Until a couple of days ago, I didn't pay that much attention to what was going on in San Francisco with the Olympic torch situation.
But seeing how big the demonstrations were, and how much media attention they've garnered, and how huge the Beijing Olympics are going to be, I realized that I have to say something.
I've read the various media accounts of the protests, most of which were framed as "anti-China," "pro-China, "pro-Tibet," or some other form of "anti/pro" dichotomy.
The fact of the matter is, it's much more blurry and complicated, at least for me. I think many more Chinese Americans feel torn or conflicted rather than "pro-China" about the Olympics and about the Tibet issue. There is no monolithic Chinese American community, or voice.
There are in fact many ties between the Chinese and Tibetan communities. Though many prominent Chinese Americans like torchbearer/activist/writer Helen Zia, scholar Ling-chi Wang, and actor/director Joan Chen have voiced their perspectives, I would like to add mine to the milieu of growing voices out there.
Probably like the folks mentioned above, I have a sense of ethnic and national pride in being Chinese. I also detest the hateful and unnecessary Chinese/China-bashing that has been around, since, oh, Chinese people first landed here in America.
But I also sympathize with the struggles of Tibetan and Burmese, and ethnic minorities from Burma like the Karen people.
The front of the March 19, 2008 Strength in Unity contingent led by members & friends of ILPS, BAYAN USA, and Arab Resource & Organizing Center. Photo by Jamison Boyer (http://www.jdbcreativity.com).
Strength in Unity - Five Years Later, We March for Peace and for Each Other
by Tony V. Nguyen
When you think of the U.S. peace movement what comes to mind? Cindy Sheehan? Code Pink? Berkeley?
This individual, this group, and this city are all important players in the current U.S. movement for peace in Iraq, and their brave and tireless contribution should be commended. But there are many, many others around the country who have also been voicing their desire for true peace and justice since before the war on Iraq began.
And not all of them are white.
The previous issue of Hyphen is available in its entirety for your perusing pleasure. Almost as good as having it right in your hands!