Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Value of Life

My daughter A made an observation on the apparent value Eastern Europeans placed on life as compared to that in our own country.  

One Czechoslovakian student set himself on fire in protest of the crushing of Prague Spring, and his name, Jan Palach, was immortalized.   In Berlin, people set up crosses to remember those who die trying to cross over the Berlin Wall.  Including Chris Geoffrey, the last one to do so before the Wall was torn down.  

Yet, in China, no one knows, let alone remembers the vast number who died trying to escape from or to protest against tyranny and injustice.  I wonder whether the difference in the value placed on individual lives is due to the strong Christian faith in Eastern Europe.  

Here in China, it is so common for us to be urged to accept, ignore and forget the multitude that died, in the name of national security, stability, prosperity, or harmony.    It is bad enough that the perpetuators of the crimes urge us to forget the crimes.  But now many of those trying to stay in power or to curry favour with those in power are chiming in.  And even in Hong Kong, where we are supposed to enjoy a large degree of freedom.

Forget the past and look forward, they say.   And in so doing, we are condemning ourselves to keep on repeating the tragedies of the past.


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