Watch the Light Club video here playing at New Haven Ct Human Rights Torch Relay.
April 29, 2008
Op/ed: By John Kusumi
The rock band Light Club has been busy, touring with the Human Rights Torch Relay (HRTR). HRTR is an activists' relay, with an anti-Olympic torch. Its purpose is to point out -- and its slogan says -- that "The Olympics and crimes against humanity cannot co-exist in China."
Does China still have crimes against humanity? Oh you betcha. The public over the age of 35 still remembers when China's bloody Tiananmen Square massacre of innocents flashed across our television screens. That was in 1989, but it left a strong impression on people, similar to more recent news events like the tsunami in Asia, or Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
Those events have it in common that they were eye-popping tragedies, occurring to helpless people in the full view of television cameras. People sat up and took notice, leaning into (towards) their television sets. According to Pew Research at the time, 45% of Americans were closely following the political turmoil in China.
here are non-lethal methods of crowd control, namely tear gas, water cannon, and rubber bullets. They sting and they bruise and they inconvenience, but at least the activists live to complain about them. The Chinese government could have reached for those implements, but instead they called out 300,000 army soldiers, gave them live ammunition, and sent them to Tiananmen Square.
3,000 dead bodies later, the army re-took control of the Square from pro-democracy demonstrators, who had controlled Tiananmen Square in the previous two months' uprising in favor of freedom and liberty and human rights. Up to the present day, it is the same blood stained government that rules China, a land that continues to need the political reform that its people were demanding.
Many in the American public remember it. But some could be forgiven for thinking that China solved its problems, or for asking as above, "Does China still have crimes against humanity?" --That is, up until the recent crackdown in Tibet. Now, suddenly, Chinese human rights abuse has returned to the news and now, suddenly, the brutal nature of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-led government is again visible.
The Tibetan crackdown is undoing the Orwellian work of Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, and Dan Rather. They had so carefully sanitized China's image that many Americans are still unaware about the Falun Gong crackdown, another example of persecution and mass murder, which has been afflicting China since 1999. Can the American news media cover something up for nine years? Yes! --The Falun Gong persecution is a living (and dying) example of just that.
Disgracefully so, the American news media turns to fluffy, non-substantive news. Celebrity gossip and "white chicks in trouble" are preferred by lazy news editors who cannot, or will not, pin down substantive stories. If a story suggests "America in trouble," or "China in trouble," it may be left on the cutting room floor due to breaking news about Britney Spears. It's what we have come to expect from America's bought off news media.
I am with groups including the Freedom First Olympics Second Coalition, the Human Rights Torch Relay, and the China Support Network. (They were begun by the Chinese democracy movement, the Falun Gong and Americans respectively.) At our events, the stories of persecution are told. During the month of April, this torch appeared in many cities around the U.S., and another version of the campaign appeared in China itself.
The Chinese democracy movement is arguably a community of its own, with long established public figures -- leading Chinese dissidents. In my shoes as founder and director emeritus of the China Support Network, I enjoy high level access in this community. When dissidents and Falun Gong had a joint dinner for top organizers, I was seated at the head table next to a very familiar face, an anchor woman for New Tang Dynasty Television. She related that she had called CNN with our big news story, but that they didn't believe her.
Imagine that -- CNN implies or insinuates that news from that woman, or that TV station, or from our whole pro-Chinese democracy community -- is without credibility! I'm in this community. Our news is solid, not sketchy. What becomes sketchy, in the upshot of this story, is the integrity of CNN. Well, I can say again that compromised, distorted, or non-news is what we have come to expect from America's bought off news media.
As for bringing up entertainment news, two can play at this game. Our community has Tim Britt, formerly the guitarist of NoManZero, and now the founder of a band called Light Club. Why would I tell you about this guitarist who plays modern rock? Well, he co-authored a song that is embraced by the China Support Network (CSN). 'Remember Tiananmen Square' is now the CSN's theme song.
Britt also wrote a song, 'Freedom First (Olympics 2nd)' that now serves as theme song for the Freedom First Olympics Second Coalition. New Tang Dynasty Television assisted by making music videos out of 'Remember Tiananmen Square' and another Tim Britt song, 'Bye Bye CCP.' Light Club has yet to be discovered by the music industry; so far it seems like the in-house rock band of the China Support Network.
They have been rocking at our rallies, raising awareness about Chinese abuses and opposition to the 2008 Olympics which are slated to be held in Beijing, China this summer. Their latest appearance in New Haven, Connecticut has been turned into a YouTube video.
They are a crowd pleaser. At the video's start, Britt blasts the Chinese government and makes it clear that one can still be hot under the collar about the Tiananmen Square massacre, all these years later. There has never been justice for the victims or for their families. Tiananmen Square remains a matter without closure. And so, Tim Britt sings about it and rocks on!