今天我们聚集在一起纪念天安门屠杀事件32周年，这几乎是不可想象的。之所以说是不可想象的，因为大屠杀在我们的脑海中仍然记忆鲜明，尽管我们是从远处看到悲剧的展现。对于那些亲身经历了这个恐怖时刻并永远承受这个悲剧负担的人来说，也是难于忘怀的。另外，更令人难以想象的是，在争取民主和人权的和平运动被残酷镇压32年之后，中国已经成为一个更为专制、更加极权的监控国家 – 一个谋求向全世界输出有中国烙印的威权模式的国家，并炫耀自己扼杀香港民主和法制、持续压迫西藏、在新疆地区对维族人实行种族灭绝等粗暴强奸国际法的恶行。
在这种令人沮丧的情况下，放弃希望是很容易的 – 但这是我们永远不能做的一件事。那些在天安门广场牺牲了一切的人，他们英勇无畏的英名要求我们不倦不馁地来推动他们如林肯所说的 “完全彻底为之献身”的事业。
Good morning， friends-
It seems almost inconceivable that we are gathering today to remember the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre. It’s inconceivable because the massacre remains so fresh in the minds of those of us who watched the unfolding tragedy from afar. It is even more inconceivable for those who lived through that terrible time and who carry the burden of it with them always. and finally it is inconceivable that 32 years after the brutal repression of a peaceful movement for democracy and human rights, that china has become an even more repressive, totalitarian surveillance state – one which seeks to export its brand of authoritarianism around the world and flaunts its outrageous violations of international law from it’s strangulation of democracy and rule of law in Hong Kong, to the ongoing suppression of Tibet and the genocide of the Uyghur community of Xinxiang.
Under such disheartening circumstances it can be tempting to give up- to lose hope but that is the one thing we must never do. The brave legacy of those who sacrificed everything at Tiananmen square demands that we neither tire nor grow weary in seeking to advance the cause for which they gave in Lincoln’s words, “ the last full measure of their devotion.
This year, citizen power, initiatives for china, will be remembering and honoring the heroes of tiananmen square in an unforgettable way. Together we will be participating in an online concert featuring Wang Xilin’s symphony number 3. Mr. Wang is a renowned composer but this particular piece of music springs from his own searing experiences in a forced labor camp, enduring brutal beatings and what he witnessed as a participant in the Tiananmen protests. his music speaks of the sorrow and the pity, the hope and the determination of those who stay in the fight for a china that is free and democratic.
It is fitting that Tiananmen should be remembered this year through the medium of music.
In 1989, one of the most famous and iconic pieces of music played a powerful role in encouraging the protestors in Tiananmen square. as troops began assembling ,preparing soon to crush the young democracy activists, makeshift loudspeakers were rigged up by some of the students over which they played the Beethoven’s 9th symphony. with borrowed car batteries and brave hearts they sang the ode to joy. one of the leaders of the protest Feng Congde said that singing those magnificent bars of music in the face of the threatening tanks and troops somehow connected each of them individually and as a united group. in his words “we used the 9th to create an ambiance of solidarity and hope, for ourselves and for the people of china.”
In this battle of democracy versus dictatorship and despots versus dignity, the protestors had no weapons that could match their oppressors. But in the battle of voices, of those speaking truth versus those speaking lies, they were for a moment triumphant over their foes. in the words of Feng;
“ I put on the cassette of Beethoven’s 9th to cover the voice of the government system. So there was a real battle for voice. Hundreds of thousands of students shouting as we broadcast the music on the square louder than the government system. I had a feeling of triumph. We…finally regained our dignity as human beings.”
The Tiananmen square heroes lost the immediate battle that day but one day, if we stay faithful to them and to their sacrifice, they will win the final battle. My late father, congressman tom Lantos, himself a refugee from communist dictatorship used to say that in time the dictators would one day be consigned to the dust bin of history while those who dared to stand up for freedom would be crowned with laurels and honored for their courage. Today we are honoring and remembering those heroes through the music of Wang Xilin. let us hold fast to our ideals, let us hold fast to our hope that in time the sacrifice of those who died and suffered at Tiananmen will be redeemed and rewarded and let us be lifted to a stronger and braver place by the music we will hear today. In the words of Henry David Thoreau,
“When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable, I see no foe”.
May god bless us all to find the strength that music can give us to meet the battles ahead.