I was given some advice to alter my blog into advice for people who want to know what Corporate Storytelling is. For the past two blogs, that’s what I’ve done and, frankly, it isn’t working. Yes, my readers like the advice but people want to see it in action. So I thought I’d go back to my old style of blogs and talk about what’s important; stories.

A crowd gathers to protest in Tiananmen Square, June 4, 1989

A crowd gathers to protest in Tiananmen Square, June 4, 1989

25 years ago, students marched into Tiananmen Square. People read the stories now and try to imagine what it was like but they fall short. The true horror of that day lies in part what happened on that square but also in part of the time.

I grew up in the 80s and much of what we did during that time shaped me and how I think. The 80s were a time of excess and rampant self-indulgence. It was a decadent time when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher shaped history. However, there was another side.

The green movement was just starting to get into full swing, computers were making their way into homes, the Internet hadn’t been born yet and there were nuclear weapons all over the world.

I was in high school when I learned that Edmonton was the fourth top spot in the world to hit with a nuclear attack. Not only were we the gateway to the north, we had three serviceable airports and two armed forces bases. The Cold War was heating up and people finally started taking notice of what was going on. All around the world, people were protesting and making noise about injustices. This was the age of “Live Aid“, and other projects that brought A-list performers together to raise money for a common cause.

Because we had so much, we were learning how much we had to lose.

These protests took many forms. Some were movies, some marched on governments. We all tried to change the world in our way. By 1989 the Berlin Wall was coming down. So, when a group of students gathered in Tiananmen Square in China to protest the brutal conditions, it should have been a peaceful demonstration. Instead, it turned into a bloodbath.

Tiananmen Square was a brutal wake up call for everyone. We now realized exactly how high the cost of protest could be and we mourned those people who simply wanted to make their world better. For those who watched the horror unfold, there were no words to express what we saw. It changed everything.

Now it’s 25 years later and it’s hard to fathom that day is just a memory. China has never paid for this atrocity or the other violations they’ve committed since. 25 years later, it looks like they never will.