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战争阴影下,一个个脆弱清白的生命

更新时间:2017-10-11 11:22:34 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

While the U.S. Talks of War, South Korea Shudders
战争阴影下,一个个脆弱清白的生命

SEOUL, South Korea — I cannot turn my thoughts from the news article I happened to see a few days ago. A man in his 70s accidentally dropped two thick wads of cash in the street. Two people who happened upon this bundle of money and shared it between them were caught by the police, made to give up the money and charged with theft.

韩国首尔——我无法将自己的思绪从几天前偶然看到的新闻文章上移开。一名年逾古稀的男子不小心将厚厚两沓现金掉在了街上。偶然捡到这捆钱,并将其瓜分的两个人被警方抓获。他们被迫交出这笔钱,并被控以盗窃罪。

Up until here, it is still an ordinary story. But there was a special reason this man was carrying so much cash on him. “I’m worried that a war might be coming,” he told the police, “so I’d just taken my savings out of the bank and was on my way home.” He said that it was money he had saved — a little bit each month — for four years, intended to send his grandchildren to college. Since the Korean War broke out in 1950, war would have been the enduring experience of this man’s adolescence. I imagine what he would have been feeling, a man who has lived an ordinary middle-class life ever since, on his way to the bank to take out his savings. The terror, the unease, the impotence, the nervousness.

直到这里,都还是一个平淡无奇的故事。但这名男子随身携带如此多现金的背后,却有着一个特殊原因。“我担心可能会出现战争,”他对警察说,“所以我把积蓄都从银行取了出来,当时是在回家的路上。”他说为了送孙辈上大学,四年来他每个月存一点儿,才存下了这笔钱。朝鲜战争于1950年爆发之后,战争应该在这名男子的青春期为他留下了不可磨灭的印象。我想象了一下他的心情,一名自此之后一直过着普通的中产阶级生活的男子,前往银行取出积蓄。那种恐惧、不安、无力感和紧张情绪。

Unlike that man, I belong to the generation that never experienced the Korean War. Crossing the border to the North was already impossible before I was born, and even now it is forbidden for Southerners to meet or have contact with Northerners. For those of us of the postwar generation, the country known as North Korea is at times felt as a kind of surreal entity. Of course, rationally, I and other Southerners are aware that Pyongyang is only two hours by car from Seoul and that the war is not over but still only at a cease-fire. I know it exists in reality, not as a delusion or mirage, though the only way to check up on this is through maps and the news.

和那名男子不同,我所处的一代从未经历过朝鲜战争。在我出生之前,穿越边界进入朝鲜就已经是不可想象的了。即使是现在,韩国人和朝鲜人的见面或联系都是遭到禁止的。对我们这些战后的一代人来说,名为朝鲜的那个国家有时候感觉像是一种超现实的存在。当然,理性来讲,我和其他的韩国人都清楚平壤距离首尔只有两小时车程,并且战争并未结束,只是处在停火阶段。我明白它是在现实中存在的,而不是某种错觉或妄想,尽管唯一能验证这件事的方式就是通过地图和新闻。

But as a fellow writer who is of a similar age to me once said, the DMZ at times feels like the ocean. As though we live not on a peninsula but on an island. And as this peculiar situation has continued for 60 years, South Koreans have reluctantly become accustomed to a taut and contradictory sensation of indifference and tension.

不过,就像和我年龄相仿的一位撰稿人曾经说过的,有时感觉非军事区就像海洋。好像我们不是住在一个半岛上,而是住在一个岛上。这种奇怪的情况已经持续了60年,韩国人已经不情愿地适应了这种紧绷感和淡漠与紧张兼具的矛盾情绪。

Now and then, foreigners report that South Koreans have a mysterious attitude toward North Korea. Even as the rest of the world watches the North in fear, South Koreans appear unusually calm. Even as the North tests nuclear weapons, even amid reports of a possible pre-emptive strike on North Korea by the United States, the schools, hospitals, bookshops, florists, theaters and cafes in the South all open their doors at the usual time. Small children climb into yellow school buses and wave at their parents through the windows; older students step into the buses in their uniforms, their hair still wet from washing; and lovers head to cafes carrying flowers and cake.

外国人时不时地报道称,韩国人对朝鲜有一种神秘的态度。尽管世界其他国家恐惧地注视着朝鲜,但韩国人似乎异常平静。尽管朝鲜在试验核武器,尽管有报道称美国可能对朝鲜进行先发制人的打击,但韩国的学校、医院、书店、花店、剧院和咖啡厅依然照常营业。小孩子们爬上黄色校车,隔着窗户跟父母挥手告别;大孩子们穿着校服走上校车,刚洗完的头发湿漉漉的;恋人们拿着鲜花和蛋糕走向咖啡店。

And yet, does this calm prove that South Koreans really are as indifferent as we might seem? Has everyone really managed to transcend the fear of war? No, it is not so. Rather, the tension and terror that have accumulated for decades have burrowed deep inside us and show themselves in brief flashes even in humdrum conversation. Especially over the past few months, we have witnessed this tension gradually increasing, on the news day after day, and inside our own nervousness. People began to find out where the nearest air-raid shelter from their home and office is. Ahead of Chuseok, our harvest festival, some people even prepared gifts for their family — not the usual box of fruit, but “survival backpacks,” filled with a flashlight, a radio, medicine, biscuits. In train stations and airports, each time there is a news broadcast related to war, people gather in front of the television, watching the screen with tense faces. That’s how things are with us. We are worried. We are afraid of the direct possibility of North Korea, just over the border, testing a nuclear weapon again and of a radiation leak. We are afraid of a gradually escalating war of words becoming war in reality. Because there are days we still want to see arrive. Because there are loved ones beside us. Because there are 50 million people living in the south part of this peninsula, and the fact that there are 700,000 kindergartners among them is not a mere number to us.

然而,这样的平静就表明我们韩国人真的像看上去那样无动于衷吗?真的是所有人都超越了对战争的恐惧吗?不,不是这样。相反,几十年来累积下来的紧张与恐惧已经在我们内心根深蒂固,甚至在日常闲聊中也会不时闪现出来。特别是在过去的几个月里,我们目睹这种紧张感逐渐增加,既是在日复一日的新闻之中,也在我们自身的不安里面。人们开始寻找离自己家和办公室最近的防空洞。在我们用来庆祝丰收的节日秋夕节前,有些人为家人准备的礼物不是通常的水果盒,而是装备了手电筒、收音机、药品和饼干的“救生背包”。在火车站和机场,每当播放和战争有关的新闻,人们都会聚集在电视前,紧张地看着屏幕。这就是我们的情况。我们很担心。我们害怕朝鲜在边界再次测试核武器,以及核辐射泄漏的直接可能性。我们害怕一场逐渐升级的口水战变成现实中真正的战争。因为我们还想看到未来的岁月。因为我们身边还有亲人。因为这个半岛南部有5000万人口,其中有70万是上幼儿园的儿童,这对我们来说不仅意味着一个数字。

One reason, even in these extreme circumstances, South Koreans are struggling to maintain a careful calm and equilibrium is that we feel more concretely than the rest of the world the existence of North Korea, too. Because we naturally distinguish between dictatorships and those who suffer under them, we try to respond to circumstances holistically, going beyond the dichotomy of good and evil. For whose sake is war waged? This type of longstanding question is staring us straight in the face right now, as a vividly felt actuality.

即使在这些极端的情况下,韩国人仍在努力维持谨慎的平静与平衡,其中一个原因是,和世界其他地方相比,我们对于朝鲜的存在有着更为具体的感受。因为我们自然而然地将独裁者和他们治下忍受磨难的人们区分开来,所以我们试图从整体的角度看待事态,超越善与恶的二分法。发动战争是为了谁的理由呢?对我们来说,这种由来已久的问题目前迫在眉睫,正在成为可以清晰感受到的现实。

In researching my novel “Human Acts,” which deals with the 1980 Gwangju Uprising, when the military dictatorship turned to the armed forces to suppress student protests against martial law, I had to widen the field to include documents related not only to Gwangju but also to World War II, the Spanish Civil War, Bosnia and the massacres of Native Americans. Because what I ultimately wanted to focus on was not one particular time and place but the face of universal humanity that is revealed in the history of this world. I wanted to ask what it is that makes human beings harm others so brutally, and how we ought to understand those who never lose hold of their humanity in the face of violence. I wanted to grope toward a bridge spanning the yawning chasm between savagery and dignity. One of the many things I realized during my research is that in all wars and massacres there is a critical point at which human beings perceive certain other human beings as “subhuman” — because they have a different nationality, ethnicity, religion, ideology. This realization, too, came at the same time: The last line of defense by which human beings can remain human is the complete and true perception of another’s suffering, which wins out over all of these biases. And the fact that actual, practical volition and action, which goes beyond simple compassion for the suffering of others, is demanded of us at every moment.

我的小说《人权法案》(Human Acts)是关于1980年光州起义的,当时军事独裁者诉诸武力,镇压学生抗议戒严令的斗争,在为小说做研究期间,我不得不扩大领域,不仅研究关于光州的事情,还有第二次世界大战、西班牙内战,波黑战争,以及对美洲土著人的屠杀。因为我最终想要关注的并不是某个特定的时间和地点,而是在这个世界的历史中揭示普遍人性的面貌。我想知道人类为什么会如此残酷地伤害他人,以及我们应该如何理解那些面对暴力之时依然不会失去人性的人。我想摸索一条横亘在野蛮与尊严之间巨大鸿沟之上的大桥。通过研究,我意识到的众多事情之一是:所有战争与屠杀中总会产生某个临界点,届时人们会将其他一些和自己有着不同国籍、种族、宗教或意识形态的人视为“次等人类”。然而,与此同时,我还产生了另一个认识:人类保持人性的最后一道防线,就是对他人痛苦的完整而真实的体会,这种体会能够超越所有偏见。我意识到,我们每时每刻都需要这种真切而现实的意志与行动,而不仅仅是对他人痛苦的简单同情。

The Korean War was a proxy war enacted on the Korean Peninsula by neighboring great powers. Millions of people were butchered over those three brutal years, and the former national territory was utterly destroyed. Only relatively recently has it come to light that in this tragic process were several instances of the American Army, officially our allies, massacring South Korean citizens. In the most well-known of these, the No Gun Ri Massacre, American soldiers drove hundreds of citizens, mainly women and children, under a stone bridge, then shot at them from both sides for several days, killing most of them. Why did it have to be like this? If they did not perceive the South Korean refugees as “subhuman,” if they had perceived the suffering of others completely and truly, as dignified human beings, would such a thing have been possible?

朝鲜战争是周边大国在朝鲜半岛发动的代理战争。在残酷的三年间,数百万人惨遭屠戮,之前的国土被彻底摧毁。直到最近,我们才知道,在这个悲惨的过程中,美军——我们的官方盟友——也曾经数次屠杀韩国公民。其中最著名的事件是“老斤里大屠杀”(No Gun Ri Massacre),美军士兵把数以百计的民众赶下一座石桥,其中主要是妇女和儿童,然后在数天内从石桥两侧向他们射击,杀死了其中大多数人。为什么会发生这种事呢?如果他们没有把韩国难民视为“次等人类”,如果他们可以完整而真实地体会到他人的痛苦,把他人当作有尊严的人,这样的事情是否还可能会发生呢?

Now, nearly 70 years on, I am listening as hard as I can each day to what is being said on the news from America, and it sounds perilously familiar. “We have several scenarios.” “We will win.” “If war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula, 20,000 South Koreans will be killed every day.” “Don’t worry, war won’t happen in America. Only on the Korean Peninsula.”

如今,将近70年过去了,我每天都在努力倾听美国新闻中传来的话语,它们听上去熟悉而危险。“我们有几个设想的情况。”“我们会赢。”“如果战争只在朝鲜半岛发生,每天会有两万名韩国人死亡。”“别担心,战争不会发生在美国。只会发生在朝鲜半岛。”

To the South Korean government, which speaks only of a solution of dialogue and peace in this situation of sharp confrontation, the president of the United States has said, “They only understand one thing.” It’s an accurate comment. Koreans really do understand only one thing. We understand that any solution that is not peace is meaningless and that “victory” is just an empty slogan, absurd and impossible. People who absolutely do not want another proxy war are living, here and now, on the Korean Peninsula.

在这种尖锐的对峙之中,韩国政府只谈及和平对话一种方案,惹得美国总统说,“他们只懂一件事。”其评价相当准确。韩国人的确只懂一件事。我们明白,任何不和平的方案都没有意义,“胜利”只是一句空洞的口号,既荒唐又绝无可能。当下生活在朝鲜半岛各处的人民,绝不想看到另一场代理战争。

When I think about the months to come, I remember the candlelight of last winter. Every Saturday, in cities across South Korea, hundreds of thousands of citizens gathered and sang together in protest against the corrupt government, holding candles in paper cups, shouting that the president should step down. I, too, was in the streets, holding up a flame of my own. At the time, we called it the “candlelight rally” or “candlelight demonstration”; we now call it our “candlelight revolution.”

思考未来的时候,我想起了去年冬天的烛光。每个周六,在韩国的各个城市,千千万万公民聚集起来,一同唱着歌,抗议政府的腐败,大家举着纸杯蜡烛,高呼总统应该下台。我也走上了街头,举着自己的一盏烛光。当时我们称之为“烛光集会”或“烛光游行”;现在我们说,这是我们的“烛光革命”。

We only wanted to change society through the quiet and peaceful tool of candlelight, and those who eventually made that into a reality — no, the tens of millions of human beings who have dignity, simply through having been born into this world as lives, weak and unsullied — carry on opening the doors of cafes and teahouses and hospitals and schools every day, going forward together one step at a time for the sake of a future that surges up afresh every moment. Who will speak, to them, of any scenario other than peace?

我们只想要以烛光这种安静和平的手段改变社会,最终将这种想法变成现实的那些人——不对,是千百万有尊严的人,诞生在这个世界上的脆弱清白的生命——每天都会打开咖啡厅、茶室、学校和医院的大门,朝着一个每时每刻都有新变化的未来共同迈进,一次一步。谁能对他们谈及除了和平以外的任何方案?

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