1989 feels like ancient history. A bitch was in high school and full of drama. In my mind and in that time my worries were HUGE, my life was beyond fucked up and no one could possibly feel as desperate and freaked out as my wee bitch ass. Oh, to be young and self obsessed again…
And then it was June…1989…and news began to filter through that something was happening in China…something happening in Tiananmen Square. School was over for the summer break and this bitch was already bored and had planted myself in front of the television in desperation.
Something was happening in China.
Students, intellectuals and labor activists had been demonstrating for months and were camped in Tiananmen Square. A bitch was transfixed…already seduced by the power of protest and the activist life. My self pity and frustration about teen powerlessness was watered down by thoughts of rebellion, demonstration and speaking truth to power…shifting power…reclaiming individual power by any means...through protest.
Something was happening in Tiananmen Square …live and for all to see…and there was no way they would show something bad, so it was all good and freedom was breaking out everywhere and the students were leading the way. Something wonderful was happening, right?
This bitch watched religiously with thoughts of Selma, Montgomery and Birmingham dancing in my mind.
This is how it happens! This is how social change goes down.
Something was happening in Tiananmen Square.
June 4, 1989…something happened in China…something happened in Tiananmen Square.
Something happened in China when protestors died in Tiananmen Square. We do not have the benefit of ignorance because we were witness to this…live and on television for all to see. Ratings…murder…breathless anchors…screams and gunshots…and then that horrible black screen…the shocking silence…followed by the nothing that was something.
Tiananmen Square lingered and unsettled and silently indicted. Later, as a bitch watched the fall of the Berlin Wall, Tiananmen Square emerged again…not again…please not again…please…live and on television for all to see. The Wall fell, and the world went wild with joy…and history books were edited to remember.
So, what do the history books say of Tiananmen Square? Do they have a brief mention and feature that picture of the brave young man standing before a tank? Do the history books speak of China’s deliberate shift…a growing economy and a mega power…of the reward handed them in the face of Tiananmen Square…the reward of silence as America and so many other nations lowered their gaze, slowly and with sick deliberate grace, turned away and chose to forget that something happened in China…something happened June 4, 1989…in Tiananmen Square.
Live and on television for all to see.
What happened to the man who stood in front of that tank?
Was he crushed by the dragon when the cameras were shut off?
Forever defiant and captured on film…a visible reminder that someone was there and then was not anymore after June 4, 1989.