1968 appears as a significant and unique year through history. There are plenty of historical events that occurred in this particular year, and almost within a six-month period. The May Events in Paris, Prague Spring and the Massacre in Mexico all happened in 1968. It seems that this three events have no relevant relationships, no same courtiers that occurred, no correlated reasons to happen and no similar results that caused in the history. But in that particular year, there is something that can be a joint that links all these three.
The May Events in Pairs, students and workers are the majorities that protest the education system and working condition. These protesters ran on the streets and tried to overturn the government, which they regarded as the symbol of wealthy. As result, the French government made a compromise with them; they have some meaningful “victory”. In Prague, Czechoslovakians express their discontentment toward the Communist government by wearing new fashion that come from western countries, writing and saying freely and making fun of the Communist party. Although the tanks and weapons suppressed their rebellion, they still remain in hope for freedom and revolution. In Mexico, students and other protesters were assembled in Plaza of Three Cultures to seek for a comparison with their government. Mexican government ordered soldiers that wore white gloves and shot thousands people that were students, protesters and innocent bystanders at that plaza. The government also tried to cover the truth by controlling the media. Indeed, the three events seem that have nothing in common. But the ways in which the government suppressed people and how people protested the government are the same. Even the three governments have the military power; the people still can be the more powerful side with their strong spirit and emotion to fight against the government.
The three governments’ arsenal includes physical weapons to suppress the protesters. The weapons here not simply just stand for the guns, tanks and all the other military weapons that can cause damage and death. They more approach to the violence and prison that physically cause fear and chaos among people to force them obey and brainwash. Prison becomes a tool for government to show their power to the people who are rebellious. The military power suppresses all the people who have different thoughts to rebellion. Sometime, they will also control the media and ban the drawing and books that can cause people to have rebellion toward their government. Also, they may change the education system so that universities can be a place to brainwash students and help government to establish their own social system.
On the contrary, people have at their disposal emotional and spiritual power in their fight against the government. They neither have any military weapons, nor controlling the media and education. But they have their own way to fight against the government with their wisdom and energy. They can also list all the facts and truth as powerful weapons to fight back. They might write out and express their own thoughts freely to attract more people who have the similar ideas and thoughts. When people start to attract each other to organize as a group, their combination of power is strong enough to change the system and overturn the government.
The May Events in Paris did not meet the violent suppression of the government. But the arrests of students and police brutality increase the anger of students and workers who were united together to fight for the rights. As Singer mentions in his book that “On June 6 the government felt strong enough to attempt to break the strike by fore. The Gendarmes were sent to take over the Renault works at Flins”(208). French government regarded the chaos that caused by students and workers as series political danger, but they did not use military power to suppress the crowed at first. When they realize the danger cannot be simple solved, they started to use strong power to break the strike and also cause the death and injure on people as Singer states later: “Two workers were killed, and several were wounded” (209). Even the government did not play a violence role in the May Events in Paris, they still caused death and used weapons to suppress the protesters. They tried to use this kind of powerful physical way to end the rebellion, which cause contrast effect on students and workers. This kind of violence made students and worker more anger toward the government. They assemble more people to protest on the streets and they were not willing to obey the government. Instead, students and workers became angrier and caused more strikes against the government. In the movie May Fools, Piere Alain shows the dancer and aunt Lily the bruise on his back and mentions that cops did that to him. But he also says that it hurts at first and you get used to it later. This scene expresses most students’ thoughts toward the police: they became angry about the violence instead of surrendering to the government and police. The more strike and chaos on the streets showed students’ attitudes toward the government. They would not obey and satisfy until the changes would be implemented.
The inverse relationship also showed in the Prague Spring, whereas the Soviet Union used tanks to show their power to Czechoslovakians. They even killed some aggressive protesters. They made Prague even more lifeless compared to the time before Prague Spring. As Sis draws on his book with one page of a big tank and one page of a picture that shows tanks are all over the streets of the city. In the caption, he mentions that 500,000 troops from the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, East Germany, Hungary and Poland invaded Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968. The communist party sent military power to threaten and terrify the Czechoslovakian in order to make them obey. They want to use power as a tool to brainwash and suppress the rebellion. In this way, they can regain their control of Czechoslovakia. But it did not work this time. Czechoslovakians used their own way to against the absolute power. They knew that they cannot beat the Soviet Union without any weapons, but they used their wisdom to show their rebellion and unwillingness. In the same page of a big tank, Sis mentions that ordinary citizens try to persuade the invading solders to leave and changed street signs to confuse them. These ways may not be as strong as the weapons of the state, but they do show the intelligence of people to against the government. Even these are small and little powerful things, they do contribute to the rebellion of the Czechoslovakians. With little power and strength united together, the collaboration of people can be the power and footstone to start the revolution.
Mexican government also used the military power to suppress the protesters by ordering army to shoot the people who gathered in the Plaza of Three Cultures. Compared to previous two events, the Mexican government used the most violence and aggressive way to gain their power and trusts from people. The Silent March and the prison system did not affect people’s desire to rebellion. Then, Mexican government took the most terrify way to suppress people. The survivor Margarita stated that “There was also blood all over the walls; it reeks of blood all over Tlateloco. Lots of people must have bled to death up there, because there was much too much blood for it to have been that of just one person” in her testimony. (Poniatowska 209) In her testimony, the survivor keeps repeating the word blood, which emphasizes how many people died due to the shooting of army. And the first person perspective also shows the survivor was scared and the vivid scene of the cruel side of the government. But protesters did not give up; they gather more people to fight back within their intelligence and energy, especially young people. One engineering student gave his testimony to show his determination to against this violence: “ I could no longer hear the chattering of the machine guns…I could no longer hear the shouts and screams: all I could hear was the sound od chains rattling in my head” (Poniatowska 253). Relying on the government’s cruel shooting on people, students and other protesters became braver and much angrier toward the. They used their own way to expose the truths and facts to other countries and media in order to avenge for the dead.
In general knowledge, military weapons like gun, tanks and booms stand for the power. They can easily cause damage and death; they are powerful, unconquerable and unbeatable. In these three events, the governments all showed this kid of strong power to the protesters. In French event, police hurt some students and even killed some. When the tanks of Soviet Union came, some soviet soldiers killed some protesters with aggressive attitudes. And in massacre in Mexico, the army shot hundreds innocent people at plaza. But did the people yield to this military power? The people never gave up and resisted the violence in order to achieve their own purposes. They used their wisdom to change the street signs and disclose the truth and evidence behind the blood. They also used their energy to run protest on the streets and draw different posters to show their attitudes. Their power may not be absolute strong as the military power, but their spirit and emotion can make them even more powerful since the government can never beat down their spirits.
It also can relate to the ISIS, which is a terrist organization that caused death and injure all over the world. Are they strong? They are strong because they have the military power and also have the support from their own people. They combines the power and the people so that they are strong, but they uses violence to cause terrible events, which are discourage and unforgivable.