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Former political prisoner, Harry Wu, discusses human rights in China at UofL
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All life is suffering. 

This is one of those small sentences that become permanently stained on your sense of Self.  It is something I took away from a class on East Asian Religion eons ago and has made me feel the right kind of gray and still and calm in the deep parts of the night when I feel left out of good things and fever-stricken with my place in the turning existential wheel.

I don’t know anything about suffering. 

I live life in a hammock of first world problems.  So when I’m scared in the dark, I’m scared in a soft bed filled with thermal blankets and memory foam.  When I feel alone, it’s because the void of the internet seems hollow (because it is).  I have food and enough money for kitsch.  I have a (mostly) functioning body.  I have never been tortured. 

I don’t know suffering.  I just know that all life is suffering.  I’m not going to preach.  This is a chance, instead, to listen.

Human rights activist Harry Wu can tell the story of how suffering works, how survival works.  Here is where we should use our ears.  Sharing the lecture, “In the Mouth of the Dragon: U.S. and China Relations in the 21st Century”, Wu will join the University of Louisville’s Center for Asian Democracy at 7pm to share his experiences as a Chinese political prisoner for two decades.    

The founder and executive director of Laogai Research Foundation, Wu has plenty of harrowing firsthand knowledge of China’s system of laogai – forced-labor prison camps where prisoners work mines, fields and factories, often under the duress of starvation, torture and beatings.  Now an American citizen, Wu is the author of two books – Bitter Winds: A Memoir of My Years in China’s Gualag and Troublemaker: One Man’s Crusade Against China’s Cruelty – concerning his experiences in the camps and his activism in the fight for human rights.  Wu's presentation, with reception to follow, will take place in the Brown & Williamson Club at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and is free and open to public. 

There’s not much more I want to sully here with my ridiculous prattle.  I’m a tortured poet, yes, but true torture is something I have never known.  I can only say so much before I just need to be quiet and hear for a while.     

Guests can register for tickets via email, [email protected] or call at (502) 852-2667. Cardinal Stadium is located at 2800 South Floyd Street. 

Image: Courtesy of Photobucket www.photobucket.com


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About Erin Day

I currently spend most of my days sequestered in a dark and secret room projecting IMAX films for an adoring public. In my spare time I read books (a lot) and contemplate ever more devious ways to become a professional Blacksmith. I love words, paper, fashion, trees, Charlie Chaplin, useless knick-knacks and my beloved turquoise 1994 Ford Ranger - Daniel. I totally believe in the Loch Ness Monster. Books are culture; my goal is to tell you a story.

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