Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February 8, 2011

       If you were in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, as I was, you're thinking about them as you read the reports from Tahrir Square in Cairo now.
     The New York Times' Tom Friedman reports today about a girl wearing a sign urging Hosni Mubarak to leave.  "Make it short.  This is history and we'll have to study it in school."  For years I kept an envelope one of the kids in Tiananmen had given me.  On it was written:  "Long love democracy!"  Same sentiment, almost exactly.
     Kids in both squares shout slogans.  One I remember from China was, "The Peoples' Army must not attack the people."  But in the end they did, of course.  No one knows how many died.  The best guess seems to be several hundred.   Did they win anything in China?  I don't know.  I kept in touch with one young woman who'd worked as a translator for us--us being CBS News, back then.  She eventually came here, won a full scholarship, married and has a family.  So she's better off.  But of the ones who stayed behind, there's no way to know.
     Let's hope the kids in Cairo fare better.  They are battling a non-Communist dictatorship, unlike the kids in Beijing.  I don't know whether that makes their task easier or harder.  But I do know, of course, that freedom is worth it.  Go for it, guys.  "Long love democracy! "

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