Thursday, October 20, 2005

Ba Jin - fighter for freedom

LE REVUE GAUCHE has put together an enormous amount of information on Ba Jin, the Chinese anarchist writer who recently died, living on into his second century. (Depending on your browser, you might have to scroll way down the page to get to the content.)
Ba Jin said he wrote ``to expose enemies. They include all the old traditional concepts, the irrational systems that obstruct progress, all the forces that destroy human nature.''

``Since I'm not good at speaking, I have to turn to writing to express my feelings, my love and hatred, and to let out the fire within me,'' he said.

Ba Jin was branded a counterrevolutionary and purged during the 1966-76 ``Cultural Revolution,'' during which many writers and artists were persecuted and art was completely subordinated to politics. He was labeled a class enemy, banned from writing and forced to clean drains.

He did not reappear until 1977.

Later, at a time when writers were just beginning to take chances again and feel some security about their status, he complained, ''Why is it that our writing cannot be at the forefront of world literature? Where else have authors in the world throughout history gone through something so terrifying and ridiculous, so bizarre and agonizing?'' he asked.

Ba Jin proposed that the government create a museum to the Cultural Revolution so that later generations could learn from its horrors and avoid a repetition. The suggestion was ignored.



Previous fighters for freedom: Majer Bogdanski, Hannah Arendt, Alina Pienkowska and Jacek Kuron, Antonio Téllez Solà
Previous China: Jung Chan's Mao, Deptford's new overlord (or, The new Chinese imperialism)
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Three of Ba Jin's anarchist essays are included in Robert Graham's
anthology, Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, Volume
1: From Anarchy to Anarchism (300CE-1939). They are: "How to Build a
Society of Genuine Freedom and Equality"(1921), "Patriotism and the Road
to Happiness for the Chinese"(1921) and "Anarchism and the Question of
Practice"(1927). I believe these are the only English translations of Ba
Jin's anarchist essays available.