We received these photos from a WANT correspondent on the ground in Hong Kong who wishes to remain anonymous. We honor that request but will offer our POV on the Hong Kong protests.
WANT Original Content
“When a dictatorship becomes a fact, revolution becomes a duty.”
The protests in Hong Kong have been dubbed the “Umbrella Protest,” as brave revolutionaries bear down on the looming Chinese government with only umbrellas to protect them from barrages of teargas and violence. These photos are compelling photos of a protest unlike any other. First, never before have teens- 17 and 18 year-olds led the way in a protest movement. That alone makes the Hong Kong Umbrella protest different. Second, the fight for the most basic of democratic freedoms, the right to have a completely free choice of candidates for elective office, is taking place in a city where the protestors’ barricades are set up in the shadow of billboards for Calvin Klein and Swiss watchmaker Carl Bucherer – another reminder that modern China and Hong Kong remain enigmas – a struggle between eastern and Western ideals. Finally, in today’s wired world we should never underestimate the power of the electronic media to fuel events and amplify their influence. Twitter has proved time and time again to be a means for political revolution. Any government, including China’s, that forgets this does so at its own peril.
The Causeway Bay/Yee Wo Street protest is the smallest of the three protest locations, though its proximity to the continuous flow of shoppers and tourists made it very powerful. The juxtaposition between the dedicated and courageous protesters and quotidian life in Hong Kong made their statement even more powerful. With a lone policewoman standing watch, the protesters were there, calm, peaceful, and resolute, their encampment animated by their handwritten signs in myriad languages – Spanish, English, Chinese proving the international support and worldly nature of this conflict. The most powerful sign features a large yellow umbrella with a scrawled central message in intricate Chinese: “The cause and the consequences; the thinking behind it and the vision for the future.” This simple statement encapsulates the power of what these students have achieved. Police may remove their barricades and disperse the protesters, the signs may be torn down, but the spirit and the yearning that caused the students to gather in the first place has not been extinguished and will continue to grow and morph into a movement that no government can stop, as the protesters continue to to fight for the civil liberties they know they deserve.