[Hank's Mail]Cruel April
편집자주'행크스 메일(Hank's Mail)'은 매주 금요일, 지난 한 주를 마무리하며 읽어보는 영문 시사 칼럼입니다. 비즈니스에 도움이 되는 일화와 유머도 함께 곁들여집니다. 필자 안홍철(미국명 행크 안)씨는 글로벌 기업 임원, IT기업 미국 현지 CEO, 세계은행 수석 금융스페셜리스트, 재정경제부 관료 등 다양한 경험을 거쳐 현재 KIC감사로 재직중입니다. 또 재미 시절 '미국 속으로'라는 고정코너를 머니투데이에 연재, 독자의 사랑을 받았습니다. 경제·시사 지식을 유려한 비즈니스 영어를 사용한 휴먼 터치로 해석하는 '행크스 메일'과 함께 즐거운 주말 보내시기 바랍니다.
Spring has unfolded its tender facet to us with full-blown flowers such as cherry blossoms, azalea, forsythia, magnolia, you name it. Many of us, until last weekend, may have thought balmy April is certainly better than March, a messenger of spring.
However, along with the start of the week everyone in the world was dumbfounded by the news of Virginia Tech massacre, which ended up claiming thirty three lives. Some of you may have collapsed back in the chair - speechless - and then sobbed. The cruel execution made us wonder what caused him to be that atrocious.
Moreover, Koreans, who are well-known for their hard work ethics and not used to mass murder, were alarmed by the ensuing news that the mass murderer is a Korean-born American student.
Evidence found later offered an insight into the killer and he turned out to be a mentally impaired, poor soul with a tincture of autism, including the resemblance of his rampage shooting to the Columbine High massacre and Unabomber. Still, the magnitude of the incident is so grave that it will take a considerable length of time until the Americans’wounded mind is healed.
As we know, history shows that April is fraught with tragic events. For instance, the first blood of the American Civil War, which lasted for four years to produce about 970,000 casualties, was shed on April 19, 1861.
On the same date in 1960, Korean students staged a nation-wide street demonstration for presidential re-election despite the police brutally opening fire on them, which ended with a death toll of 183. Furthermore, Chinese students’ march at Tiananmen Square, which claimed 2,000 ~ 3,000 lives, began on April 27, 1989.
On April 19, 1993, the 51-day standoff between FBI and the Branch Davidian in Waco, Texas disastrously ended up claiming 79 lives, including 21 children. On the same date two years later, Timothy McVeigh parked a truck loaded with an explosive bomb outside the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killing 168 people.
Like the famous lament of T.S. Eliot, American-born British poet, in his poem, “The Waste Land,” alas, “April is the cruelest month!”
May all the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre rest in peace! May God bless all the broken-hearted victims’ family members!
Good weekend, you all!
P.S.: This week I believe it’s better to go without a piece of humor. Instead, I am attaching a story that stresses the importance of our time with kids and the other which may fit into the good old saying, “To err is human, to forgive divine.”
“Daddy, how much do you make an hour?” With a timid voice and idolizing eyes, the little boy greeted his father as he returned from work.
Greatly surprised, but giving his boy a glaring look, the father said: “Look, Sonny, not even your mother knows that. Don’t bother me now, I’m tired.”
“But, Daddy, just tell me, please! How much do you make an hour?” the boy insisted.
The father, finally giving up, replied: “Twenty dollars per hour.”
“Okay, Daddy. Could you loan me ten dollars?” the boy asked. Showing his relentlessness and positively disturbed, the father yelled: “So that was the reason you asked how much I earn, right? Go to sleep and don’t bother me anymore!”
It was already dark and the father was meditating on what he said and was feeling guilty. Maybe, he thought his son wanted to buy something.
Finally, trying to ease his mind, the father went to his son’s room. “Are you asleep, son?” asked the father.
“No, Daddy. Why?”replied the boy, partially asleep.
“Here’s the money you asked for earlier,” the father said.
“Thanks, Daddy!”rejoiced the son, while putting his hand under his pillow and removing some money. “Now I have enough! Now I have twenty dollars!” the boy said to his father, who was gazing at his son, confused at what his son had just said. “Daddy, could you sell me one hour of your time?”
I grew up in a physically and mentally abusive family. My step-father was very controlling and had a substance addiction. Don't get me wrong, he was a hardworking, dependable man, but was not the same if he didn't have his preferred drug around. He raised four children that were not his own and one that was his. I was only two years old when he came into our lives. He was very jealous of my mother. I guess his insecurity came because of their age difference.
My mother told us that she only stayed for us and was waiting for us to grow up so she could leave him. Well, that day came to pass. I left the house at age 17 pregnant. During my eighth month of pregnancy I got the dreaded call. My mother had left and had decided to leave my little brother (age 14) with his father since she was told that if she ever left and took his son that he would kill us all.
After a few weeks of keeping in contact with my sister and little brother I heard my mother ended up in Chicago with my aunt and her first husband. Two weeks later I got a call saying my mother was in the hospital where she was in critical condition with 5 bullet wounds.
I got on the first flight out to Chicago thanks to my father, mother and sister in-law who scheduled and paid for it all. When I got to the airport, my sister and one of my brothers were waiting for me to take me straight to the hospital. I found out she had been there a week prior but they didn't want to tell me due to the fact that I was pregnant and they didn't want to scare me because something could happen to the baby.
The first time I saw my mother lying in the hospital bed, she had her head the size of a basketball and was truly the color purple. She had been in a coma and was not cognitive that whole week. I went up to the bed and cried and called out "oh, mommy." As soon as I uttered those words she opened her eyes to everyone's amazement. She whispered she had been waiting for me. The doctor called it a miracle and she was moved to a regular room.
God had spared her life. She had been shot twice in her head and 3 times in the back at point-blank by my step-father. He was caught and sentenced to 22 years.
11 Years later they held court to see if he was eligible for release. My mother and my aunt were both there for the hearing and were heard. Even though my mother still has a bullet in the back of her head that is too delicate to remove but still traveling and her face is disfigured and her hands show the broken bones where natural instinct caused her to try to protect her face, my step-father was let out after serving only 11 years.
My mother has to take medication (Prozac) and now suffers from anxiety attacks. She is now blind in one eye where the bullet has traveled to her nerve and blocked her vision.
This past July we got a call from my step-father’s family members in Corpus Christi that our dad had cancer in his lungs, liver and kidneys. He was in his last days. My little brother rushed that same night and I got to go that next day.
After all my mother had gone through she found it in her heart to travel those 4 hours to Corpus Christi, to let my dying father know that she forgave him for all he did to her. He cried at just the sound of her voice. She was there on a Saturday and he passed away that following Monday.
I am so proud of my mom, not just by her teaching that we must forgive, but that she taught us by example what true forgiveness is all about. I believe that my step-father would not have died peacefully as he did, but by receiving my mother’s forgiveness his spirit was not entangled with bondages that would tie him to this world.
My mother forgave him, not just for his sake but for her sake as well.
벚꽃, 진달래, 개나리, 목련 등 활짝 피어난 꽃들과 더불어 봄이 그 부드러운 모습을 드러냈습니다. 지난 주말까지 우리들 가운데 많은 사람들은 봄의 메신저인 삼월보다 화창한 사월이 확실히 낫다고 생각했을 것으로 봅니다.
그러나, 금주가 시작되면서 이 세상 모든 사람들은 서른 세 명의 목숨을 앗아간 버지니아 공대 대학살 뉴스에 어안이 벙벙했습니다. 여러분 가운데에는 정신을 잃고 의자에 털썩 주저앉아 할 말을 잃고선 마침내 울음을 터뜨린 분도 계실 겁니다. 그 잔혹함은 우리로 하여금 무엇이 그를 그토록 잔인하도록 했을까 하고 생각하게 했습니다.
더욱이, 근면한 직업 윤리로 유명하고 대학살에 익숙지 않은 한국인들은 대학살범이 바로 한국 출신 미국 학생이라는 연이은 뉴스에 깜짝 놀랐습니다.
나중에 발견된 증거로 우리는 살인범을 관찰할 수 있었고, 그의 미친듯한 총기난사는 컬럼바인 고교 대학살 사건과 유너바머와 유사한 등 그는 자폐증 징후를 지닌 정신적으로 병이 든 가련한 사람이었습니다. 하지만, 이번 사건의 파장은 워낙 엄청나 미국인들의 마음의 상처가 치유되는 데에는 상당한 시간이 걸릴 것입니다.
아시다시피, 역사적으로 사월은 비극적 사건들로 가득합니다. 예컨대, 4년간 계속되어 약97만 명의 사상자를 낸 남북전쟁의 첫 유혈이 흐른 날은 1861년 4월 19일입니다.
1960년 같은 날 한국 학생들은 경찰의 잔인한 발포에도 불구하고 대통령 재선거를 요구하는 전국적인 거리 데모를 감행했고 사망자는 183명에 이르렀습니다. 더욱이, 2~3천명이 사망한 중국 학생들의 천안문 광장 행진은 1989년 4월 27일 시작됐습니다.
텍사스주 웨코에서 있었던 미연방 수사국과 (기독교 종파인) 브랜치 데이비디언 간의 51일간에 걸친 대치는 1993년 4월 19일 마침내 21명의 어린이들을 포함한 79명의 사망이란 참사로 끝났습니다. 2년 후 같은 날 티모시
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