In today’s Times the difficult article about the Apple Foxconn factory in Chengdu, China. Like so many stories it implicates all of us. But this time we must connect human misery with the bright, uplifting futuristic world of the i-Pad. Hard to look, hard to look away. Ask Siri.
The world is speaking out (with artists in the front lines), against the detention and punishment of Ai Weiwei for doing what artists must do every day everywhere: telling the truth. Architect, designer, artist, citizen, he has been challenging the government of China on its censorship policies, as well as its overall disregard for human rights in China. His level of commitment is brave and world pressure can have an impact. Support him here:
His pieces recently unveiled in Central Park
The Wall St. Journal:
As Chinese artist-activist Ai Weiwei’s monumental bronze sculptures became the first public art exhibition at New York City’s Grand Army Plaza, one of the gateways to Central Park, the artist himself remains detained in his homeland–a scenario Mayor Michael Bloomberg described as “bittersweet” in an address Wednesday.
One of China’s most famous figures, Ai had been scheduled to attend the opening of “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads,” but he has been in custody and under investigation for “suspected economic crimes”–and out of contact since he was led away by government officials at a Beijing airport on April 3.
As he unveiled the artist’s 800-pound bronzes, the mayor criticized what he described as China’s disregard for freedom of expression.
“Artists risk everything to create. They risk failure. They risk rejection. They risk public criticism. But artists like Ai Weiwei, who come from places that do not value and protect free speech, risk even more than that,” Bloomberg said. “His willingness to take those risks, and face the consequences, speaks not only to his courage, but also to the indomitable desire for freedom that is inside every human being.”
Eugene Song graduated with BFA in animation and film and MFA in illustration from FIT . She worked as a graphic designer in Korea. Her biggest inspirations are traditional Asian woodblock printings, patterns and textures. Things dark, gloomy, scary but graceful and beautiful are her obsession .
She wants to affect people’s memories and wants her images to last in their minds. As an illustrator, her goal is to create an impacting and unique style, which can fit the commercial and noncommercial.
“I hope when people look my work, it inspires them, creates emotion, and is memorable.”, she says.
Blacklisted from academia and barred from publishing in China, Mr. Liu has been harassed and detained repeatedly since 1989, when he stepped into the drama playing out on Tiananmen Square by staging a hunger strike and then negotiating the peaceful retreat of student demonstrators as thousands of soldiers stood by with rifles at the ready.
Mr. Liu was seized by security officials in December 2008 as he and other intellectuals prepared to issue “Charter 08”, a lengthy manifesto that called on China’s Communist Party to uphold individual rights and relinquish its monopoly on power. Modeled on Charter 77, the manifesto drafted by Czechoslovakian rights advocates three decades earlier, Charter 08 eventually garnered some 10,000 signatures before government censors pulled it from the Internet.
After being held for more than a year in secret detention and later in jail, Mr. Liu was found guilty by a Beijing court of “inciting subversion of state power.” Mr. Liu previously spent 21 months in detention for taking part in the 1989 pro-democracy protests at Tiananmen Square. And in 1996, after demanding clemency for those still imprisoned for their roles in the demonstrations, he was sent to a labor camp for three years.
Mr. Liu’s subversion charges were based on six articles he wrote that were published on the Internet outside of China.
At the Nobel Prize ceremony he was honored and acknowledged by the empty chair.
Moments in the never ending carnival of crazy with names funny enough to make anyone, especially George Orwell, shake, rattle and roll.
1. The Simon Weisenthal TOLERANCE MUSEUM is being built on a 400 year-old Palestinian gravesite.
From the Times of London:
“What the UN can do is limited but they can investigate and raise awareness,” said Diana Buttu, a lawyer involved with the petition. “We have exhausted all our other legal means.”
Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Weisenthal Centre, has defended the decision to build the museum, stating that the complex will promote coexistence. “All citizens of Israel, Jews and non-Jews, are the real beneficiaries of the site,” he said.
2. The Chinese Tiger Farm
As tigers vanish in the wild, they have a home getting a more civilized slaughter. In Giulin, China there is a farm that raises them for their parts, which sell well on the world market.
From the NYT:
“If there is any mystery about what happens to the big cats at Xiongsen Tiger and Bear Mountain Village in Guilin, it is partly explained in the gift shop, where fuzz-coated bottles in the shape of a tiger are filled with “bone strengthening” wine. The liquor, which costs $132 for a six-year-old brew, is sold openly across the surrounding Guangxi region and beyond.”
Best: a large sign in the building’s interior declares “Protecting Wild Animals is the Bounden Duty of Every Citizen.”
3. Dumpster Grannys
After months of group fantasy about Death Panels for Granny, the GOP has revealed what it would do with the Medicare and SS if they had the chance: end them. Granny, then, narrowly escapes death. At least a fast one.
4. Torture anyone?
Last week’s Meet the Press had Dick Cheney finally admit that he was pro-waterboarding. Was I the only one who heard this? And of course, “we don’t believe in torture”. And neither did Yoo and Bybee. Everybody spin!