Clearly, Ferguson is not Gaza, or Bahrain, or Egypt. As many activists in those countries would note, the situations are simply not in the same category in terms of scale, severity, or political context. But no one should be satisfied merely with the fact that there is less tear gas and deadly police violence in the United States than in authoritarian countries.
The politics of respectability in the black community may not only hinder us from acting and engaging in the constructive protest, lobbying and collective action needed to create a more just society, as it has with respect to the Ferguson protests, but it may also prevent us from simply being and living freely.
If Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is expecting the United States to deliver the $1.3 billion in annual military assistance without any delays or restrictions, he may be in for a "rude awakening," as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez said during a hearing on Egypt earlier this month.
His work illustrates that amid the accelerating progress of society, our living environment has significantly improved, while humans are becoming increasing lost about the meaning and value of self -- sometimes even allowing the self to disintegrate. The artist's Chinese army training uniform and disappearance into the background are deliberate and metaphoric gestures of protest against this loss.
To embark upon a series of stealth configurations I expect more than a sleight of hand to invoke some intrigue or unrest. "My intention was not to disappear in the environment but (to) let the environment take possession of me", Bolin says. Once possessed, now what? How do you roil the many to action? Does such work bring out the tumbrels or will it present a shrug instead, leaving everyone to return to their meager comforts?
True, I could not access Google and my Gmail or Facebook, but I was also introduced to an underground rock scene, to journalism students who asked thoughtful questions and who were inspired into the profession to tell the truth, and met young intellectuals and artists who like Liu find ways to openly express themselves within the boundaries of society and reality.
Today, a growing number of Chinese artists are sharing their vision of a free China with the public, and there is little that the government can do to stop them. Every now and then, the authorities will put someone in jail - in 2011, they detained Ai Weiwei for 81 days - but they cannot imprison his art, which lives in a realm beyond the reach of violence. They may turn off the lights, but they cannot force the prisoner to sleep.