5.12 Memorial Day

Posted on May 12, 2009

Can these facts be altered? The hearts stopped beating, their limbs decayed, and their shouts disappeared with their breath, can these be returned? Wave upon wave of mighty propaganda from the national state apparatus cannot erase the persistent memories of the survivors. Crushed, the boneless and incompetent collapsed buildings belong to a generation of those unfortunate villagers, and the tofu-dregs engineering has been shielded, absolved by the clamor of desperate attempts at celebration. Those responsible for the offense are attempting to gloss over and distort in order to escape the condemnation. 

How foolish and obscene must a person be to lie to the families of the deceased, to bully parents who suffer from the loss of their children and their ruined futures? They cover eyes, stuff throats, wiretap phones, track whereabouts, and threaten, they buy people off, detain, beat, and persecute the common people. 

Their happiness was terminated with their lives in the very place where they read books, where the floor under their feet was constructed with concrete of inferior quality and the ceiling above them was stripped of its supports. Those in charge of education disdain to think of it, those responsible for the buildings believe that things are as they ought to be, the people who cry out for scientific development hope this incident will quickly be forgotten. 

Those children arrived, and were carelessly sent off, their limbs rashly buried by strangers. Even quicker than their passing was the speed with which some hoped they would be completely and utterly forgotten. The lives of those children were so short, it’s as if they never existed. 

Just as in other disasters, the rights of young lives and all temporary facts related to them must yield to state, collective, or individualized fictions. Their only value lies in enduring their punishment in this brutal historical process, and in becoming a tiny fraction of a figure that signifies pointless expenditures. Without their existence, this bit of history would pale under evil, ignorance, and barbarism. 

Clearly put, they died under the demands and desires of our era; they were born without value or significance, and were just a portion of an even larger void of carelessness, whether or not they came or went is a matter of no importance. This desensitized world was never happy about their existence, and it won’t feel lonely after their passing. This place really isn’t that great at all. 

Their parents lost their anger long ago, and eventually they’ll get accustomed to the interruptions in their thoughts, to worrying about disruptions, to disturbing their happiness. They will adapt to a future that won’t require anything of them, they won’t have any more troubles or anxieties. Their children will never again disappear into the distance, because on the same day, under those same predestined dangers, more powerful than an attack by any conspiracy, they were forever lost in the ruins behind the mountain ridge. Perhaps what they will talk about will be some of the ambitious investments, the bloodstains that will be pieced into blueprints and will fill officials’ hearts with emotion, becoming the miraculous transformations that will be the highlight of someone’s career. 

Karamay children, Fuyang children, melamine children, Henan AIDS children, Shanxi black-kiln children, murdered children of the earthquake—your misfortune is the most effective curse on the nation, something that the face of the nation can never cast off, a brand of shame that can never be washed away and that tragically dooms the fate of this race. 

They are the souls that today’s world must burn, drown, betray, and exterminate. But until that day, rest. When that day comes, people’s hearts will call out each of your names, the name that belonged to you will be remembered. When it is called out again, you will rise from the dead and be contented spirits. 

We will stubbornly refuse this portion of our loss. We won’t give up, and you won’t be lost. No matter how far you travel, you’ll always be in our sights. Thoughts can penetrate time and material, determination will ultimately brush off the decay and corruption like a horsetail duster, trading dignity and honor for your interrupted lives. 

We reject pardons, the erasure of your memory, cooperation, and compromise, because your troubles have latched onto us. Life is simple; it simply will not tolerate doubt. 

What is truth? It is everything about us, and it is everything about them. In the darkness, the fractured truth will ultimately emerge. 

Everything owed must be repaid. That which was altered will be explained; it all remains to be seen. Until each wound from under the rubble has been healed, until each grain of sand has been cleaned from all the hair, and until each name is brilliantly fresh, everything will be remembered as clearly as your departed gaze.