Well it’s already June 4th in China, and I just watched a CNN report that the Chinese government has completely shut down Twitter, YouTube and other Internet sites, and is blocking CNN reporters from filming the square where thousands of unarmed students were slaughtered on June 4th, 1989 as the military rolled in to crush the democracy demonstrators. It’s just a few minutes into June 4th here in Texas, just past midnight. Dont know if I’ll be able to sleep. Back in ’89 I was on the streets of NYC, one step from homelessness, just barely hanging on. In the six weeks of protests before the slaughter, I remember reading the newspapers left on the park benches, and the Newsday flasher in Times Square where the news screamed around the building. At first there was a sense of possibility with all the students converging there in central Beijing, tens of thousands growing into hundreds of thousands, then a million, and then… there was a sense of something terrible about to happen — this coming 2 months after the catastrophic Exxon Valdez oil spill .. It felt like such a dark time.
Here’s a recap of the timeline:
What’s really unnerving is how completely the Chinese populace has been kept in the dark over this, especially young people. Few know what really happened. But even more disturbing is how placated people have become with material things, so much so that they don’t even want to know. (This desire to not know sounds disturbingly familiar.) They know something terrible happened, but as long as they’ve got enough sneakers and trendy clothes and iPods, they’re cool, even if they lost their opportunity to participate in the course of their future. And those who’ve tried to speak up about it are jailed, some for years.
By the way, I love my iPod, and I am thankful for the imperfect democracy we have here in the United States, but I also know — and am saddened — that legions of people right here in this country are, by their own determined ignorance, willing accomplices to their own victimization — regarding their own personal health, or that of Planet Earth which sustains all life.