Thursday, June 4, 2009

Moral Courage -- 20 Years Ago and Today.

"Some call it the "Tiananmen Square Massacre," others say the "Tiananmen Square Crackdown," and in China it is known merely as an "incident," the "June 4th Incident," or as the Chinese say, "liù-sì shìjiàn" (六四事件). No matter how you refer to Thursday, June 4th, the world marks the event 1989 democracy protests in Beijing and the brutal response by China's military,   on's 20th anniversary."

Yesterday on KUOW-FM, I heard the photographer Jeff Widener describe how, by luck, he was able to shoot this photo from a hotel room that adjoined the square.  This photo is taken before the unarmed and unidentified  man (later called "Tank Man") climbed up on the front of the lead tank and asked the driver "Why are you here?  You have caused nothing but misery."   The man was dragged off the tank by soldiers and taken away, allegedly executed later.

This iconic photograph reminds us how easily we in this country are able to question authority, and how we take that freedom very much for granted.   

Today, 20 years after Tianamen Square,  in a similarly nonviolent act of moral courage, President Obama tried to breach a large gap and reduce misery and hatred in his address to the Muslim world from Cairo University.

No comments: