Zur Person: Ai Weiwei


IM: You are going to show at the „Albertina“ a huge body from work, really from early works to the latest ones. What do you want to show the audience in Vienna, just a retrospective, an overview or do you want to stimulate them also to ask their own questions and motivate them to act a little bit?

AiWeiWei: An exhibition always functions two ways, one is to express yourself, to communicate with the pubic, another way is to look at yourself, to say what has there been done.The works conclude the earliest works of mine and also conclude the lates of works of mine and they have never been put together. So I have the chance or the audience will have the chance to understand who I am and what I am doing.

IM: It is no secret that making art for you is more than making nice,very expensive products that rich people can hang in their living rooms. When did you get to this or how did you get to this approach that art must also provoke something in society?

AiWeiWei: First as an artist I have to face my life, my history or my family or father’s history. I am only eager to say what is necessary relating to art or writing or conversation. I am not someone to provide a beautiful decoration for a nice house, but to say something necessary. Some of my work people call it provocative I don’t see it as provocative, I see it as a very natural expression of my state home mind, my aesthetics and I would not say it is provocative

IM: I have read in your book that you consider courage as an “aesthetic” feeling, could you tell me a little bit more about that?

AiWeiWei: I think as a human being, life is always full ofunpredictable conditions, so courage is always a driving force for our curiosity and our passion and our imagination. Courage is not necessary leading us to a safe ground, but it is absolutely necessary for life itself. Because we all need the intuition, we all need something to attract us to take the adventure and that means the adventure could lead you to very different situation but it is rewarding for life to have courage.

IM: You and also your father, as you wrote in your book, were very couragous in free thinking in an ambience, a surrounding that would not allow you to think freely. What I was asking myself, reading this book, was how could you maintain this spirit in a society and in a country, where you are brainwashed all the time? How could you focus on your way and maintain your integrity, what gave you this strength?

AiWeiWei: I think all the strength comes from the disillusionand once you realise your life will be wasted if you don’t fight for truth and if you just listen to all kind of propagandas, or all kind of restrictions, than your life will be wasted. You see generations of people’s life being wasted and they never have a chance to speak out, they never never have the chance to express what is deeply in their mind.

IM: And you and your father had this chance thanks to the arts?

AiWeiWei: My father was a poet; it is his nature to be truthful, to talk about beauty and truth. I am an artist and also I do feel that self expression is needed to have a moral and a philosophical judgement. We need to defend freedom of speech.

IM: A large body of work that we are going to see at the „Albertina“ is from your time when you still lived in China. What did it mean for you and your work especially to get cut off this daily life in China, cut off your roots in a form?

AiWeiWei: I have been living abroad since 2015, of course because my life faced difficulty and danger, so that’s why I decided to move away. It is extremely difficult for someone like me working with language, or working with culture and so exile is a difficult situation. First you loose your language, so in that sense I don’t think it could be more difficult.

IM: But now you are kind of reorienting yourself in how you are making art?

AiWeiWei: Yes every day I say: To struggle is to prove you can survive, to prove you can reestablish communication with people with very different cultural backgrounds and very different lifestyles and that is a sense of joy.

IM: How deep are your links to China right now, because of course I have also seen the film „Coronation“ about the pandemic in Wuhan and I was wondering how could you get people to shoot this material and send it to you? It must have been extremely dangerous for them right? So do you have still strong connections to your people there?

AiWeiWei: The film about the pandemic „Coronation“ is a perfect example of how even when I am not there and my name can not be said in any media, it is still relatively easy for me to organize activities like make a film in China. That shows how well I can manage this situation and I can communicate with the people that speak the same language. Of course it is never easy, it is difficult, but I have a long time experience with my studio people, my art circle, people who are totally supportive. Without their understanding of my pastor current situation I caould never achieve anything.

IM: We have the impression, after reading your book, I had the impression, that nothing is possible in China. You can’t at all do something that the government doesn’t like you to do. But are there still ways to do something, even if it is difficult?

AiWeiWei: Yes, it is very different, China is not a society ruled by law. So by doing that they give you a lot of space to be free, because in the West everything is regulated, every movement is regulated by the law. China was never a societyby law and never really trusted the law or trusted the scientific or democratic society. They are ruled by, basically by improvisation and of course also by some kind of moral judgement. Very often today under the communist regime that moral judgement has also collapsed. China on a large scale is known for not much freedom about personal life, about the state power, about the state media. Freedom of press, independent juridical system never existed , still if you really just have a life, no concerns, China is pretty free. And that is the situation.

IM: We can not understand that, I think, it must be very different ….

AiWeiWei: It is a very different society. People know how to survive very well, but at the same time they know what they should not touch, there is a lot of dangerous areas, but people are very used to it is a very different kind of animal behavior.The West and China are different animals.

IM: Is there any chance for you – your father had been rehabilitated at a certain point – to think about getting back to China?

AiWeiWei: Yes, daily I have the idea that I should go back, that I can do much more there, but also I can be completely silenced or put away or disappear again so that is a constant struggle.

IM: When I saw you for the first time, it was in Kassel at the „Documenta“ with that group of Chinese people that you brought there. We had the impression that something is opening up a little bit in China, that you have more freedomand we saw more of your work, also the middle finger in front of Tian’anmen square and we thought „oh wow something is moving“ a little bit more freedom for the people, but now it seems to be very closed again is this the right impression, what happened?

AiWeiWei: That is the right impression, while I was in China Ialways believed something can happen within three or five years with that kind of openness, but of course every time after the openness there is always very severe restrictionscoming down and they crash down the activists or lawyers. So now it is very harsh, an extremely harsh situation.

IM: One can also see that in Hong Kong right now, because we were all waiting for the opening of the „M+“ Museum. What happened there now, can you give us an idea, do you know more about it?

AiWeiWei: Oh yes, I know a bit about it. Hong Kong is a city that is supposed to have had unlimited freedom or democracy for 50 years, when China made an agreement with Great Britain to return Hong Kong to China. But of course, Chinathinks that Hong Kong is their property and they gave a very harsh law to Hong Kong the so called „National Security Law“. That law applied to Hong Kong means that Hong Kongs unlimited freedom and democracy is completely finished on the political level. So all the people who fight, who demand to maintain Hong Kong´s independency and these policies are being completely crashed, people are being put in jail. Hong Kong became just another location in China, exactly the same as any domestic cities and there is no hope for it.

IM: And this museum, the “M+” is that of any interest under this conditions, what do you think?

AiWeiWei: The museum concept is a globalized concept, to provide the best facility for Asia. But at the same time they could not predict the „National Security Law“ and that Hong Kong would come so dramatically, so immediately under censorship which is pretty normal.

IM: So was it a mistake from Uli Sigg to give his collection to the museum or to the city of Hong Kong?

AiWeiWei: I think Mr. Sigg still did an admirable thing to select a museum holding his collection. He had the intention to give it to China but they wouldn’t accept. He thinks it is a priority to have his works shown free from censorship. Now of course there is some censorship there, but not a complete.Still my work is shown there, accept the works they think they are too political.

IM: So it is better than nothing?

AiWeiWei: I think Ulis idea is very clear, he thinks that my work is better understood by Chinese people than anybody else and that’s why he demands this has to be settled in a Chinese environment. Now it became a total Chinese environment so it is not too bad.

IM: More than he has thought. When you started to live in Europe, you had this situation of refugees and exile in your focus. What was going wrong in Europe in this whole situation of leaving the refugees outside the european borders, not letting them in, what was your vision or idea?

AiWeiWei: After I left China, I immediately was involved with this refugee situation. I had to really study and understand the global humanity condition, politics and also policies and the background of many nations and issues that refugees all caused by different issues and background. For me it is an intensive study to know more than just being an artist in China. It helps me understand much more the culture, background and politics behind this refugee situation.

If I draw it simply I would say, first refugees are not something that just happened today, it starts at the beginning of the human history. We are all refugees somehow, somewhere, sometime our families, somebody of our background, and it is always a struggle to enter someonesplace, but it was easier in the past. Before there was no nation, no borders, it was so much easier. If you have difficulties, you move to another village or they give you some help. But today there are clear borders and they build up those walls and fences and military defence and it is almost impossible for people. Even those who come from war zones, escaping from the killing can not be accepted by peaceful European Nations and you know they are being pushed into the ocean. Many, many people died it is the reality. It has helped me to understand what humanity means in our society.

IM: It is quite hypocritical, isn’t it, to say on the one hand:“Yes we are the free world, we are democratic states“ but we always look to the far right parties, who gain a lot of votes and we want to please them and therefore we let people die in the ocean.

AiWeiWei: It is of course frustrating and sometimes even annoying to see, why those people who ask very little to survive, to give their children a better future and they don’t ask for more, why they are not allowed to come to Europe. They are willing to work and in Europe you are rich, you do have a lot. It is easy for you to take care of that, but basically those people are refused and we see them die, we see, they are continuously paying a high price for trying to find a safer ground for living. They all think Europe is heaven, because you have democracy or freedom, you always think this is a good ground, but this is not true. Democracy is not complete and freedom, once you do not let people in who demandfreedom, you also lost freedom.

IM: That leads us to Julian Assange, I follow you project on Instagram, did you know him personally, why did you get so involved with Julian Assange?

AiWeiWei: Julian Assange, but also Edward Snowden, they risk their life to give information to the public which is absolutely essential. It is the responsibility in journalism. Otherwise freedom of speech is a joke, it has just become entertainment. Those people are all in bad shape. Julian is still in custody of Uk´s detention and most likely is going to beextradited to the US and is facing 175 years of jail. Snowden has been forced to exile in Russia and is in a pretty bad situation and very few media or very few people speak out and say, they are not criminals.

IM: A lot of the media are so tightly linked to the power, that they do not allow themselves to tell the truth and that is the place for the artist.

AiWeiWei: That is a condition. We can easily say in the west, especially in the US, media are very munch influenced by corporative ownership and what they say and what they are not saying is not the total truth, but very often misleading.

IM: Artist can be very powerful, as you do, in uncovering the covered, uncovering the things that people in power want to hide from the public, like the numbers of the earthquake in China or similar things.

AiWeiWei: That’s not something that artists would do or should do in China at least. Police detained me and said:“WeiWei you are an artist but you did something thatjournalist should do or what lawyers should do, but you should be an artist, you should do your paintings“ They would appreciate if I would just do my paintings, but I am also a human being, I can’t see injustice happening in front of meand not say something about it. I use my voice to give to the people who can’t have the voice and which I think should be a generous act because for the artist the most important thing is that you have to see that the communication with others is essential for humanity.´

IM: Now this year we have olympic games in China again, and I think they are going to use again the stadium you built with Herzog & de Meuron. Some diplomates and politicians do not want to attend the Olympic games because of problems with human rights and lack of freedom. Do you think this is the right way to answer China or would there be a more effective thing to do?

AiWeiWei: I think we already have the conclusion, I think politicians, lead by US politicians, who say „We don’t have this official attending of the olympic games” is a joke. By doing that they don’t loose too much face to this superpower of China and they just want their public to see „Hey we boycott the games“ What do you mean by boycott the games?China even said you are not officially invited, you boycott before you are invited? China is arrogant, they don’t care, they know this hippocratic game the West is playing. That means the West is soft on any real issue. To say we boycott the Olympic Games, what a joke, who cares if you go to the games or not. China is laughing and says „Okay you are bluffing again“, but if you play poker, bluffing will not always work. Eventually we will see what you are hiding in your cards, then time will tell who is the winner. China is very sure what they has in its hands and they are going to keep winning for some time.

IM: I think there is at the moment no way to stop china, we depend completely on China. You saw that now in the pandemic, we didn’t even have masks.

AiWeiWei: It is very interesting, after the cold war the Westbuilt kind of a „new world order“. That is a very big ambition for globalization, so there is a new colonialism that is capitalism, corporative capitalism, and they went to all the nations which desperately needed money and jobs. China suddenly became a heavenly location, to have 1,4 billion people willing to work and want to become rich. That gave the West the best golden time of opportunity and made our life much better, easier, cheaper and enjoyable. But at the same time as Lenin once said: “capitalism puts the noose aroundyour neck and gives the other end to the people who are colonialized and once they pull that, they will suffocate you“.China has become powerful enough to say “no” to the US. I don’t think that the US is capable to get rid of China, becausein the US structure, the political system is build on the corporate culture, that corporate system of the big companiesis not going to get rid of China, it makes its profits with China. Some companies just announced that they don’t care, they even build new factories in Xinjiang or showrooms. They enjoy it, because it is very efficient. They know how to play the game and it would take the West and its democratic structures years to realize something similar. There are always at least two parties and there is basically always one party making life difficult for the other one. They will not get any policy down but just make it very difficult for themselves and China is laughing, they enjoy that.

IM: But this development made also a lot of Chinese people rich, what did that do with Chinese society, that a lot of middle class people got rich, have a nice flat, a car, as we Europeans are used to. What did this to Chinese society?

AiWeiWei: Chinese society has been a society, that does not believe in the idea of democracy and freedom or in a scientific society. They never really think that would work. They enjoy their way of living and of course it is a different system . As long as the system is not hurting human dignity then normallyit is accepted. But China really has a record of hurting human rights and there is no justice in the society. The West often doesn’t care about it, but very often the West has also heavy problems with human rights, if you look at the situation in the US, how coloured people are being put in jail, they have the biggest issues and the highest number of people in jail in the US, there is no other nation. Not to talk about many other issues. Then the world becomes „Okay we are bad, but you are not good so lets have a competition“ Of course it is a challenge about profit and competition.

IM: What I find so interesting is that people in power really are afraid, in autocratic societies, are afraid of artists, as your destiny in China showed, do they really think that art can be so powerful, because the first people they put in jail or send to exile are artist or journalists.

AiWeiWei: Societies are afraid of artists, hmmm, sometimesthey say that, but I never think they are really afraid of artists, they dislike them. Is like we don’t like certain species, it is not that we are really afraid of them, we just dislike them. Artistsis usually can show other possibilities, can challenge the absolute power. That kind of attitude, that kind of lifestyle, autocratic governments don’t like that. But in the so called liberal world journalists also have the same kind of problem asin the autocratic state: if you tell the story which is not in favour of the power, that’s a problem anywhere.

IM: It is enough that they don’t like it, they can make your life very difficult

AiWeiWei: It is already enough, they always find a way to make you disappear or silence you or bring you a miserable life or make you regret what you have done, because basically there is no support. Justice and fairness is almost like a religious ideology, there is no common ground.

IM: Lets talk a little bit about Portugal. You have  a wonderful hideaway here, how did you happen to land here in the middle of nothing?

AiWeiWei: Since I am a political refugee and I am a traveler, I feel the liberty to say anywhere could be a possibility to settle down. I don’t have a grandmother living in one town, who has a property there. I don’t have friends that I grew up with so wherever I travel to, is a new place and also can be a place where I can settle. So I take that liberty to make quick decisions and trust my judgment. I am over 60 so I have some judgement about life, so I choose this location and one day I went to the market and this young lady said „WeiWei I know you, you can choose any city, any place, why did you choose Alentejo, can you tell me?“ I said, honestly I can not tell you the reason behind this decision, but I would only find it out after I settled here. So far I am happy about this location.

IM: And also being far away from the busy cities?

AiWeiWei: I am tired of big cities, since the 80s when I was in New York, I was in Beijing, all big cities. I don’t think the big cities really relate to my life that much, I don’t relate to them. A city is a huge machine and when you find a job in the machine and be part of the system it works very well, but as an independent artist, to live alone is my desirable situation.

IM: Lately you made quite a lot works out of Lego bricks. Why do you like Lego bricks so much? Why do you think they are so good to make art with?

AiWeiWei: I love Legos, because my son loves Legos and then I realized all of his generation loves Legos. Why?because Legos are easy, simple and have a clear identity. As a media I think, I tried a few times, it works very well for me, because I don’t like to paint, because I don’t like the smell of the paint and I don’t like the way a canvas is being stretched, one side is dependent on the other side. So Lego does not have this problem. It is the perfect product, clean, you don’t have to wash your hands even after you use that, so that’s my media. I will be remembered as an artist who used Lego and selfies.

IM: And where do you get all these bricks from?

AiWeiWei: One time the Lego company in Denmark refused to sell me any Lego and said „We have a policy, we don’t sell Lego to anybody who uses Lego as a political act“ So I put it on my Instagram and made an argument that the Lego company is very political doing this and as company you don’t judge who you sell your toilet to, whoever wants to use the toilets they can use the toilets, Lego is no different from that. Later they apologized, they changed the policy, because I made a big fuzz and all the papers reported on it and museums started donating Legos to me, I got a lot of Legos from all over the world. Young kids said „We can give this guy Legos“. It is just very playful.




Auszug übersetzt:

IM: Ich habe in ihrem Buch gelesen, dass Sie Mut als ästhetische Kategorie, als ästhetisches Gefühl sehen, können Sie mir mehr dazu sagen?

AWW: In unserem Leben als menschliche Wesen ist das Leben immer voller unvorhersehbarer Ereignisse. Mut ist eine treibende Kraft für unsere Neugierde, unsere Passion und Vorstellungskraft. Mut führt uns nicht unbedingt auf sicheren Grund, ist aber notwendig für das Leben selbst. Wir alle brauchen Intuition, etwas, das uns anzieht, um uns auf Abenteuer einzulassen, das kann gefährlich sein, aber Mut zu haben, lohnt sich im Leben.

IM: Sie und ihr Vater haben, wie sie es in ihren Erinnerungen „1000 Jahre Freud und Leid“ beschreiben, oft Mut beweisen müssen. Den Mut, sich freies Denken zu bewahren, in einer Atmosphäre in China, die genau das verhindern wollte. Wie konnten Sie sich dieses „freie Denken“ in einer Gesellschaft und einem Land bewahren, das sie permanent dieser parteipolitischen Gehirnwäsche ausgesetzt hat? Sie und ihr Vater waren ja im Exil und waren diesen Umerziehungsversuchen ausgesetzt. Wie konnten sie da ihre Integrität bewahren, was hat ihnen Kraft gegeben?

AWW: Die Kraft kommt mit der Enttäuschung, der Desillusion und wenn du bemerkst, dass dein Leben verschwendet wäre. Wenn du nicht für die Wahrheit kämpfst und nur auf die verschiedensten Arten von Propaganda hörst und die Beschränkungen akzeptierst, dann hast du verloren. Generationen von Menschenleben sind so verschwendet, sie haben nie eine Chance , sich auszudrücken, mitzuteilen, was sie tief in ihrem Inneren empfinden.

IM: Nach der Lektüre ihres Buches hatte ich den Eindruck, dass in China im Moment überhaupt nichts mehr möglich ist, was nicht 100%ig auf Regierungslinie ist, gibt es da irgendwelche Möglichkeiten des Widerstandes, auch wenn es sehr schwierig zu sein scheint?

AWW:  Ja, das ist sehr schwierig! China ist keine Gesellschaft, in der das Gesetz regieren würde. Das gibt dir andererseits aber auch ziemlich viel Spielraum, Freiheiten. Im Westen ist alles reguliert. Jeder denkt in diesem engen Korsett von allgegenwärtigen Regulierungen. In China regiert nicht „das Gesetz“ und kein Chinese traut „dem Gesetz“  oder „der Wissenschaft“ oder auch einer „demokratischen Gesellschaft“. In China herrscht die Improvisation. Und das tägliche Leben ist natürlich auch geleitet von einem gewissen moralischen Urteilsvermögen, früher definiert durch die kommunistische Partei, aber das ist inzwischen auch kollabiert.

Im großen Maßstab gibt es in China keine Freiheit, was persönliches Leben, die staatlichen Medien, Pressefreiheit, eine unabhängige Justiz betrifft – das alles hat es in China nie gegeben, aber wenn man im Privaten kein Anliegen hat, einfach nur ein normales Leben führen will, dann ist man in China ziemlich frei.

IM: Ich glaube, das ist für uns schwer zu verstehen.

AWW: Die Gesellschaft funktioniert ganz anders. Die Menschen wissen sehr gut, wie sie überleben können, aber auch, wo sie nicht anstreifen dürfen. Da gibt es eine Menge gefährlicher Terrains. Die Menschen sind das gewohnt. Menschen im Westen und in China sind wie unterschiedliche Lebewesen, wie Tiere mit unterschiedlichem Verhalten.

IM: Jetzt haben wir gerade Olympische Spiele in China, das Stadion, das Sie mit Herzog und de Meuron gebaut haben, wird auch wieder genutzt. Einige Politiker und Diplomaten aus dem Westen haben gesagt, sie kommen aus Protest gegen Menschenrechtsverletzungen in China nicht zu den Spielen. Ist das für Sie der richtige Weg mit China umzugehen, oder gäbe es da effektivere Wege, die man beschreiten könnte?

AWW: Diese Aussage, dass westliche Politiker die Olympischen Spiele nicht besuchen, ist wirklich eine Nebelkanone. So drücken sie ihren Protest aus, verlieren aber nicht das Gesicht gegenüber der Supermacht China. Sie sagen, hey, wir boykottieren die Spiele, aber was heisst das, ihr boykottiert die Spiele? China sagt, ihr seid ja nicht einmal offiziell eingeladen!! Ihr boykottiert bevor ihr eingeladen seid? China ist arrogant. Das interessiert sie einen feuchten Dreck, welches heuchlerische Spiel der Westen da spielt. Der Westen greift China mit Samthandschuhen an, wenn es um wichtige Themen geht. Wenn der Westen sagt, wir boykottieren die Spiele, dann ist das ein Witz. Wen interessiert es, ob ihr kommt oder nicht. China lacht sich eines und sagt: ok, ihr blufft wieder einmal. Aber, wenn ihr aus dem Westen Poker spielen wollt, dann funktioniert bluffen nicht immer. Wir sehen möglicherweise, welche Karten ihr verdeckt, dann werden wir ja sehen, wer gewinnt. China weiss sehr gut, was es in der Hand hat. Und es wird jetzt noch eine Zeit lang gewinnen.

IM: Ich glaube, da gibt es im Moment keine Möglichkeiten, China zu stoppen. Der Westen ist von China abhängig. Man hat das ja in der Pandemie gesehen, wir hier konnten nicht einmal die Masken selbst herstellen….

AWW: Es ist interessant, nach dem 2. Weltkrieg hat der Westen eine neue Weltordnung eingesetzt, ist mit großem Ehrgeiz an die Globalisierung gegangen. Eine neue Art des Kolonialismus, der Konzernkapitalismus ist in Länder gegangen, die dringend Geld gebraucht haben; China wurde im Zuge dessen zu einer geradezu himmlischen Location dafür, mit seinen 1, 4 Milliarden Menschen, die arbeiten und reich werden wollten. Das bescherte dem Westen ein Goldenes Zeitalter mit der Möglichkeit, das Leben hier viel besser, einfacher, billiger, erfreulicher zu machen, aber er war dann auch gleichzeitig schnell in der Falle. Denn, wie Lenin einst gesagt hat, der Kapitalismus legt eine Schlinge um den Hals der reichen Länder und das andere Ende gibt er den kolonialisierten Ländern in die Hand, die dann daran ziehen können. Die Schlinge wird enger und enger und am Ende erstickst du. Jetzt ist China mächtig genug, den USA die Stirn zu bieten und nein zu sagen und die USA sind, glaube ich nicht mehr fähig, China loszuwerden. Weil das System, das der Us-amerikanischen Politik zugrunde liegt, ist das der Konzernkultur und diese Konzerne wollen China nicht loswerden. Die machen ihre Profite dank China. Einige Konzerne haben jetzt schon verlauten lassen, dass ihnen Menschenrechtsverletzungen und mangelnde Freiheit egal sind und sie bauen frisch fröhlich neue Fabriken oder Showrooms in der Uiguren-Region Xinjiang,  und sie lieben es, weil autoritäre Regime effizienter sind. Die wissen, wie man das Spiel spielt. Im Westen brauchst du immer Jahre, bis eine Entscheidung getroffen wird. Meistens hast du zwei Parteien, die sich gegenseitig blockieren. Und China lacht und genießt seine Position.

IM: Was ich so interessant finde, ist, dass mächtige Menschen in autoritär geführten Ländern vor Künstlern Angst zu haben scheinen, wie Ihre Erlebnisse in China gezeigt haben. Man hat sie entführt und eingesperrt. Glauben diese Menschen wirklich daran, dass Kunst etwas bewirken kann? Die ersten, die im Gefängnis landen, sind immer Künstler, Journalisten ….

AWW: Man sagt, Gesellschaften hätten Angst vor der Kunst; ich denke aber, sie haben nicht wirklich Angst, sie mögen sie einfach nicht. Das ist so wie wir gewisse Tierarten nicht mögen, wir haben nicht wirklich Angst, aber sie sind uns unangenehm. Weil Künstler immer andere Möglichkeiten aufzeigen und damit die absolute Macht herausfordern. Schon allein mit ihrer Haltung, mit ihrem Lifestyle sind sie den Mächtigen in autoritär geführten Ländern ein Dorn im Auge. Für Journalisten gilt das gleiche in den liberal geführten Ländern im Westen. Wenn du da eine Geschichte erzählst, die den Mächtigen nicht gefällt, hast du auch ein Problem.

IM: Und es reicht, dass man nicht gemocht wird …

AWW: Ja, das reicht – sie werden immer einen Weg finden, um dich verschwinden zu lassen, oder mundtot zu machen, oder dir das Leben so schwer wie möglich zu machen, oder dich dazu zu bringen, dass du bedauerst, was du gesagt hast. Und du hast keine Unterstützung. Gerechtigkeit und Fairness sind nur wie eine religiöse Kategorie, nichts worauf du dich verlassen kannst.