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DECOLONIZING FAR AND NEAR NO.7


For this final newsletter of 2020, we are pleased to share a preview of volume 3 of our annual printed book. Every year we choose a specific theme for the book to provide a foundation for contributors; a common thread, but one which inspires new and unique stories. The theme we chose for 2020 turned out to be a strangely fitting motif to carry us through this difficult and trying year — a time that was especially painful for BIPOC communities. This year's theme is "Devotion": a  theme that focuses on the forces that shape and motivate us. Devotion is what grounds us, even in the face of a global event that has forced us to question our relationships, actions and beliefs. Here we close the year with devotion to the things worth bringing from the past, even as we hope for a better tomorrow. 

TRYING IN TRYING TIMES:
A YEAR OF DEVOTION
December 30, 2020 · Curated by Lulu Yao Gioiello, Edited by Ariana King

When we think of our theme for this volume, devotion, we see it in many different lights. It is not limited to religion. It is loyalty. It is sacrifice. It is a deep love for things intangible but nevertheless important. A question posed by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and in the Buddhist text known as the Tibetan Book of the Dead has been on my mind. 

In Tibetan Buddhism, bardo is the state of existence between two lives on earth; a moment of inbetween, of transition after death before one’s next birth. But it is not limited to the afterlife. According to Pema Khandro Rinpoche, “it also refers more generally to these moments when gaps appear, interrupting the continuity that we otherwise project onto our lives...bardo refers to that state in which we have lost our old reality and it is no longer available to us.” With the coronavirus halting daily life, the continuous murders of Black people in America, increasing hate crimes against people from Asian diasporas, the silencing of Muslim minorities, the transition of Hong Kong into Chinese jurisdiction, global warming wreaking havoc worldwide and countless other consequential events, there’s no knowing what the future will bring. As we grapple with fear, loss and uncertainty, it’s as if we’re stuck in limbo between the reality we once knew and an unknown future.

But if there is one thing that has become clear, it is the resilience of our community. Editors, contributors and readers — all of us are connected by bonds both visible and invisible. We are a community without borders united by at least one thing: We are all devoted to building a world that does not silence our voice or the voices of other disenfranchised and vulnerable populations. For us, that means opening up space for individuals exploring their spirituality in Nepal, researching past catastrophes like the Hiroshima bombing, shining a light on intimate and explorative art across nations and generations, or sharing the stories of Hong Kong citizens who are fighting for their freedoms. 

As Audre Lorde said in her essay “The Transformation of Silence Into Language and Action”: 

“We all hurt in so many different ways, all the time, and pain will either change or end. Death, on the other hand, is the final silence... I began to recognize a source of power within myself that comes from the knowledge that while it is most desireable not to be afraid, learning to put fear into perspective gave me great strength... My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. But for every word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other [women] which gave me strength and enabled me to scrutinize the essentials of my living.” 

In a way, I believe we are all currently being forced to strip back down to the essentials. To take a look at our lives, at our actions and inactions. To be vulnerable enough to lean on others, and to see that they are there for us to lean on. Right now is our chance to readjust, to learn to accept what we cannot control, but to also strengthen our trust in each other and our devotion to human connection. In this vulnerability, our existence can be illuminated. I feel so blessed to be able to continue creating this series with you.

Quote, Think, Read, Listen – A Year of Protest in Asia

"Cockroach," a new documentary on the Hong Kong protests by Ai Weiwei (Content warning: graphic footage)
 

This year and last, Hong Kong civilians, young and old, protested for freedom and democracy. These protesters are "cockroaches" in the eyes of the Chinese government: an irrelevant nuisance. Artist Ai Weiwei has released an in-depth documentary chronicling the people and their protests. 

The Anger and Anguish Fueling Iran’s Protests

“How do I start? With a hello, a goodbye or to offer my condolences? Hello to the oppressed people of Iran, goodbye to the noble people of Iran, and my condolences to the perpetually mourning people of Iran,” Olympic medalist Kimiya Alizade wrote in an Instagram post on defecting from Iran.

Alizade's words express what many Iranians have been fighting against in recent years. 

Why India’s Farmers Won’t Stop Protesting

"Since late November, tens of thousands of Indian farmers have marched to New Delhi and blocked the highways leading into the city, protesting against three bills that passed in both houses of India’s Parliament in September. The demonstrations have since spread to other parts of the country with farmers blocking roads and railway tracks, and limiting the movement of people and goods, including farm produce." - Surupa Gupta, Sumit Ganguly

2020: Thai Protesters Look Back on a Year That Changed Their Lives


"Starting earlier this year and gaining momentum in July, the movement first called for three major changes to Thailand’s power structure: the dissolution of parliament, the rewriting of the nation’s military-drafted constitution, and for the state to stop harassing dissidents.

But the conversation soon morphed to public debate over the role of the kingdom’s powerful monarchy, the first time in modern history that the institution, which is protected by severe royal defamation laws, has been so openly scrutinized. " - Caleb Quinley
Reflections
  1. What are you devoted to? Do you express this to others in an open and loving way?
     
  2. What did you learn from this year? What, of these learnings, do you want to bring with you to the new year?
     
  3. List the things that bring you joy. Do they align with the things you spend most of your time doing?
     
  4. What do you want to see from us in the near future?
     

We are currently working to develop an online forum for discussion. In the meantime, we encourage you to share your responses to these questions, thoughts and feedback with info@far-near.media. We may request permission to post your response on social media.

A Little Joy – Words of Wisdom from Vol.3
Over the course of a year and a half, contributors in Uzbekistan, Japan, France, Peru, the U.S., China and more worked long and hard to create. There were some setbacks, lockdowns, revisions and additions, but these only made the work stronger and more meaningful. We're so excited to share this book with you.

"身体和人虽然是短暂瞬间的,但是人的精神是永恒的;爱来自于宇宙的能量. Although the body and man are impermanent, the human spirit is eternal. Love comes from the energy of the universe."

Zhang Huan

"魂を失ったことを嘆き、追い求めるのではなく、 魂の安らぎを願い、その行方を見つめていきたいと思うように。Instead of grieving and searching for lost souls, I wish for their peace and watch where they go."

Yuri Eury

"抗爭者的血汗及生命不會白流! 一定會看到光明的一天 The blood and sweat of the fighters won’t be shed for nothing! There will be a day we see the light. Hong Kong, Add Oil."

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"Here piled on top of each other, new life grows. We are growing everyday, evolving with changing times. through love and loss we can grow and find beauty."

Kenneth Lam

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