Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I was in Seoul recently, and I happened to be there on the day the Olympic Torch came through. I was there to protest for Tibetan rights with members of the local Amnesty International chapter.

There is an intense and get-feeling press to the air in a crowd like that, thousands and thousands of young Chinese nationalists. People had been beaten up for protesting, their signs had been torn down.

That afternoon my friend Michael had been walking on a nearby street in Seoul with a yellow balloon in support of Tibet aand a young Chinese girl took his balloon, sweetly at first, asking, "Can I have that?" and then, looking intensely angry, she popped it. Then smiled sweetly again and said, "Sorry!"

It's as bewildering as it is troubling. I didn't realize that Chinese nationalism, the kind with no logic I can understand (does she think we're more likely to agree with her if she takes and destroys property? If China squelches any disagreement?), is now being born forward my people my age and younger.

This is the first time I have put my photography and my (very jilty, Blair-Witchy canon powershot) video together. I'd be interested to know what you think.


Christian said...

It's no surprise to me that Chinese nationalists facing down protesters use violence and property destruction to squelch those they don't like.

On the one hand, that already happens in our own society. Abortion-clinic bombers and eco-terrorists do exist in America. On the other hand, the Chinese government itself uses violence and property destruction to quash dissent, leaving their citizens with few other examples to look to. In Tibet's case, this is especially worrying as the Dalai Lama's authority fades away while nationalist sentiment continues to simmer.

Anyway, I liked the video/photography mashup. If I may offer a suggestion though, I would recommend a soundtrack (nothing too loud, of course) of some sort be added to it, so the transitions from video to still and back aren't so harsh.

samraat said...