Today my iPhone is not a “mobile device.” Today it is an artillery shell. I feel it in my hands, its shiny heft, and feel sick to my stomach.
Much like the iPhone is a mobile device that can perform many functions–it is not simply a phone–my artillery shell is not just an artillery shell. It’s also a key to a jail cell–secure in my pocket, I make sure never to lose it, though many times I would like to–and a muzzle.
Just like the Chinese Communist Party was so successful in muzzling and “reeducating” the youth of China–so much so that few even know what June 4 stands for. But far more than that–most don’t care. It doesn’t matter to most. Far more insiduous than Stalin “disappearing” people; the state empowering its citizens to “disappear” themselves.
And yet the con job of apathy surely extends to the entire world. There are so many willing partners with the Chinese Communist Party. Not just major corporations, for whom 1989 might as well not exist. I am one of them as well. These material goods produced in compounds like FOXCONN are surely the detrius of Tiananmen Square. It is easier to forget, or–perhaps worse–to know and not care.
How much we care isn’t a matter of intentions; it’s what we do and use, and how we act in the world.
Which is why, today, my iPhone is an artillery shell.
What will it be tomorrow?
On the morning of 5 June, protesters, parents of the injured and dead, workers and infuriated residents tried to enter the blockaded square but were shot at by the soldiers. The soldiers shot them in the back when they were running away. These actions were repeated several times.
Perhaps it will be a bullet.