我的家乡常德市位于地球的北纬 29° 01’ 53” ，东经111° 41’ 56” ，人口截至2015年大致150万人左右。
My hometown, Changde, is located at 29° 01’ 53” north latitude and 111° 41’ 56” east longitude of the earth. As of 2015, the permanent population is roughly 1.5 million.
In my memory, when I was a child often followed my elders to visit other people’s houses, I remembered that there was a decorative painting in their living room — a portrait of Mao and at my grandfather’s house also had such a portrait. This was nothing special or attractive to me when I was a kid.
In 2015, I had been in Germany for almost 5 years. Once I went home to Changde, I passed by the Cultural Palace in the city center. On the square here, I saw a monument, a monument to the Battle of Changde from the Kuomintang period. . I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t learn history well or because I forgot it. This history is blank for me, even if it happened in my hometown where I lived a long time.
A few days later, I talked about this with a friend who grew up with me. He took me to a coffee shop and told me there might be stories I am interested in. The owner of the coffee shop is a Japanese.
When we arrived in the coffee shop, we chatted with a waiter girl. She told me that she was learning Japanese and the coffee shop owner was her professor, Mr. Matsuda and she would like to translate for me. After waiting for a while, Mr. Matsuda wore a pair of glasses to give us an order, and communicated with us in Chinese mixed with Japanese.
He told me why he wanted to stay in Changde.
During the World War II, Changde was airdropped by the Japanese army to drop unidentified objects such as rice burgundy, cotton wool, cloth strips mixed with the plague virus. The plague virus is commonly known as the Black Death. A few days later, The Black Death spread from Ji’e Alley and broke out in Changde.
Hand-painted map of Ji’e Alley by 83-year-old Zhang Lizhong, a germ war investigator
Mr. Matsuda told me that in 2001, a friend of his came to Changde as a defense lawyer for the victims of the germ warfare in Changde, to collect evidence and information for the victims. He was invited by his lawyer friend to come to Changde to take photos as a photographer. But who would have thought that such a defense would be 15 years. In order to be able to get information and contact at any time and help these victims, he decided to stay here. This historical predicament has stagnated time and memory.
In 1942, French writer Albert Camugue retired to Panari, an isolated island besieged by war, in the mountains of southern France due to illness. Here Camus started his novel “La Peste”. He needed to find an allegorical body to describe the Sith, the human disease and the predicament facing humanity:
The plague virus spread everywhere.
A city besieged by the plague.
Humans struggling in despair.
My hometown was once such a city besieged by the plague, but the scars seem to have been forgotten with the death of the victim and the traces left by the plague are hard to find as well. Perhaps people on the Internet or in daily angry and passionate discussions will bring hatred and hostility to neighboring countries, but how many traces of it are left in the real history and how much people willing to know.
We don’t want to forget, nor do we want to create a permanent cultural segregation due to historical reasons. Perhaps, the predicament of these spreading emotions will be kept in an archive, a text, a photo or a video by itself.