One leap into the starry air Beneath the visiting moon When ghosts begin to roam This world of sense everywhere, She lands with paws and meows With a mask from a ghost paddler A cat wandering in night’s delight.
She walks toward the end An inch closer, eyes closed; Then one leap into the air She vanishes into the water Where no fate can stalk her Care about the world no more But the king and the lotus flower To forget the memories forever.
*Author’s Note: This poem is based on the Korean folktale of Shimchung about a girl who throws herself into the sea for 300 sacks of rice to be offered to Buddha so that her blind father can regain his eyesight. The Sea Emperor sends her back to land in lotus flower, and her father can see. Contrary to the popular perception of the story as extolling the virtue of the daughter’s filial piety toward her blind old father, I see it more as the girl’s good-heartedness that touches upon the universal heart.
The case of Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard has gone viral on social media platforms since the trial began a few weeks ago, Amber Heard could have been quickly on the winner’s circle. She must have believed that it was all over but the shouting that the goddess of victory was on her side. Yet, it appears to be anything but, and she has become some modern-day Jezebel.
The current defamation trial brought by Johnny Depp against his ex-wife Amber Heard has been broadcast live, which I became strangely attracted to. Perhaps, it’s the biggest and most sensational court drama since the OJ Simpson case was also broadcast live. Or perhaps, it’s about Johnny Depp. His bohemian image and matching film characters render him uber-cool and unassuming compared to his Hollywood peers, creating halo effects of being likable and honest. When I read the comments about the trial on Youtube, I was surprised by the social dynamics of praising Depp to the detriment of Amber, who has no friends from any gender. The defendant is alone in this battle, forsaken by her community of actors and actresses, and she is not sorry. Her confident demeanor is translated to be arrogant, cold, and irritated. Sometimes, she looks bored and drawn, as if she knows that she will lose the case. And you know what? In the witness box, Heard didn’t even act convincingly that she was a victim of the alleged domestic violence because her expressions transpired a lack of emotional delivery. If she trusted her beauty to excel her peers as the most sought-after actress, then she should learn that Marlyn Moroe was wise enough to know that beauty was a fad and that she took an acting course and an English literature course at night.
I opine that the reason Heard is losing is her personality, she is conspicuous in all she looks and she acts. Apart from the truth, Heard fails to gain favorable votes from the general public that she has proudly overlooked because of those disgraceful acts that flow from her words and actions. Shakespeare, who himself was also an actor, knew about the world of Tinsletown Beauties thus: “All that glitters is not gold.” Now I know it.
People like to blame deities for tragedy of human lives to avert their fury to the forces unseen. But most problems in the world are manmade and not entirely unresolvable. Such is the case of the children of present-day Ethiopia. They are maimed or killed by weapons of political hegemony, territorial dispute, and ideological subjective for which no gods but humans are responsible.
According to an article from the Reuters, 3,320 children have been either killed or maimed as a result of stepping into buried explosives from the civil war between Prime Minister Ably Ahmed’s government and Tigrayan forces commanded by leaders of the TPLF, the party that controls most of the Tigray region and used to run the federal government. It is this TPLF’s use of land mines that destroys the lives of the children in the region. The number above of children casualties is, in fact, only a fraction of the reality when more children are becoming guiltless victims of furious greed and evil ambition. These children are put into a deadly game of Squid Game against their will, and it is a form of violation against children. In the west, people associate child abuse with sexual exploitation by default, whereas they are more exposed to physical beatings and mental harassment. The present case of Ethiopian children’s casualty applies to physical and psychological violence because the effects are indelibly carved on their bodies and minds, changing the course of their lives. If a fifteen-year-old girl stepped onto a landmine while trying to collect water from a river, would she be liable for losing her leg for life?
When it comes to war ranging from a domestic, familial fight to a full-scale national war, the memories become traumas that become lifelong narratives, depending on a child’s degree of sensitivity. But the children’s minds are like blanket slates where they write what the eyes see, and the ears hear. All children in the world, even in the remotest touch of civilization, are innocent and to be loved with care. However, my head swivels in wonderment when people seem to care more about children based on their countenance, preferably familiar with their kinds or attractiveness. Not only do Ukrainian refugee children deserve our attention, but Ethiopian children call our attention to stop this vile violence against children of any kind. So why not campaign against it with an international movement? Would Greta Thunberg be interested in the cause? I wonder.