Free Tibet

Via The Carrboro Citizen editorial page:

I have not heard back from my congressman, who I wrote to several days ago concerning the violence visited upon protesters in Lhasa and other places in Tibet.

I do not expect much help to come from the United States government in this area. Officialdom abandoned Tibet long ago in pursuit of the markets and manufacturing of China.

Now, with the Olympics putting a spotlight on the country, there are clear and unsettling reminders of what we got from that bargain and what has happened and what is happening in Tibet.

I’ve got a little different perspective on the place and its people, having grown up in a small college town in the Midwest where a considerable number of refugees, including the Dalai Lama’s own kin, started settling in the late 1950s.

Over the years, I heard stories firsthand of the aftermath of China’s takeover, of considerable hardship, oppression, starvation and determination. And then there was the final solution — the relocation of millions of ethnic Chinese to the annexed region. Writing about that in the New York Times in 1991, A.M. Rosenthal called the effort “a criminal, genocidal attempt to erase Tibet’s reality.” Tibetans became a minority in their own country. The rule imposed on them was harsh, intolerant and often bizarre. Under rules passed just last year, Tibet’s living buddhas are not permitted to reincarnate without first obtaining permission from the government.

Now, the twisted story line from the government-controlled China media is that the Dalai Lama is fomenting rebellion in Tibet to hold the Olympics hostage. If they haven’t been leveled already, charges of terrorism aren’t far away.
And while the little we’ve heard leaking out of Lhasa is horrendous, there is little doubt that what is taking place in prisons mirrors the brutalities of the past. And with the spotlight suddenly on the worst of China’s rule, the outrage in the official rhetoric is license to pour it on.

At one time, North Carolina was a bastion of bipartisan support for the people of Tibet. For some, the fight was one against communism; for others, it was over the oppression of religion. But for everyone who has stood on the side of the Tibetan people, the prime motivation is a profound sense that a unique and rich culture and a philosophy that espouses compassion and a desire for a peaceful planet is steadily being erased from the face of the Earth.

Later in the column mentioned above, Rosenthal offered this comparison between the justifications given for the first Gulf War, then in progress, and the silence over the cause of Tibet.

He said: “Tibet asks no soldiers from the United States, no Patriots, just attention, and plain words to its oppressors that genocide is as ugly in the mountains as in the desert.”

Comments

Thank you, Kirk.

People forget that there are direct lines between what's happening on the other side of the world and our own neighborhoods here in North Carolina. For example, if our athletes travel to China for the Olympics, I believe they are serving the political ambitions of the Chinese government.

How can we make Tibet a big issue in North Carolina?

Looking the other way

One thing that jumps out at me is that the look-the-other-way attitude has been driven by the flat earthers -- that moral compromise was necessary for good business. The sell out, it should be noted, was bipartisan as well.

The sellout is indeed bipartisan

As to James' question about how to raise more awareness in North Carolina, I would also like to know the answer to that question.

One of the local NPR shows recently featured an interview with the Tibetan owner of the Dechen Collections shop (here in Raleigh, at CityMarket), but the news shifted, the Tibetan dilemma is fading in peoples' consciousness.

There are at least a couple of buddhist communities in the Triangle, one of which meets at a place called the Kadampa Center. We could perhaps ask a representative to visit BlueNC to offer insights or suggestions about Tibet.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

If it is of interest

There is contact info at the site below for inviting a speaker to address a group.

http://www.kadampa-center.org/

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

Write letters

I sent a letter to Rep. Price about this. I think it's important to register your opinion with your rep. One of the best friends the Tibetan people ever had in the U.S. was a congressman from North Carolina named Charles Rose.
Also, stay informed -- here's the International Campaign for Tibet site.

Staying informed

Another means of staying informed is through a group called "Association Cognizance Tibet, NC," or "ACT NC."

I only just found this information, so am passing it along on faith, not experience.
I understand that this group can be reached at tibetawareness@yahoo.com

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke