This past Friday was the anniversary of a world event that took place more than twenty years ago, on August 23rd, 1989. As Wikipedia says, ” Approximately two million people joined their hands to form a human chain spanning over 600 kilometres (370 mi) across the three Baltic states – Estonian SSR, Latvian SSR, and Lithuanian SSR, republics of the Soviet Union.”
This was back in the days when the “Evil Empire“, (aka USSR), was still alive and kicking, and as such, was a significant, and brave, act of protest. And I find it significant, and embarrassing, that I never knew about it until today.
I learned of this large scale, non-violent act of protest from, of all places, Bubblews! The article that describes this event isn’t particularly well written, but it did pique my interest.
At the time this event was occurring, I had just finished a move to Baltimore, MD, and was struggling with an on-again, off-again relationship with a girlfriend in Pittsburgh, PA. Maybe my emotional highs and lows overshadowed all other interests, because I can’t believe that this event would not have been widely publicized in the American press. Certainly its importance is recognized today. As Wikipedia states at the end of the article: “This protest was one of the earliest and longest unbroken human chains in history. … Documents recording the Baltic Way were added to UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 2009 in recognition of their value in documenting history.” (Almost as important as meeting Honey Boo Boo, I suppose.)
So this time liberty and humanity scored a victory against oppression. But I know that the Evil Empire will be back. It will be back because it is who we are; it is, unfortunately, part of our half-angel, half-devil human nature. Whether the Evil Empire will return under the letters “PRC”, or, (disturbingly!), “USA”, it will return, and we must be prepared to fight it again.