Posts Tagged ‘jail’

MONTJUIC, BARCELONA

八月 18, 2017

MONTJUIC, BARCELONA

Montjuic means
mountain of the Jewish cemetery.
In the 1380s
the Jews were driven
out of the city,
gravestones were used
for castle walls.
1000 years ago
there was a light house.
Later the castles built on the top
were often used to shoot on the city.
There’s ample reason,
there are ample historical reasons
for independence.
Catalan language
is everywhere,
Catalan first, Spanish second.
The castle gives you
a history lesson
beginning in Hebrew
and a poem in Catalan.
Much of the city
was built from quarries
here on the mountain.
Today there is peace,
peace enough for reflection.
How much do you need,
how much cooperation,
how much solidarity,
how much economics,
how much is public transport…
What can you see
from the top of the mountain?

MW July 2017

LIU XIAOBO POEM (excerpt) 劉曉波詩歌一段

七月 8, 2017

My love, time to get up.
The bridge towards the abyss will collapse.
You are going to burst, please hold on to my will.
Doubt begins from the stone of sisyphus,
faith begins from the house key you lost.
I hand all my panic and hate
over to you
alone,
so I can raise my head high
one more time
until the darkest hour.

From a poem by Liu Xiaobo (1997), adddressed to his wife Liu Xia.
Circulated on July 6, 2017, while Liu is being treated for liver cancer in Shenyang.

Translated by Martin Winter

亲爱的,该起身了
通往深渊的桥就要坍塌
以你的炸裂咬住我的意志
怀疑从西西佛斯的石头开始
信仰从你丢掉家门的钥匙开始
我把全部的惶恐和仇恨
交给你,只交给你一人
让我的头再一次
高贵地昂起,直到
最黑的时刻降临

http://www.liu-xiaobo.org/blog/archives/18318

Meine Liebe, es ist Zeit, aufzustehen.
Die Brücke in Richtung Abgrund stürzt ein.
Wenn du platzt, beiß dich fest an meinem Willen.
Zweifel beginnt mit dem Stein des Sisyphos.
Glaube fängt an mit dem Hausschlüssel, den du verloren hast.
All meine Panik und meinen Hass
geb ich dir, dir allein.
So kann ich noch einmal,
ganz kostbar,
meinen Kopf hoch halten
bis zur dunkelsten Stunde.

Aus einem Gedicht von Liu Xiaobo an seine Frau Liu Xia, geschrieben 1997. Der inhaftierte Friedensnobelpreisträger wird derzeit wegen Leberkrebs in einem Krankenhaus in Shenyang behandelt.
Übersetzt von Martin Winter am 7. Juli 2017

Siehe http://www.liu-xiaobo.org/blog/archives/18318

廖亦武: 搶救劉曉波! Liao Yiwu’s Appeal for Liu Xiaobo

六月 27, 2017

Save Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo!

搶救劉曉波

中國監獄使劉曉波得了絕症。
這一消息轉瞬傳遍了世界。
作為劉曉波和劉霞多年的知交,我在此呼籲:
出於基本人權,西方各國政府首腦,特別是美國、德國、法國、
英國,以及歐盟政府首腦,應該敦促中國政府,盡快讓劉曉波夫婦出國就醫,不,人道搶救。

廖亦武,德國書業和平獎得主

2017年6月26日

Liao Yiwu writes:

“I know, we’re all so concerned with Turkey, Syria or that maniac in the US, and that’s alright, but it’s about to draw some attention back to human rights violations in China. Please. I do know some people personally who are or have been imprisoned in China for no crime but writing on behalf of humanistic endeavours.”

“The news that Liu Xiaobo’s time in a Chinese prison has left him terminally ill has spread across the globe.
Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia have been close friends of mine for decades. As their friend, I hereby call upon the leaders of Western governments, particularly leaders in the US, Germany, France, the UK, and the European Union, to urge the Chinese government to allow Liu Xiaobo and his wife to leave the country to seek medical treatment overseas.
This is a humanitarian imperative.”

Liao Yiwu
2012 Recipient of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade

26 June 2017

LIU XIA. Eine Fotografin aus China.
Vernissage am 10.Februar 2015.
Ausstellungsdauer: 21.Februar – 19.April 2015 m Martin Gropius Bau Berlin.
LIAO YIWU, MARCUS HAGEMANN, MARTIN WINTER

“Dies ist ein Appell an die chinesische Regierung von Herta Müller, Liao Yiwu, Ulrich Schreiber und vielen Freunden. Inzwischen haben auch Elfriede Jelinek, Eva Menasse, Madeleine Thien, Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka, Ian McEwan und 100 weitere Autoren aus allen Kontinenten unterzeichnet.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureat Liu Xiaobo has been diagnosed with liver cancer. His wife, Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest for several years, is also gravely ill. They have the wish to travel to Germany so they can receive medical care. Their wish to leave China is so strong that Liu Xiaobo has stated that – if he is to die – he does not want to do so on Chinese soil. Liu Xia also no longer wishes to live there. Time is running. We urge the Chinese government to grant Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia the freedom to leave the country!

Der Friedensnobelpreisträger Liu Xiaobo ist an Leberkrebs erkrankt. Er und seine Frau Liu Xia haben hat den Wunsch geäussert, nach Deutschland auszureisen, um medizinische Hilfe für beide zu bekommen – denn auch Liu Xia, die seit Jahren unter Hausarrest steht, ist schwer erkrankt. Der Wunsch der beiden geht soweit, dass Liu Xiaobo sagt, er möchte – selbst wenn er sterben muss – nicht in China sterben. Und Liu Xia sagt, dass sie nicht länger in China leben möchte. Die Zeit ist knapp. Wir appellieren dringend an die chinesische Regierung: geben sie diesen beiden Menschen die Freiheit, das Land zu verlassen!

强烈呼吁
诺贝尔和平奖得主刘晓波身患肝癌,他和他的夫人刘霞表示希望两个人都能够来德国寻求医疗救治。因为刘霞在长期软禁中也身患重病。他们出国求医的愿望非常坚决,刘晓波表示,如果必死无疑,那也不要死在中国。刘霞表示,再也不愿意在中国生活下去了。目前时间紧迫,我们强烈向中国政府呼吁,给他们自由,让他们离开中国。赫塔.米勒 廖亦武 乌里.赛博

El Premio Nobel de la Paz, Liu Xiaobo, está muy enfermo, tiene cáncer de hígado. Tanto él como su esposa Liu Xia han expresado su deseo de poder viajar a Alemania para obtener ayuda médica para ambos. Xiu Liu, con arresto domiciliario desde muchos anos, también está muy enferma. El deseo de ambos, así lo dijo Liu Xiaobo, es tan fuerte que dice no querer morir en China – si esto es su destino inmediato, y su mujer insiste que no quiere seguir viviendo en China. El tiempo apremia, y por ello pedimos al Gobierno de China: Por favor, conceden la libertad a estas dos personas para que puedan dejar el país.

Le lauréat du prix Nobel de la paix, Liu Xiaobo, est atteint d’un cancer du foie. Lui et son épouse Liu Xia ont émis le vœu de se rendre en Allemagne afin de recevoir des soins médicaux pour les deux. En effet, Liu Xia, qui est en résidence surveillée depuis plusieurs années, est gravement malade. Leur souhait est si profond que Liu Xiaobo dit qu’il ne veut pas — s’il doit décéder — décéder en Chine. Liu Xia quant à elle dit qu’elle ne veut plus vivre en Chine. Le temps est court. Nous en appelons d’urgence au gouvernement chinois: donnez à ces deux personnes la liberté de quitter le pays.

Fredspristagaren Liu Xiaobo är sjuk i levercancer. Tillsammans med sin Liu Xia har han uttryckt önskan om att få resa till Tyskland för att där få den medicinska vård de båda behöver. Också Liu Xia, som sedan många år befinner sig i husarrest, är nämligen svårt sjuk. Liu Xiaobo säger att om han måste dö så vill han inte dö i Kina. Liu Xia säger att hon inte längre vill leva i Kina. Tiden är knapp. Vi appellerar till den kinesiska regeringen att snarast ge dessa två människor friheten att lämna landet.

O ganhador do Prêmio Nobel Liu Xiaobo está com câncer de fígado. Ele e sua Liu Xia manifestaram vontade de viajar para a Alemanha, a fim de obter tratamento médico para ambos. Liu Xia, que está sob prisão domiciliar há anos, também está gravemente doente. A vontade deles, nesse sentido, é tanta que Liu Xiaobo afirma que não deseja morrer na China, mesmo que sua condição seja terminal. E Liu Xia diz que não quer mais viver na China. O tempo é curto. Por isso, dirigimos um apelo urgente às autoridades chinesas: concedam a essas duas pessoas a liberdade para sair do país.”

Liu Xia’s handwritten letter

廖亦武: 眼下,刘晓波夫妇已被严密控制,我不得已公布刘霞的手迹。我还有刘霞向国宝提出出国申请的手迹,暂时不便公布。媒体,以及大伙儿可以此为凭:出国治病是他们最迫切的心愿,劉曉波説死也要死在西方,千真万确!
“I am sick of my life, this grotesque life. I want to tear the version of myself who lives this grotesque life to pieces. I long to escape.
I can hardly believe that Xiaobo agreed to leave China together with me and [my brother] Liu Hui. When he finally learned about it, he was very concerned about my illness.

I am grateful to you and to our friends for everything you’ve been doing and cannot wait to embrace you.

Liu Xia
20 April 2017”

我厭惡我的生活,我的生活很難看,我想撕碎這醜陋生活中的我,我渴望逃離。

沒想到劉曉波同意跟我和劉暉一起離開,在有機會*的時候,他非常擔心我的病。

拜托你和朋友們為我們奔波,我想儘快擁抱你!

ABSCHIEDSWORTE – 周统宽

六月 6, 2017

Zhou Tongkuan
ABSCHIEDSWORTE

Der Sträflingsanzug
ist das beste Gewand,
das ich je angehabt hab
in diesem Leben.

Übersetzt von MW im Juni 2017

TEIGTASCHEN – 侯馬

二月 12, 2017

houma

Hou Ma
TEIGTASCHEN

ich seh einen großartigen polizisten
bringt am frühlingsfestabend den häftlingen jiaozi
ich seh auch einen großartigen häftling
er isst die jiaozi nicht sagt es fehlt essig

2016-09-16

houmajiaozi

NO SHIT!

十二月 22, 2016

rudolf-breidscheid-big

NO SHIT

the italian foreign minister says
on brettscheid square in berlin
memorial church right where the lorry
he says the suspect had been in prison
in tunisia and in italy
also in germany
normally it works out much better
in italy
normally they are good at deporting
what a relief

british foreign ministry in london
720 laptops went missing
unusually high number they say
no shit

MW December 2016

 

NO SHIT

der italienische außenminister sagt
auf dem brettscheidplatz in berlin
gedächtniskirche dort wo der lastwagen
er sagt der verdächtige war im gefängnis
in tunesien und in italien
und auch in deutschland
normalerweise funktioniere es besser
in italien
normalerweise schiebe man besser ab
was für ein trost

im britischen verteidigungsministerium in london
sind heuer 720 laptops verschwunden
eine ungewöhnlich hohe zahl heißt es
no shit

MW Dezember 2016

PATRIOTISCHES SCHMÄHGEDICHT

五月 21, 2016

verhaltenimbrandfall

PATRIOTISCHES SCHMÄHGEDICHT

dass es österreich gibt
dass es nicht geteilt wurde
1945
dass es eine regierung gab
und nur eine
im konsens aller
antifaschistischen parteien
dass dieses reiche und blühende land
auf etwas beruht

der führer der fpö
heißt angst und schrecken
er war ein neonazi
in seiner jugend
war er im gefängnis
er hetzt gegen arme
und spart bei den ärmsten
an den schulden in kärnten
unter seiner partei
zahlt jedes kind in österreich
tausende euro

wer solch einen menschen
und seine deutschdümmelnde bande
an der spitze des staates will
der oder die
wirft österreich weg

MW Mai 2016

Yi_Sha_vortrag_VSC

FERIEN – 度假 – VACATION

五月 7, 2016

mmexport1461226993436

FERIEN

lasset uns tauchen gehen.
letztes jahr im august
hat jemand in tianjin gesagt
tausend leut sind gestorben.
er wurde eingesperrt.
lasset uns tauchen gehen.
dieses jahr diesen monat
waren wahlen in taiwan.
erste präsidentin in asien
die nicht aus einer familie der macht kommt.
lasset uns tauchen gehen.
vor ein paar tagen
gab jemand ein interview
radio freiheit oder so
sagte die stadt wo er lebe
sei keineswegs frei,
autonome region nicht autonom.
lasset uns tauchen gehen.
er bekam vierzehn jahre.
er war der erste nicht.
lasset uns tauchen gehen.
am nachmittag
gibts noch andere sachen.

MW 2016

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

VACATION

Let us go diving into the deep.
Last year in August
someone in Tianjin
said one thousand people had died.
He was put in jail.
Let us go diving.
Elections this year in Taiwan,
first female president.
Let’s go now, let’s go.
These few days
someone gave an interview
voice of freedom or something.
Said the city he lived in
was not free,
autonomous region was not autonomous.
Let us go diving now.
He got fourteen years.
He wasn’t the first.
Let’s go now, go.
There’ll be other things
planned for the afternoon.

January 2016

《度假》

我们去潜水吧
去年八月份
有人说天津
死了一千
被关起来。
我们去潜水吧。
今年台灣选举
第一位女总统。
去吧, 去吧。
这几天
有人接受访问
自由之声
说他所在的城市
不自由
自治区不自治。
我们去潜水吧。
他被判十四年。
也不是第一人。
去吧, 去吧。
等到下午
还有别的项目。

2016.1.23

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

TARIM RIVER – 廖亦武 Liao Yiwu

一月 16, 2016

CAM00834

Liao Yiwu

TARIM RIVER
– dedicated to Ilham Tohti, the Uighur scholar sentenced to life in prison

River Tarim, River Tarim.
River in exile, water in jail.
Died in the desert, dying of thirst.
Wind keeps on playing reeds in the sky,
eternal water, somewhere up there.

River Tarim, River Tarim.
Hounded to death, hounded and cursed.
How many grains of sand in your tears?
You have to know who your mother is,
who your mother is?

River Tarim! River Tarim!
River of prayer, river of hope.
River, for freedom you are dried out!
River, for freedom you’re all alone!

………

1) The Tarim river originates in the Tianshan mountains. It flows through vast desert areas. The river cannot find an outlet from the desert, and so the river bed changes every year. The biggest prisons and labor camps in China are found in the Tarim river area, which is therefore also called “China’s Siberia”.

2) Ilham Tohti is an economics professor at Minzu University in Beijing and the foremost Uighur public intellectual in the People’s Republic of China. He was sentenced to life in prison in September 2014 for advocating basic economic, cultural, religious and political rights for the Uighurs, the largest indigenous people in northwestern China. (Amnesty International)

2015
Translated by Martin Winter, 2015

Liao Yiwu
TARIM

Der Fluss Tarim, der Fluss Tarim.
Fluss der Verbannung, Fluss eingesperrt.
Fluss der versiegt, verdurstet im Sand.
oben im Wolken-Schilfrohr der Wind,
oben im Himmel rinnt noch der Fluss.

Der Fluss Tarim, der Fluss Tarim.
Du wirst gejagt, verflucht in den Tod.
In deinen Tränen steckt wieviel Sand,
kennst deine Mutter, kennst du sie nicht?
Kennst du sie nicht?

Der Fluss Tarim! Der Fluss Tarim!
Fluss aus der Hoffnung, Fluss des Gebets!
Fluss der für Freiheit trocknet, versiegt!
Fluss der für Freiheit alleine bleibt!
…..

1) Der Tarim entspringt im Tianshan-Gebirge. Er fliesst durch weite Wüstengebiete. Weil er keinen Ausweg findet, ändert sich jedes Jahr sein Flussbett. Im Gebiet dieses Flusses befinden sich die größten Gefängnisse und Straflager in China. Deshalb wird die Gegend auch “Chinas Sibirien” genannt.

2) Ilham Tohti ist ein uighurischer Universitätsprofessor in Peking, der sich für Bürgerrechte in der Autonomen Region Xinjiang einsetzte. Im September 2014 wurde er in Ürümqi wegen “Separatismus” und “Verhetzung” zu lebenslänglicher Haft verurteilt.

2015
Übersetzt von Martin Winter, 2015

塔里木河

——獻給被判無期徒刑的維吾爾學者伊力哈木

廖亦武

塔里木河,塔里木河,

被流放、被囚禁的河,

沙漠裡渴死的河,

風兒吹動天上的蘆葦,

那是永恒的水。

塔里木河,塔里木河,

被詛咒、被追殺的河,

眼淚裡含滿沙子的河,

你可知道誰是母親?

你可知道?

塔里木河!塔里木河!

祈禱著盼望著的河

為了自由而幹枯的河

為了自由而孤獨的河

……

(註:塔里木河發源於天山,流經大片沙漠和戈壁,由於找不到出口,它每年都改變河道。
塔里木河流域分佈著中國面積最廣的監獄和勞改農場,號稱“中國的西伯利亞流放地”)

Yi Sha freedom

PIGEON FLIES INTO WOMEN’S PRISON – 莫莫 – TAUBE IM FRAUENGEFÄNGNIS

十一月 11, 2015

MomoMomo
PIGEON FLIES INTO WORKSHOP OF FEMALE PRISONERS

flies from left
to right, from right to
left, crashes
against the big tall window
once, and again

sun, through the bars
on the pigeon
prisoner clad in stripes
she’s a strange bird

2015
Tr. MW, 2015-2017

 

Momo
TAUBE IM FRAUENGEFÄNGNIS

von links fliegt sie nach
rechts, von rechts nach
links, schlägt gegen
das große hohe glasfenster
der werkstätte
einmal, noch einmal

sonne, hineingesteckt
eisenzaun reflektiert
auf dem taubenkörper
sieht aus wie zebrastreifen
von sträflingskleidung

Übersetzt von MW im November 2015

Taube im Frauengefaengnis

LIAO YIWU IN VIENNA

十月 6, 2015

Ballester_JM_1658-La_Balsa_de_la-MedusaThursday, 8th of October 2015
20:00 h

First time in Austria!

»Human Life is Fiction.«

Liao_Foto_Ali_Ghandtschi

Liao Yiwu: Reading at Literaturhaus Vienna, Seidengasse #13, 7th district

Moderator: Wolfgang Popp (Author and Journalist)
Reading: PRISON. TEMPLE. (Long Poem)
Liao Yiwu (China) Mein Gefängnis. Mein Tempel.

erschienen in AKZENTE 3/2015, hg. v. Herta Müller,
deutsche Übersetzung von Martin Winter / 2015

Akzente3_24960_MR1.indd
Music: Liao Yiwu
Discussion
Wolfgang Popp and Liao Yiwu
Interpreter: Yeemei Guo

KOLIK

JAILBIRDS AND HEROES – 西毒何殇 Xidu Heshang

十月 19, 2014

Xidu Heshang

Xidu Heshang
JAILBIRDS AND HEROES

that year our teacher loved chi zhiqiang
actor who went to jail for loose behaviour
we had a contest for prison songs
my “tears on prison bars” earned me first prize:
black “hero” fountain pen

2014-09-08
Tr. MW, Oct. 2014

OUR PEOPLE

九月 26, 2014

2014-09 ILHAM TOHTI _CHINA-XINJIANG

OUR PEOPLE
– for Ilham Tohti

he cannot speak for his people
nobody can speak for our people
anyone who is not for our people
is against our people

he’s no mandela
how could mandela
speak for our people?

only our people
speak for our people

MW Sept. 2014

Tanks Uighur Girl

WEIBO COMMENT ON SCOTTISH REFERENDUM

九月 20, 2014

GREAT BRITAIN“The United Kingdom is here to stay. Actually, no matter what the outcome would have been, the vote in Scotland has shown to the people of another certain country that in such a crisis, England does not evoke a “anti-split-up-law”. There are no armored vehicles on Scottish street corners, Scottish leaders have not been branded as betraying and selling out the great English nation, and not one citizen has been thrown in jail for fomenting trouble and encouraging independence. Just for these few points, Great Britain, the sun has not set on your empire!” (A Weibo user in China

”联合王国保住了。其实无论结果如何,苏格兰公投都让世界上另一国家的人民看到,在如此危机下,英格兰没有制定《反分裂法》,没有将装甲车开上格拉斯哥街 头,没有将苏格兰首席大臣萨蒙德打成英奸卖国贼,更没有以寻衅滋事罪将鼓吹独立的任何一个公民投入监狱。仅凭这些,大不列颠,你仍然是日不落帝国!“

 http://www.weibo.com/1829833472/BnHUpjiWS

BIRDS OF PASSAGE

二月 13, 2013

Happy year of the snake! How are you doing? I have just finished translating an essay on bonsais in jail. From Chinese into German. Spring in a Prison Cell, by Shi Mingde (Shih Ming-te) 施明德, written in August 1989. He was Taiwan’s Liu Xiaobo. Released in the early 1990s, after 25 years in jail. Nearly executed in 1980 after organizing the Formosa protests. Arrested again in 1997, campaigning for direct presidential elections. Organized protests against corruption in 2006.
His older brother Shi Mingzheng died in a hunger strike in August 1988.

If you feel like it, please tell me how you like the following poem. Or the translation. Shorter words are easier to fit in a rhythm.

Have a good year!

Martin

 

Shi Mingzheng (1982)

BIRDS OF PASSAGE

Yes, we are September birds, arriving
on this western pacific island, panting;
marveling at the island’s beauty;
riding the breeze, changing into the foam, soaring over Green Island’s blue skies

We have wings to adore.
We don’t need passports or border controls.
We don’t have professions or housing,
picking grain anywhere, sleeping where we can rest.

We don’t have jails, no informing and framing,
no scaffolds or labor camps, no exploitation.
We eat what we find, at most we have children exploiting their parents.
We don’t have assassinations.

And so we don’t have police and informers.
We don’t have thugs performing as agents.
We have the freedom you people are craving, but if you catch us
We end up on sticks for your peace-loving teeth.

Tr. MW, Feb. 2013

施明正 (1982)

候鳥

是的,我們是九月的候鳥到達
西太平洋的孤島,我們喘息
我們羨慕島嶼的美麗風光
我們駕著和風,化成浪花,在綠島的藍空翻騰

我們長著令人羨慕的翅膀
我們不必護照,我們隨時翻騰人造的國境
我們沒有職業,沒有房屋
可是到處是糧,隨地是家

我們沒有牢獄,沒有告密、誣告
沒有死刑、勞役、剝削
我們自找自吃,頂多只在兒時剝削過雙親的口糧
當然,我們也沒有暗殺

因此我們也就沒有線民與警察
更沒有冒充特務的流氓
我們雖有人類羨慕的自由,可是佈著陷阱
把我們考成一串鳥仔疤的,竟是高呼自由與和平的人

Punks, empathy and torture: Pussy Riot in China and Vienna

八月 17, 2012

Image

Aug. 25

Daniele Kowalsky showed me a very interesting interview with Jonathan Campbell in the L.A. Review of Books. Jonathan Campbell talks with Jeffrey Wasserstrom about 盤古 Pangu,崔健 Cui Jian,無聊軍隊 Wuliao Jundui and other details of rock music and punk in China.

Unfortunately, I can’t agree with Jonathan that yaogun 摇滚 (Chinese rock music) could galvanize China like Pussy Riot seems to have galvanized opposition in Russia. Cui Jian 崔建 did have some very memorable moments, and people in China do remember them, and they will tell you readily about the parts before 1989, mostly. But those moments in 1989 were so painful in the end that no one knows if there will ever be a similar broad-based protest movement again. 1989 brought hope in Europe. Risk, very risky change, and some very ugly violence in Romania. But overall there was hope, and whatever came out of it, 1989 is generally remembered as a year of wonder. In China it’s a trauma. A wound that is usually covered up, but even China is very much connected to the world nowadays, and the world knows. And there are much deeper and older traumata, which can be accessed and shared via 1989. So in that way, there is hope. Connected to underground music. Like the kind that Liao Yiwu’s 廖亦武 music comes from.

There are parallels, certainly. Parallels between Pussy Riot and Ai Weiwei 艾未未, in the pornography. Parallels in the way of some Ai Weiwei news or other embarrassing news everyone gets to know about, and the dark stuff below. The disappearances, the longer ones, see Gao Zhisheng 高智晟. And the corpses. I learned about the late attorney Sergei Magnitsky via Pussy Riot. He died in jail in 2009, and among people concerned with Russia he is as famous as Gao is in and outside China, which means not so many people want to talk about him or even admit they’ve heard of cases like that. Of course, there are corpses under the carpets in every country. Only China is the oldest 5000 year old one, of course.

Aug. 22

2 years for singing in church. Perfectly absurd. Punk music, controversial art. Public space and religion. Russia, Africa, China. What is art? Depends where you are, what you are, who you are, who is with you. What you believe.

One week ago I read two books. A few months before I got to know a poet. Still haven’t seen her. A Jewish poet in Germany, soon to be teaching in Vienna. Esther Dischereit.

Last month I finally got around to pick up a book that contains many poems I translated. Freedom of writing. Writers in prison. A beautiful anthology, edited by Helmuth Niederle, currently head of Austrian PEN.

Connections. Connected to China. Punk music isn’t all that subversive, not in a big way, usually. What if musicians insult the government on stage. Well, I’ve been to about 300 concerts in China, said Yan Jun. Sometimes someone was screaming something in that direction. But they aren’t big stars. They can be ignored.

Christa Wolf. Stadt der Engel. The Overcoat of Dr. Freud. Long and convoluted. Gems in there. How she was loyal to the Party in 1953. And insisted on protest against Party policy. How and what they hoped in 1989. How and what Germany was and is.

Aug. 21

2 years for singing in church. And many more arrested. It does sound more like China than Russia, doesn’t it? The case of Li Wangyang 李旺陽李汪洋) comes to mind. Li Wangyang died around June 4th 2012 in police care after being released from over 20 years of jail. He was a labor activist in the 1989 protests that ended with the massacre on June 4th in Beijing. Li Wangyang supposedly killed himself, but the police report was disputed in China and in Hong Kong, where tens of thousands of people protested. Li’s relatives and friends are still being persecuted. One has been formally arrested and accused of revealing state secrets, because he photographed Li’s body.

Parallels between Russia and China were drawn in media comments after the verdict in Moscow. One comment wondered whether Russia is trying to emulate China, where the word civil society is banned on the Internet. China has had economic success for decades. People put up with authoritarian one-party rule there, the comment said. But it won’t work in Russia, because the economy depends on natural resources, not on industry. The comment contained the old misunderstanding that in China, government policy and enforced stability have caused economic success. Beijing wants the world to think that, of course. However, the prominent law and economy professors Qin Hui 秦暉 and He Weifang 賀衛方 have been saying for years that the economic miracle of the 1980s depended on a consensus to move away from the Cultural Revolution, as well as on investment from Taiwan, Hong Kong and overseas. After 1989, there has been no comparable social consensus. After 1989, the social drawbacks and the gap between rich and poor may have grown faster than the economy. But the middle class has also grown. Regional protests are frequent but limited. Or the other way ’round. The Internet remains vibrant. With Weibo microblogs inside the Great Firewall, and very much Chinese going on outside. Not because the government initiates it. They let it happen. The economy, the art, the internet. Even protests, when they are against Japan, and/or not too big. And they profit. The oligarchy is the Party.

Religion and more or less independent art have been growing in China, about as much as the social conflicts. Art brings huge profits, so they let it happen. In Russia, Pussy Riot have succeeded in connecting independent art, oppositional politics and religion in a highly visible way. Art, political activism and religion are voluble factors, so much that societies where everyday news has been fixated on finance for at least four years now could almost grow jealous.

Pussy Riot were not mentioned in our church on Sunday, as far as I could tell. I had to look after the children. But the preacher drew on her experiences from jail work. She championed the rights of refugees and was a prominent anti-governmental figure in Austria in the 1990s. Direct relevance for religion in Austrian politics is rare. We had Catholic Austro-Fascism in the 1930s, paving the way for Hitler. Some Protestant Nazis as well. After the Holocaust, religion in Austria has a somewhat undead quality. A bit like traditional opera in China, which is rallying, hopefully.

For international discussion about the relevance of underground art, music and religion, China has Liao Yiwu 廖亦武. And Russia has Pussy Riot.

Photo by Vincent Yu/AP

Aug. 17

Worldwide empathy for Pussy Riot is great. The trial in Moscow ends today, so I don’t know yet if three women have to remain in jail for years after singing in a church. There was a lot of worldwide attention last year as Ai Weiwei 艾未未 was abducted and detained by Chinese state security. He was released and voted most influential artist worldwide. I have seen graffiti in support of Pussy Riot here in Vienna in the last few days. One at newly renovated Geology Institute. Not very nice. And there was some kind of happening at the Vienna Russian Orthodox church, I heard. Church authorities not amused. Well, hopefully worldwide support can help enough this time. Quite recently, many political prisoners in China have been sentenced to more than 10 years. There was a lot of attention abroad in one case. And a Nobel.

Austria is a nice place, generally. Sometimes it’s uglier than Germany. Generally uglier, in terms of police abusing, even killing people, always getting away with it. Have been reading Vienna Review and Poetry Salzburg Review in the last few days. News and poetry. Many of our friends here in Vienna are not from Austria. Coming from abroad often provides a clearer perspective.

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Aug. 14

Read two good books. Not in Chinese. Ok, in Chinese I’m reading poetry. And other books, not enough. Anyway. Cornelia Travnicek and Manfred Nowak. Both in German. Non-Fiction and Fiction. No connection. Like Liao Yiwu 廖亦武, Bei Ling 貝嶺 and that Berlin novel, what was it called? Plan D. Ok, there was a connection. Taipei Bookfair 台北國際書展. Ok or not, no connection. A novel. Punks in Austria. Young and female. Male protagonists dead or dying. Ok, not all of them. Anyway, good novel. Vienna, occupied, death, youth, love, society, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s. 2012 exhibition at Wien Museum. Empathy. And the other book? Torture. Human Rights, UN, Austria, torture in Austria (see this newspaper report, also in German), Moldavia, Equatorial-Guinea or how do you call that country, Uruguay and so on. Neglect. Conditions of/for empathy. Ok, so both books are about empathy. Good. And in German. Oh well, maybe some people who read this read German. Or they’ll get translated. The books, not you. Manfred Nowak’s books and other written sources are available in several other languages than German. You can get some very useful stuff in English for free here.


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