Education for Wk 51 of The Gallery

>> Wednesday, 23 March 2011

This post is part of Week 51 Tara's Gallery. Click here to see the other fabulous entries. The prompt this week was 'Education'. Here's something that formed part of mine...

What were you doing in Autumn, 1993?

Personally I was living the life of your average mid-20's Londoner; working hard, going out, partying, living from holiday to holiday, and taking scant notice of what was happening in the world outside my immediate field of vision.

In Moscow meanwhile, they were building barricades and campaigning for change. Ordinary people like you and I were caught up in the tension over a stand-off (the result of a constitutional crisis) between the Russian president Boris Yeltsin and the Russian parliament (the Duma). The disagreement was eventually resolved using force provided by a military reluctant to get involved but who did so knowing that the favours they would accrue as a result would allow them more influence in the long term (and so it proved).

Significant numbers of people died in the chaos; official (government) sources put the figures at 187 dead and 430 wounded, whilst others - less friendly to the government of the time - put the number of dead closer to 2000.

There are tales of activists being rounded up and herded into football stadiums before being shot for the temerity of speaking their mind and organising protests (right, or wrong; I'm making no judgement here). It was polarising, frightening, and bloody. I have friends here who were part of news crews reporting on the siege of the White House (for yes, there's one in Moscow too), and others who heard the shots and tanks through their windows as they waited inside their apartments, not knowing what tomorrow would bring; Communism or Western-style government.

And yet, I'm afraid to admit that it passed completely below the radar as far as I was concerned, 1500 miles away in London. So the walk through Krasnopresnaya - a stone's throw from the White House - where I took the photograph above, a memorial to those killed in the conflict and made up of some of the barricades used in it, was definitely a part of my education.


Trish @ Mum's Gone to... 23 March 2011 at 09:06  

This post, amongst all the funny pics of the rest of us in our school years, made me stop and think. I often wonder how brave would I be in similar circumstances, would I risk my life by taking a stand?

SAHMlovingit 23 March 2011 at 11:12  

Really made me think this post - and that's education in itself.

Potty Mummy 23 March 2011 at 18:06  

Trish, good question; I wonder that too sometimes.

SAHM, thanks!

Jennie 23 March 2011 at 18:36  

WOW, Thank you! I have learned something today. I love being made to stop and think x

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