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What lies ahead.

The massive Three Gorges Dam across China's Yangtze River generates an enormous amount of energy as it moderates destructive flooding. The project required the relocation of 1.25 million people. In a familiar story, those who wield power make decisions that have significant repercussions for others. Even when the venture benefits the common good, those forced from their homes and lands, their livelihoods and communities, suffer the burden of what is construed as progress. Not surprisingly, such development initiatives can feel unjust.

Those compelled to migrate because of the dam's construction became the subject of Yun-Fei Ji's stunning scroll printed with over 500 hand-carved wooden blocks. To see its entire 10-foot length, viewers must walk past those leaving their familiar lives. Individual vignettes personalize moments of this exodus and convey the emotional toll hiding behind the numbers: the drudgery and grief of moving, the complexity of transporting one's belongings with limited means, resting as a brief respite before resuming the daunting task.

The people who remembered "My father was a wandering Aramean" (Deut. 26:5), also preserved a hopeful narrative of going to a new homeland. Do we focus on what lies ahead or mourn what was left behind?

By Jerry Bleem, O.F.M., a priest and artist who teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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Title Annotation:eyeofthebeholder; Three Gorges Dam in China
Author:Bleem, Jerry
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Nov 1, 2017
Words:220
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