Quotes – A Cruel Hand

A heavy and cruel hand has been laid upon us. As a people, we feel ourselves to be not only deeply injured, but grossly misunderstood. Our white countrymen do not know us. They are strangers to our character, ignorant of our capacity, oblivious to our history and progress, and are misinformed as to the principles and ideas that control and guide us, as a people. The great mass of American citizens estimates us as being a characterless and purposeless people; and hence we hold up our heads, if at all, against the withering influence of a nation’s scorn and contempt.

-Fredrick Douglass, in a statement on behalf of delegates to the National Colored Convention held in Rochester, New York, in July 1853


 

我们被一只又狠又重的手摸到了。作为一个民族,我们感觉不仅伤害得很严重,也完全误会了。我们的白人同胞不认识我们。对我们的人格他们是外人,对我们的本事无知,遗忘了我们的历史和进步,还有对治理指导我们这个民族的原理和志愿,他们也误读。美国公民大多数估计我们是一个没有本事、又没有目的的民族;因此,为了反对全国的鄙视和轻蔑的丧气影响,我们要抬头来。

——弗雷德里克·道格拉斯,在各位全国有色人大会的声明, 1853年七月,纽约,罗切斯特。

Translation of Yang Jiang’s Cadre School Diaries – Notes on Leave Taking – P6

shuangyashan_maj_lampa

得一掮着、拎着别人的行李,我和阿圆帮默存拿着他的几件小包小袋,排队挤进月台,挤上火车,找到个车厢安顿了默存。我们三人就下车,痴痴站着等火车开动。

我记得从前看见坐海船出洋的旅客,登上摆渡的小火轮,送行者就把许多彩色纸带抛向小轮船;小船慢慢向大船开去,那一条条彩色的纸带先后迸断,岸上就拍手欢呼。也有人在欢呼声中落泪;迸断的彩带好似迸断的离情。这番送人上干校,车上的先遣队和车下送行的亲人,彼此间的离情假如看的见,就决不是彩色的,也不能一迸就断。

默存走到车门口,叫我们回去吧,别等了。彼此遥遥相望,也无话可说。我想,让我们回去还有三人,可以放心释念,免得火车驰走时,他看到我们眼里,都在不放心他一人离去。我们遵照他的意思,不等车开,先自走了。几次回头望望,车还不动,车下还是挤满了人。我们默默回家;阿圆和得一接着也各回工厂。他们同下一校而不同系,不在同一个工厂劳动。


 

With Deyi hefting and shouldering other people’s luggage, Ayuan and I helped Mocun carry his small number of bags and squeezed into line to get on to the platform and from there onto the train. We found a compartment to settle him in and then the three of us got off to watch quietly until the train moved off.

I remember once seeing travellers departing for an international voyage, they were boarding a small paddle steamer that was to ferry them out to a much larger vessel. Those seeing them off were casting multicoloured streamers over the small ship. As it moved away from the dock and towards it’s larger counterpart, the colourful streamers snapped one after another as the people on the bank waved and cheered. Some of the well-wishers shed tears as they waved, and it seemed as if the snap snap snap of the streamers rang out in sympathy with the pain and sorrow of those left behind. If you could see the parting sorrow of the advance party on the train and their relatives waiting below, it most certainly would not be colourful, and it would not snap so readily.¹

Mocun came to the carriage door and bid us return,  no need to wait. We locked gazes from afar, but there was nothing we could say to each other now. I thought to myself, we three should return and rest easy, if only to avoid the possibility that when the train finally pulled away he would see the worry in our eyes as we watched him departing alone. We respected his wishes and did not wait for the train to go, we left early. I looked back many times, the train hadn’t moved and the platform was still packed to bursting point. We returned home in silence; Ayuan and Deyi followed and then went back to their respective factories. Like working in the same school but in different departments, they laboured at separate factories.²

¹This paragraph is quite descriptive and emotive, I purposely moved further away from a direct translation so as to better capture it’s emotional impact.
²This seems to be a metaphorical allusion to the similarities between the children and their parents. Their working in separate factories is being compared to the parents working in the same institution but in different areas.