Friday, June 5, 2009

Remembering Tiananmen

Today is the 20th anniversary of the "tank man" showdown between student protesters in Beijing and the Chinese Army. The image is iconic and the events well-worth remembering. Interestingly, a previously unpublished photo of the lead-up to the confrontation was released yesterday.

It is an interesting view of the event-- I didn't even see the "tank man" in the picture the first time I looked at the picture. But once you do see him, it is startling. He is positioned well in advance of the tanks arrival, straight-backed, undaunted. His protest was no spur of the moment action, and while everyone else is running away, he is standing. Just standing.

What do you suppose he was thinking as those tanks slowly rumbled toward him and bullets flew all about him? Was he aware of the image he created? Did he hope that his actions would have an effect on outside opinion? Or was he just saying, "Enough. No more. Enough."?

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