“There’s a grief that can’t be spoken. There’s a pain goes on and on. Empty chairs at empty tables, now my friends are dead and gone. Here they talked of revolution. Here it was they lit the flame. Here they sang about tomorrow, and tomorrow never came.”
A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry.
The man thinks of spring. The promises of spring, the promises of new life. But it is a spring that never came. He broke down crying. Crying for his comrades. Dead. Lost. Unknown.
Is there still hope?
The old woman is knitting a small sweater, as if for a child. Perhaps her grandchild. What kind of life would that child face?
We live in a world as if slaves. The corruption, the poison, permeates in this world. The people lacked the empathy to feel, the will to fight. There is only resignation and acceptance.
Is change still possible?
That sweater is just right for the chill of spring. But will that spring ever come?
We’ve fought. We’ve lived. We’ve died.
It is still the same.
The woman looks on as her husband cries. She held his shoulder, attempting to give him strength.
So much pain, so much sorrow.
Is there still hope?
I have him with me, free. But our lives are not truly free.
Is it time to go back to the barricades? Is it time to fight once again?
But we’ve lost so much. We’re lucky to be alive. Most of our comrades are dead. Or in hiding. Or attempting to live quiet lives as we are. But life is never really quiet.
The old woman is knitting a small sweater, as if for a child. It is a child that I shall never have. How could I, when our duties are elsewhere? This is no world for a child.
People are hungry. Uneducated. Oppressed.
Their spirits dead.
They no longer fight.
Those who fought are now broken.
It is no place for a child, for spring shall never come.
The old woman looked on the couple. She continued knitting the small read sweater.
Red is the colour of love. Of hate. Of blood.
I love my country and I continue to hope.
I hate my oppressors and I continue to fight.
I have lost my family and comrades. Years of loss. And tears.
I grew old fighting, I will die fighting.
People may still care, as my grandchild cares.
My grandchild hears the story of battles. Of blood. Of barricades.
My grandchild shall learn.
There is hope.
There is change.
For now, we keep on fighting. We honour our losses.
And my grandchild shall wear this read sweater, forged of blood.
Spring shall come.
“Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again! When the beating of your heart, echoes the beating of the drums. There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!”
I’ve been thinking about this prompt the entire day. But it was a busy day and I didn’t get the chance to sit on it until late tonight. I am still thinking about the student campaign/election happening on campus and I am seriously contemplating if any of them intend to serve the people beyond any political position or inclination. I certainly hope so, but the performance of politics breaks my heart as they continue to fall into the trap of popular taste.
This post, obviously, is inspired by Les Miserables. I still dream of a revolution in my country. I revolution that would change the inescapable system of corruption that we are currently trapped in. Though we continue to resist, sometimes resistance seems futile.
I also borrowed some ideas from Hito Steyerl’s I Dreamed a Dream: Politics in the Age of Mass Art Production. She performed that in Former West 2013, Berlin and it remains to be one of my favourite lectures. She talked about an art project that takes off from Les Miserables and waits of a spring that never came.