Yesterday I received an email from my friend Trudy:
Your participation is welcome to this international memorial for Tiananmen Square, on the 20th anniversary: 4 June, 2009. It's an ephemeral memorial made of dancing bodies in homage to the lone man who stood up to the tanks. A dance routine has been choreographed based on the movements of this man. This commemorative dance will be known as Tank Man Tango, it will take place in dozens of cities around the world and will be streamed on the Internet.This afternoon I joined a group of people gathered to do the Tank Man Tango. Here some of us are, posing for the photographer from the local paper. Kerry stands in the foreground, embodying the Goddess of Democracy, the 10 meter tall statue created by the Chinese students as part of the Tiananmen Square protests.
I live in a small peaceful town, faraway from places where democracy is not tolerated, where violence is the answer if you dare ask the question. I thought that I would go this afternoon, do the dance and come home to cook a nice hot dinner. But as I moved my body, and shook my arms in defiance, I thought: I stand for something.
I opened up the paper this morning and read about still more violence perpetrated against Indian students and now Chinese students too. I stand for these students. We all shook our plastic bags, imitating the man who stood bravely before the tanks 20 years ago. I stand for that man. I try to avoid buying anything packaged in plastic, so the irony of waving my toxic pompoms was not lost on me. I stand for what the plastics industry doesn't give a shit about.
We stomped out the movements of one person's dance of anger against his government. I stand for just one person. He swung his arms and stomped his opposition onto his rightful place to be free on his land. I stand for his freedom. I stand for his right. I stand for the rights of all people to stomp their dance on their own land. I stand for their dance. I stand for your dance. And I stand for the people who don't have hands to flail, who don't have bags, who don't have legs, who don't have land. I stand for the land.