On War & Violence
Nov 12 2019
An interesting development in our art is the realisation that the siege of CUHK went beyond proportionality - it's war. We compare it to WWII, we call this a 'war against tyranny', & we say the govt has declared war on us.
Invoking war is not new - we've seen the 'you pass the law, we start the war' graffitied around town for weeks now, but this feels a bit different. Maybe it's bcos of the rage that's still boiling, maybe because we got to see the violence the state is willing to rain on us.
Or maybe bcos there seems few other ways out. The below appeared 11 Aug on TG, day when HKPF shot a first aider in the eye, and HKers' rage roared - not the first, nor the last time. "HK at war" - but we weren't, and HKers found other ways to express their pent up anger.
A lot of those ways aren't 'nice'... I mean, we have a mascot for vigilantism, & designed forms for 'renovating' pro-CCP shops. We have posters of pyromancers specialising in 'fire magic', & when we dig up bricks, it's not always for building stonehenge homages.
Yes, HKers are capable of violence, a response to state-sanctioned violence; we're forced down this path bcos other avenues to express our voice hv bn shut down or made illegal. But the more we fight back w/ what little power we have, the more we are repressed.
As we've seen w/ the Siege of CUHK, power is asymmetric btwn the people & the state. We have molotov cocktails to burn ticket machines; the govt has water cannons to burn our flesh. Our ppl are armed with umbrellas to deflect tg; the state has guns aimed at our hearts.
The 2 are not equal in power. If we put down our umbrellas, we'll likely be shot. If the state puts down their guns, there cld be peace. But it seems like the govt's only interest is to inflict disproportionate violence at HKers. But what violence is 'proportionate' anyway?
Teargas only seems proportionate after one sees a gashing knife wound, organs spilled out like red ribbons. A stabbing only looks proportionate after one sees the wrenching words of a father, mourning for the son who'll never come home. Wld war be one day proportionate too?
No! None of these are proportionate vs a people that's marched peacefully so many times for rights & dignity. And yet, we so often buy into the narrative of those who hold power that some violence dealt at the powerless - us - is acceptable. None of this is normal.
HKers did not ask for violence, we did not ask for war - our peaceful rallies have been about demands for human rights and autonomy. We cannot become numb to this dehumanising grind of violence we've been made to endure for 5 mths.
We cannot normalise the senseless use of force we’e seen in the past weeks. We cannot stop being horrified by how a once-green sanctuary for HK's youth has become a blazing warzone overnight.
We must not stop screaming. We must not stop resisting.
Update, Nov 13 2019
A lot more art on this today. Our art is calling the Siege of CUHK as basically an act of war. Hyperboles have been flying free in our art for a while, but the frequency & intensity of these images means this new sentiment is worth watching.