China Digital Space

I will be a person

From China Digital Space

Jump to: navigation, search

我要作人 (wǒ yào zuò rén): I will be a person

Tan Zuoren (谭作人), whose given name literally means “be a person” is a writer and environmentalist who is currently serving a five year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power” because of his activities relating to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

After Tan’s arrest, a popular refrain on Twitter was “The soul of a civil society is moral conscience and courage. I am not afraid! I will not be a lone spirit, and I will not be a living monument; I will be a person!” (良心與勇氣,是公民社會之魂,我不害怕了!我不作幽靈,不作活碑,我要作人!)

(The phrase, “I will be a person” has the same ring to it in Chinese as “I will be a man” does in English – however without the gender specific connotations.)

By saying or posting, "I will be a person" one could be voicing support and admiration for Tan Zuoren.

The phrase is also reminiscent of a poem written by Bei Dao, a poet often quoted by students during the Tiananmen Square Incident. Bei Dao famously wrote:

Perhaps the final hour is come
I have left no testament
Only a pen, for my mother
I am no hero
In an age without heroes
I just want to be a man

The still horizon
Divides the ranks of the living and the dead
I can only choose the sky
I will not kneel on the ground
Allowing the executioners to look tall

The better to obstruct the wind of freedom

From star-like bullet holes shall flow

A blood-red dawn


也许最后的时刻到了
我没有留下遗嘱
只留下笔,给我的母亲
我并不是英雄
在没有英雄的年代里,

我只想做一个人。

宁静的地平线
分开了生者和死者的行列
我只能选择天空
决不跪在地上
以显出刽子手们的高大

好阻挡自由的风

从星星的弹空里

将流出血红的黎明


Tan zuoren2.jpg

Views
Personal tools
Support CDT - Buy a Grass Mud Horse T-shirt!