Dershowitz takes The Nation to task for an editorial in our June 12 issue, which he accuses of indifference to the students massacred in Tian An Men Square. The killings took place on June 3-4; I drafted this editorial on May 22; it went to press on May 24.
Only the most malicious and tendentious reading could lead Dershowitz to conclude that we lacked sympathy for the Chinese students and their cause. It is simply false to say that we "ignored the students' homage to the Statue of Liberty, their references to Patrick Henry and their repetition of American freedom slogans." I mentioned all those things, and by name. Our point, however, was that Western governments and commentators had no monopoly on the Chinese students' demands, and that their protests drew on a much broader range of political slogans and symbols--Mikhail Gorbachev, above all, but also Boris Yeltsin, the workers' anthem "The Internationale," and Poland's Solidarity--to express their yearning for political reform and democracy.