In a decade of iconic moments, the 1989 film footage of a solitary man standing in front of a column of Chinese tanks in Tiananmen Square, must surely rate at the very top. It was a moment when the world witnessed how strongly the desire for freedom can manifest itself in an individual. Now a new image has come to light captured by Terril Jones, showing that this act of selfless bravery was not a rash, spur of the moment decision, rather a pre-meditated and conscious desire to confront a totalitarian regime:
At first glance the image could be from any Asian uprising in recent years in but looking more closely, you begin to see the subtle details. In the distant background to the right, the column of tanks rolling in, seems familiar. This draws your eye to the left of the tree where the solitary protestor is standing his ground. The image clearly shows there is some distance between him and the tanks, which as the film footage shows, were not traveling at high speed:
To this day, nobody has ever discovered who the lone man was, did he go back home to resume a normal life or was he seized by the authorities and subjected to a fate unknown. It’s perhaps ironic that the face of the Chinese uprising was never actually seen and the name of one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century will almost certainly never be known.
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