Palm Pictures DVD
This DVD, which is a reissue of a video that came out in 1998, is a document of the Tibetan Freedom Concert held in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. As a concert document, it features a host of bands ranging from the Fugees to Rage Against the Machine, all showcased in one song snippets, and all generally suffering from rather rote live performances. Bjork comes off well, as does A Tribe Called Quest, but since both perform to backing tapes, how hard can it be? Bands such as the Foo Fighters or Pavement sound wretched, but that’s to be expected in large shows like this one.
But this DVD (or the concert, for that matter) was not created to provide yet another version of a Smashing Pumpkins song. The event was brought into being by the Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch in order to raise awareness of the horrible plight of the Tibetan people, displaced from their homeland by the Chinese in 1949, and tortured ever since. You get the feeling from watching the crowd interviews – and most of the ones conducted with the bands, as well – that if the Tibetan people are relying on America and it’s youth to help reclaim their homeland, things are even more hopeless than they imagine. They are, like most of us, happily clueless about events not occurring in our own backyard. Still, the Tibetan cause has become a media issue, and hopefully films like this will raise the awareness of the issue to a point that more people get involved, if only to boycott Chinese-made products, or draft a letter to the White House. This DVD features graphic footage of beatings and torture meted out by the Chinese government, and describes well the role the West, and America most notably, plays in this nightmare. By granting China Favored Nation status, America removes, in Clinton’s words, “Human rights from the global marketplace.” Meaning, as long as we can still get baseball caps manufactured by Chinese prisoners, go ahead and take over whatever country you wish, rape as many nuns as you desire, and beat the crap out of a legion of monks, we don’t care. Just keep providing us with the products of cheap labor. The best we can hope for is that someone, somewhere will watch this DVD, or read a pamphlet, and work to make a change.