Shocking Footage from Tibet

March 20th, 2009 § 5

The Tibetan government-in-exile just released this shocking footage smuggled out from Tibet. It is awful. I sat at my desk and cried while I watched it. The Chinese government doesn’t see Tibetans as human beings. They never have.

WARNING: This video includes extremely graphic footage.

Click here to watch the video.

We’ve heard so many accounts about the terrible violence the authorities have used against Tibetans in the past year, but this is the first video footage that has made it out. It’s very hard to watch, but it is our truth and nothing China does can hide this from the world.

Here’s Students for a Free Tibet’s statement in response to the footage.

It feels like last year all over again.

February 28th, 2009 § 6

Shiho Fukada for the New York Times

Shiho Fukada for the New York Times

It feels like last year all over again.

News from Tibet says that there are protests here and there. All of us on the outside are scrambling to find out the details. We call Dharamsala, New York, London, Beijing, trying to work out what exactly happened. Once we piece together the story we take it to the world.

Again there are so few images. And so far, no moving images. No video. Nothing to show on TV. » Read the rest of this entry «

Bird’s Nest designer comes out against the Games!

August 14th, 2007 § 17

I arrived in New York yesterday morning. My adventures in Beijing have come to an end, but people have convinced me that this blog should continue. I’m overwhelmed by the interest many have shown in hearing my thoughts about the upcoming Olympics. So I’m honored and happy to keep at it.

Above: Ai Wei Wei flips Mao the bird at Tiananmen Square.

And there’s no shortage of information to share and talk about. The most amazing development since my last post is that Ai Wei Wei, one of China’s most celebrated artists and the designer of the Bird’s Nest, has come out against Beijing’s Olympics. In this unbelievably damning report from Al Jazeera posted on YouTube, Ai Wei Wei says that the Olympics don’t represent the true face of China and he wants nothing more to do with them anymore.

I guess it’s not suprising that Ai Wei Wei has spoken out. Not only is he a brilliant independent artist, but he grew up watching his father – the famous modern Chinese poet, Ai Qin – and family suffering in a labor camp in East Turkestan (Xinjiang) after his father was exiled there during the Anti-Rightist Movement under Mao.

In “Olympic artist attacks China’s pomp and propaganda” by Jonathan Watts of The Guardian, Ai also attacks Steven Spielberg and the other directors involved in the opening and closing ceremonies:

“All the shitty directors in the world are involved. It’s disgusting,” said Ai. “I don’t like anyone who shamelessly abuses their profession, who makes no moral judgment. It is mindless.”

I admire Ai for his courage and not just for speaking out but for being so direct and harsh in his criticism. I wonder what the authorities will do to him now? Will they leave him be because of the Olympics spotlight? Or will they just wait until the Games are over and then go after him? Apparently, Ai doesn’t care:

Ai dismissed concerns about repercussions from expressing his views, adding: “It is not opposition to the state, but rather in fighting for individualism and freedom of expression, freedom of human rights and justice … If you read newspapers today you see the problems created by this structure and by the effort to maintain power. It is against everything that human society should be fighting for.”

Finally, someone taking a stand on the right side of history. Go Ai!

The Song on Reaching the Mountain Peak

August 1st, 2007 § 1

Hearken, my sons! If you want
To climb the mountain peak
You should hold the Self-mind’s light,
Tie it with a great “Knot,”
And catch it with a firm “Hook.”
If you practice thus
You can climb the mountain peak
To enjoy the view.

Come, you gifted men and women,
Drink the brew of Experience!
Come “inside” to enjoy the scene –
See it and enjoy it to the full!
The Incapable remain outside;
Those who cannot drink pure
Beer may quaff small beer.
He who cannot strive for Bodhi,
Should strive for superior birth.

- Milarepa

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