June 5, 1989 Tian An Men

In 1989 I was a college student, largely self-absorbed and still working on figuring out how the world fit together, and disengaged from the idea that I fit in that picture as well.  There was no internet.  I didn’t have a newspaper subscription, and I watched very little television.  So it was that the Tiananmen Square Protest of that year were little more than background static–blurbs heard in passing on the radio, bits of conversation overheard here and there, headlines on magazines in the grocery store check-out line.  Had I been paying attention, I would undoubtedly have been transfixed by the student protests–I vaguely remember thinking how shocking it was.  China seemed monolithic and steady.  When the government declared martial law and violently suppressed the students, I nodded: this was China, this is how things are in China.  It was only a matter of time.

And then, in the midst of the tragic, murderous crackdown, something amazing happened.  A man, probably a man of great love and conviction, said “enough” and, without stopping to set down his bag, stepped in front of a squadron of tanks.  He stepped into the street and there’s no question his eyes made contact with the eyes of the young men driving and commanding that tank–and just maybe those soldiers had seen enough because together, the unknown man of conscience and the un-named soldiers, changed the world.

A few months later, and halfway around the world, the Berlin Wall fell, and everything we’d ever known about fear and distrust, friendship and animosity, changed with it, just as everything we knew about China changed.

tiananmen_3_

 

Tank-Man-By-Jeff-Widener

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tank_man

http://seumasgallacher.com/2014/05/21/there-is-no-price-tag-on-courage-tiananmen-square-remembered-tbsu/

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About JunkChuck

Native, Militant Westsylvanian (the first last best place), laborer, gardener, and literary hobbyist (if by literary you mean "hack"). I've had a bunch of different blogs, probably four, due to a recurring compulsion to start over. This incarnation owes to a desire to dredge up the best entries of the worst little book of hand-scrawled poems I could ever dream of writing, salvageable excerpts from fiction both in progress and long-abandoned. and a smattering of whatever the hell seems to fit at any particular moment. At first blush, I was here just to focus on old, terrible verse, but I reserve the right to include...anything. Maybe everything, certainly my love of pulp novels growing garlic, the Pittsburgh Steelers and howling at the moon--both figuratively and, on rare occasions, literally.
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