Twenty five years ago, Chinese authorities brutally suppressed the student-led Democracy Movement in Tiananmen Square. Troops backed by tanks massacred an unknown number of unarmed Chinese citizens that were attempting to block the advance of the military to Tiananmen Square. The photo above is a zoomed out view of a student blocking a column of advancing tanks armed with nothing but a briefcase. If you ever doubt that you can make a difference in the world pull this picture out to remind yourself just how much one person can accomplish.
Mary Chapin Carpenter wrote a great song about the Massacre, 4 June 1989. The story behind the song is summarized in the following extract from an August 26, 2010 article posted on the Washington Post website. Read the article and then listen to the song below.
It was [inspired by] an article in the New York Times during the 20th anniversary week of the Tiananmen Square massacre. It was a profile of an artist in China who was 17 at the time, and he was a soldier in the army. The first verse is his recollections of what it was like to be there — and to be sent in “imposter’s clothes,” when the authorities were trying to infiltrate the protesters. He was haunted by his part in it. He’s an artist now in China and he works all the time trying in a way to almost provoke the authorities. They have this game that they play where they allow him to put his work on the Internet for example, and it’ll stay up for a day or two, and then all of a sudden it’s taken down. The lyric about “vanishing into the ether” is my sense of it. His story was exceedingly moving to me and I just tried to write about it.