“Nobody,” a Hong Kong protester, wrote to his Dad, “I worry that you will cry and feel devastated, But…


While Trump is showing us how not to act the youth in the streets of Hong Kong by their extraordinary courage are showing us how to act. Would that the Republican Senators, whose cowardice is spectacular, were listening, would that they knew the meaning of courage. Our elected Senators, unlike the Hong Kong protesters, have nothing to fear except perhaps losing their comfortable jobs. Their lives are not at stake.

In this morning’s Times Cora Engelbrecht writes:

Preparing for the worst, Hong Kong protesters have started writing last letters or notes to their loved ones… in case they don’t return. These notes chronicle the mental and emotional state of frontliners coming to terms with risking death for their beliefs.

As violence escalates between demonstrators and the police, protesters have started writing “last letters” to their loved ones, in case they don’t return. Orlando de Guzman/The New York Times.

“When you find this letter, I might have already been arrested or killed.” This is how a 22-year-old protester in Hong Kong began what he worries could be the last letter to his family. He used the pseudonym “Nobody”; like most of the young people who have been confronting the police on the front lines, he fears arrest or death.

Cora met “Nobody” and his cohort during a recent Sunday demonstration. After 19 weeks of street battles with the police, the protesters’ roles are well rehearsed: They move swiftly, each to his or her appointed task, using codes and sign language. They assemble barricades in minutes, only to disperse in seconds.

She came to observe handiwork of a different kind. As the violence intensified over the summer, she learned that young protesters were writing farewell notes to family and friends in the event that they were arrested or killed. They call them “Wai Shu,” or “last letters.” Some carry handwritten copies to the streets in their backpacks or wallets. Others hide them at home, in drawers and under mattresses. Several people read them off their phones.

“Nobody” said he wrote his letter when he was at a protest last month in Causeway Bay, after witnessing an undercover officer fire into a crowd. “Right in front of me, live bullets,” he said. “At that moment, I learned that my life was at stake.”…

On the street, “Nobody” and his teammates blend into the crowds of protesters clad in black, faces covered and armed with gasoline bombs. But their individual missives set them apart, chronicling their lives and loves and what might be lost.

“Dad, I’m unfilial for leaving you so early, before I could fulfill my obligations as a son, to be there for you,” “Nobody’s” teammate Ming wrote. “When I’m gone, please take good care of yourself.”

“I actually worry that I will die and won’t see you anymore,” he wrote to her in his letter. “I worry that you will cry and feel devastated. But there is no way that I don’t take to the streets.”

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