Twenty-Years Ago

Little has changed in China since 1989. Though now a world power in business, they still suppress their countrymen and refuse to address their nasty past. Today, the government loaded Tiamanmen Square with police to prevent commemoration of the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters twenty years ago, but the world has not forgotten. I wrote this flasher both to pay tribute to those who died in China, but also as a commentary on the way we (in the land of the free, the brave, and the television, often view political strife in other countries). Special thanks to Roger Waters for the inspiration.

I Watched Her Die

In '88 I seduced her with my idealistic, American exchange-student politics, talking about Bush while fingering hers. I recall almond eyes, teacup breasts, and widespread thighs.

She had such high hopes.

In Tiananmen Square, she wore a white bandanna inscribed FREEDOM NOW because I'd promised democracy could make the Great Wall tumble down. I lied.

Does anybody else remember the students who died? Can you spare a tear for my lost china doll?

She was everybody's sister, everybody's lover—her bloodstained clothes the symbolic banner of our failures.

She wanted to set us free and we just watched on TV.


  1. It would be an odd thing, indeed, if we'd known each other, then, and there. Except I was there, not quite at the time you reference, and under rather different circumstances. But still. The world is small.

    I wonder, I do, what happened to friends I had, from then and there. Time has a way of solidifying tyrannies, even as they soften their footfalls. We become so accustomed to the prattle of, "oh, but at least it isn't as bad as ---- " that we forget, I think, that some things are worse, no matter how pretty their edges.

    Goodness, I am being obscure. Ah, well. Politics. I am trying not to rant, I suppose.

  2. Hi Ellie,

    The world is small, and we've managed to find common ground and shared feelings here. Your words were not obscure to me. They resonated with the same emotion I felt when writing this flasher. Thanks for taking a moment to comment.


  3. Thank you evolution for giving us imperialists.


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