Hyderabad: Just as one act of kindness can change the world for someone, one act of bravery can instill hope in a world full of fear.
On June 5, 1989, a Chinese man stood with shopping bags in his hands, stopping a row of tanks leaving Beijing’s Tiananmen Square the day after the deadly military crackdown on pro-democracy protestors.
The man was dressed in a pair of black trousers and a white shirt, and his photographs from the protest are still today considered the best photos ever clicked. The unidentified and unarmed man became the symbol of resistance.
And 33 years ago on this day, people watched the man confront the lead tank and stand right in front of it. When the tank stopped and tried to go around the man, he moved and obstructed its path once again.
At one point, the man even climbed the tank to speak to the soldier inside. Eventually, he was pulled away by concerned bystanders but no one really knows what happened to him after the incident. Only the Chinese government knows.
Protests in Beijing began on April 18, 1989, following the death of former communist leader Hu Yaobang. Hu had pushed to shift China’s political system toward more openness, and he had become a symbol of democratic reform. Students marched to Tiananmen Square in protest of the government’s lack of democracy. Many others joined the students to protest China’s communist government.
American photojournalist Jeff Widener is known for the iconic ‘Tank Man’ photograph. On the day he clicked the photo, he was injured in his head, caught the flu, ran out of camera roll, had a broken camera, and almost thought of giving up. He pushed himself to go back to the protest where he met an American exchange student who let him use the balcony in his building to shoot one of the most iconic photographs of all time.
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