Thursday, June 04, 2009

Never forget

I was living in Hong Kong in 1989, a close-range vantage point from which to watch the unfolding horror of the Tiananmen Square massacre--and the quite stirring and beautiful candlelight vigils that sprung up around it. (The photo was taken at a commemorative ceremony held last year in Victoria Park.) Lora reminded me this morning of the staffers at our office who faxed news reports to their mainland friends and relatives, as the Chinese government moved quickly to stamp out news coverage, which it is doing today. But I can't forget wearing a black armband in protest, being subsumed by the vigils, which took over the streets, and hearing the accounts of acquaintances who were there in Beijing as the authorities opened fire. There were rumors that mainland sleeper cells were soon to erupt in Hong Kong, and the incident cast another shadow on the 1997 handover. In time, life returned to normal--that is, a new normal, from which the episode cannot be expunged from the historical record, nor forgotten in our own memories.

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