Posts Tagged ‘torture’

JA NATÜRLICH

十月 27, 2018

JA NATÜRLICH

ja natürlich denk ich
haben brecht und erich fried
ganz natürlich schon so geschrieben
ganz biologisch ganz ohne zutaten
martinigans
ganz ohne supermarktregal
gibt es in deutschland bei rewe
auch ja natürlich
vielleicht auch in der schweiz

was schreib ich denn in österreich
wir haben ja so eine tolle regierung

was schreib ich?

was ist schlimmer als hunger?
was ist schlimmer als krieg?
was ist schlimmer
als verschwinden lassen?
was ist schlimmer
als folter und mord?
was ist schlimmer
als der krieg im jemen?
als der kandidat in brasilien?

heute ist nationalfeiertag
unser präsident ist nicht schlecht
wenigstens
letztes jahr haben wir uns angestellt
um in die hofburg zu kommen
in seine räume
ein kleiner syrer war vor uns
kein kind nicht sehr groß gewachsen
zeigt uns auf seinem handy
briefe die er geschrieben hat
sehr gutes deutsch bisschen
neunzehntes jahrhundert
achtzehn wörter für liebe sagt er
gebe es auf arabisch
wir kommen hinein
es ist alles sehr freundlich
wir sind zu spät für den präsidenten
vielleicht ist er im hof
gulaschkanone und militärmusik
jazz
die kinder klettern auf die großen statuen
es lebe österreich

MW 26. Oktober 2018

Photo: AFP Willnow

 

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Atrocity in the Name of the Law

十二月 8, 2017

Foreword by @tengbiao to “The People’s Republic of the Disappeared: Stories From Inside China’s System for Enforced Disappearances”, a new book about China’s Residential Surveillance at a designated location Atrocity in the Name of the Law

WHY WRITE POETRY? – 馬非 Ma Fei

四月 30, 2016

Ma Fei small photo

Ma Fei
WHY WRITE POETRY?

In my dream
they hung me up,
dipped a whip in cold water
to beat me,
so I should confess.
Their question
was tricky:
“Why do you write poems?”
I told the truth:
“I don’t know.”
The leather lashed as heavy rain,
thicker, harder.
Really couldn’t stand it,
so I roared, “Pain! …”
A miracle happened,
the rain stopped.

2016
Tr. MW, 2016

 

《为什么写诗》

梦里
我被吊起来
有人用皮鞭
沾凉水
抽打我
严刑逼供
他们的问题
十分刁钻:
“为什么写诗”
我据实回答:
“不知道”
皮鞭变雨点
更密集地落下
实在受不了
我大喊一声:
“疼啊——”
奇迹发生了
雨点停了

 

Ma Fei
ALS ICH KLEIN WAR

in der nacht
geh ich raus aufs klo
sehe
die schaukel
an der weinranke
schwingt noch
mondlicht
sitzt
und freut sich

2015
Übersetzt von MW im Januar 2016

 

馬非
《小时候》

夜半
出门小便
看见
挂在葡萄架
的那具秋千
还在晃荡
月光
优哉游哉
坐在上面

2015

Ma Fei signiert

Ma Fei
IN DOUBT

Some people say this country
resembles a public toilet.
Some go further and say
it is a latrine.
I am not of the same opinion.
Whenever I enter such a latrine
I feel I am going to
spit out all my entrails.
In real life
I don’t feel this
all the time.

2015
Tr. MW, 2016

Ma Fei
ZWEIFEL

manche sagen dieses land
gleiche einem pissoir
andere meinen sogar
es sei eine latrine
ich hege nicht dieselbe meinung
auf einer latrine
hab ich immer das gefühl
ich spucke alle innereien heraus
sonst im leben
ist das
nicht immer so

2015
Übersetzt von MW im Januar 2016

《质疑》

有人将这个国家
比喻成公共厕所
更有甚者
比喻成公共旱厕
我是有不同意见的
每次出入旱厕
无一例外都会产生的
吐光内脏的感觉
在现实生活中
我不是无时无刻
都有的

2015

Ma Fei
DOG POEMS – HUNDEGEDICHTE 2016
2016年第一浪

《决定》

有关狗诗
就是再好
我也不写了
在老婆说出
“等儿子
上大学去了
也养一条狗”
之后

DECISION

Dog poems,
even if they are good ones,
I’m not going to write them,
after my wife said,
“once our son
has left for college,
we’ll get a dog too.”

2016

ENTSCHEIDUNG

hundegedichte
auch wenn sie gut sind
werd ich nicht schreiben
nachdem meine frau gesagt hat
“wenn unser sohn
weit weg auf der uni ist
dann nehmen wir
uns auch einen hund”

2016

Ma Fei reads

《人民》

我对人民的反感
源自小时候
看过的电影
银幕上面的家伙
老以人民的名义
杀人
有一次
他们枪毙了
我喜欢的一个
女孩的父亲
使小姑娘
悲痛万分
无路可走
投河自尽

THE PEOPLE

my feeling against The People
comes from my childhood,
from the movies I saw.
those guys on the screen
they always killed
in the name of the people
one time they shot
the father of a girl I was fond of
the girl was so desperate
she saw no way out
drowned herself in the river

2016

DAS VOLK

meine abneigung gegen das volk
kommt aus den filmen
aus meiner kindheit
auf der leinwand
haben sie immer
im namen des volkes
leute getötet
einmal
wurde einer erschossen
der war der vater
eines mädchens
das ich gern hatte.
sie war untröstlich
sah keinen ausweg
und ging ins wasser

2016

《冲突》

针对一部电视剧的结尾
由于我的一句话
和老婆发生了冲突
还颇为激烈

作为主人公的革命老干部
在即将告别人世之际
哆哆嗦嗦地翻阅
儿子给他偷印来的档案
说:“你们看看
我一生清白
一个污点都没有
我很满足很幸福”
然后含笑而逝

我多嘴说:
“他应当痛哭才对”

 

Ma Fei
ARGUMENT

Concerning the end of a tv drama,
I had an argument with my wife,
it got rather intense.
The revolutionary cadre,
about to take leave from this world,
trembling while reading his file,
secretly printed out by his son,
saying: “You all take a look,
my whole life is blameless
not one little blemish!
I am happy, I am content.”
Then he dies with a smile.

And I ruined it and said:
“He should have been in agony!”

2016
Tr. MW, 3/29/16

Ma Fei reads in bookstore1

《人生是无尽的忍受》

虽然说
人生是无尽的忍受
但也有憋不住的时候
如果我不写诗
进行疏导
就爆炸了
尽管是因为写诗
才让我知道
人生是无尽的忍受

Ma Fei
LEBEN IST ENDLOSES ERTRAGEN

obwohl man sagt
leben ist endloses ertragen
manchmal kann man es nicht mehr halten
würd ich nicht schreiben
für umleitung sorgen
müsst ich explodieren
obwohl ich durchs schreiben
erst richtig erfahre
leben ist endloses ertragen

2016

《错过》

在刚刚过去的夏天
在西安小寨的天桥上
我被一位大学同窗
也是前女友拍入手机
她当时并不知道
是在事后整理照片时发现的
而我是在她把照片发过来后
才知道在那个时刻
我们俩同时出现在一个地点
硬生生地错过了
其时她在拍摄一个乞丐
无意间把我也拍了进去
从照片上看
我正经过这个乞丐
没给钱

Ma Fei
MISSED

This summer in Xiaozhai in Xi’an,
on a pedestrian bridge.
A friend from college,
my former girlfriend,
she took my picture but didn’t know it.
Only later she went through her mobile.
She sent it to me, then I realized,
we had been there at the same time,
but missed each other.
She took a photograph of a beggar,
I was in there by accident.
You can see on the photo,
I passed the beggar,
gave him no money.

2015
Tr. MW, 2016

 

Ma Fei
VERPASST

im grad erst vergangenen sommer
xiaozhai in xi’an, eine fussgängerbrücke
dort hat mich meine frühere freundin
und studienkollegin fotografiert
sie hat es zuerst nicht gewusst
später in ihrem handy hat sie mich entdeckt
mir das foto geschickt dann habs ich erst gewusst
wir waren gleichzeitig am selben ort
und haben uns ausgerechnet verpasst
sie hat einen bettler fotografiert
mich dabei zufällig auch aufgenommen
auf dem foto sieht man
ich geh an dem bettler vorüber
und geb ihm kein geld

2016
Übersetzt von MW, 2016

《屠呦呦》

屠呦呦在瑞典斯德哥尔摩
领取诺贝尔生理学或医学奖
并发表获奖感言的消息
中央电视台在新闻联播中
安排播出了
时间虽短
但还是看得我一身汗
我是担心啊——
播音员嘴一秃噜
来上这么一句:
“这是勤劳智慧的中国人民
又一次伟大的胜利”
说是中医的胜利
我勉强可以接受

Ma Fei
TU YOUYOU

Tu Youyou received her Nobel
in Stockholm
Biology prize or Medicine prize
and thanked them
on China Central Television
they didn’t air her for long
but I started sweating
I was afraid
the speaker would blurt out:
“This is another victory
for the working masses’ wisdom
of the Chinese people.”

If it was a victory for Chinese medicine,
I guess
that would be ok.

2016
Tr. MW, April 2016

踟蹰

我要去造访
一座雪山
从现在上路
需要耗时
一个冬天
这没什么
问题是你说:
“走到那里
就是春天了
冰雪该化了”

 

不屑爱

酒后归家
老婆正用IPAD
看电视剧
她说:“去
给我接盆水
洗脚”
半路折回
我问:“为啥”
“这里面说
男人给女人洗脚
可以证明爱”
她指着IPAD说
“那就算了
不过……
我给你捏背”

 

新年联欢会

他唱得真好
比原唱还好
可是他唱得越好
我越觉得不好
终至以接电话为由
逃到外面抽烟

他五十大几
听说曾有老婆
但跟别人跑了
是我们单位
临时聘来
打扫卫生的

那天他唱的歌曲是
《爱江山更爱美人》

可怕

事情的可怕之处
不在于
你离不开手机了
却可以任由
她的离去
而在于
在她离去的时候
你甚至都没有
从手机上
抬一下头

 

读书生活

有的书
我压根不知道
它的存在
有的书
我扫了一眼书名
就丢到一边去了
有的书
我读了开头
就丢到一边去了
有的书
我读到一半
就丢到一边去了
有的书
我是从中间读起的
有的书
我只读了最后几页
有的书我读完了
有的书我想读完
可是我读不完了
有的书会读到
我的结尾

Ma Fei
ICH WILL JEMANDEN SCHLAGEN

an einem tag
unterwegs
im bus
beim abendlichen spaziergang
haben drei leute
wie ausgemacht
mich dasselbe gefragt:
“da ist etwas in der luft,
es stinkt, riechen sie das?”
ich sag jedesmal
“meine nase ist entzündet”
wie ausgemacht
haben alle drei nicht nur neid im gesicht
sondern antworten auch noch dasselbe:
“entzündete nase haben ist gut!”

2016

《我想打人》

一日之内
在路上
在车上
在夜晚散步的时候
跟约好了似的
分别有三个人
如是问过我
相同的问题:
“空气里有股臭味
你闻到了吗”
我告诉他们
“我有鼻炎”
跟约好了似的
这三个人
不但露出艳羡的神色
还异口同声:
“鼻炎真好”

Ma Fei reads in bookstore

Ma Fei
NACHREDE

tief in meinem traum
hat mich jemand leise erwähnt
ich spitz die ohren
hör nur einen satz
aber das ist genug:
“dieser kerl ma fei
ist ziemlich stolz.”
ich bin gleich erleichtert
und kicher sogar
das war gute nachrede
jedenfalls
für einen dichter

2016

 

《坏话》

在梦的深处
有人悄声议论我
我竖耳细听
只捕捉到一句
但已足够
“马非这个家伙
比较傲”
我一下子放松了
还扑哧一笑
这哪是坏话
分明是表扬
对于诗人来说

 

牙疼的好处

让我相信
这个世界
还有美好
存在
意欲获取
也并不
十分困难
治好了牙
便得

荡妇

许多年过去了
这个非议女人
最恶毒的词
我几乎都是从
女人的口中
听闻的

 

乘机经历

在候机厅
老能听到
这样的广播:
“XXX乘客
您乘坐的航班
即将起飞
请速到X号登机口
上飞机”
有时不免奇怪
他们干啥去了
有时还很羡慕
仿佛如此待遇
是多好的待遇
于是就有了一次
如下的经历:
其实我早早到了
直到最后一名乘客登机
还稳稳地坐着
耳朵持续充血
越来越硬
越竖越高
也没听到
喊自己的名字
终至按耐不住
一个箭步
窜到登机口
递上登机牌
在美女地勤的白眼中
狂奔而入

 

一种现实

他对我说话的时候
看着别人
他冲别人说话的时候
目视着我

我正试图理解
错在我与别人
所处的位置关系
有问题
而不是他的生理缺陷
——斜视

做不到我也得做

 

冬日在杜甫故里

刚踏入大门
一个上了年纪的
女人就小跑过来
“师傅
麻烦给我拍一个照
和他”
她递上手机
又手指杜甫雕像
“天太冷了
我找了好半天
一个人也没有”

Ma Fe reads1

Ma Fei
KUNSTWERK

ich glaube nicht
dass der schornstein
der hinter der statue
des dichters Du Fu
in dem ort wo er lebte
fröhlich paffend
schwarze wolken ausstößt
böse absicht ist
im gegenteil
er meint es gut
es ist eine aktion
er will kontrastieren
kontrastieren und stärken
die sorge des dufu
um sein ganzes volk
dieser klassische ausdruck
das ist ihm gelungen

2016

Ma Fei
ART PIECE

I don’t think
the smokestack
spouting
clouds of dark smoke
behind Du Fu’s statue
in the town where he lived
was put there with ill will.
On the contrary,
I think it is well-intentioned.
It is a performance,
they want to contrast and emphasize
Du Fu’s great sorrow
for the land and the people
that classic expresssion
it shows very well

2016
Tr. MW, April 2016

《作品》

我不认为
立在杜甫故里
其塑像身后
不远处小山上
咕嘟咕嘟
冒黑烟的烟囱
是有人恶意而为
相反我以为
他充满好意
是行为艺术作品
他想借此达到的
烘托和强化
杜甫忧国忧民
经典表情的目的
实现得很完美

《在杜甫陵园》

在杜甫的雕像上
我找不见杜甫
在各色名人
以杜甫的诗句
为书写内容
的书法碑刻上
我找不见杜甫
在杜甫的坟前
我找不见杜甫
直至绕他的坟茔
步行一周
中途与一株正吐露
黄花的腊梅相遇
在微雪之中

Ma Fei audience

 

Ma Fei
ICH BIN ERST 45

den ganzen tag
hab ich an sex gedacht
mehr als an geld
überhaupt kein vergleich
wirklich
nicht schlecht

2016

Ma Fei
THIS YEAR I AM JUST 45

This whole day
I thought about sex,
so many times,
so much more
than about money;
I’m very content.

2016
Tr. MW, April 2016

《45岁某夜的一点反思》

一天之中
我想到性
比想到钱
的次数
依然多出
很多
对此
我很满意

1/27/14: Hashem Shaabani executed

二月 10, 2014

Hashem Shaabani

This is the first news of the day. They killed a poet and civil rights activist. By order of the president, along with some others. It happened two weeks ago already. Now we have Olympics in Russia. Austrian skiers are winning, along with Putin, who is drinking Schnapps with the Austrian team. No, they didn’t kill that poet in Russia. It was in Iran. By order of the president, supposedly a reformer. I was just reading Marjane Satrapi and Guy Delisle. Iran and Jerusalem. Gaza. Nothing on China. My children are watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with breakfast. Beijing suspended up in the stratosphere. Michealangelo, Donatello, Leonardo and Raphael have to reach Tian’anmen Square on a tricycle, before it’s too late.

Lyrikzeitung & Poetry News

Die US-amerikanische Poetry Foundation teilt mit, daß am 27.1. auf Anweisung des iranischen Präsidenten Hassan Rohani der Dichter und Aktivist Hashem Shaabani hingerichtet wurde. Laut Radio Free Europe habe ein Islamisches Revolutionstribunal ihn und 14 weitere Personen im vergangenen Juli zum Tode verurteilt, u.a. weil sie einen “Krieg gegen Gott” führten. Nach Presseberichten sei die Todesstrafe durch Hängen vollstreckt worden.

Shaabani war während seiner dreijährigen Haft schwer gefoltert worden. Human Rights Voices schreibt:

Seine Freunde kannten ihn als einen Mann des Friedens und der Verständigung, der innerhalb des despotischen Khomeinisystems dafür kämpfte,  individuelle Freiheitsräume auszuweiten. In einem Brief aus dem Gefängnis, den seine Familie zugänglich gemacht hat, schrieb er, er habe nicht schweigen können, wenn Menschen willkürlich und unrechtsmäßig verurteilt und hingerichtet wurden. Er habe versucht, das Recht jeden Volkes auf ein freies Leben mit vollen Bürgerrechten zu verteidigen. “Die einzige Waffe, die ich in meinem Kampf gegen diese…

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TRIAL: Han Zongbao 韩宗宝

十月 31, 2013

Urteil

Han Zongbao

TRIAL

judge kids by old people                       judge whites by blacks

judge black by white                  judge dusk by dawn

judge swallows by crows                       judge freedom by a bird in a cage

judge elephants by mice                        judge butterflies by the eye of a storm

judge ants on a tree by fish in a bowl

judge times by their fools          judge jobless graduates by golden iphones

judge square by round               judge sea by sky

judge cotton by iron                  judge sheep and grassroots by tanks

the silent lambs, how meek they are!

judge art and writing by dynamite                       judge people by country

judge earth by snow                  judge jews by hitler

judge christ on the cross by judas and the last supper

judge shoes by feet      judge cities by villages

judge floods by tall dams          judge water by wells

judge football by whistle                        judge hawkers by city security

judge temporary workers by public servants       judge migrant laborers by residence permits

judge B by A     judge Second by First   judge crying by smiling

stars and the gunpowder in bullets have never been exposed to moisture

if the chessboard says you’re guilty       then you are guilty

those people who died from secret questioning  those who died

when detained or arrested          they must have seen

the sullied red flag and the hands                       when an experienced questioner

becomes a murderer                  her shining and glorious life

produced how many deaths how many wrongs               written in blood

what kind of terror and torture

most one go through     before he prefers death to life

relentless questioning    what does it mean to him or her

everyone noticed his neck must have been stuck

but on tv they aired his confession

he put on his own trial of his text and the camera

we don’t need courts we don’t need laws            our nation doesn’t need them

’cause the trial is completed       in this giant one-way judgment

everyone can be a criminal         just have to grab them

and put them inside       if they are tough bones their flesh can be done with

one after another gets thrown in jail        who will be the next one

what is it that’s breaking up                    happy days and pleasant scenes

laws appear on worthless paper in restricted public trials

just like catwalks           once the process is in motion

once you get inside       your only trick is to confess

so confess       the grief of an innocent man      small traces of blood

and disgrace     tears are so helpless     just what you asked for

an innocent man in the end        hangs his head in confession     amen

2013-10-29

Tr. MW (10/31/13)

《审判》

韩宗宝

用老人审判孩子 用白人审判黑人

用黑审判白 用早晨审判傍晚

用乌鸦审判燕子 用笼中的鸟审判自由

用老鼠审判一头大象 用风暴眼审判蝴蝶

用缸中的金鱼审判上树的蚂蚁

用小丑审判时代 用土豪金审判蚁族

用圆审判方 用天空审判海洋

用铁审判棉花 用坦克审判绵羊和草根

这些沉默的羔羊多么温驯

用炸药审判文字和艺术 用国家审判人民

用雪审判土地 用希特勒审判犹太人

用犹大和晚餐审判十字架上的上帝

用脚审判鞋子 用村庄审判城市

用高高的堤坝审判洪水 用井审判水

用黑哨审判足球 用城管审判小贩

用公仆审判临时工 用暂居证审判民工

用A审判B 用甲审判乙 用笑审判哭

星星和弹孔中的火焰 一直不曾受潮

棋盘上标明你有罪 你就有了罪

那些死于秘密审判的人 那些死于

拘禁和逮捕的人 必定见过

被污染的红旗和手 当一个审讯能手

成为凶手 她光辉而荣耀的一生

制造了多少死亡和冤屈 血书累累

需要经历怎样恐怖可怕的折磨

一个人才会 宁死不生

无懈可击的审讯 究竟对他意味什么

大家注意到了他被狠狠卡过的脖子

但电视已经播出他的口供

他对着镜头和台词做出了自我审判

何需法庭 何需法律 国家不需要这些

因为审判业已完成 这单向式的强大审判

每一个人都可以是罪犯 不过是抓起来

再关进去 硬骨头可以从肉体上消灭

一个个的人陆续入狱 下一个是谁

有什么在崩溃 大好良辰好景虚设

法律形同废纸 有限的公开审判

仿佛秀场 那木马般的程序一旦启动

只要你进去了 你唯一的招就是招

招吧 一个无罪之人的悲伤 略带血痕

和耻辱 泪水如此无力 如你所愿

一个无罪的人最终 低头认罪 阿门

2013.10.29

This poem was written partly in response to the New Express 新快报 / Chen Yongzhou 陈永洲 incident, as the author told me after he showed his poem around on Weibo. However, this is not one of those poems which act like condensed news articles, like Zhao Siyun’s Lily’s Story or Sheng Xue’s Your Red Lips A Wordless Hole (German version see Angelika Burgsteiner’s translation). Han Zongbao‘s poem seems to be less straightforward.

“When an experienced questioner/ becomes a murderer/ her shining and glorious life/ produced how many deaths how many wrongs”

Whose glorious life? The murdering questioners? Why “her”? The female pronoun seems to indicate a particular person. Please look at the comments for answers to these questions.

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

八月 17, 2012

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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.

Urumqi and Kashgar

八月 4, 2009

Ana Escobedo, founder of the Facebook Cause Save Kashgar, has written a blog article for Saving Antiquities. It can be found at http://safecorner.savingantiquities.org/2009/08/saving-kashgar.html. I like Ana’s article very much, and I have great respect for her dedication. As Ana suggests, it is apparent that a lack of awareness for cultural heritage is directly connected to the social problems behind the July 5 incident. There is a lack of respect for culture that goes back to the Cultural Revolution and earlier. Tianjin is being destroyed, too, like many, many culturally rich places in China. There is no “rational” progress behind much of the demolition, but it’s always a great step forward for the developing companies and the party secretaries in their pay. Yes, many old streets and houses in many cities were in a sorry condition due to decades of neglect. It’s not easy to renovate them. Beijing has finally begun to rebuild some courtyard houses. At the same time they tore down the whole Qianmen area at the south of Tian’anmen Square and replaced it with a sort of Disneyland. Protests and suicides because of the demolitions in various cities have been in the news for years. In China, Southern Weekend (Nanfang Zhoumo) and other media have often reported on housing and cultural heritage problems. Most of the time they are allowed to do that. They cannot report on the arrest of dissidents such as Prof. Ilham Tohti of Central Nationalities University in Beijing. He has been detained since August 8. Amnesty International has issued an appeal for writing petitions in English and Chinese to the Chinese Prime Minister and other figures, because Prof Tohti has not been heard of since his arrest, raising fears for his health. Cases of torture and death in police custody are not unheard of in many parts of China (and other countries, of course). See http://www.chinafreepress.org/publish/Othernews/Petition_for_Ilham_Tohti_under_detention_presented_by_Wang_Lixiong.shtml, or http://bit.ly/q3BX4.
Yes, I think that Ana is right, raising awareness is crucial. One thing that has been lacking on the Uyghur support groups side is an outspoken condemnation of the massive looting and killing on July 5th in Urumqi. Yes, the demonstrations may have been peaceful in the beginning, just like in Lhasa last year, and maybe the police could have prevented them from turning violent, or maybe they could have at least contained them. And yes, thousands of Uyghurs have been arrested, some have been killed, and no one knows how many of them didn’t have any connection to the violence at all. But still: Both the Dalai Lama and Mrs. Rebiya Kadeer should have condemned the looting and killing in Lhasa and in Urumqi. The Dalai Lama said he prayed for victims on all sides, but that’s not enough. And the Uighur support groups such as Save Kashgar should have swiftly and loudly condemned the massive looting and killing by Uyghurs. Instead, Ana told us on Facebook that many Uyghurs may have died in Urumqi. Just that, as far as I have noticed. It was the same lack of awareness that was apparent after the Lhasa riot last year. So maybe there is a lack of awareness on both sides. Anyway, let us try to help in any way we can think of. Unfortunately, social websites such as Facebook and Twitter and their Chinese equivalents have been widely blocked and closed in China. The blocking of Facebook was said to be in response of aggressive Uighur support groups. They were mostly not aggressive at all, but they did fail to condemn the Uyghur looting and killing. As I have mentioned, Chinese media and intellectuals are sometimes able to speak out against social and cultural problems. Sometimes Chinese intellectuals in China can speak out in the international media and get noticed. See Asia Times (7/8/09): http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/KG08Ad02.html, Ghost of Marx haunts China’s riots, By Jian Junbo. We concerned individuals and groups outside of China should support these efforts, and at the same time help to show the connection to Human Rights cases. And we should have condemned the Uyghur looting and killing first, and/or more loudly. The more we show our awareness on this side, the more we are credible on all sides. I never understood why Abu Ghraib was not raised as a central question by the Democrats in the 2004 US election. Where is the connection, you might ask. At least we have Obama now. Well, I think we have to look at and work on the most painful questions on our side first, whoever we are. Yes, I am on the side of Kashgar Old City. And on the side of minorities in my home country Austria. Maybe I should have cited a painful problem in Austria’s contemporary history. We certainly don’t have a shortage there. Anyway, I like Ana’s article very much, and I have great respect for her work. Let us continue writing and signing petitions, and most importantly, like Ana says, raising awareness. Peace!


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