Prolonged and internalized trauma yields internal power, not so much hidden as unnameable emotions, but exteriorized as solidarity, against evacuation in the name of progress, and transcending national boundaries… Hong Kong … France. Wang Chau … Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

Internal Power | Michael Leung

2020.05.23

Warning violent content

Solidarity poster. Downloaded from Telegram. November 2019.

The archers, cling film, Stonehenges, universities, students… Those images and films are etched in the minds of comrades in France. J., a friend who never takes the airplane even thought of flying to Hong Kong during our summer of discontent. That ongoing summer belongs to us all, however governments frame it. In solidarity, we have internalised those resistances as one.

We have also internalised the trauma: those three dates recurring every month; the police brutality; the failed state; the increasing oppression; exhausted friends, disappointments… The Facebook Wall is a looping calendar of ultra-violence and online performativity. The performance of sharing is predictable yet paralysing. How many people have turned those images/videos/friends off? Where are the content warnings for re-traumatisation?

Organic watermelon farmer meme. Downloaded from Telegram. 21st April 2019.

When friends ask about Hong Kong I feel this internalised trauma and cumulative chronology. A couple of days ago I saw the video of the violent organic watermelon farmer beating non-violent protesters on the metro again. [1] His determined expression lacks any uncertainty. Unmasked, he is only focused on hurting. The Anti-Extradition Bill movement has made us all determined, and hardened us all. But like armour, underneath is something very fragile and living.

After dinner tonight, J. shared workshops by Ulex Project and Ecodharma that deal with activist trauma and prevent burn out. I’ll look into these and will share it with the emotion support group that I know.

Wang Chau Village infographics. 14th December 2017. 

 

A recent text re-focuses me to a green belt village called Wang Chau in Hong Kong scheduled for eviction on July 15 by the government. My calendar reorientates itself around this date and the mandatory two weeks of self-confinement on arrival to Hong Kong. A Wang Chau Village supporter-initiated meeting is this Monday and it’s a fortunate coincidence that I will join from the largest land occupation in Europe that fought a government-proposed airport for 50 years and won in 2018. [2]

Listening to the birds chirp and the flute coming from The Lighthouse, everywhere I look I feel inspired and excited for Monday’s meeting. I really hope that the Wang Chau villagers can join the meeting, so that we have one last determined collective gesture that can prevent the destruction of any villages and habitats in the future—in Hong Kong and everywhere in the world.

Our internalised trauma can be channelled if we take care of each other and do it together.

 

| Michael Leung
23rd May 2020, Notre-Dame-des-Landes

P.S. The next day Hong Kong citizens assembled to protest against the Chinese government’s imposed National Security Law which will crackdown on freedom of expression and likely lead to further violence and unfair treatment, even torture—as seen six months ago with the British consulate employee. [3]

 

NOTES

[1] www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBZAhhMWja4&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR38l8mk4STjSYwJPzyHOZ8HoUDyRZOoNwXXtQqCmcgSWGctNLuHh3Cxo4I

[2] www.tinyurl.com/WorkingfortheCommons

[3] www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/20/former-uk-official-simon-cheng-in-hong-kong-tortured-in-15-day-china-ordeal

 

Related readings: Michael Leung’s ON LAND series