Gwangju Fire

May 1980. I am 18. 
Without money, father or home. 
University embraces me 
Shelters, protects and sets me free. 

On the opposite side of the world
Fighting for their freedom to vote
For their families, futures and lives
The blood of students soaks the ground.

Writing their names in red
Falling tears form a river of light
Washing away evil.

For each drop of blood, a tree is born.
For each life lost, a forest grows.
For each cruel act, a flower blossoms.
In place of hate, a fountain plays.

From Gwangju, freedom sparks a fire
Cities become beacons of light
Linked together, encircling the earth
Illuminating the future.

The students of Gwangju
Never aged to become professors
Yet teach us so much more.

Written on the journey home from addressing the World Human Rights Cities Forum in Gwangju October 2018. With many thanks to Professor Gyonggu Shin and Dr Lee for their translation.

Korean translation

© Ju Gosling aka ju90


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