Since the day I gave up my family to join the Red Guards in serving the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, I, Li-JiaMing knew my life would never be the same. “Open up! ” We shouted.
This was my first time searching a stranger’s house. I had joined the Red Guards a few months ago traveling around to make revolutionary ties before making it to Shanghai and joining the Red Guard troop. I could practically feel my best friend, KaiChen sizzling with excitement. We all liked the power we had as Red Guards.
“Communism is not love.Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy. ” – Mao Tse-Tung. People looked up to us, feared us, and wanted to be one of us. An old man opened the door, his face a pearly white. We barged in through the door, nearly knocking the old man off his feet. There were two other small children living in this comfy, wide spaced abode. We rampaged through the house, through every closet, shelf, or cupboard.
Suddenly, I saw something shiny sticking in the corner of the bathroom. I picked it up and inspected it’s smooth, glistening surface.Yep, it was definitely a precious gem. I ran quickly to my commander, HuiQing and handed her the beautiful gem. She nodded a signal for me to confront the old man by the door. “Does this belong to you? ” I spit at the old man’s face. His eyes darted to the gem I held to him. His appalled expression told me everything I needed to know.
Before I could make my move, I watched as KaiChen marched over and slapped the old man on the face. Shocked, the old man dropped to the floor his hands to his face.KaiChen laughed in his face and I laughed along but all I felt was bitterness. Here I was humiliating an old man I didn’t even know. Much to my horror, the others marched over as well, pulled him outside under the blistering heat, and made him kneel on a washboard. HuiQing placed me in charge as she led the others back in.
Slowly, they brought everything out of the house into our truck. As I turned to look at my victim before me, my early urge to destroy everything against Mao’s virtues disappeared and my heart went out to the old man.Should I strip him of his dignity as my colleagues had done? Could I live with myself if I did so? Or should I follow orders blindly, as my comrades had done? I shook my head to clear my thoughts and made my decision. I made sure no one was watching, then raced over to the water pump across the street, poured water onto my hands, and fed it to the old man.
Then, I stood up and left without a trace. As I ran, I thought I heard a faint whisper of the old man’s voice, two words that I will always remember, “Thank you. “