Where is Love and Peace? Thoughts on Hong Kong Protest for Democracy

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Since the past week Hong Kong has been in war. Not the military fight, but the political war. Citizens unleashed their anger and dissatisfaction over The Mainland China’s changed decision from the common to partial voting rights of the chief executive election.

On Monday last week a student group first organized a big class strike for five days which ended in violence. A group of student activtists broke into a notable governmental land claiming to take back “The People’s Land”. Since then more and more people joined in, and repeated a massive strike of ‘conquering Central’ (Central is the heart of Hong Kong for the financial, business, foreign exchange base). Only the scale was wider, and half of the south west area of the Hong Kong Island was occupied. People stayed on the streets and roads, demanding the government to respond.

As the confrontation was escalated, more areas were blocked and occupied, so as the increasingly police involvement. Until there was a dramatic turn on Sunday when the police force took an active control and attack the protestors. Pepper mist and police stick were used. At the end near 90 tear gas was applied in 9 spots.

Since then the whole city went in shock and anger. Government initiative to control and terminate the protest went backfired. The event got international notice, and situation went polarized sides. While the government remained the same strong attitude of no political amendment, those who tend not to be politically involved took their steps out to join the protest.

Then the city went in “peaceful” war for five days until now. Along the action leaves the multiple damages and impact. Near half of the bus routes have been altered or stopped due to the occupation of streets. Medical support was influenced due to the blocked roads. In terms of business and finance, many small catering and food supplying companies went hopeless for the sharply decreasing incoming customers. Many, especially the elderly and needed living in the nearby area gradually began to taste the inconvenience of living. The voices went disperse. Many seemed to ask – When can the protest end?

In the protest, I acted in the role of counselor, to support the students of my school for their safety. Waiting for their replies of safety inform from time to time, I felt my anxiety, worries and overwhelmingly waves of sadness. I think of those who are fighting on the streets, including the police and the protestors. Many stand there with the different reasons, yet I see the same common thing we all share. That is that we all come from a family, somewhere we belong to. As I listen to the sharing of students about their thoughts and feelings of the protest, they all somehow not just relate to the own fight for democracy, but all also talk about the impact of their relationships with the others, mostly the parents and peers.

I realize that as much as we fight for the ideal social phenomenon of democracy, a broad and social philosophy, what relate to us more closely are the bits of our interactions and relationships with each other. Love, Care, Understanding. They all seem to be the foundation of our human relationships. Aren’t they then the most solid platform for the building of democracy?

Without the strong bond of families, one of the most fundamental roots of unification, how can democracy be actualized?
Without the learning of acceptance and openness as facing the differences, how can democracy be practiced under the acceptance of the social diversity?
If one who cannot deal with own frustration and grudge, how can he or she wholeheartedly demand for common understanding without venting own anger to the others?

Under the pursuit of democracy, we look for the commonness between people for the actualization of same belief. Yet certainly there are the differences within the society, and it takes much longer than expected for the society to gradually accept the diversity and seemingly abnormal. Yet with defense and objection, no heart can be softened to openly admit own weakness, and change to accept the others.

I believe in the power of peace and love. This does not stop me from believing as there are two pulling sides yelling the urgency of absolute means and approaching crisis. I believe it heals people, and only through this I get to understand the opposing side, and find a way to gently connect with it. It is not about controling and changing the others, rather to seek to understand and connect.

Even under the crisis and choas, I stand by my belief in peace and love. And I am willing to practice it, and share it with the others.

Pray for Hong Kong.

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