Alex Jackson A Bystander In Forbidden City

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Forbidden City Essay

"The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people." --Martin Luther King Jr. There are different types of oppression including classism and racism. In societies with oppression, there are four roles, the victim, the oppressor, the bystander, and the upstander. Victims are those who are being threatened by oppressors, those who exploit and harm others for their own benefit. The communist government in Forbidden City was the oppressors while the student demonstrators were the victims. Two ways people respond to systems of oppression is being a bystander or an upstander. In Forbidden City, Alex Jackson was a bystander, but he changed and became an upstander.
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A bystander is someone who is present at an incident or event but does not take part. A bystander may be a bystander because they are scared and don’t want to get into the mess and be the victim. In the beginning of Forbidden City, the main character, Alex Jackson didn’t feel that war and battles was very serious in history, he thought it was all just a game. As soon as he witnessed his first demonstration, he did not take it seriously. “Well, I did go to the square, but it was pretty boring. There were a lot of people there, but hundreds of thousands of people just means a lot of people. Most of the were about university age... There were also a lot of cops. But I don’t know anything about Hu Yao-bang, and I’m not interested in politics anyway. I’m not a cynic like some kids I know. I don’t think all politicians are crooks or anything. I just think they’re boring.” (Bell, 46) A poem “The Hangman” shows how being a bystander is not the right choice. In the end of “The Hangman”, the narrator was the one who the Hangman wanted to kill. “For who has served me more faithfully than you with your coward’s hope?’ said he.” (Ogden) The Hangman wanted to kill the one who served him best by being a bystander. The narrator did not stand up for the people and stop the Hangman, so his actions supported the Hangman. When it was his turn to be raised from the gallows-tree, there was no one there to stop the…show more content…
Before Alex went to China, Alex was a bystander and thought that wars and battles were just games or strategy. When he saw many students his age take part in the demonstrations, he decided to do the same. Like Alex, anyone can do the same. To live in a better environment, everyone must stand up against systems of
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