Student movements, police crackdowns and Kang’s Human Acts.

Written and Narrated by: Huma Khan

The mechanisms of coping with bereavement are complex in the most anticipated of situations and the effects of a death upon the living friends and family are often permanent. So in the context of death that is brutal, unnecessary and avoidable – acceptance and coping can become next to impossible with a lasting and disabling aftermath upon the living relatives and friends.

Weaving the stories of various lives affected by one death as well as giving an insight into her connection to the historical narrative – Kang poses a fundamental question to her readership – what is humanity? The novel is based on the backdrop of the Gwangju uprising of May 1980, where students and other civilians protesting for democracy were repressed and purged by the military – with the death toll argued to be above 2000.

This podcast is a brief introduction to the text of this novel, a historical background in which the story is set and more than anything – it is an imploration to the audience of Meer e Karwan to pick up this book and reflect. Reflect on the sanctity of universities as intellectual spaces; on the duty of Governing institutes towards its citizens; the moral accountability of external Governments in providing financial and arms to carry out these operations; and more fundamentally, reflect on what humanity is and its meanings in the contemporary society, where the modern world is riddled with conflict, war and disaster.

 

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