(image © 1996, Phil Borges, see his excellent Tibetan photos at his gallery)
“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.”
~ Dalai Lama
We interrupt my mental meanderings to bring you the following message:
I have watched the news about Tibet in recent weeks, wondering what the world's reaction would be to this latest "crackdown" by China. Well, with the start of the Olympic Torch Relay, the world's most adamant protestors are interrupting it at every city it is passing through. And China is of course, condemning these interruptions.
No surprise there.
What I find truly disturbing is that except for a few, the world has by and large ignored the plight of Tibetans and their oppression under the Chinese. And I include myself in that ignorance...
From my first political leanings, way back in the '70s in Santa Maria, I have accepted my participation in issues because the people affected by an issue have affected me and my thinking. I have been active with indigenous issues, migrant farmworkers, Iranian efforts to unseat the Shah (and that worked out real well...), protests against nuclear weapons proliferation, environmental issues (Opal Creek being the pinnacle of my environmental activism)...
But Tibet, until very recently, has flown below my radar. But in less than a year I have accepted their cause as mine, and another part of that movement that encompasses all issues I have involved myself with. I hate seeing people get screwed. And the Tibetans have shown me that they have been getting a bum deal for decades.
For those of you who are interested, please follow a movement that I predict will gain momentum as the spring wears on into summer and the Olympics approach. Politics and the Olympics are not strangers. But this time we are dealing with a very real holocaust and the perpetrators of this holocaust are the Chinese, the host country for this summer's Olympics.
Here is the link to GoogleNews stories with the keyword Tibet. In a shining "for instance," Australians are wanting action:
Majority want Rudd to intervene in Tibet
As you may or may not know, there have been new clashes in recent weeks by Tibetans against China's presence:
Uneasy, Normal Life Follows Tibet Riots
The history of China's occupation in Tibet, from the Government of Tibet in Exile.
"On 7 October 1950, 40,000 Chinese troops under Political Commissar, Wang Qiemi, attacked Eastern Tibet's provincial capital of Chamdo, from eight directions. The small Tibetan force, consisting of 8,000 troops and militia, were defeated. After two days, Chamdo was taken and Kalon (Minister) Ngapo Ngawang Jigme, the Regional Governor, was captured. Over 4,000 Tibetan fighters were killed."
In November of 1950, Tibet sent a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations:
"Tibet recognises that it is in no position to resist the Chinese advance. It is thus that it agreed to negotiate on friendly terms with the Chinese Government. ...Though there is little hope that a nation dedicated to peace will be able to resist the brutal effort of men trained to war, we understand that the United Nations has decided to stop aggression wherever it takes place."
Since then Tibetan deaths and disappearances at the hands of the Chinese are estimated to be over 1 million.
I have met Tibetan monks who now live in the US. Kind, gentle men, they all fled Tibet into India and all have tales of imprisonment, beatings and torture, the disappearance of friends and relatives and the experience of witnessing their country being overtaken by the Chinese. Many Tibetans have died working on the railroads being built in order to transport Chinese immigrants into Tibet.
Here is a video showing Tibetans fleeing over the Himalayas being shot by Chinese border guards.
More stories on Tibet:
Tibetan monks: A controlled life
Dharamsala alarmed at rate of Chinese migrants coming to Tibet
"We cannot but be alarmed at the rate of Chinese migrant workers coming to Tibet and China's mining of various minerals on the Tibetan Plateau" said Kalon Tempa Tsering of the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration.
"The pace of China's settlement of Tibet's urban centres with Chinese migrant workers and its exploitation of Tibet's mineral resources are undermining the ability of the Tibetan people to hold on to their distinct cultural heritage," Kalon Tempa Tsering said.
And, reminding me of California's goldrush heyday (an occupation that decimated an estimated 90% of California's indigenous population in one decade), China is reportedly doing massive mineralogical surveys of Tibet in order to exploit that nation's natural resource wealth:
When the railway was first extended into Tibet in the 1980s, as far as the desert staging post of Gormo, the purpose was to extract Tibetan oil, which has gone, at rate of two million tons a year for the past 20 years. In addition China mines the salt lakes of the same area in the Tsaidam Basin on a large scale. Gas was discovered in huge amounts in the 1990s, also in the Tsaidam Basin, and a pipeline was built to supply China’s hungry energy demand for fuels for manufacturing and electric power generation. Tibetan gas is now piped right across China.
China is investing huge effort of geological exploration, mapping mineral deposits all over Tibet. Recently the China geological survey announced the discovery of more than 600 new mineral deposits after concluding a seven-year geological study on Tibetan plateau, which has nothing less than $128 billion dollars worth of various minerals potential for extraction.
Chinese immigrant influx in Tibet is a serious threat: British MP
“The influx of Chinese settlers in Tibet is a serious threat and is making the Tibetans a minority in their own land. When we were in Lhasa (capital of Tibet) we saw Chinese everywhere and more were due to arrive and many will have come now because of the introduction of the railway line from China to Tibet,” said Mr. Hamilton, who was one of the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons that visited Tibet in 2006 and reported their findings in a report.
China: Dalai Lama Wants to Sour Olympics
The Dalai Lama, speaking in Dharmsala, India, the seat of his government-in-exile, urged nonviolence on both sides.
"I say to China and the Tibetans - don't commit violence," he told reporters. He suggested the Chinese themselves may have had a hand in it to discredit him.
"It's possible some Chinese agents are involved there," he said. "Sometimes totalitarian regimes are very clever, so it is important to investigate."
He said that "if things become out of control," his "only option is to completely resign."
Later, one of his top aides clarified the Dalai Lama's comments.
"If the Tibetans were to choose the path of violence, he would have to resign because he is completely committed to nonviolence," Tenzin Taklha said. "He would resign as the political leader and head of state, but not as the Dalai Lama. He will always be the Dalai Lama."
One of the things I DO know... the Dalai Lama, like Martin Luther King, like Mohatma Gandhi, is a man of peace who believes -- as do I -- that violence cannot be used to end violence. And while I understand the protests against China, their hosting of the Olympics and the intent to use the Olympic Torch Relay as a venue for expression and the drawing of attention to the issue of occupied Tibet, there is no way that violent demonstrations will achieve positive results. Further I also understand the nature of sabotage and cointelpro and believe the violence accompanying the Torch Relay protests may be fomented by agents of the Chinese.
So do me a favor... get educated. Boycott the Olympics. Boycott Chinese goods (no shopping at WalMart?) and let the silence of our wallets send the message of dissatisfaction with China's continued occupation of the independent nation of Tibet. And tell George Bush not to attend the Olympic Opening Ceremony.
Note: all images are linked from their online sources. No copyright infringement intended.
Note 2: as with all things here, even this post ties back to Pablo... some of Paul's ashes are now in place on the NE side of the Bodhi tree and main stupa in Bohdgaya, India.
Dharamsala, India, is the Dalai Lama's city of residence while he remains in exile.
“Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.”