any longer about what I saw as a grave injustice. The Statute of Secrecy ties our hands, preventing us from acting to save ourselves, to save the Muggles, and to save the world. So what began as an off-handed comment during a press conference two years ago has grown into the Unity Movement you see today. Realistically, I believe that we can achieve exactly what we have set out to do. Repealment of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy, unification with the Muggles to share this world, and the prevention of a war that threatens annihilation. But it must happen soon. Bombs and armies do not wait for this imagined time of peace that my detractors hope for."

She pauses to drink when he does, mirroring his body language almost as if it were unconsciously done. "You speak of the situation in Germany with the National Socialist Party and the coming to power of Signor Mussolini in Italy?" interjects Phil. "There are many in wizarding communities on the Continent who report a rise in political tensions but there are those who fear repealing the Statute because of past histories. How do you answer their fears?"

Cassius smiles approvingly. "You are schooled in Muggle politics. Excellent. I answer with this. Responding to fear with fear has not made us any safer. It has only prolonged our demise until the Muggles' weapons were powerful enough to wipe us out without even knowing we are here. Secrecy has not shielded us, it has made us vulnerable. Fear is born of ignorance. The cure for ignorance is knowledge. It is a fairly simple equation. If we wish to reintegrate wizarding and Muggle society, we must educate both cultures about the other. That is why one of the initial phases of our plan involves just that sort of education. With a deeper understanding of history, and the truth about each of our peoples, we can overcome the divisions of the past and build a better future."

Phil finds herself nodding along as she notes down what Cassius is saying. "How does the Unity campaign propose to overcome these divisions and build a bridge between the two communities given many in the wizarding community are either ignorant of Muggle life or only know stereotypes of it and to Muggles we simply do not exist but in the tales of the Brothers Grimm?"

"We will release full details of our plan in due time," Cassius explains. "But, in basic terms, we would begin by first contacting the Muggle heads of state, and working with them to formulate specific action plans for integration. Likewise, I would propose to reorganize the Wizarding Examinations Authority into a Department of Wizarding Education, which would be responsible for expanding Muggle Studies curricula, as well as promoting greater adult education via the Wizarding Wireless Network and other media sources. Complete integration will take time, naturally. But the first order of business is to make it known that we exist, and that we are not a threat."

Phil pauses to take another sip of her tisane before posing her next questions. "What of the elements within our own society who have persecuted Muggles and believe them to be inferior? Has the Unity campaign considered that some may seek to expand their exploitation of Muggles once the Statute has been rescinded? Or alternately, that some Muggles may prey upon the weaker-minded amongst us and exploit their magic for nefarious purposes?"

Cassius nods deeply. "A fair concern, and not something we haven't considered. This is another area where greater education will benefit everyone. Cooperation between the M.L.E. and Muggle law enforcement will help to stem the tide of this sort of behaviour. But let us be honest, these issues exist within our separate societies already. But understanding and tolerance were never nurtured in an environment of ignorance and fear."

Phil jots a few things down and flips back a page or two then forward again before looking across the table towards Cassius once more. "What is your ultimate hope, Mr Malfoy? In an ideal world how would you see this playing out? What kind of world can cooperation create?"

Cassius gets a warm smile, suddenly looking a bit sentimental. "I see the foundation for a better world. I see wizards stepping up into our roles as custodians for this planet. I see us assisting and guiding the Muggles toward their ultimate destiny, whatever that may be. I see a world in which our children can grow up without living in fear of discovery…the very fear that engenders resentment toward Mugglekind. I want to give them a future filled with hope and possibility."

She silently watches him for a moment then begins to move her pencil across the paper. Whereas some of her colleagues prefer to use magical methods to record things there is something about putting pen(cil) to paper that pleasures the writer within Phil. The pencil's soft scratching noises slow to a stop after a couple of minutes and she sits in silence too. Then a long moment later she poses a single soft question, "What would you say to people who accuse you of being a dreamer?"

Cassius's smile only grows broader and brighter. "I would ask them to name me one great, world-changing deed that didn't begin with a dream."

Phil does release a laugh then when earlier she would have held back; it is a soft tinkling laugh. "Indeed, Mr Malfoy, indeed." She sets her notebook and pencil aside in order to take up the cup from the saucer and drink the still steaming herbal drink. She drinks quietly savouring the flavour for a few minutes. "You are an eloquent spokesman for the Unity campaign. Hopefully this piece will improve the turnout for the meetings."

Cassius is reminded to drink his own tea. He gets so distracted when he gets to talking. "Thank you, Miss Rowle, and I certainly hope so. You are to be commended for your integrity as well. I hope that I will see you covering future events and developments."

"I fully intend to. It is not often that you meet others who are willing to publicly declare their optimism in human and wizarding kind. I find it very refreshing. The world has become a more jaded place since the collapse of the global economy — though some say it started happening long before with the Muggle's Great War." Phil's gaze flits briefly down into her cup as she finishes her drink. The cup is returned again to the saucer and she settles her hands on her lap. "When is the next event?"

"We have a few small gatherings planned. Mostly fund-raisers and the like. But I think I shall wait until your article is published, and we'll see if we can give people something to talk about." Cassius smirks softly. "Perhaps then Mr. Sullivan — who I should perhaps call Mr. Martinus — then he can have his debate. Hopefully this time we can mutually arrange something genuine, rather than the slanted 'forum' he put together in Hogsmeade."

Phil nods lightly. "I imagine that given the wide audience the Prophet has many people will contact the Unity campaign — both positively and negatively but also it will put pressure on him to do more than just publish pamphlets."

Cassius nods, "Indeed. To be fair, the man has been quite active, if a bit uncouth and shockingly ill-informed for a supposed scholar of Muggle history."

A slight cattiness rears its head from Phil as she says, "As well as poorly edited." She picks up her notebook and pencil and tucks them away in the pocket of her cloak. "I should let you get back to your work, but first I wish to thank you for giving me - a relatively unknown — the opportunity to speak with you on this matter, Mr Malfoy."

Cassius rises to see her off, moving to pull out her chair. "It was my absolutely pleasure. At the risk of sounding conceited, I hope that this will open some doors for your career."

Phil pulls on her cloak as she rises gracefully from the chair. "Thank you. If I can ever repay the favour please let me know." She offers Cassius her hand to shake.

Cassius takes the head, bowing over it. "You owe me no favour. It is in my best interest if you remain as impartial as you can. I trust that my words in your article will do me plenty of good, as it is. I wish you the best, Miss Rowle. Good day."

Phil inclines her head politely then moves around Cassius and passes by the main counter on her way out. Ensuring her impartiality includes paying for her own tea or at least adding to the tip.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License