Tuesday 30 June 2009

Monday 29 June 2009

Chquinha Gonzaga (1847-1935)

video taken from youtube shows Rio de Janeiro at the turn of the 20th century. Chiquinha was the first popular composer in Brasil.

Leila Diniz (1945-1972)

Thursday 4 June 2009

Dorothea Tanning (1910-)

Maria de los Remedios Varo (1908-1963)

Leonora Carrington (1917 - )

"The face seemed to regain some of its absolutely-irresistible-atraction, although the folds were of course still there. From the lunar plexus i arose like a hungry trout and was caught fast on the sharp barbed hook that hangs inside all once-very-beautiful face.

A thin magnetic mist formed between myself, the face and clear perception. This is what I saw in the mist. 'well, well, i was really beggining to petrify in that old lunar plexus. This must be me, this beautiful, smilling fully toothed creature. There i was, sitting in the dark bloodstream like a mummified foetus with no love at all. Here I am, back in the rich world, where I can palpitate again, jump up and down in the nice warm swimming pool of outflowing emotion, the more bathers the merrier. I Shall be Enriched." (My Flannel Knickers 1955)

Tuesday 2 June 2009

Testimony of Ding Zilin, mother of Jiang Jielian

The tank man is Wang Wei Lin
王维林 (source youtube)

Testimony of Ding Zilin, mother of Jiang Jielian
January 31, 1999

Jiang Jielian, male, born in Beijing on June 2, 1972, had just passed his 17th birthday when he died. He was a junior at the High School attached to People's University. Around 11:10 p.m., on June 3, 1989, he was killed behind the flower bed in front of Building 29, on the north side of Fuwai Street, Muxudi. A bullet hit him from behind and passed through his heart. His ashes are kept at a mourning altar in his home.


Testimony of Ding Zilin, Jiang Jielian's mother:

Jiang became deeply involved in the student movement when it first started in April 1989 after the death of Hu Yaobang. He often went to the People's University and Beijing University after class to read the big-character posters and listen to speeches. On April 19, students from various colleges in Beijing gathered in front of Xinhua Gate [the entrance to the leadership compound, Zhongnanhai], requesting that the government re-evaluate Hu Yaobang's achievements, and demanding to be allowed to express their respects to Hu. There were confrontations with the police. Jiang participated in that rally. After this, he was involved in several other activities in the student movement.

On May 13, the college students started a hunger strike and sit-in on Tiananmen Square. Jiang often cycled to the Square at night to join the students who had organized themselves as guards to keep order in the Square. He would go to school as usual the next day. On May 17, at the climax of the hunger strike, Jiang and his classmates organized the participation of over two thousand students from his high school in the million-strong march in support of the college students. That was the first time in the movement that high-school students had organized themselves to join a march.

After Li Peng had declared martial law on May 19, Jiang went out on several nights and was among the many Beijing citizens who stopped military trucks to explain to the soldiers about the student movement and ask them not to enter the city. At dusk on June 3, the Central TV Station broadcast an "Urgent Warning," telling citizens not to leave their homes or they would be responsible for the consequences, which could be serious. Jiang was very uneasy at home, worried for the safety of the college students in the Square. He insisted on going there. I tried in vain for two hours to persuade him not to go. Finally, he struggled out of my arms, ran into the bathroom, locked the door from the inside and climbed out of the window. (We lived on the ground floor.) He never came back.

He left home at 10:30 p.m. on June 3, and met a classmate at the gate of People's University. They decided to cycle together to Tiananmen Square, but when they got to Muxudi they could not go any further. By then the whole area was a surging mass of people confronting the troops, who were marching from west to east. Following orders, the troops shot indiscriminately at the crowd. Many people fell and there was a lot of blood. After a burst of shooting, Jiang and his classmate ran for safety behind the flower bed in front of Building 29, north of the subway exit, but they were both hit. At that time, they still thought the troops were using rubber bullets. A bullet grazed his classmate's arm, while Jiang Jielian was shot from behind, the bullet running aslant through his heart. His classmate heard him say softly, "I think I've been hit by a bullet." Then he squatted down and passed out. Bright red blood soaked his pale yellow T-shirt. It was around 1:10 a.m. Then people nearby risked their own lives to carry him to the north entrance hall of Building 29. Seeing that he was wounded severely, they stopped a tricycle to take him to the hospital, but then they worried that the tricycle was too slow and so they stopped a taxi. Two people, whose names are still unknown today, carried him into the car and took him to the hospital.

He didn't come home all night. We had no idea where to look for him. We, his parents, could do nothing but wait anxiously at the gate of the People's University. At about 6:00 a.m. on June 4, the classmate, accompanied by his father, came to tell us the news. He said Jiang had been seriously wounded and taken to the hospital but he did not know which one. He had been unable to accompany him because the taxi had been full. On the morning of June 4, we relatives, neighbors and classmates searched everywhere in more than 20 hospitals in Beijing. There were countless wounded and dead in those hospitals, but we didn't find Jiang Jielian. That afternoon, Beijing Children's Hospital contacted the People's University to ask for the body to be claimed. It turned out that those kind people had taken my son to the Children's Hospital. According to a doctor, who spoke to us later, Jiang had been among the first batch of wounded sent to the hospital. When the doctors put him on the operating table, he had long stopped breathing. The death certificate from the hospital states: "Dead before arrival at the hospital." He was one of the first victims of the Beijing Massacre.

At dawn on June 5, the People's University sent a vehicle and moved Jiang's body to Zhongguancun Hospital, near the campus, where it was kept in the morgue. At 4:00 p.m. on June 6, his parents, relatives, friends, teachers and classmates-over 20 people in all-held a simple memorial service at the hospital. We put the red headband, of which he had been very proud, around his thick, jet black hair-it was a symbol of the cause for which he gave his life's-blood. There were no wreaths or mourning music during the service, only sobs and his parents' wails of grief. On June 7, his body was sent to Babaoshan for cremation, taking the long way round to avoid the troops stationed in Beijing. Before he was cremated, his relatives, teachers and classmates laid a wreath. A scroll saying, "It is honorable to love one's country" covered his body. His parents were in grief too deep to attend. A farewell letter written by his mother, stained with blood and tears, was laid on his chest.

After the June Fourth Massacre, Jiang Jielian was the only casualty of high-school age whose death was acknowledged in internal bulletins by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities. Now it is known, however, that there were at least nine high-school students killed in the massacre. On September 11, 1989, on the hundredth day after his murder, we took his ashes home and put them where his bed had been before his death. On front of the box where the ashes are kept, his father carved the following inscription for our beloved son:

In these short 17 years
You lived like a real man
Your humanitarian nobility and integrity
Will be kept in the undying memory of history.
Your forever loving Father and Mother.

Ding Zilin

Monday 1 June 2009

Dian Fossey (1932- 1985)

“More than a decade later as I now sit writing these words at camp, the same stretch of alpine meadow is visible from my desk window. The sense of exhilaration I felt when viewing the heartland of the Virungas for the first time from those distant heights is as vivid now as though it had occurred only a short time ago. I have made my home among the mountain gorillas."


In this blog I intend to do some historical justice to the many, many women who have contributed with their genius, creativity, adventurous spirit, nurturing - amongst other qualities - to the apparent linear and male dominated prescribed notion of History. This is just the beggining.