Monday, May 04, 2009

May 4th

So much for anonimity, but this is something that weighs on me. May 4th is an important day in the history of SPU. It was on this day, 39 years ago that some students were protesting. The National Guard was called in and shots were fired. As a result, four students were killed and 9 other were wounded.

I like to see events. Last fall I went and watched a protest against the Iraq war. May 4th is kind of a big deal here, so I decided that I would observe some of the events of the commemoration. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't this. I thought that if I went and listened to the speeches given by those who were there and those whose lives were forever affected, I would learn something. Maybe something about the events. I'm big into listening to people's stories. So I went and stood on the hill where the guardsmen chased the students all those years ago and I learned, but I didn't learn what I thought I would.

It didn't take me long to realize that what I thought was going to be a memorial, a rememberance of those tragic events actually wasn't. I listened to two and a half speeches before I couldn't stand it anymore. The first guy, talked about zombies and how the guardsmen that day were zombies, and how the University President is a zombie and how our former president was a zombie and how if you stood by and let things like may fourth happen you were a zombie too. I wouldn't have a problem with this, except he was so venemous about it. The next person I heard speak was a woman whose sister died that day. I was expecting a celebration of life. Of a cause, a speech about how this tragedy should not be repeated. Instead I heard about how evil the government and guardsmen were, how wrong they were, how right the protesters were, after all they were "Burning down the ROTC building in response to Police brutality" Does anyone else find something wrong with that sentence? Two wrongs do not make a right people... This woman also went on to talk about all of the social protesting she's done because she was inspired by her sister. Perhaps I would've been able to relate to her better if she hadn't been so much about "Stick it to the man!" The last speech I listened to was a very loud, angry man. He basically spent a long time talking about the "May 4th Conspiricy" the "cover-up" and how a new tape had been found in which the order of the national guardsmen to shoot had been revealed. He also talked a lot about people who had mentioned hearing the order to shoot.

It was at this point I decided to leave. I waited for the man to finish, and as I began to head back to my room, there was a campus police officer standing there. I went up to him and I said "Sir, I'd just like to thank you for every thing you do," He kind of laughed. "It must be hard some times to be a police officer here." He said "thanks" and I left. I started crying when I got inside and couldn't figure out why. It wasn't the speeches. I mean they didn't move anything in me. I thought maybe it had something to do with the police officer? No, not really, other than the need to thank him, he really had nothing to do with it. I just felt really upset and I couldn't figure out why. And then I realized.

SPU is a liberal campus. Everyone is always going around talking about how you can't trust the conservatives, how they use people to push their agendas. They are preaching the purity of the left. How they aren't like that, they just want peace and love and all that. I realized they are hypocrites. They preach peace and love, while all the while, trying to stir people into violent action. "Down with the Iraq war!" They talk about the tragedy of four dead students, yet they place them on the pedestal of political martyrdom, and use them to focus their own agendas, to push their propaganda. Because that's what today was. It was a liberal propaganda fest, and that's what bothered me the most.

It's not that I hate liberals. Please don't think that I'm just a stuffy conservative. Understand that I am a people watcher and if it had been conservatives up on the stage today doing the same thing, please believe I would be condemning them just as much. It bothered me that what I saw as a time of rememberance was being manipulated to push a political agenda.

May 4th was a tragedy in the history of my University. I am not saying that the National Guard was completely innocent, nor am I saying that the protesters were completely innocent either. There are two sides to every story. I was looking forward to today's events because I thought it would be a time of reflection. I wanted the speeches to focus on what happened, why it happened. I was expecting people to be gathered around, remembering, perhaps discussing how we can prevent such a tragedy from happening again. What could we have done? What can we do so history does not repeat itself? I felt like it should have been a quieter time, that the gaggle of high schoolers who were filling out worksheets could have been taken aside and been told "Look, this is what it was like, this shouldn't happen again..."

Our school has a really good conflict management program. Did you know that? It was started because of the events that happened 39 years ago today. That, right there is something. That right there is someone saying "Look, this didn't need to happen, this is what we are going to do to keep it from happening again." I feel like that is what May 4th is about, and today it broke my heart to see that other people don't feel the same way...


Anonymous said...

Hello. I don't know you, but I read your blog. I saw it on the exchange board last year because I was also on exchange during this time. I kept reading because you have interesting things to say and you see things from a different perspective than most people. It's refreshing.

About the May 4th speeches: I understand why this makes you sad. It should. It should make us all sad. If we humans could see the state of our species without all the distractions we build around ourselves, we would be very sad indeed. I feel as if when it's all said and done, and mankind is gathered together to reflect on what we made of the world, an awful realization would come upon us, and we would sob.

Most people, I think it's safe to say, don't see things your way. Most people are used to it. They're numb. For those that aren't numb, these things are more painful because you see them for what they are. But you're right, two wrongs don't make a right. In a world where everyone wants to win at all costs, no one wins.

Anonymous said...

I have so much to say in response to your feelings on this, because I get it! I would've felt the same, and am comforted to know that not everyone is numb to these sorts of things. You should be upset about this. We all should be. The fact that you are simply means that you haven't been completely de-sensitized yet and retain the ability to think independently and put things in proper perspective. I found your blog through cultures-shocked, (I was also an exchange student last year) and have been amazed to read your blog, because I relate completely with most of your ideas, which is a rare thing.