Liu Xiaobo - No Enemies, No Hatred

Liu Xiaobo, 2010 Nobel Peace Laureate from China, tireless advocate for social justice and democracy, died under guard on July 13, 2017. "He was the first Nobel Peace laureate to die in state custody since Carl von Ossietzky, the German pacifist and foe of Nazism who won the prize in 1935 and died under guard in 1938 after years of maltreatment.... Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chairwoman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said ... 'Liu Xiaobo will remain a powerful symbol for all who fight for freedom, democracy and a better world.'" See story: Buckley, C. (2017, July 13). Liu Xiaobo, chinese dissident who won nobel while jailed, dies at 61. The New York TImes.

In the face of violence, abuse, oppression, and an eleven year prison sentence for inciting subversion of state power for speaking out for democratic reform in China, preventing him from receiving the Nobel Prize in person, he said, “I have no enemies and no hatred... Hatred only eats away at a person’s intelligence and conscience, and an enemy mentality... can poison the spirit of an entire people, lead to cruel and lethal conflict among our own people, destroy tolerance and human feeling within a society, and block the progress of a nation toward freedom and democracy... I hope I can rise above my personal fate to contribute to progress for our country and to changes in our society. I hope that I can answer the regime’s enmity with utmost benevolence, and that I might use love to dissipate hate." Xiaobo, L. (2012). No enemies, no hatred: Selected essays and poems. P. Link, T. Martin-Liao, & X. Liu (Eds.). Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press.

The best of our spiritual traditions do not merely implore us to love one another, but also, they teach that we must find a way to love even our enemies. As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asserted, loving our enemies does not mean that we have to like them. It does mean, however, that in order to build the beloved community, we must come to see and understand our inherent interconnectedness, our common humanity.

We must look deeply and see the truth that the enemy is our sister, our brother, our selves; and that we cannot find liberation, justice, peace, and true freedom, without one another. As Gandhi said, unless the British leave India as our friends, we have not truly won our independence. Consistent with this legacy of advocates for freedom and justice, Mr. Liu's refusal to hate in the face of hatred, his courage to sacrifice his very life for peace, invites new life, and an ocean of connection.

"Beijing has inadvertently transformed two thirds of the world's surface into a vast aquatic protest zone, activists have said, after the ashes of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo were cast into the sea in what friends believe was a bid to submerge his political ideas." Phillips, T. & Haas, B. (2017, July 18). China's ocean burial of Liu Xiaobo backfires as activists stage sea protests. The Guardian.

In celebration of Liu Xiaobo, who continues to inspire us to live lives of truth, without enmity, I share below a song I wrote and recorded in his honor. May Liu Xiaobo's prophetic witness inspire you to live free, without hatred or enemy.

No Enemies - A Tribute to Liu Xiaobo, Anthony Nicotera with Doug Derryberry

(click above and play on homepage; lyrics below)

You see the day when you and me

Can be who we’re meant to be

Say what we want to say about liberty and democracy

You dream the day when all will see

We have no enemies

Celebrate that we are free

Make Charter 08 a reality

End struggle philosophy

You have no enemies

Judges judge you they’re not your enemy

Love for hate you say will set all of us free

You have no hatred you just want us to see

See the day when you and me

Become beloved community

Overcome our enmity

Embrace our unity

We have no enemies

You have no enemies and no hatred

They torture you but they’re not your enemy

Love for hate you say will set all of us free

You beat their swords and you challenge them to be

Be all that you can be, be the sower who plants the seed

Be the one who tends the trees, be the gardener who pulls the weeds

Be the child who leads the way, be the light on our darkest day

Be the one who stops the tank, standing tall, holding rank

Be all that you can be, we have no enemies

Police arrest you but they’re not your enemy

Love for hate you say will set all of us free

You have no hatred you just want us to see

See the power that we possess when we put our arms to rest

You want for them what you want for you and me

Be the one or the 99 lose your life and you will find

You have no enemies

We’re one community human family

See my bother he’s not my enemy

See my sister she’s just like you and me

Love for hate you say will set all of us free

I see the day when you and me can be who we’re meant to be

Live in a land of equality true democracy

Where all walk safe and free

Celebrate our dignity

We have no enemies

Free at last free for all to see

Thank God almighty thank God that we are free

Beloved community

The day will come when all will see

Your empty chair is filled with peace

Liu Xiaobo finally free

Charter 08 a reality

We have no enemies and no hatred

You have no enemies and no hatred

We have no enemies and no hatred

We have no enemies

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