Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Beauty of Candle light

'Looking Back in Anger' is a play by John Osborne an English play writer. In a column for the Peace Weekly, the writer mentions having seen the movie based on the play, which left  him greatly moved.

The theme of this play has been reproduced here in Korea in dramas and movies. It was the end of the second world war and many in society were overcome with despondency, lack of hope.  After the war, there was a feeling of loss, young people were depressed, uneasy, angry. This play gave rise to the new phrase, Angry Young Men, and  new movements: the hippies, anti-war, and resistance.

Are we entering another one of these periods? We see angry faces all over the world. We saw the English say goodbye to the European Union with the Brexit vote. They cried out: "England First". Globalization, free trade, European Unity, policies on immigration were repudiated. Many other countries were feeling the same. The extreme left and right were advancing in many countries.

The recent American election had some of the similar anger expressed by the white voters. They wanted a wall between them and Mexico, a limit to Muslim immigration, they applauded racial prejudice. The voters turned their back on globalization. Isolation and exclusion don't make for a bright future and  anger can bring future calamity.

Korea has not been protected from this anger. Difficulty in finding employment, tuition increases,  rent prices, greed, and corruption of our leaders,  feeble government, has provoked  the repugnance of the citizens. Finally, they took to the streets.

Anger comes to the surface for many reasons: disillusionment, skepticism, frustration, sadness. Anger moves citizens to  candle light processions, prayer,  sacrifice, and desire to overcome the darkness that is all around. The large numbers point to solidarity, desire, and love. We see the birth of a new hope. Just anger, deeper, in many cases, than religion, becomes the small flame for a just future.

The writer climbed a mountain in the city and looked over the crowd that filled many of the streets in the center of Seoul. He could see the waves of light bobbing all over the center of Seoul. Look, at that great anger!  Not isolation but solidarity,  not despair but hope, not violence but peace, not sadness but a celebration. Sublimation of  candle light into something beautiful. Initial anger was burned away and we were left with pure light.

It was lonely on the dark mountain. The wind was blowing the leaves and he heard a whispering. "For a thousand years in your sight are as yesterday, now that it is past, or as a watch of the night.You make an end of them in their sleep; the next morning they are like the changing grass" (Ps. 90: 4-5).

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