Imagine if

no memorials

For Su Bing Xian

At home in Bejing 1/17/2001

Eleventh anniversary offering for 6/4

Forbidden to grieve

Forbidden to recollect

Forbidden for the mother who lost her son

to visit the wife who lost her husband

Forbidden for the young paraplegic

sitting in the wheelchair to receive

an arm of support for him to walk

Forbidden for the widow

to receive a bouquet of flowers

Forbidden for the orphan

to be given a new book-bag

Forbidden for the warm hands to help

the wronged ghost with no home to return to

with just a handful of dirt to plant a green patch

strictly forbidden for the new forlorn eyes left

to seek the executioners in the ir lawful hiding places

Forbidden forbidden forbidden forbidden…

11 years ago it was forbidden for a drop of rain

to fall on this cracked tortoise-shell earth

11 years later it is forbidden for the snowman the child piled

up to love out its brief life.

Liu Xiaobo

June 4th Elegies

How sad would it be if we were forbidden from acknowledging anyone the government chose on Memorial Day?

If it were even forbidden to give a look of commiseration to someone who needed to know they were not forgotten and nor was their loved one.  Imagine what that does the grief of loss to have it publicly erased, to not be able to speak of the event(s) or the injustices or any of the victims while knowing otherwise. This poem is one of many translated into English from the June 4th Elegies, and I like best of all of them. Giving that things are generally lost in translation I can’t imagine how powerful a piece it is in original form. As we celebrate Memorial Day here in the US it is good to remind ourselves that we are fortunate to be able to do so, for as June 4th rolls around next week there will no public day of remembrance for  June 4th, 1989.


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