“So we’ll sing for the island, lost not to long ago,
And we’ll sing for the people, who are now set in stone,
And we’ll sing for the man who went and took another man’s soul.
We’ll sing for the people whose lives are bitter cold,
And we’ll sing for the people, whose song’s are never told,
And we’ll sing for our memories and may they never grow old.”
“Sing For The Island” by Joshua Burnell
“Sing For The Island” is a song from an album an old school acquaintance of mine released over the summer. If you like folk rock with a solid beat I highly recommend you give it a listen.
I have been struck by the beauty of the worlds. The simple meaning behind them. We must song for those who are lost and cannot sing for themselves, and pray that those songs are not forgotten. A plea in a dark cold world, a song of hope that is older then this one song.
I was reminded of this song when I saw the most recent events in Appello, Syria. So many lives erased with a simple broad stroke, barely counting the many more that were lost in all the years due the violence that has been plaguing the land. People with stories that will never be told; more then a number of dead from an event one history book. Should one or two individual stories be lifted up, they will only serve as a reminder of the many more forgotten.
Even then, most people will struggle to get beyond reading a Facebook headline and continue scrolling; giving little to no time to the suffering of humanity that they are surround by, and instead much more interested in Buzzfeed’s to answer their dying question “Are You Turning Into A Cat?”
(In case you are interested I am a cat…..this cat↓(https://www.buzzfeed.com/chelseamarshall/are-you-turning-into-a-cat?utm_term=.imwJ5wKRYJ#.xl4aPJ5DRa)
The pain and suffering of life has never grown old. It has never gone away, never been shoved to relics of the past. It continues to live like always before. It’s all around us, and usually hardly deemed severe enough to be headlines. That is the funny thing about humans, we are really only interested in suffering and pain of other people if it’s truly tragic and staggering.
(Memories of just a few of the victims of the 5.18 Democratization Movement of 1980. Only remembered by the grandmothers of the villiage.)
Clear cut example is mass shootings in the US. Most go unreported unless they reach reeling numbers. Did you know that since December 1st there have been 12 shootings? 45 people were injured and 10 people were killed? Yeah, neither did I. Pine Hills Florida, 12/11/16
Gun Violence Archivehttp://www.gunviolencearchive.org/reports/mass-shooting
No one will tell the story of the man who comes to my soup kitchen, the name of a dance troupe written in gold on the back. Wearing it not because he was part of the troupe (maybe he was, I don’t speak enough Korean to ask) but because he could get the unwanted jacket for free. His song has already been forgotten whilst he still lives?
(Prayers for peace and an end to the Korean War – located at the last town in South Korea)
During my time in Korea I’ve been learning of her long and beautiful history. A history, that is, unfortunately filled with heartbreak and pain. Millions of songs that have become mostly forgotten; barley a number, if only 1 of many.
(Baek Nam-gi, 1 of many memories who will be remembered – An activist who died this year from injuries sustained a year ago in a protest.)
Like any history, Korea’s is filled with moments of peace and moments of sorrow. Time for joy and celebration and time to mourn. Many of the more recent hurts can be traced to involvement of powerful nations, namely my own, the United States. Shortly after WWII and Japan’s Occupation of the peninsula ended, we continued to enforce much of the same oppression and tactics that had previously been used.
Simply, simply, just one more example of forgotten memories. Memories that I was never taught. Memories that I must now know, must hold, and sit with the discomfort of knowing.