NEVER LOVE YOUR GOVERNMENT; IT WON'T LOVE YOU BACK.
I seldom watch the news. I love my country but---I despise my government. I can't bear to see how the government is destroying everything I hold-- near and dear.
While I was working on my book and editing a particular chapter from my Great Wall journal, I was--again--reminded of the very-reason I no-longer respect my government:
"Reaching Datong, I made the decision to camp for the night. Darkness was still hours away but I had walked steadily all day, mostly uphill. The mileage meter around my neck indicated I had covered 30 miles since six o’clock that morning... I deserved to rest. Glancing around at the magnificent view and beautiful mountains, I noticed movement on a tall mountain closest to me. Wanting a closer look, I removed my binoculars from their case and was shocked to see Chinese dressed in military uniforms with rifles pointed at three men, apparently prisoners. The men were loading trucks with what appeared to be rocks. Most disturbing….the men loading rock didn’t look Oriental. Instead, they looked Caucasian; all three were tall with blondish, light brown hair and fair skin.
The longer I stared, the more excited I became. The men wore tank tops, camouflage pants, high-top military boots, and what appeared to be dog tags around their necks. As they struggled to walk, I noted that all three wore shackles around their ankles. I watched the guards prod the men with rifles, working them like beasts of burden; the men seemed to ignore the occasional rifle jabs from the guards as they methodically loaded rock after rock into waiting trucks.
When darkness forced me to put the binoculars down, I picked up my journal to document what I had seen. I referenced each and every detail, trying to provide as much information as possible. Had these men been captured in Vietnam then traded to China? Could these men be MIAs? I felt frantic to alert the American government. As soon as possible, I must let the world know there were prisoners, most certainly Americans, in China.
Five months later, when I returned to America, I made an appointment to meet with the State Department's Director of Asian Affairs. Congratulating me on my successful journey of The Great Wall, the director listened as I related- exactly what I had seen outside Datong. I presented him with pages copied from my journal describing the men and, as I spoke, I drew a simple map of the mountain in relationship to the town of Datong.
When I handed the map to the director, he took it and, without so much as a glance, tore the map and the journal pages into tiny pieces and dropped them in the wastebasket. Smiling only slightly, he thanked me for sharing the information. Confused and shocked, I started questioning him, asking why he seemed so casual about such an alarming discovery-------when he interrupted me and asked me to leave.
As he walked me to the door, he cautioned me with these words: “Forget what you think you saw; destroy any written notes or photos you took; and never share your thoughts or information with another person. Trust me, my dear, you saw nothing.”