Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ordeal

So dinner is done. My mother had her friends from church over today. I had to be there, as the faithfully family-oriented child. Right. I'll be honest, dinner was mediocre. Not my mother's best efforts. I poured a Vinho Verde. In those fucking hideous cut crystal glasses. They were church friends. Not real friends. Nice people though.

It got a bit interesting, when one of the couples began talking about their experiences of the June 4 Movement - professors in Beijing during this incident, in the very prestigious university at the centre of the entire student movement. They were in Tiananmen Square on June 2, about 24 hours before the troops moved in. I was completely riveted. They talked about how the entire mood of the city changed, when the troops came into the city. Loudspeakers began blaring, in the stern monotone Communists are renowned for, telling citizens to go home and vacate the square. Clearly, the Party leaders were losing patience. These two people were there the night the troops began firing, seeing and hearing the gunshots. I learned a bit later that the lady was a Communist Party member. Her husband described how absolutely scared they were, and expressed sympathy for the students, but said that everyone that night understood one thing - there was absolutely no way that the students' agenda would succeed against the Party. All expressed disgust at how the student leaders were the only ones who fled away safely.

Just an amazing experience. Truly living through a history-changing event. Too bad today's Chinese are so caught up in iPhones and Armani. Will this generation ever demonstrate the courage of those students 20 years ago? If my cousins are any indication - we're fucked indeed.

DF

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