Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Remembering Tiananmen Square

This week is the eighteenth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, where Chinese soldiers indiscriminately slaughtered students protesting for democratic rights. Eighteen years since that horrible event. I was in college when it happened, and when news reached us here, it had a profound impact on my life. I would go so far as to say that it was the spark that set off my social consciousness. Previously, I was content doing and living by a narrow set of strictures, rules handed down by my mom and aunt, boundaries that, until that point, I had been happy to ignore or rail against. Something about Tiananmen broke open my shell and I began to take notice of a larger world beyond the borders of my ego. Eighteen years since then... I wonder how much has really changed, cynically, perhaps, but certainly with an eye that horrors like Tiananmen continue to be enacted daily, in Gaza, Darfur, Grozny, Baghdad... the list goes on. But what power there is in the image of the single student stopping with his body the advance of four tanks, cannons aimed forward and at the ready, his annihilation seemingly at hand yet doing nothing to shake him from the spot: it is as inspirational today as it was the day we first saw it.

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