sketching wildly what freedom could be
by 伊凌 yi ling
in Taiwan, even our gangsters will buy you a bowl of noodles (before hustling you). gangsters and Buddhist nuns–always the first on scene with their crew during disasters, be it typhoon/earthquake/etc.
friendship is our default. we want you to be fed, housed, safe and nourished. friendship might be our island’s greatest achievement we share with the world, before we even talk about bicycles, cellphones and amazing agricultural technology.
could this friendship, this social technology be adapted into something far more political in this turbulent age?
ever since my father died, i have been left with his and departed uncles’ dreams of a free Taiwan. what could freedom be for Taiwan in this era and this new epoch? especially as Taiwan continues to be squeezed between the ass cheeks of US & Chinese imperialisms…
i’ve pondered this question for quite some time…i am wildly unqualified to write about this as a scholar. yet after quite a few reminders to not be so fearful of the unknown and risk of mistakes and ignorance, let’s dialogue.
maybe some of this is my inherited fear of speaking out. during the White Terror 1947-1987/90, my father was petrified to return home or speak of Taiwan. the FBI would turn a blind eye to the KMT kidnapping dissidents in the States. so my father and his fellow students would go to the Pacific ocean and sing:
that was the closest they could get home.
…i long to go home too, but in a free way.
i’ll write these as a curious daughter/citizen/friend wondering about freedom. there is still much for me to learn about my own languages as Paiwan descendant and Taiwanese child born in Huchin, Ohlone people’s land on Turtle Island/currently occupied US territory.
and in my friendships, i started to hear-see golden threads that tied our dreams of liberation together, or at least ran parallel in my imaginations. the revolutionary inspirations and parallels, the people who fight the terrors in their ways:
- Syria, Rojava
- Puerto Rico
- Quilombo dos Palmares
- Movement for Black Lives
- Standing Rock Sioux
- 。。。and many more movements and incredible communities…
with prayers and gratitude for the Muhheakantuck, Lenape people, waters and lands, where I write from as a traveler/occupier.