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[Opinion] Blood of Revenge

Posted February. 02, 2004 23:05,   


Hu, a 27-year-old Chinese man with 20 years of martial arts training, brutally killed three family members of his family’s enemy who had beaten his father to death. The incident took place in the Sichuan province of China during the Lunar New Year holidays. The police search of his house turned up posters reading “Taste the bitterness while sleeping on the wood stacks,” “I am not a man if I cannot avenge,” “Drench the enemy family with blood.” The scene is reminiscent of a typical Chinese martial arts flick.

Avenging parents, teachers and lovers has frequently been the subject of many literature pieces and artworks. Among the masterpieces about revenge are “The Count of Monte Cristo,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Black Cat,” Giuseppe Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” and the Japanese kabuki “47 Ronins.” As for movies, international films such as “The Virgin Spring” starring Ingmar Bergman, “Memento,” “Kill Bill” and “The Gangs of New York” and Korean films such as “Old Boy” and “Sympathy for Mr. Revenge” are all about gruesome revenge.

Recently, the method and shape of revenge has become more organized and more massive. Al-Qaeda’s 9-11 terror attack and the U.S. occupation of Iraq represent one civilization’s revenge against another. The bird flu and the Mad Cow disease are no more than animals’ retaliation against humanity. Global warming is indicative of the counterstrike of the environment, the resistance of the nature against indiscriminate development. The right-the-wrongs-of-history campaign and politically motivated tax audits in the past governments as well as the current regime’s attempt to change ruling forces are the revenge, driven by ideology. However, revenge leads to more revenge.

The wise men see the eye-for-eye revenge as a low-level form of retaliation, while they praise forgiveness and love as the highest level of revenge. The realistic revenge ordinary folks can do is ignorance. The woman who is no longer remembered is more miserable than the woman who has been left alone.

Talmud reads, “Living well is the revenge.” It was in the same context when Murakami Ryu, the Japanese novelist known for his sensual writing, said “The best revenge against those whom I have suffered from is leading a happy life.”