Thursday June 5, 2003

june 4

so, today, or rather, yesterday by half an hour, was the 14th anniversary of june 4, 1989. i realized that tonight at border’s, writing in my journal. some of y’all young’uns might not remember it, but it was the day that hundreds, possibly thousands of students were killed in tiananmen square, beijing. i remember watching the news with my parents, struggling to understand why this was happening.

i remember this picture. no one really knows what happened to this guy. but i think we all admire how he stood up even in the face of death.

i want to be able to remember these people… some my age, some younger… how much they must have believed in their cause. and i am challenged about whether i would be willing to die for anything. but perhaps, much harder, am i willing to live? in some ways, it seems harder to live out our convictions, and our ideas… to live day-in day-out in the little things and the big things.

as i’ve read civil rights history, i find myself hoping that i would have been able to stand up for what i believed in, had i been in those shoes. hopefully, we all do. but really, do we live out those values daily? do we even care about the political process around us? do we even inform ourselves enough to vote?

i’ve been challenged to live out that kind of daily stuff, caring about the community i live in… caring about the plight of the poor, choosing to use my political power (my vote!) to make informed choices that benefit the whole community… and it’s hard to do – that daily living thing. but i’m thankful for that difficulty, for the opportunity. i’m thankful for the students 14 years ago that are reminding me of it even today.

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5 thoughts on “Thursday June 5, 2003

  1. macewoo

    That surely is a powerful picture…I was too young to remember it when it happened, but I remember the footage.  After reading your Xanga I couldn’t help but think of “pictures” in my life that I’ll never be able to forget.  Needless to say, 9-11 came up at the top of my list. 

    The daily living thing is something I am still working on myself.  Hopefully it won’t be whenever some anniversary swings by that I am reminded how to live…

    Reply
  2. utrwong

    My mom is wondering why I am so interested in modern Chinese history (Maoism, Cultural Revolution, Gang of Four, etc).  Understanding my background is what motivates me to learn more about China.  My mom used that event as an example why I should NEVER leave the states.  I would really like to go back one day…

    It’s hard to keep up with news all the time.  I hardly keep up with what’s going on in Iraq right now.  I sometimes think people take rights and freedoms for granted… I wish I was brave enough to speak up or take action.

    Reply
  3. heyzeus

    I hate to be the bearer of bad historical news, but the protester in the picture above was run over by the tank.  Awful, but gives more poignance to his willingness to sacrifice even his life.

    Reply
  4. sabbychan

    actually, he wasn’t killed… according to bbc news…

    Tuesday, April 7, 1998 Published at 22:16 GMT 23:16 UK

    World: Asia-Pacific

    Tiananmen ‘tank man’ still at large

    The lone Chinese protester who brought a column of tanks to a standstill in Tiananmen Square during the 1989 crackdown was never arrested and is still at large,

    In response to an inquiry, President Jiang Zemin is said to have blamed journalists for giving authorities the wrong name. The Chinese government gave up looking for the man after checking lists of the dead and imprisoned.

    Reply

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