a poetic primer for understanding these times

All that we do not know haunts us. In some sense, social media has only made us more aware that our knowledge about what is happening next door or in the next city is limited. Nevertheless, we still extrapolate feelings from posts and insinuate critique into memes. This means that we require a basic lexicon to decode texts that were intentionally written to avoid censorship. Currently circulating is a poem about the courage to write directly about what’s been happening. And yes, I’m aware that the poem has circulated anonymously. Translation, below:

   I Know that I Don't Know Anything 
 
Try to be a little braver--
instead of "zy" write out "freedom (ziyou)";
instead of "zf" write out "government (zhengfu)";
instead of "gj" write out "country (guojia)";
instead of "wg" write out "cultural revolution (wenge)";
instead of "zs" write out "suicide (zisha)";
instead of using a picture of a ram, write out "phallus (yangju)";
instead of using a picture of a chain, write out chain  (tielian)".
Abbreviations and symbols
are not the mother tongue.
Before the censor arrives
do not censor yourself.

     Try to be a little braver--
Forgive a specific person
instead of forgiving power;
Express gratitude for a specific person
instead of thanking power;
Doubt a specific person
instead of doubting us;
Put the blame on power
instead of blaming us;
What is needed is that each of us loves all of us
instead of passing judgment on everyone.

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