Posts Tagged ‘strife’

Liu Xiaobo, a great man

October 3, 2010

I’m hoping and praying that the Nobel committee will award this year’s peace prize to Liu Xiaobo.

Born in 1955 in China, he is a man whose childhood fell within those tumultuous years now referred to, simplistically, as the Cultural Revolution.
In this very informative interview, he describes how Mao’s intensely ideological manipulation of Chinese society had resulted, by the mid-70s, in a nation of hard-working people who were exhausted, and battle-weary of the decades-long, cadre-imposed struggle for equality. Not only that, but far too many folks were, by the time of that crossroads in CCP experimentation, pretty damn hungry.

Mao Zedong, with his cadres of revolutionary peasant devotees, had imposed a huge, bloody, traumatic Marxist rearrangement of the Middle Kingdom of Asia. His zealous communists had violently wrested the empire from a chaotic, prolonged civil war that had followed the downfall of the Qing dynasty in 1911. After the 1949 Revolution’s first eighteen years of changes had been wrought, Mao the peasant-genius architect of the whole damn thing passed from this world.

In 1976, a master politician/statesman named Deng Xiaoping managed to get hold of the reins of power that the deceased revolutionary dictator had previously held. Deng was able to redirect the energy and resourcefulness of the Chinese people away from the logistical dead-ends upon which fanatical communist ideology had dropped them. He initiated reforms that have since lead to China’s becoming the economic powerhouse that we see on the world stage today. China’s painful nationwide imposition of communism had been revolutionary and violent. But from the time of Deng’s reforms in the l970s, “gradualism,” (a term used by Mr. Liu) has been the order of the day. The people of China needed a break from perpetual revolution. Deng lead them along a kinder, gentler path of prosperity-seeking.

Several years ago, we had a young Chinese student dining at our kitchen table. He told me “Deng Xiaoping was a great man.” At the time I did not understand what he meant. How could any communist be great? But the impact of any man’s life on his people and the wide world must be evaluated in the context of the society in which he was born and to which he devoted his life. My conclusion since that conversation has been that, yes, Deng Xiaoping was a great man. If it were not for him, China would not be in the position of strength, and greater freedom, that she enjoys today.

Now we see another great man of China on the world stage, Liu Xiaobo. He is also a reformer; he has taken on, along with many comrades, the next agenda item for Chinese improvement. It is a weighty burden–the injustices of one-party oligarchy and disregard for human rights. In that capacity, he is a co-author and signer of the Charter 08 manifesto, for which he was arrested, and is still imprisoned.

May the Nobel Committee have the courage to reward his life’s work.
Invest some time in the cause of liberty by reading this transcript, provided by New River Media in 2005, of a Columbia University interviewer’s discussion with Liu Xiaobo. You will gain, as I did, some fuller comprehension of those momentous, though quite tragic, events in the China of our lifetime.

Finally, I’m posing our Mystery Question of the Day: What was the “family contract plan, or family responsibility plan,” which brought greater productivity to the Chinese enforced agricultural collectives of the late l950s-early ’60s?

To lady gaga and aaron melcher

May 9, 2010

As I was mourning the death of billions of marine and marsh organisms  in the Gulf of Mexico this morning, I was searching aimlessly on the web like many people do these days. I followed a link to an NPR story about videos currently on youtube starring lady gaga and aaron melcher.
If the melcher video represents US military presence in Afghanistan, then I am also mourning, now, the tragic circumstances of those Afghans who must endure the American decadence that we have exported to them, and with which we occupy their land.

Although the following words are not my own (they were written almost 2000 years ago), I post them to illuminate the extremity of our present situation, which is a tragic
confluence of historically destructive events:

“Come here, and I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,
with whom the leaders of the earth committed acts of immorality,
and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.

And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.
The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality,
and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery: Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth…

For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality…
And the leaders of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning,
standing at a distane because of the fear of her torment saying:

Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.
And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more…
for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!  And every shipmaster, and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance,
and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning.
Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been (will be) laid waste.”

the continuing saga of Jacob and Esau

March 6, 2010

A few millenia ago, Social Services was called in to mediate a domestic incident, but it didn’t work out. Here’s how it went down:
Jacob, the brainy one, lived by his wits and cerebral efforts. He was a mama’s boy.  Esau, the visceral one, lived by his strength and prowess. Daddy was so proud of him. When the younger Jacob obtained, by deceit, Father Isaac’s blessing–a heritage customarily given to the older son, discord ripped the family apart.
These are the words that Isaac had spoken over Jacob, believing that he addressed his older son Esau:
“Now may God give you of the dew of heaven,
and the fatness of the earth,
and an abundance of new wine;
May peoples serve you,
and nations bow down to you.
Cursed be those who curse you,
and blessed be those who bless you.”

When Esau discovered his brother’s trickery, he got mad. He beseeched his father to undo the blessing that had been inappropriately bestowed, but Isaac would not, and believed he could not.
Don’t ask me why. It was apparently some archaic principle relating to the power of patriarchal pronouncements. After this incident, as if things were not bad enough on the home front already, Isaac turned to Esau and said:
“Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling,
and away from the dew of heaven from above.
By your sword you shall live,
and your brother  you shall serve;
But it shall come about when you become restless–that you will break his yoke from your neck.”

I don’t know how or why. But such is the history of the world, and I suppose, why George wrote while my guitar gently weeps.
Read ’em and weep. You too, Rachel, even as you weep for the children.