Wednesday, June 4, 2014

25 Years After: Ghosts of Tiananmen

I was twenty when Tiananmen Square happened. I will remember it today because there are people who aren't allowed to remember it, and because there are people who don't care that they aren't.

Tiananmen was bullying on a heinous level. The sheer monstrous cowardice of a government using military power to kill a bunch of unarmed students was, and still is, mind boggling. It was Kent State multiplied times insanity, with Beijing seeing hundreds die instead of four.

In a way, the Chinese government's heavy suppression of the massacre is even more monstrous and cowardly. It was criminal enough to execute defenseless citizens; it's filthy and low to tell their families and friends they have to publicly repudiate them and forget them. The newer generations can't connect to it as a legacy for change, because people have to be afraid of being arrested for even talking about it. I cannot believe that their Ancestors are pleased with this. Maybe they're fueling the  underground currents of protest and unceasing voices for change that the Party has never been able to stamp out, no matter how heavy handed it gets. All good fortune to the Beloved Dead of the land and any who follow them if they are.

May rewards also fall on the officials of Hong Kong for not toeing the mainland party line; the city's different governance, by dint of not having been part of mainland rule back then, makes holding a massive memorial today possible, and they don't care if the Big Boys don't like it. Here's to the people who lost loved ones and aren't allowed to publicly mourn or honor them being able to take something from that, even if they can't be there.

So, what does that matter to us? We're America, we're too self-absorbed and badassed to give a shit, right? Besides, it gets in the way of crucial Candy Crush time or keeping up with Kardash-whatsis, and being bovvered may even be unpatriotic or living in the past, whichever sounds better at the moment.

It matters because we're supposed to be frackking human beings. Ask anyone who saw photos of their child, sibling, friend, or student being shot in Ohio. Somewhere on the other side of the world, they have counterparts who do not uniformly support what their government did or does any more than any of us do.  

It matters because China has become a major economic world power, and has shown that it is not above being aggressively and violently grabby. Talk to Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and Tibet about that. Maybe if we all ask nicely, the Jade Emperor will send Sun Wukong to hang out with (snerk)  it's Powers That Be.

It matters because suppression of public voices can and does happen here. It's been happening in creeping increments and increased incidents, in loss of rights to protest on public grounds and the militarization and lack of accountability of law enforcement.

It matters because that which is remembered lives.
Remember people for the past; remember freedom for the future.