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This poem is commemorating the peaceful appeal of 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners for freedom of belief, in Beijing, on April 25, 1999. The appeal ended when practitioners left after being given empty promises of fair treatment.

A “coup”? The will for truth. A “mob”? Respectful souls
Responsibility unites in heartfelt choice.
Their silence drowns the city’s storm of noise. No voice
Shouts slogans. Silent, listen to infer their goals…

Their upright postures are by dignity sustained;
Petitions aim to right the twisted way of lies
That further twists the people’s way of thought, and ties
Mass ignorance to fear, for hate through fear is gained.

If only for the hour, red agitprop machines
Give in to words of reason… As the gathered leave,
The atmosphere and place made clean beyond belief
Prove further what, in fact, true civic virtue means.

Still, ideology recaptures party minds,
Which go down roads redemption never finds.

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Daniel Magdalen is a doctoral student in the Faculty of Letters at the University of Bucharest, in Romania.


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23 Responses

  1. Margaret Coats

    The dignified tone of this weighty hexameter sonnet is superb. Events are explained in closed quatrains, emphasizing the reason and careful measure of the appeal. After this, the flow of the rhymed couplet seems to be a subdued, tearful lament.

    Reply
    • Daniel Magdalen

      Your ability to discern how meanings are interwoven with the level of literary expression is remarkable. Also, I appreciate the kindness you always show in your comments.

      Reply
  2. Geo S.

    It is very useful to commemorate an event that is important for today’s world. Less known but still relevant, in a moral way. Recent historical facts should shine through all the bad conduct and misinformation we can see in today’s society. I think such manifestations of virtue can act as a source of inspiration for us all.

    Reply
    • Daniel Magdalen

      Thank you for the comment. Just a few thoughts regarding the contents: Exemplary conduct may seem an idealistic and unattractive pursuit at first. The deeper we delve into ethically insightful historical events and religious narratives, like those on the lives of saints, the examples of moral and practical wisdom that we may discover can often prove to be no less than astounding. While many of us persistently (re)act based on mere impulse, it can be quite rewarding, even if often difficult, to extrapolate and understand how to adapt such examples of virtue to the way we think and interact with the world. This is particularly tough but fulfilling to do, especially when facing tense, conflict-ridden situations. Am I saying this is how we must judge, appreciate and use such morally significant stories? No, because it wouldn’t do justice to their complexity. It can be, however, useful for the development of our faculties to allow them to radiate the knowledge they give us in as many ways as we can.

      Reply
  3. Joe Tessitore

    The lesson, of course, is for us as well.
    This is a very beautiful poem.

    Reply
    • Daniel Magdalen

      It is such a pity to see how (and this rings true for many places around the world) deceit and hateful propaganda have caused so much harm to innocent people’s lives, and acted as justification for deeds that couldn’t bear the light of day.

      Reply
    • Daniel Magdalen

      Glad you found inspiration in the message. The historical fact evoked here does have this quality to it. Thank you for your kind and motivating words.

      Reply
  4. li xiao

    22 years before i knew this event and was moved by these innocent people.but i didn”t expect these nice people were persecuted

    Reply
    • Daniel Magdalen

      Indeed, it must have been quite a moving experience, especially if you got to see it first hand. Certainly, the more and more facts come out, the more saddening is the picture of what these innocent people have gone through. There still is hope, however, that such persecutions will one day come to an end. I appreciate your comment.

      Reply
  5. Cheryl Corey

    I wonder if those people were influenced by the effects of previous peaceful protests, such as Martin Luther King and Ghandi. That was an example of a genuinely peaceful protest, unlike what we see nowadays from the BLM “mostly peaceful” protests, not to mention the Antifa mobs.
    I love the closing couplet. Thank you, Daniel. I had no idea that such an event even took place.

    Reply
    • Daniel Magdalen

      I appreciate your comment. Thank you. Indeed, the event looks similar to Gandhi’s peaceful protests. This genuinely peaceful appeal stems from the values according to which these people educated themselves. Things such as shouting slogans, booing, making noise and hurling insults, not to mention engaging in violence, simply don’t fit the spirit of their spiritual culture. Generally, divisive and aggressive behaviours tend to make tense situations worse and worse, instead of contributing to a rational solution.

      Reply
  6. Sally Cook

    Strong words, and especially relevant today> Why do so few see it?

    Reply
    • Daniel Magdalen

      Thank you for your comment. Perhaps we don’t notice such examples of civil and constructive behaviour because, in part, they are being drowned out by what is ‘latest and loudest’: a variety of scandals, controversies, agit-prop type speeches of all stripes, and so on, that all media is brimming with, since these are the things that tend to attract more and more viewers, partisans and profits.

      Reply

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