There are several videos that capture this event, and a few with Jeff Widener describing the moments surrounding this iconic photo. They're all pretty good, but this one, the one without any music or explanation, is the best. Without the distractions, you can almost feel it. The crowd, the tanks, and the moment of a man who has finally had enough, and decides to do something about it.
Even at the cost of his life.
No one knows what has happened to the Tank Man. He has never surfaced and no one has ever claimed him as a father, son, husband, or friend, but his actions have inspired countries and individuals around the world.
After yesterday's post on the Charlottesville shooting, remembering this event which occurred on June 5, 1989, seems most appropriate.
So does this quote, which was recently shared with me by a friend.
We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe.
- Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and the author of Night.
And this one, by Alan Patton:
In the deserted harbour, there is yet water that laps against the quays. In the dark and silent forest there is a leaf that falls. Behind the polished panelling the white ant eats away the wood. Nothing is ever quiet, except for fools. - Cry, the Beloved Country
May we never be considered fools.
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