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萧乾《忆滇缅路》英译

2015-06-19    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

萧乾《忆滇缅路》英译

忆滇缅路

萧乾

在二次大战的众多深刻教训中,最主要也是最痛心的一条是:国与国之间平时客客气气,谁有点小灾小祸,还会略表支持;然而一个国家一旦自身遇到麻烦,需要出卖朋友来摆脱困境时,则什么背信弃义的勾当都是干得出。一九四零年七月,正当我国抗战面临紧要关头,丘吉尔就为了讨好日本帝国主义以保全英帝国在远东的殖民地,竟然在当时仍是英属缅甸边界,把抗战中国的这条生命线封锁。当时,除了横越喜马拉雅山的空运外,我国所有进口的军火、汽油、药品、器械以及换取这些而出口的钨砂、猪鬃、水银和桐油,都要经由这条公路运输。汽车行驶高峰每日达七千余辆,进出口物资达数百万吨。英国悍然封锁该公路扼住我们的咽喉,无疑是对我国一巨大打击。

一九三九年春间,我曾踏访了这条公路并曾为香港《大公报》写过几篇报道。其中,在《血肉筑成的滇缅路》一文中,我扼要地介绍了这条公路工程之艰巨:

九百七十三公里的汽车路,三百七十座桥梁,一百四十万立方公尺的土方,不曾沾过一架机器的光,不曾动用巨款,只凭二千五百万名民工的抢筑:铺土、铺石,也铺血肉。下关至畹町那一段一九三七年一月动工,三月分段试车,五月就全面通车了。

路是沿着古老的通往印度和缅甸的马帮驿道修成的。为了修那条公路三千多人捐老人躯。不能忘记的还有陈嘉庚组织的“南洋机工队”三千二百人,其中有一千多人在公路上为国殉难,除了工程的艰险之处,还有那怕人的瘴气—恶性疟疾。同行的一位头天晚上还有说有笑,第二天一摸,全身凉了。我们当时是席地睡在一座马厩里,他就睡在我身旁。

一九三九年九月,我去了英国,正赶上二次欧战的爆发。没想到次年七月,我亲眼看到修筑的滇缅路被丘吉尔主持的英战时政府悍然封锁了,而且是在日本侵略者指使下这么干的,当时英国民间组织援华委员会就在全英掀起反封锁的运动。由于我是刚从航站中国来到英国的记者,又曾采访过滇缅路,所以就应邀赴英国各大城市及乡村去演讲。有些城市的英国群众还上街游行。在伦敦,援华会就曾组织人们到丘吉尔所在的唐宁街首相府门口摇旗呐喊,反对英国助纣为虐,帮助热泵侵略者扼杀抗战的中国。

十月,英政府被迫接触了对滇缅路的封锁。一九四一年十月,中英签订了“共同防御滇缅路协定”。“珍珠港事变”后,中国军队就同盟军并肩作战于朱红色的滇缅土地上了。

滇缅路如今只是全国千百条公路中的一条了。可是当时中华民族的命运曾系在它身上。

译文:

Recalling the Construction of the Yunnan-Burmese Road

Of all the numerous profound lessons we have learned from World War II, the following is the most distressing. A country may be formally polite to another and show willingness to offer it a little help in case of minor mishap befalling the latter. But it may stop at nothing to act perfidiously when it seeks to extricate itself from its own predicament at the expense of its friend. In July 1940, at the critical juncture of China’s Anti-Japanese War, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, endeavoring to hold on to the British colonies in the Far East by fawning on the Japanese aggressors, ordered a blockade of our lifeline on the Burmese side of the border with China, Burma then being a British colony. At that time, in addition to the airlift over the Himalayas, it was through the land transport by the Yunnan-Burmese Road that China imported munitions, gasoline, medicines and appliances in exchange for such exports as tungsten or, hog bristles, mercury and tung oil. The Road daily witnessed a traffic of over 7,000 motor vehicles during the peak hours and the transport of several million tons of import and export goods. Britain brazen act of blockading the Road meant, as it were, grabbing our throat. It was undoubtedly a serious blow to China.

In the spring of 1939, I wrote several reports for the Hong Kong Dagong Bao after making an on-the-spot investigation of the Road. In one of them, entitled The Yunnan-Burmese Road – paved with Flesh and Blood, I gave as follows a brief account of the formidable Road building project:

A 973-kilometer motorway, with 370 bridges, 1,400,000 cubic meters of stone work, and approximately 20,000,000 cubic meters of earth work. With neither machines nor adequate funds, 25 million laborers were engaged in a rush job of road construction. They pave the road with flesh and blood as well as with earth and stone. Work on the Xiaguan-Wanding section of the road started in January 1937 and was entirely opened to traffic in May after a section-by-section trial run in March.

The Road was built on the ancient post road leading to India and Burma, on which caravans used to travel. More than 3,000 men laid down their lives for building the Road. Of the 3,200 members of the “Nanyang Mechanics Team” organized by Tan Kah-kee, over 1,000 died on the job. The horrible disease of pernicious malaria was one of the great perils facing the laborers. One of my fellow travelers who chatted and laughed merrily one evening and then slept next to me on the ground of a stable was found stiff and cold the next day.
In September 1939, World War II broke out on my arrival in England. Unexpectedly, the wartime British government under Churchill, on the instigation of the Japanese aggressors, outrageously blockaded in July 1940 the Yunnan-Burmese Road, whose construction I had just seen with my own eyes. Britain’s non-governmental Aid-China Committee then launched a nation-wide anti-blockade campaign. As I was a Chinese correspondent just arrived in England from covering the Yunnan-Burmese Road, I was invited to deliver speeches in various big cities and villages of the country. In some cities, people even demonstrated in the streets. In London, the Aid-China Committee organized people to demonstrate in front of Churchill’s official residence on Downing Street, waving flags and shouting slogans decrying the British government aiding Japanese aggression against China.

In October of the same year, the British government was compelled to lift its blockade of the Road. In October 1941, China and Britain sighed the “Agreement on the Joint Defense of the Yunnan-Burmese Road”. After the Pearl Harbor Incident of December 7, 1941, Chinese troops began to fight should to shoulder with Allied troops on the red earth field surrounding the Road.

Now the Road is but one of the thousands of highways in China. But back in those days, it had a close bearing on the destiny of the Chinese nation.

(张培基 译)



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