The Red Guards
As we are reading through Chang and talking through in class, I was interested in looking more into the Red Guards. We discussed how they started as a youth “movement” who began as children of high officials. Their first targets were teachers and education came to a halt in China as students gained authority over teachers. I initially wanted to look into the Red Guard uniform and the symbolic meaning behind that, like we discussed a small amount in class. But then I came across an article by Anthony Kuhn on the National Public Radio website. His article is about some of the Red Guards coming out recently and apologizing to some of their victims or for some of their actions. He explains “Now, the teachers who were victimized in the Cultural Revolution are mostly in their 70’s and 80’s, and the Red Guards have said they wanted to apologize while they still have the chance.”1 The article focuses mostly on two specific apologies that went out to a few teachers that were abused and one who was killed. These apologies are taken a few different ways, some think the Red Guards are sincere and want to make amends, while others believe it’s just an act, “Their current apologies are to absolve them of responsibility for their crimes.”1 This caught my attention because there are similar stories of this from other tragedies around the world. To look back at history and see what was right or wrong and how you played a significant role would be a hard thing to do. Though apologies seem simple, it could be a healthy way to move on from the past.
1. Kuhn, Anthony. “Chinese Red Guards Apologize, Reopening A Dark Chapter.” National Public Radio. February 4, 2014. Accessed April 3, 2015.