Act of waiting
Si-Woo LEE (Translated by Myung-Hee KIM)
The rain skittered down the windows as the bus dashed along the unpaved road. The heat from the passengers’ bodies quickly fogged up the windows. A teenage girl tried to clean her window with her sleeve, but grime on the outside of the window defied her efforts. However, her sleeves kept rubbing circles on the window, perhaps because she was eager to see the view. There was no way she would not know that it was useless to wipe only the inside of a window when the outside was caked with grime, but she kept cleaning only one side of the widow.
The landscape does not reveal itself to us unless the inside and the outside of the window are both clean. It’s easy to clean the inside of a running bus, but cleaning the outside is another matter: one must ask the passengers the permission to stop the bus and physically get up and out of the bus instead of just moving one’s arm. We often give up because it’s difficult to change the system and the human condition. But we can’t give up the hope of seeing a bright future through the window of history. That’s why so many people put up with discomfort to clean the window panes of the past. They will leap beyond their own purity to face history above the dirt road.
Si-Woo Lee 이시우 is a photojournalist and peace campaigner in South Korea. He has published a number of books and collections of his photographs which focus on the anti-personnel mines remaining in the de-militarized zone separating South and North Korea (known in Korea as the Civilian Passage Restriction Line), and on the continued presence of the US-led command in South Korea. Life on the Edge of the DMZ (Global Oriental Ltd., 2008) is the first of his books to be published in English.
Myung-Hee Kim 김명희 graduated from Columbia University(Major Sociology). She has worked as a professional translator.