Thursday, September 15, 2016

Compassion for former Red Guards

I arrive at the waltzing terrace. There they are, the former Red Guards, waltzing in trim little circles around the colored fountains, round and round. But tonight they're not frightening, these former cannibals and rapists and butchers; they're judge unfortunates, doing the best they can to salvage what's left of their lives. Wasn't that always what they were, unfortunate pawns of generals and tyrants? Given the right circumstances, couldn't we American student protesters of that era have been manipulated into becoming monsters ourselves? Seeing them tonight, I imagine they're dancing no it in celebration of their misdeeds but in shame for how they were duped into ruining so many lives. They're waltzing round and round to atone for their sins, the way dirty water can cleanse itself by recirculating.
Daniel Asa Rose, Larry's Kidney: Being the True Story of How I found Myself in China with My Black Sheep Cousin and His Mail-Order Bride, Skirting the Law to Get Him a Transplantand Save His Life (New York: HarperCollins e-Books, 2009), loc. 4845. (The author knows nothing about the individuals he has seen dancing: he has just speculated that they are the generation that was young during the Cultural Revolution and so could have been Red Guards.)

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