Thursday, June 04, 2009

Remembering Tiananmen

20 years ago, a young man stood alone in front of a tank in China.

Then this brave man stepped in front of that tank when it turned to drive around him. No one knows who this man is or what happened to him after this event, but we know that several hundred of his fellow students were killed by the military who were sent to break up a peaceful student protest for democracy.

Tiananmen Square is one of those things that most Western adults have heard of. This is because a few other brave people managed to smuggle images and the odd video out of China, to then be spread throughout the free world.

But times are changing.

The world seems to be more forgiving of China's government now that they own so much Western debt and arguably the strongest current economic position. More importantly, to those of us living here, the West seems to be slipping away from "free world" status. Unfortunately this is often a difficult reality to convince people about, thanks to a plentiful supply of entertainment and consumer choices. When these distractions fail, climate change and peak resources/energy are available to be used as excuses to restrict freedom. This is especially so when such a large amount of people seem unwilling to accept that with freedom comes significant responsibility.

How many of us would step in front of that tank?


linda said...

Speaking of China...and I hope this isn't off topic...did you know that the Chinese government is funding Mandarin classes in public schools throughout the U.S? We even have what are called, Zen Centers, which are the official "administrative" and "cultural research" offices for the program. We have one in an area high school. This began around 8 years ago. Chicago received millions upon millions of dollars (I can't remember how much but it was a lot) to install these programs in key schools. Parents whose children take the classes feel very exclusive (another type of distraction) Millions upon millions of dollars are not necessary to run a simple language program per year when the language is only taught in some schools, not all. Makes me wonder if China owns some of our children too?

Anonymous said...

How many of us care about human rights in other than in an abstract way? Most of us are content to let someone else take care of things like that.

Why not join a human rights group now? Donate time, money, effort now. Don't wait until the tanks are here.

SoapBoxTech said...

Linda, no I didn't know that but it does not surprise me. By and large the Chinese still seem to operate over generations, other than in terms of the environment. Thanks to massive US debt, however, I would say they own all your children...

EJ, I probably agree with you but I'd certainly caution people to be careful which organizations they're supporting. I definitely agree that nowhere near enough people are living truly responsibly, when doing so would do as much for freedom as any human rights organization could.