Youth versus Bullets

Tank Man, 19-year-old Wang Weilin faces Chines tanks on Tiananmen Square in June 1989. Wikipedia.

It’s an image that endures. It’s not old enough for us to call it historical yet. It only goes back about 30 years. But the frames of video taken by an amateur videographer show a man in a white shirt, dark pants, facing a column of military tanks. It was June 4, 1989. It was the final day of the student-organized, non-violence demonstration at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, just before China’s People’s Liberation Army gunned down hundreds of civilians for protesting government corruption and lack of free speech.

“Tank Man,” they called him. But the Sunday Express newspaper in Britain later claimed the man was Wang Weilin, a 19-year-old student, who’d joined the weeks-long protest, despite the threat of annihilation.

Cost of lighting the way

Courtesy Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site.
Courtesy Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site.

On Nov. 16, 1860, George Davies made history. The lighthouse keeper climbed the newly constructed, 15-metre-high, conical tower of Fisgard Lighthouse at the entrance to Esquimalt naval harbour on Vancouver Island. His appointment not only helped the British claim sovereignty of the Pacific Coast, it also made a statement about public investment in literacy. In addition to his salary for the nightly lamp lighting atop Fisgard, keeper Davies received a $150 stipend to purchase magazines and books.

“It is of the utmost importance to the interests of the Lighthouse Service,” the Governor of Vancouver Island stated at the time, “that the minds and intellects of the lighthouse keepers should not be allowed to stagnate in their isolated and … desolate stations.”