Worldwide reading on June 4th 2010 for Liao Yiwu, and in commemoration of the Tiananmen Square massacre
The international literature festival Berlin (ilb) called for cultural institutions, schools, radio stations and interested people to participate in a worldwide reading of prose and poems by the Chinese author Liao Yiwu on June 4th 2010. This day is the anniversary of the Tinananmen massacre in Beijing in 1989, during which, according to the Red Cross, roughly 2,600 people died. The event itself, from which a democratic movement arose, is not covered in the official Chinese media, and censorship was further increased on the 20th anniversary of the massacre, extending deep into the Web 2.0 internet platforms. The enforced silence in China - which also covers the period of the Cultural Revolution – and the extremely high number of executions in the country, as well as the treatment of Tibet, must be even more clearly communicated by the civic institutions in democratic societies.
For this reason, the following works by Liao Yiwu will be read on June 4th: »My Teacher, my Enemy«; »The Public Toilet Manager«; »The Peasant Emperor«; »Nineteen Days«; »Memories of My Flute Teacher« and, by Wen Huang (the author's American translator), »Liao Yiwu – Lunatic Outcast«.
You may find the reading's poster here.
Liao Yiwu is one of the authors whose works are not published in China despite their international success, as the powers-that-be claim that they promote »the dissemination of counter-revolutionary propaganda with foreign help«. Even his name may not be mentioned. From 1990 to 1994 he was imprisoned for his literary and socio-political activities, and was only released early from jail due to international pressure. His interviews with underdogs (»Interviews with People from the Bottom Rung of Society«) and his poetry (including »Massacre« and the anthology »The Fall of the Holy Temple«) have been published abroad in recent years by renowned publishing houses and journals like Lettre International (German edition) and the New York journal The Paris Review.
Despite owning a travel permit, Liao Yiwu was not allowed by the Chinese authorities to attend either the 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair or the lit.cologne. The ilb and the Harbourfront Festival in Hamburg have invited him to both festivals in September 2010. We can only hope that the Chinese authorities grant him the fundamental right to travel abroad, and to return to China.
The goal of the worldwide reading is to share Liao Yiwu's works with a broader readership, to commemorate the massacre of Tiananmen Square, and to urgently admonish China's human rights record.
On the occasion of the third anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq, the international literature festival Berlin and the Peter-Weiss-Stiftung für Kultur und Politik for the first time called for a worldwide reading on March 20th 2006 – this initial »Anniversary of the Political Lie«, with a reading of Eliot Weinberger's »What I Heard About Iraq«, was followed by other worldwide readings after the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, during the run-up to the Olympic Games in China, against the leadership of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, in memory of Mahmoud Darwish, and in support of the democratic opposition in Iran. As many as 100 institutions, including radio and television stations, either participated in or reported on the worldwide readings across all continents.
The texts intended to be read on this worldwide reading were available in English and German. Institutions and persons who would like to participate in the reading on June 4th were asked to inform us of their wish to be involved. The email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Following institutions informed us about their partecipation:
June 4th, 8 p.m., Café Fahrenschon, Babenhausen (Schwaben); June 4th, 8 p.m., internationales literaturfestival berlin, Café Brel, Savignyplatz 1, Berlin
Hans Christoph Buch introduces the reading. ©Chiara Caradonna.
Michaela Steiger and Roland Schäfer read Liao Yiwu. ©Chiara Caradonna.
June 4th, Berlin International School, Berlin; June 4th, Gottfried-Keller-Gymnasium, Class 10.2, Berlin:
June 4th, 12 a.m.-12 p.m., Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte, Robert-Havemann-Saal, Greifswalderstraße 4, Berlin; June 4th, Privater Literaturkreis, Uhlandstr. 53, 10719 Berlin; June 4th, 7 p.m., Künstler- und Atelierhaus, Marktstraße 6, Erfurt; June 4th, 8 p.m., Internationales Lesefest am Main / Zuflucht: Literatur!, Literaturhaus, Schöne Aussicht 2, Frankfurt/ Main; June 4th, 6 p.m., Harbour Front Literaturfestival / Literaturhaus Hamburg / Hamburger Abendblatt / Macht e. V. / Thalia Theater / Kampnagel / Initiative "Komm in die Gänge", Axel-Springer-Passage, Caffamacherreihe 1, Hamburg; 4. Juni, 8 p.m., Staatstheater Hannover, Prinzenstraße 9, Hannover:
Harry Rothberger and Gabriela Jaskulla read Liao Yiwu. ©Anna Sörensen.
June 4th, 7.05 p.m., Offener Kanal Lübeck / Amnesty International; 4. Juni, 8 p.m., Theater Freiburg, Winterer-Foyer; 4. Juni, 8 p.m., Internationales Literaturfestival Bremen, Neues Schauspielhaus, Theater Bremen, Goetheplatz 1-3, Bremen:
Michael Augustin liest Liao Yiwu. ©Walter Weber.
| France: June 3rd, 6 p.m., Annual commemoration of June 4th, Place du Parvis des droits de l'Homme, Trocadéro, Paris 16ème:
June 4th, 6 p.m., Centre d'accueil de la presse étrangère (CAPE), Grand Palais, Cours la Reine - Perron Alexandre III, 75008 Paris:
Marie Holzman, Guilhelm Fabre, Vincent Metten and Wang Longmon read and discuss Liao Yiwu. ©Li Chun'an.
| UK: June 4th, 5.30 p.m., Glasgow University / PEN, Department of English and Scottish Literature, 5 University Gardens, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland:
| Liechtenstein: June 4th, 8 p.m., Liechtensteiner Literaturtage, Erwachsenenbildung Stein-Egerta, In der Stein-Egerta 26, FL - 9494 Schaan
| Malaysia: June 4th, 10 a.m., Campus of the University of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur
| Nigeria: June 4th, 10 a.m., Lagos State University (LASU), Lagos:
Olajumoke Verissimo reads Liao Yiwu.
June 4th, 5 p.m, The Rendezvous, Agbowo, Ibadan
Rotimi Babatunde, Benson Eluma, Ebikla Anthony, Idayat Alimi, Folorunso Mashood, Akin Bello, Yomi Ogunsanya, Tade Ipadeola lasen Liao Yiwu. ©Biodun Makinde.
| Österreich: June 3rd, 7 p.m., Freien Radio Salzkammergut; June 4th, 10.00 a.m.
| Schweiz: June 4th, 10 p.m., Deutschschweizer PEN, Theater am Neumarkt, Zürich
| Czech Republic: June 4th, Deutsch-Tschechischer Zukunftsfonds, Prag; Türkei: June 4th, Açikradyo 94.9 (Open Radio 94.9), Istanbul
| USA: June 4th, PoetsWest, Seattle; June 5th, 4 p.m., Poetry on the Loose, College of Poetry, 7 West Street, Warwick NY 10924:
William Seaton reads Liao Yiwu.©Patricia Seaton.
Liao Yiwu's recording of his poems Massacre and Elegy 89 were played in front of 150,000 people.
This appeal was signed by:
Héctor Abad, Columbia; Eugenijus Ališanka, Lithuania; Martin Amanshauser, Austria; María Teresa Andruetto, Argentina; Yuri Andrukhovych, Ukraine; Michael Augustin, Germany; Salih Aydemir, Turkey; Shauna Singh Baldwin, Canada/USA; Russell Banks, USA; Bei Ling, China; Mohammed Bennis, Marocco; Peter W. Bernstein, USA; Vonani Bila, South Africa; Rachid Boudjedra, Algeria; Hans Christoph Buch, Germany; Judith Butler, USA; Viktor Canosinaj, Albania; Daniella Carmi, Israel; Giovanni Celati, Italy; Vikram Chandra, India; Noam Chomsky, USA; Detlev Claussen, Germany; John M. Coetzee, South Africa; Achmat Dangor, South Africa; Ariel Dorfman, Chile; Ferida Durakovic, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Tülin Dursun, Turkey; Sezer Duru, Turkey; Péter Esterházy, Hungary; Nuruddin Farah, Somalia; Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, India; Lilian Faschinger, Austria; Anthony Fleischer, South Africa; Julia Franck, Germany; E.R. Frank, USA; Wolfram Frommlet, Germany; William H. Gass, USA; Greg Gatenby, Canada; Assaf Gavron, Israel; Jochen Gerz, Germany; Tekin Gönenç, Turkey; Nadine Gordimer, South Africa; Georgi Gospodinov, Bulgaria; Philip Gourevitch, USA; Dieter M. Gräf, Germany; David Grossman, Israel; Tarık Günersel, Turkey; Ha Jin, USA/China; Ulla Hahn, Germany; Nikolaus Hansen, Germany; Seamus Heaney, Ireland; Chenjerai Hove, Zimbabwe; Drago Jančar, Slovenia; Elfriede Jelinek, Austria; Stanchina Kanta Tanlukdar Germany/India; Michael Köhler, Germany; Ursula Krechel, Germany; Norbert Kron, Germany;Thor Kunkel, Germany; Goretti Kyomuhendo, Uganda; Michael Lentz, Germany; Doris Lessing, UK;Peter Lohmann, Germany; Chiara Macconi, Italy; Jamal Mahjoub, UK; Cosmin Manolache, Romania; Javier Mariás, Spain; Émile Martel, Canada; László Márton, Hungary; Manfred Maurenbrecher, Germany; Robert Menasse, Germany; Amanda Michalopoulou, Greece; Anna Moi, Vietnam; Péter Nádas, Hungary; Guadalupe Nettel, Mexico; Christiane Neudecker, Germany; Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Ireland; Mathias Ospet, Germany; Amos Oz, Israel; Halil İbrahim Özcan, Turkey; Thorsten Palzhoff, Germany; Kornelijus Platelis, Lithuania; Francine Prose, USA; Hansjörg Quaderer, Germany; Holly-Jane Rahlens, Germany; Mani Rao, India; Moritz Rinke, Germany; Patrick Roth, Germany; Alberto Rúy-Sanchez, Mexico; Almantas Samalavicius, Lithuania; Sapphire, USA; Alka Saraogi, India; Joachim Sartorius, Germany; Robert Schindel, Austria; Lorenz Schröter, Germany; Lutz Seiler, Germany; Jorge Semprún, Spain; Eduardo Sguiglia, Argentina; Nicholas Shakespeare, UK; Meir Shalev, Israel;Tzveta Sofronieva, Bulgary/Germany; Wolfgang Sofsky, Germany; Rebecca Solnit, USA; Peter Stamm, Switzerland; Klaus Staeck, Germany; Ilija Trojanow, Germany/Bulgaria; Jane Urquhart, Canada; Mario Vargas Llosa, Peru; Olajumoke Verissimo, Nigeria; Abdourahman A. Waberi, Djibouti/France; Richard Wagner, Germany; Cécile Wajsbrot, France; Michael Warschawski, France; Eliot Weinberger, USA; Renate Welsh-Rabady, Austria; Ruben Wickenhäuser, Germany; Herbert Wiesner, Germany; Stefan Ludmilla Wieszner, Germany; Eje Winter, Germany.