Poem for Sa-ee-gu (April 29th Los Angeles Riots)
By Paul Lee (청산 이풍호)
" It was not a day of celebration, but a day
of reflection . . . a day of reflection about
where we have been, where we are now and
where we should go."
The day came to us again
Passing through the dark
Where we were sighing, moaning,
Dying and loving.
The day came and awakened us
To remember vividly.
Burning, looting, beating,
Shooting, suffering and dying
were happening in our ambitious reality.
I remember you and I were almost lost in flames
Of the whole, impulsive city of the Angels.
At first we were the innocents
Who came to this land of opportunity,
Land of freedom. I mean that land
We love to live in our brighter life.
Who ruined our hopes
And land where we have united
To prevail over our enemies?
You and I are not enemies, but victims
Of the bitterness and pessimism
Of modern society.
I would like to tell you now:
Love and peace can come true
And we can also get along.
Justice can surely help us
Build our healthy minds, bodies and society.
We certainly know every one needs to rebuild
Our relationships, life and communities.
Sa-ee-gu awakened the American dream
Most of us have not made our own yet.
But sorrow for the destroyed dream cried already.
Can we fully bloom our life again
In this neighborhood and in this city
With all good people?
Chingu, brother and amigo, you answer me.
Answer me so tenderly and truly.
Another day has come for us
To reconcile and sing together, pray together.
To pray together, break down the wall
Between you and me.
To understand each other,
Let us exchange our sincere minds.
And communicate. Share.
Heal. Comfort. Love. Reconcile.
Draw water, which is not dried up,
From the deep bottoms of our hearts,
To have our dreams flow well
Into the mainstream
And to have them come true
In this once our promised land.
Today will be the beginning
Of our brighter future
Because the day has come to us again,
And you and I know much better.
Last year this time,
We experienced real hell;
Today every one is ready to sing.
Praising today, we again believe, trust in God.
Each one of us needs
Togetherness and friendliness
To understand, communicate and share
And to heal, comfort, love and reconcile
In the way that we are really supposed to do.
They mean a lot to us.
Remember again, since then, you have been learning
What friendliness really means.
My chingu, brother and amigo, I tell you
We can make our dreams come true tomorrow.
As "United we live, divided we die,"
Let us unite
Lest we should have another tragedy
Lest we should have other odysseys of Sa-ee-gu.
We the Korean Americans can never forget the day.
Sa-ee-gu ruined the roads
Of our frontier life remaining still
Between the uncertain and settled societies.
Edward Lee was shot down
And so buried, remembered in our life everlasting.
God sent us to this world
Where you, too, came and come to live.
You can go to any place you like
As we came and come to this beautiful land.
If God excuses our conflicts,
Can we break down the wall
And get along forever?
Let us draw water
From the deep bottoms of our hearts,
And then we can get along.
The American dream is not only exactly same to us
But also accomplished yet.
Now I am interested in you,
Brother and amigo, more than anyone.
I can make a promise to God,
My country, family and chingu
To try to help all of you.
Since we have been on the roads
Of the American dream,
You and I should reach those goals
We have been dreaming about.
The day came passing among us;
We are healed, recovered and relieved.
We are helped, refreshed and reborn.
Now we start to flow into the ocean
As a river of reconciliation
Where everything melts in oneness.
As you know now we are one people
Of this one nation, we are victims no more.
We will never hate again,
And then we will live together
In harmony in this one society.
Who will say our ties are wrong?
Who will stand for the opposite side against us?
Let us not lose our time
To rebuild our communities.
Let us not lose our hopes
To make our dreams come true.
Let us not neglect our duties
To our nation, society and families.
Let us do what is right.
Let us hail the Americans
To heal our pain scarred for life.
Then we can make a difference for all of us
As citizens, residents and whatever status we have.
Can I prevail upon you to talk a little longer with me?
Yes, we can make our quality of life better
When you again break down the wall between us
And I, too, draw water
From the deep bottoms of our reconciling hearts.
"Love and Hate
Are necessary to Human existence."
So love, do not hate!
In Love we can keep singing together
And accomplish our American dream.
Sa-ee-gu: April 29 (Sa-ee-gu 사이구 4.29) Los Angeles riots that took place in and around Koreatown in Los Angeles on April 29, 1992 after the first trial of four police officers who beat motorist Rodney G, King. The riots left 58 people dead, 2,383 injured and caused more than $785 million in property damage as the worst urban rioting of the century. we can... get along: quoting from Rodney G. King's press conference during Sa-ee-gu riots. chingu: friend in Korean language. "United . . . die": quoting from Korean President Rhee Syngman's (1875-1965) political statement after Korea's liberation from Japanese domination (1910-45). Dr. Rhee cited this as 6th century B.C. Greek fabulist Aesop's similar observation on hanging together. The allusion is to the Aesop's The Four Oxen and the Lion: "United we stand, divided we fail." Edward Lee: A Korean American college student, whose name is Jae-sung Lee and volunteered as a member of the Korean Youth Emergency Rescue Team, died by the mistaken shooting during the spring riots. "Love . . . existence": quoted from William Blake's (1757-1827) The Argument in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
(참고사항) LA Riots Special: Voices from the Past
On April 29th 1992, a predominantly white jury acquitted four LAPD officers in the videotaped beating of a black man named Rodney King. That evening existing unrest in Los Angeles, sparked by the verdict, resulted in the outbreak of an all-out riot that lasted five days. A total of 53 people died: 25 blacks, 16 Latinos, 8 whites, 2 East Asians and 2 West Asians. Approximately 3,600 fires were set, destroying 1,100 buildings. About 10,000 people were arrested. Stores owned by Korean and other Asian immigrants were widely targeted, although stores owned by whites and blacks were also targeted.
Three days after the violence began, President George H W Bush an announcement to deploy federal troops.
The Rodney King verdict triggered a violent response among residents. But what were the riots really about? Few in the media or government stopped to consider the extreme poverty, unemployment, and rampant police brutality in South Los Angeles, or anger over the tragic shooting of Latasha Harlins by a Korean grocery store owner in 1991. The videotaped beating of Rodney King was the spark that set the fire.
We heard what the president said about the riots. We also hear the voices of LA residents. A day after the announcement of the Rodney King verdict, KPFK reporter Nancy Clark spoke to many residents in and around South Los Angeles, including children, to get their reaction to what was happening. The interaction between the white reporter and mostly black residents is very instructive. >>www.uprisingradio.org/.../rodneyking.jpguprisingradio.org/home/?p=1467
my poem: "Poem for Sa-ee-gu (April 29th Los Angeles Riots)" on the day of 19th anniversary http://bit.ly/j8RzS6