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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"I think never killed."

[I wrote this 10 years ago.  Does it hold up?  Is the world very much changed?] 

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We saw it almost 20 years ago with Tiananmen Square. A spontaneous groundswell, a great yearning for freedom. Sometimes Asians yearn to be free.

And why not? There is such a thing in the world. We have it. We are an example. A beacon.

It is our heritage.


We are an inspiration.


It was over 18 years ago now, so I can talk about it. Because words have meaning, and actions have consequences. Because sometimes things don't go according to plan. Sometimes life seems more important than liberty.




Hm. Why are these young men hiding from those soldiers?





A student. In the process of being beaten to death.





A grad student.





It has the rough beauty of skewed symmetry.







When the tanks start rolling.





This is a human body.





This is grief. And courage.




Between 200 and 10,000 killed. Sort of a big margin of error, but it wasn't quite yet the internet age. Well, no matter. If there's one thing the world has plenty of, it's chinamen. If they don't value their own people, why should we.

Maybe I'm young, but I'm sorta sick of all the meaningless governmental protests. We are aware of the situation.... We are concerned.... We are monitoring events.... We are busy feeling up pageboys....

So we have the talkers.

Then we have this young man. This man.



We've seen what tank treads can do.


Let's look at him.
What's that in his hand? A clarinet case?


And this, in his right hand --
--his shopping? No, a jacket.


Let's study him. Because it's not so often that we get to see a hero. Maybe we'll learn something.


Ah. That's what heroes do. Know what he's saying? "Go away. My city is in chaos because of you. Stop killing my people."

Some claim his name is or was Wang Weilin, a student, age 19. Some reports have him as shot within weeks of this event. Some have him hiding in China or Taiwan. When asked of his fate by Barbara Walters in 1990, Jiang Zemin, CCP General Secretary -- that's like what Stalin was -- said, "I think never killed."

Anonymity swallows him like death.

Before the tanks really started to roll, the art students built a 30-foot plaster statue. The Goddess of Democracy.
She needs both hands to carry the torch. Liberty doesn't start out strong.


Those poor naive children. It was ground to rubble by the tanks.

If I had the computer and graphic skills, I would put this picture in the banner of Forgotten Prophets. Forlorn Idealists.  But I have only words. Like the rest of the world.

And now Burma. Maybe I'll have something to say about Burma, in 18 years.

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[Well, the specifics are dated.  Even the event -- almost 30 years ago now.  Doesn't seem so long.  We're not hearing so much about congressmen wanting to date pageboys.  And what the hell ever happened to Burma? I have nothing to say, after 10 years.  Now, though, we can switch the word for, say, Aleppo.  And we can be sure that some sexy scandal will be revealed, by the bigoted  media, against you-know-who.  Ah well.  Every day provides ample inspiration, for those who would profit by it.  Or we could quibble about trivialities.  Whatever.]


J

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