At 15:04 on 29 July, the Facebook page of Edward Leung, former spokesperson of Hong Kong Indigenous, uploaded a letter to Hongkongers written on 26 July. Full translation here:
I hope this letter has not arrived too late.
This has been a muggy and long summer. Every night on the weekend, I would put on my headphones to listen to the news broadcast on the radio, worrying about the situation in Hong Kong. The next morning, I would watch the morning news on TV. By around noon, I would read the reports in the newspaper. Over and over, as I looked at the blood-stained scenes, my heart would be filled with sorrow and pain.
I know no matter how hard I try, I can never imagine the physical and mental suffering that you all are going through. Amidst the gunfire, I witness the bloodshed on the streets. I hear the sorrows and screams all around, and I know these have surely ignited your grief and fury.
As the number of people arrested and hospitalised continues to swell, I think of the future that you will have to face, and of the wounds that will be hard to heal. I really want to know, is there anyone who can mend the wounds inflicted on this society?
I have been separated from the society for over a year and a half now, and the information that I receive is extremely limited. I suppose writing this letter from where I am does not carry any weight, let alone writing a commentary on the matter.
However, I still hope that you all will understand: you have all exemplified incredible courage and rewritten the history of Hong Kong with your passion and love for this place. Certainly, true justice has yet to come, and perhaps you may be filled with fury in your heart; but this is only human nature. But I sincerely urge that your mind must not be dominated by hatred. In such times of crisis, you must always remain vigilant, and continue to think and reflect.
I always remind myself this: to work in politics is not just about making supporters continue their support for you. More so, it is about transforming those who were not on your side of the fence, it is about changing their mindsets, and making them identify with your point of view.
If that is the case, if we do want society to view those condemned as "a mob" who have been engaged in "riots" with more tolerance and empathy; if we do want the society to understand the demands of these people who have been silenced, and accept the remonstrance of these people who have been rendered powerless; I think we must be more vigilant and alert to all our words and deeds. Will they bring us closer to our goals, or will they drive us farther away from it?
The people who should be resolving societal issues are choosing to turn a cold shoulder; instead, they seem keen to put Hong Kong's destiny on the line in a game of political gamble. What we need now is not to gamble our precious lives against them, but to purify and transcend our perseverance and hopes through our suffering.
I sincerely pray that every Hongkonger can cross this historical juncture, safe and sound.
26 July 2019
Photo credit: Amber Lin