Friday, August 08, 2008

Hey! The Olympics Start Today.

I met Sophie at Terra Linda Park last year, just a few blocks from my home in Portland.
Sophie, a small Asian woman in her late 30's, made eye contact with me and immediately approached me with the look of someone with something very important to say.

In broken English, she explained that she was a practitioner of Falun Gong. Because of this, she had been imprisoned, beaten, and tested for organ harvesting in China.

Despite my shock and initial refusal to believe that such things could really happen, I knew she was telling the truth.

Sophie had to go into hiding when she was pregnant with her third child. She gave birth in a mountain village, far away from any hospitals or modern medicine.

When her husband and children emigrated to the United States, they were forced to divorce and she was left behind. She knew her life was in danger; she was going to be killed.
Somehow she escaped.

Now,Sophie gets up every morning at 3am; she calls people in China, talking to them about things they already know.

Several weeks after our initial meeting, I happened upon Sophie and some of her friends practicing Falun Gong at the park while I was walking home after dropping my son off at school.
They were some of the nicest people I'd ever met.
They kindly invited me to practice Falun Gong with them, and I did.
The practice of Falun Gong was basically some stretching and breathing exercises. Sophie and company gave me a book to read and invited me to Sophie's house to learn more about the philosophical side of Falun Gong.

I wasn't too interested in learning more about Falun Gong's deeper spiritual aspects. I have already chosen a spiritual path and really don't need any distractions.
However, I was very impressed by the reality of Sophie.
She is a real person whom I met and touched and spoke with.
The human rights violations I hear about whenever China is mentioned became real to me, through her.


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