Sunday, May 22, 2011

And the play continues

Did anybody notice that several months ago, there was a huge street performance across the Arab nation? Millions of viewers across the globe watched this street performance every single day. The beauty of this street performance was printed out in our daily newspapers and showed on TV broadcasts. It was probably the biggest live show that history has ever seen.

Yes, you can call it a demonstration. Many theories about the Arab revolution have been discussed from various scholars, let alone the politicians who were using the show as a stepping stone to gain support from their own people. Not forgetting preachers in the mosques, the churches and the self proclaimed anarchists. Call it what ever you want, you are free to decide but, as for me that was the most magnificent live performance I’ve ever seen.

No, I am not going to talk about who should lead those countries, what is next, who is next, bla bla bla. I don’t care what Mubarak is doing now, nor Ben Ali or whoever. They are history. The people have spoken and it is time for us to give a big round of applause for the actors and actresses, for the greatest show ever. Khalas.

But let us travel some time back when Blackberry was just a dream and the Iphone was something only Zeus could explain.

30 years ago, the same scenario was here in this town. 30 years ago, before there was Facebook and Twitter, an army general whom I could define as an older version of Mubarak, brought down the same play. Now, 30 years after the similar burlesque, thousands of kilometers away from here, a new developed street performance has been made and it is a success just like it was in 1980.

30 years ago, a young man named, Sun Tae Song was one of the ‘actors’ in that street performance. The young lad was 25 years old when he learnt to ‘dance’ and ‘run’ on the street. He was not a student of performing arts for sure, but Song, who studied at Chonnam University, was among the first to ignite the spirit of May uprising. Now at 55 years of age, he can only remember how triumphant it was.

However, that play was not like any other series on TV. Everything was real. The tears, the blood, the sweat, the hunger and the dead were all real. Nothing was fake and no one came back alive after they were shot. Song lost 6 of his close friends during the ‘opera’ and he himself has been sent to jail four times.

Recalling the incident, the grey haired man said, “I do not know how I am still alive. All I can think back then was, I will surely die, hit by a bullet by an unknown soldier from my own race. Sometimes I do ask my self, how did I survive”.

Now 30 years after the uprising, he sees himself on the streets of Tahrir Square. He knows the feeling, he knows how hard it was to keep on performing for the people’s sake and he knows how bereaved he was when he knew that his comrades were no longer by his side and that he had to continue their roles.

All the young people on the street in Tahrir Square and Tunisia played the same role as Song and his friends did 30 years ago. The colour of the blood was the same as it was 30 years ago, the heat and the sweat were still the same as it is today. They also share one common goal, a common goal created 30 years ago; that is to crack down the regime and to give freedom to the people.

Although Song and the young people in Egypt and Tunisia have never met each other nor can they speak to one another, the spirit and belief that lies inside their hearts is true and sincere. No one taught them how to act on the street, no one showed them how to run and to avoid sprayed bullets and for sure, there was no director to howl ‘cut’ each time a member fell on the ground bleeding.

This one-of-a-kind ‘street performance’ is not an urban legend. This street play is so strong that it can change almost everything. Not only that, there are thousands of performers willing to do anything to cause change. Perhaps the Oscar Award should be given to them for being the bravest actors and actresses the whole world has ever seen.

The fight for freedom and peace will not stop even though many have died. The struggle for a better future will not halt. No matter how huge the army sent, no matter how advance the weapons used, it is still not enough to stop the people. Mubarak, Ben Ali and Chun Doo Hwan are now history, changed by the people who preformed on the street and the street is where it all begins.

In celebrating the anniversary of the people’s uprising in Gwangju, let us again salute those who have sacrificed their lives for us. Let us honor the people of Gwangju, let us praise the people of Egypt and let us bow to the people who believe in freedom. The street performance will continue to roll as long as the people are united to act.

“Where there is oppression there’s resistance, where there is a regime, there’s the people”

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