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A Moving Article Of Why We Had

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I was touched by this article from SCMP, and would like to share with you in the forum. I could not finish this article in a shot, cause my tears kept running as I read thru it.

It tells me something beyond an unforunate natural disaster that no one can control - it's the spirit of why we're having the Olympics: to spread the message of peace, love, brotherhood and humanity to our very next generations to come. It has been spread as far as these remote mountain villages in China, though some of these kids might not live long enough to experience the message it's intended.

I pray for these kids, and may they now now live in another world where the spirit is a given. At the same time, I condemn anyone in the world who justapose further differences among people in the name of Olympics.


Olympic spirit students' final lesson

Peter Simpson in Beijing

May 16,2008


A blackboard at Juyan Middle School in Dujiangyan, Sichuan province, shows students were learning about the Olympics when the earthquake struck. Photo: Jon Stephenson


The afternoon lesson had not long started and on the blackboard etched in chalk was a man running with a torch and the Games slogan, "One World, One Dream".

"88 days to go," wrote the teacher at Juyuan Middle School in Dujiangyan, Sichuan province, as her eager students looked on.

"The torch is a symbol of the Olympics, light, peace, justice and unity. Everybody in the world should be at peace forever. Love will remain in our hearts forever."

Then the nightmare began.

The Beijing Olympics message of peace and unity was the last lesson the students received moments before Monday's deadly earthquake killed many of their schoolmates. About 600 of the 900 students at the school were believed to be buried under the school building.

"Around 500 bodies have been recovered and officials say another 100 remain crushed under the classrooms. They have stopped searching for survivors and are now spraying disinfectant over the ruins," New Zealand journalist, Jon Stephenson, who took photos of the aftermath, told the South China Morning Post.

Distraught parents grieved near the rubble, grasping framed photo portraits of their missing loved ones, praying for a miracle, he said. Similar scenes are being repeated at schools throughout ravaged Sichuan as the death toll among the youngest and most vulnerable generation continues to mount.

"The school was three to five storeys high and it's flattened. But there are some classroom walls still standing. There are pictures of the Olympic torch and the signs of celebration of the Games," added Stephenson from city of 570,000 people on Friday.

The expectation and excitement of the approaching Beijing Games were drawn on a blackboard found in one of the few classrooms left damaged but intact.

Evidence of the panic was stark as bricks and plaster began to fall and tremors tipped over desks.

School backpacks, drink cartons, ice-cream wrappers and teachers' notes were scattered among the debris of bricks and concrete.

One English textbook was opened to the passage, "Go for it" and "How was your day?" reported Stephenson. The rest of the school imploded, sending tons of masonry and girders down on hundreds of students as they sat at their desks. Some of those killed have been found with pens still in their hands.

"It's completely arbitrary as to what classrooms remained intact and which collapsed. The children learning about the Olympics would have run out to the school yard as they escaped, only to see other parts of the school imploding," said Stephenson.

"There is a subdued feeling among the people and there is little hope of finding anyone alive at the school," he added.

On Friday, after three days of frantic searching, the desperate rescue operations began winding down and was turning into a grim recovery mission.

There was a simmering resentment in the city, with many residents blaming shoddy building practices which allowed flimsy, sub-standard schools to be built, said Stephenson.

"People have been coming up to us with notes detailing how many of the structures were built on the cheap. There's growing anger but it appears people are too afraid to complain to officials," he said.

The authorities estimate more than 80 per cent of the buildings in the city have collapsed.


Freedom of speech should be respected, but it should not used as a disguise of rude, abrasive and authoritative comments.

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Would it have been less moving if these students had learned somthing else instead of something related to the Olympic Games?


It's hard to say:

1. if the last lesson had not been about Olympics, it probably would not have been an article by itself. Though I cannot say which one's more moving than the other, i can say both are sad beyond words can describe.

2. The reason why I was inspired is not so much what these kids in the mountain villages are learning, but more so what not people far from these kids might be learning out of the Olympics.


Freedom of Speech should be respected, but it should not be used as a disguise for rude, abrasive and authoritative comments.

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