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AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! Liu Xiaobo’s Empty Chair

December 13th, 2010 | 3 comments | Posted by Diana

Nobel Peace laureate and Chinese national Liu Xiaobo, who is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for “inciting subversion of state power,” was not present at the December 10 ceremony honoring his prize. Nor was his wife, who has been under house arrest since the Nobel announcement and is apparently now missing.

Instead, an empty chair sat on the Oslo stage between the Nobel Committee members, marking the first time a recipient was not physically present to accept the award. And as panel chief Thorbjoern Jagland placed the Nobel diploma on the chair, it was clear Liu’s presence was felt by the 1,000-person audience, who delivered a standing ovation.

The honoree’s final public statement, issued days before his imprisonment and read aloud at the Nobel ceremony by actress Liv Ullmann, included a message (translated here) for his beloved:

If I may be permitted to say so, the most fortunate experience of these past twenty years has been the selfless love I have received from my wife, Liu Xia. She could not be present as an observer in court today, but I still want to say to you, my dear, that I firmly believe your love for me will remain the same as it has always been. Throughout all these years that I have lived without freedom, our love was full of bitterness imposed by outside circumstances, but as I savor its aftertaste, it remains boundless. I am serving my sentence in a tangible prison, while you wait in the intangible prison of the heart. Your love is the sunlight that leaps over high walls and penetrates the iron bars of my prison window, stroking every inch of my skin, warming every cell of my body, allowing me to always keep peace, openness, and brightness in my heart, and filling every minute of my time in prison with meaning. My love for you, on the other hand, is so full of remorse and regret that it Continue reading AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! Liu Xiaobo’s Empty Chair

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Heart Abrasian Day

January 29th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

When I was growing up, one of the first lessons learned from my parents and sisters was not to cry at school. I believe it had something to do with survival amongst my milk-fed classmates and never letting them see me vulnerable. If you fell and skinned your knee, you sure as hell didn’t let your eyes well up. Were somebody to call you an awful name, you’d be sure to let not a tear touch your cheek.

The real bummer when it came to the “no crying” thing was that even in dire straits, you also didn’t have the option of excusing yourself. If you got in an emotional fight and then ran away from the playground, you would be giving up your territory. If you left school to go home simply because you got twelve stitches in your hand, you might appear weak. So, what to do? Don’t cry, don’t be sad.

This mentality worked rather well for most of my life. But there have been cracks in the system–I busted myself all sniffly and drippy during an emotional reality show moment three months ago and demanded an answer from my boyfriend: “WHAT ARE THESE WET THINGS ON MY FACE?” Wisely, he shrugged his shoulders, unwilling to take the blame for “spreading the disease” of tears. But, I insisted, I would never do this kind of blubbering out in public or Jesus, in front of my family, never.

But a month ago, as I sat rolling along in my mom’s black luxury sedan with my dad riding shotgun and one sister in my side, I found myself sobbing, trying to explain to them how the recent, tragic and sudden death of my other sister’s baby dog occurred. Instinctively, I found myself trying to hold in the heaves until I realized that everyone else in the car was crying, too. And both of my parents leaned over to me and said quietly, “It’s so sad. It’ll be okay.”

They’ve come around. It’s possible.

Which is why I was so delighted to see reports that an actual company in Japan has offered to their employees days off for personal relationship-grieving. That is, a person can take a day off to nurse the wounds of a bad breakup–which seems about right, especially because people tend to look like shit after throwing wine glasses at their boyfriend until 3am.

But what really surprises and gives me hope is the idea that maybe all of us come around eventually. Maybe we all just need to be reminded that sometimes, when your heart hurts, it’s okay to cry.


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