I wasn’t going to blog about this at all, especially because so many other people have done so and are able to say so much more than me. On Saturday night though, I was with my good friend Paul having drinks at his house with a couple of others, talking about art. The conversation moved from the stultifying nature of alot of art in Australia at the moment to how art can cause the kind of outrage and shock disproportionate to effect. How is it that works of art like Ken Park, Jake and Dinos Chapman, even Britney Spears acheive so much more attention than say the daily inexorable mundane deaths of miners in China, which is something really worth getting outraged at. So Tiananmen Square got mentioned and the whole deal of people not actually dying in the square but that the surrounding streets was where the massacre took place. They had read the articles in the paper on Saturday and said, “Well what about the stones in the square that had to be replaced because of bullet marks?”, which reminded me that even intelligent people who genuinely care are only able to experience an approximate truth unless a big effort is made. With the Communist Party amidst more pernicious revisionism of the whole thing, and the daily media too lazy to explain what the catchy title “Tiananmen Square Massacre” really means, rather than write about it, I thought I’d just link to everything I’ve read in the last week.
Living in China have a list of links to blogs and newspaper articles.
Brainysmurf – I’m Beat also has written about it a few times.
Glutter in Hong Kong has devoted much of the last week to the massacre.
Peking Duck also has a couple of entries from people who were there.
Daii Tou Laam has this piece about William Hinton, author of author of The Great Reversal: The Privitization of China – 1978-1989.
Recently I found a very poor quality video of the tankman, standing in front of the line of tanks, dancing around as the driver tried to go around instead of making paté out of him, climbing onto the tank, it’s much more real to me than the photo which has become a brand, however powerful its symbolism. For me though this photo is the one that reminds me the Chinese government is both absolutely insane and utterly corrupt, and brings the massacre to a human scale.
In 2000 in Melbourne I was a cyclist in the S-11 anti-globalisation protests. The bike couriers kept the whole thing coherent while it stretched across 1/2 of Southbank, provided communications, and much more, and were there when the riot police did their charge. I read that the couriers in Beijing were the ones who pulled people who had been shot out and took them to hospital, and were the first to be targeted because in the pre-digital era of only fifteen years ago they were the number one line of communication. While the rest of the world sees the man and the tank, I want to remember people on bicycles.