Censorship Is A Slippery Slope Into Being Silenced

tienanmen tank_manTo me the image of the Tianamen Square ‘Tank Man’ epitomizes the David and Goliath struggle of the weak and vulnerable against the strong and powerful.

Today, thousands of sites including Wikipedia, went black in protest of anti-free speech legislation in the United States.

I didn’t shut down AWR, nor did I blog in protest, not because I didn’t want to, but because life got in the way.

in lieu of something new, I offer below what I had written to mark the 20th anniversary of the events in Tiananmen Square.

(Is it just my imagination or are there some striking (and scary!!!), similarities between the Chinese protests more than 20 years ago and the recent emergence of the Occupy movement that has swept the world over the last several months…?)

But I digress. On the subject of SOPA, as i said earlier today:

“For the record: AWR is pro free speech and content sharing, a HUGE supporter of Wikipedia, generally ANTI big corporate muscle flexing, and pro the #OWS movement. We don’t need more censorship, we need more transparency and responsible, engaging communication and decision-making in which the interests of everyone, not just the rich and powerful, are heard AND taken into account. Big Brother sucks Big Time.” 

And now back to 2009…

Normally I don’t publish articles or blog posts about men. (Not because I’m anti men! But because this website is dedicated to celebrating women and their achievements.)

Yesterday however, on the 20th anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen square, I made an exception and wrote a post to salute the bravery of the unknown man who stood in front of the army tanks. His courageous act inspired me then, and it continues to inspire me today, two decades later.

In yesterday’s post, I asked a number of questions, including “How is he (the unknown man who stood in front of the tanks), remembered in China today? As a hero? As a villain? Or both?”

Today, through the BUST magazine website, I found the answer. Here’s what Hannah said in a post entitled A Hush Over Tiananmen Square:

Two decades after the military crackdown on pro-democracy student protests in Beijing, the Chinese government has proven itself to be just as oppressive toward peaceful free speech today as it was back then.

Police officers filled the square yesterday to prevent any show of commemoration for the tragedy, silent or spoken. The government even went so far as to shut down internet services like Twitter and university message boards where people could share sympathies or express dissent.

Foreign correspondents reporting on the scene were forcibly turned away and their views were blocked.

Al Jazeerah ran this report:

I visited Tiananmen Square in May 2004 on a Gulf for Good adventure challenge to The Great Wall of China.

While in the Square, I felt deeply moved as I walked in the same place where the voices of hundreds of protesters were silenced in a bloody massacre. When I stopped to contemplate, I wondered if someone had died on the spot on which I stood. I felt deeply humbled by the experience of being there.

In her BUST post, Hannah suggests a way for people to “handle the glaring silence: with sympathy and commentary.”

I agree. So I am again adding my voice to others around the world, to commemorate  those who were silenced 20 years ago, and to honour those who continue to be silenced today.