Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Young Rebel Becomes Worker For Peace

Korean Poet Pak No-hae, Casper, has just published his latest book of poetry after 12 years of silence. The interview with the poet was written up in this week's Catholic Times.

He was  given a life term for breaking the security law of the country, served over seven years in prison and was pardoned in 1998. As with many of the young people, he wanted to see a better life for the workers, but the country was not ready for his views. After leaving prison, his life changed to one of  silence and concern for the poor in various parts of the world: Africa, Middle East, Asia and Central America. He became an advocate for peace.

Because Korean words meant little to those he encountered in his world travels, he used his camera to  express his feelings. He has 130,000 pictures, which are now being shown in an exhibition in Seoul until the 25th of this month. The poet handed all of his  pictures and poetry to a group of young people to select for the exhibition. Of the 5000 poems they selected 304, and from the130,000 pictures, they selected 160. They thought that some of the pieces that he liked were too much from the head and not enough from the heart.

The article quotes the poet as saying: "Many young people come to me baring their hearts. There are no adults in our society. We  have all kinds of nice words being used, idle solace and lying hope is lavishly given. However, it is difficult to find any who is taking a whip to the souls of the young. These unnecessary human beings, called losers, berating themselves, are looking for those who by their lives can help them but can't find anybody."  He hopes that seeing the pictures and reading the poems will serve as a confessional for many.

The poet mentions four crises in the world: the environment, wars, the disparity between rich and poor, and lack of spirituality. It is to confront these four problems that he presents his revolutionary message.

He says that his last 12 years were not only filled with writing poetry and taking pictures but there was also a change  in him.  He lost his fear, he says, and he is prepared now to go to God. He realizes that it is love that allows him to keep going. He finishes the interview by saying that his mother left him two things: his faith and his poverty. 
He wonders what it means to live life like Jesus. The interview ends with the words of Pak No-hae, "We do not see in the degree we know but  see in the degree we love." 

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