…there is no price tag on courage… Tiananmen Square remembered…#TBSU…

Tank man

…the unnamed man who stood in front of the tanks on June 4th, 1989 in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, armed with nothing but a couple of plastic bags… his fate is unknown…

…this ol’ Jurassic has absolutely no desire to get enmeshed in politics of any colour… controversy and complexity have attended much of my activities over the years in business and in underdeveloped societies, where it’s almost impossible not to rail against the injustices and impoverishment of people who find it difficult to fight and voice for themselves… none of that is allowed to invade this blog... a decision I made from the outset when determining the style and ethos of what I scribble here… so, this particular post is NOT intended as a statement of anything other than to wonder at the courage shown by a mass of students 25 years ago on June 4th, 1989 in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the capital of China… and hopefully as some sort of memorial piece for those souls who perished that day… I’m writing this now exactly two weeks before the 25th anniversary of the massacre, and will Re-Tweet it daily until then… I was living in Hong Kong and married at the time to a Chinese girl, whose own parents had fled to the then-British-held conclave to escape the notorious ‘clearances’ in Shanghai many years before in 1949, in which many of the middle class population just ‘disappeared’… we watched, horrified, on live television the scenes unfold as the students took on the might of the army tanks and troops… and I witnessed my wife’s terror as she fell apart watching what she considered a rerun of the Shanghai events… I wrote a poem that night, dashed down in one shot, which the next day I sent to the local English-language newspaper, The South China Morning Post… they ran it with a black border around it… I post it here without any further comment… LUV YEEZ!



The chill of death came swiftly

To the flowers of youth that morn

But the seed will last forever

From the slaughter, hope is born.


A world watched in horror

As their lifeblood flowed that day

The memories of courage

Will never fade away.


Soldiers, tanks and bullets

Cannot eclipse their roles

They may burn the students’ bodies

But they cannot destroy their souls.


Their voices now are silent

But will echo from the grave

To taunt at Man’s own madness

For those whom power crave.


In tears of grief and sorrow

For now, we share the pain

But please, let us remember,

‘Let them not have died in vain’.




June, 1989




Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

40 responses to “…there is no price tag on courage… Tiananmen Square remembered…#TBSU…

  1. I went to China shortly before this happened, and a mate of mine, fluent in Mandarin, went back to Beijing as soon as he saw what was going on. It wasn’t just that guy in front of the tank; my friend saw ordinary people stand up to police and tell them of their anger and sense of injustice. Things have changed, but as always, not all for the better. Thanks for the post.


    • ,,,it was a dreadful episode… and the rest of the world, sadly, stood by… the ‘massacre’ language was politically changed to ‘uprising’, then to ’student unrest’ then ‘incident’, and eventually to ‘event’… 😦


      • Yes, but realistically what could they have done? China has such an awful lot of political clout. Look at what’s happening (happened) in Tibet. Shameful.


    • ..that’s part of the reason why I offer this NOT as a political comment, merely a reflection of what i saw and felt, and particularly how it affected my then wife… it generated a lot of mail to the newspaper addressed to me from Chinese societies around the world who realised I wasn’t Chinese, thanking me for the piece …


      • Yes, as you say, sometimes single people, like the bloke in front of the tank, can have a greater effect, because they’re not politically motivated, but acting from the heart.


    • ..yes, the guy demonstrated real guts or foolhardiness, or probably a combination of both …


  2. Beautiful words Seumas, and a fitting tribute to those brave men and women who refused to be silenced by aggression.


  3. That poem is a beautiful lasting tribute to those who fell. You have a rare talent.


  4. Lovely, ;Jurassic’ – Carole is correct: ‘you have rare talent.’ Maybe you should consider being a author/writer, ya think? 🙂


  5. The other awful thing about this is that I cannot believe that it is 25 years ago. It is one of those times when you remember exactly where you were at the time. One of the changes is of course that social media now, even though ‘blocked’ in certain countries still manages to get the story out there. As you say it is about the courage of the individuals right there that moment who take a deep breath and say ‘I don’t think so’


  6. ah. so. m’Lady . yes … I know that address very well ! 🙂 what is the exact blog handle ?


  7. Some things should never be forgotten, but as you say, Seumas, sometimes the public memory seems very short. Thanks for the reminder.


  8. laurie27wsmith

    A great poem Seumas, it gets down to the nitty gritty.


  9. Pingback: Tank Man (Uncropped) | The Tree of Mamre

  10. Pingback: June 5, 1989 Tian An Men | Old Road Apples

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