危險的藝術

看到曾被追殺的作家SALMAN RUSHDIE在4月20日《紐約時報》寫的評論,很是認同,藝術家的生命比他們自己的作品要脆弱得多,也有太多例子讓我們知道文學家跟政治家/極權者有千絲萬縷的關係,但我們仍享有言論自由的人,不就很應該支援那些在極權下仍直指不義核心,直陳專權不仁的藝術家嗎? 危險。但,藝術表達從來都不安全。靠近真相就是危險的黑暗時代一步步發動它的黑洞魔力。怕,有用嗎?

The lives of artists are more fragile than their creations. The poet Ovid was exiled by Augustus to a little hell-hole on the Black Sea called Tomis, but his poetry has outlasted the Roman Empire. Osip Mandelstam died in a Stalinist work camp, but his poetry has outlived the Soviet Union. Federico García Lorca was killed by the thugs of Spain’s Generalissimo Francisco Franco, but his poetry has survived that tyrannical regime.

We can perhaps bet on art to win over tyrants. It is the world’s artists, particularly those courageous enough to stand up against authoritarianism, for whom we need to be concerned, and for whose safety we must fight.

Not all writers or artists seek or ably perform a public role, and those who do risk obloquy and derision, even in free societies. Susan Sontag, an outspoken commentator on the Bosnian conflict, was giggled at because she sometimes sounded as if she “owned” the subject of Sarajevo. Harold Pinter’s tirades against American foreign policy and his “Champagne socialism” were much derided. Günter Grass’s visibility as a public intellectual and scourge of Germany’s rulers led to a degree of schadenfreude when it came to light that he had concealed his brief service in the Waffen-SS as a conscript at the tail end of World War II. Gabriel García Márquez’s friendship with Fidel Castro, and Graham Greene’s chumminess with Panama’s Omar Torrijos, made them political targets.

When artists venture into politics the risks to reputation and integrity are ever-present. But outside the free world, where criticism of power is at best difficult and at worst all but impossible, creative figures like Mr. Ai and his colleagues are often the only ones with the courage to speak truth against the lies of tyrants. We needed the samizdat truth-tellers to reveal the ugliness of the Soviet Union. Today the government of China has become the world’s greatest threat to freedom of speech, and so we need Ai Weiwei, Liao Yiwu and Liu Xiaobo.

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About cally

don't be cruel. smell the light. read the music. feel the green.

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