Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Liu Xiaobo

Editor's note:  This post is a repost from Steve Harms' website, published with permission by the author.

We talk about comics, TV and movies a lot here, and in those media, the term "hero" is thrown around as if it means something.  Xiaobo is a reminder of what true heroism can look like, an image that bears all too little relation to dreams of revenge and glory that we usually use as our common image of "hero".

Like most Americans, prior to last week's Nobel Prize ceremony, I was unaware of Liu Xiaobo.  Like most Americans, as China has blazed a path into a position as a power player in the 21st Century, I often forget about the endemic human rights violations and extreme censorship that the Chinese government employs on a routine basis.

Below is Steven's post and Xiaobo's acceptance statement.

Liu Xiaobo, Chinese dissident and anti-party activist received the Nobel Peace Prize on the 10th of this month.

In his acceptance address, Liu espouses the usual high-minded views that one would associate with a Nobel-winning dissident: free expression is a right of all men, democratic reform is coming to China, social diversity is better than a master-planned autocracy, etc.

What was most surprising to me was the poetic description of his love for his wife:
I am serving my sentence in a tangible prison, while you wait in the intangible prison of the heart. Your love is the sunlight that leaps over high walls and penetrates the iron bars of my prison window, stroking every inch of my skin, warming every cell of my body, allowing me to always keep peace, openness, and brightness in my heart, and filling every minute of my time in prison with meaning. My love for you, on the other hand, is so full of remorse and regret that it at times makes me stagger under its weight. I am an insensate stone in the wilderness, whipped by fierce wind and torrential rain, so cold that no one dares touch me. But my love is solid and sharp, capable of piercing through any obstacle. Even if I were crushed into powder, I would still use my ashes to embrace you.

ed.  You can read the full transcript here.

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