Wednesday, July 12, 2006

power of one: Tiananmen Square

Okay, frankly, I think we've all been a little too pissy lately. I will be the first to raise my hand and say, "Good? What good in the world. It's all going to hell and there certainly ain't no handbasket involved."
I know this isn't true.
However, I think sometimes we forget that one little simple act can make all the difference in the world. In the world, literally and in the world of one person.
So, I give you, The Power of One, Wednesdays. I will show big stories, little stories, big pictures, and small pictures. Because sometimes we need to remember; we all do matter and we all do make a difference some how some way, we do.

The power of the man infront of the tank.

The power of the man who stopped the tank.


19 comments:

Joefish said...

I love that photo. That's a fantastic moment. Note the shopping bags. For just a moment, some skinny guy carrying home his groceries stopped an army dead in its tracks.

TrappedInColorado said...

There was a whole hour long documentary about that man. No one knows what happened to him but it does make you take note of yourself. No one stood in front of Bush's "tanks" and look at the results.

Peace

puerileuwaite said...

Not to be cynical, PG, but MY source (America - The Book, by The Daily Show) claims that this guy suffered from ADHD and stood in front of large objects all the time.

I'd like to believe that their version is not true, and that he really did do this for the brave and noble cause.

GirlGoyle said...

I thought the result was that he got squished. If it wasn't him getting squished...it certainly befel others. Tienamen, as Bush's megalomanic rampage...useless. Individuals that take note and voice their disgust, priceless.

testing said...

I too beleive that this man stood there and the tanks kept on moving and yes he did get killed.

Party Girl said...

Okay, cynics.

He was not 'squished.' I would not have posted a picture of one making a difference had he been killed. That would defeat the purpose of one person standing up and something good coming from it.

Here is an article from Time that I found:

Almost nobody knew his name. Nobody outside his immediate neighborhood had read his words or heard him speak. Nobody knows what happened to him even one hour after his moment in the world's living rooms. But the man who stood before a column of tanks near Tiananmen Square--June 5, 1989--may have impressed his image on the global memory more vividly, more intimately than even Sun Yat-sen did. Almost certainly he was seen in his moment of self-transcendence by more people than ever laid eyes on Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein and James Joyce combined.

The meaning of his moment--it was no more than that--was instantly decipherable in any tongue, to any age: even the billions who cannot read and those who have never heard of Mao Zedong could follow what the "tank man" did. A small, unexceptional figure in slacks and white shirt, carrying what looks to be his shopping, posts himself before an approaching tank, with a line of 17 more tanks behind it. The tank swerves right; he, to block it, moves left. The tank swerves left; he moves right. Then this anonymous bystander clambers up onto the vehicle of war and says something to its driver, which comes down to us as: "Why are you here? My city is in chaos because of you." One lone Everyman standing up to machinery, to force, to all the massed weight of the People's Republic--the largest nation in the world, comprising more than 1 billion people--while its all powerful leaders remain, as ever, in hiding somewhere within the bowels of the Great Hall of the People.

wavslidn said...

I hate to burst the bubble, but the only reason they did not drive over him was because they new the world was watching. Once the cameras were shut down he was executed.

I do love what he did - he knew what price he was going to pay but he made a stand. For any movement to begin, one person does have to stand up.

Jay said...

The cynic has awakened.

There is no doubt that picture and "tank man's" actions on that day define our world back in 1989. He was quite willing to sacrifice his life for what he believed in. However, I look at what has happened since that time and truly believe that what he did was done in vain. Between 2,000 and 3,000 people died when the Chinese government began it's crackdown. Upwards of 30,000 more were injured. Many of the protest organizers ended up in jail where some of them still sit today. The reasons for the protests were aimed at pro-democracy economic reforms. Those reforms DID occur, but this was due more China's economic instability rather than any public outcry. Did you know that there where two other well known protests in Tiananmen Square? One in 1976 and one in 1987. These were mainly students and intellectuals protesting for education reforms.

Today the subject of the Tiananmen Square protests is taboo in China. If it is ever talked about, only the governments official position is discussed: that the crackdown on the protest was a necessary evil to maintain the stability of the country. There's also a generational gap concerning this time. Most children living outside of Beijing are unaware that this incident ever happened!

While I do understand the symbolism of such a picture, I can't help but to look deeper into the subject and come to the conclusion that this act of utter selflessness was all for naught.

And that's "Jay's happy thought of the day." Be well.

Party Girl said...

I have no doubt that the reason no one has heard from him and the reason no one knows his name is because the government was very quick to track him down and kill him in a very special government way. Perhaps his whole family as well.

I also think the reason the tank stopped was because the cameras were rolling and, wow, run over a man on live TV in 1989? That was only done in police chases here in America.

However, he didn't have to do what he did.
He didn't have to stand up.
He didn't have to be the lone man standing in front of a line of tanks.
He didn't have to sacrafic his life in the hopes for a greater good.
He didn't have to run out in the street and ultimately say, "No. I'm not going to let you do this." Without saying a word.

One man.

One man making a statment.

One man saying, no.

There aren't any other men in the picture standing next to him. I understand the crowd came later. However, it took one man to get the crowd to do something. That is an example of the crowd mentality doing something good.

One man said, enough.

How many other things could be different if one person said, enough. Said, no?

Party Girl said...

Yes, I do have a pair of rose colored glasses on today.

Yes, I am on a bit of a soapbox kick.

Yes, I am trying to get rid of my cynicism.

Not all of it, just trying to be better.

Party Girl said...

Waves: Yes, one person needs to say, enough, inorder to get any movement started.

wavslidn said...

I think the biggest thing that came out of his action was that it made the rest of the world aware of what was going on in China. Like Jay said, plenty of people in China have no idea that ever occured, but the rest of the world does.

I think as time goes by, the oppression that currently exists in China will fade more and more. As China emerges as an economic force, there is no way the communism can remain in tact. Whether it is accurate or not, many people will use this picture to define the beginning of the end for communism in China - good topic PG!

THE DUKE said...

I remember that well. I appreciate the point you were trying to make!! It's easy to feel insignificant and nice to be reminded that sometimes actions make a difference.

Tom Serafini, Actor to the Stars! said...

Now I thought this was a request for penis pics. Heheh. I was going to suggest a Power of Two day for breast pics. Um...Nevermind.

Bre said...

That's delightful and I absolutely love it. It's really really easy to get caught up in the mundane drama of our everyday lives and forget that we are completely able to make a difference in the world if we so choose!

Old Man Crowder said...

Killed or not, the dude had a profound impact on the world. Who cares whether the positive motion lasted or not. The fact is that for a moment, the world stopped and took stock of itself.

I'm already looking forward to next Wednesday. And Tuesday, if you listen to Serafini.

Tom Serafini, Actor to the Stars! said...

'At's right, Crowder, let's get a movement going here. Can you smell the momentum?

Party Girl said...

Okay, first, I have to say, I LOVE THIS!!!!!

This. The tit for tat I said, you said, they said, me said, you said exchange of words and ideas and thoughts and opinions of; I agree, you agree, I disagree, you disagree, yet it is all intelligent and honest and powerful, meaningful agree to disagree and have a wonderful and open coversation about something???...THAT?!? I LOVE THAT! I LIVE FOR THIS!

Okay.

I'll stop yelling.

I really like that you all enjoyed it as well. I look forward to next Wednesday. Thanks.

Waves: I agree. It was one of those moments in history, documented by TV and photos where the world stopped, took notice and paid attention.

I'm currently in a Global Studies course on China. They will be a force to be reckoned with very, very soon. I hope we aren't too consumed in ourselves that we don't take notice.

Duke: I think it's so easy to get over-whelmed and bogged down in the everyday. I know I am certainly guilty. I know it's really easy to focus on the negative and forget about the positive. Esp. when the negative on the news and what people typically choose to talk about outways the good.


Bre: Thanks. I think it is easy to forget and get too wrapped up in ourselves. To think everything is too big and how can I make a difference. I'm just one person. One voice. Hopefully I can get the point across that everything starts with one person, one voice. That one person standing up and say, enough. No.

OMC: YEAH, BABY!!..there I go yelling again!

After writing this today, I don't know if it matters that he was killed. I mean it does. Of course it does. But, does it matter in the terms/outcome of what he did. What he was willing to do, to say?

Tom: Oh, you party viking. You just feel all fresh and new from runnin naked on the beach. You're trying to get me to join your viking team.

I'm not saying I won't. Just, you know, Woo a girl.

SB said...

that photo rocks.
You ever wonder what he's doing now?