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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Losar in Dharamsala

Following is a post from my Facebook page that pretty much encapsulates what's going on here and why supporting Tibet matters.

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Tibetan new year is nigh and to be sure, as much as I want to say “Losar Tashi Delek” to my Tibetan friends both here and abroad, this wish is laden with the heaviness of 21 self-immolations and the PRC’s continued genocidal polices that are wiping out vestige after vestige of Tibetan culture and marginalizing Tibetans in their own country. The mood here in Dharamsala is not celebratory.

Of course, the PRC machine says His Holiness the Dalai Lama is encouraging these suicides (despite, quite to the contrary, both His Holiness and the exile government doing their best to discourage protesting like this). But it’s ever thus, and it’s only part of the madness that surrounds Tibet. The other part, perhaps the most damning, is the knuckling under to the Chinese government that world leaders so frequently do. Not to sound cynical, but as a friend of mine put it some years ago, “human rights” is at best a bargaining chip. I don’t think they’re even that.

But here’s the thing. Apartheid came to an end as a result of international involvement and support. I would submit that the changes in Burma/Myanmar have come about as a result of both internal protest and external involvement. There is no dearth of organizations for Tibet; however, it’s increasingly obvious more needs to be done and it needs to come from heads of state.

Every so often, I mention to friends and family that they could step up and support Tibet. I have a short list of organizations. Anytime. More often than not, though, I feel like the response is “well, that’s just John’s trip”. But this is why the madness continues. Tibet is someone else’s problem. Too bad, but there you have it. Bullshit.

Tibet now, like South Africa before, is everyone’s problem. Until we recognize that as long as one suffers, we all do, no matter how distant or how big the odds, we too suffer. We suffer through our indifference. We suffer through our ignorance. This is very much a human problem. Not an American, not a Chinese, proble; it’s the human condition and if it’s to be met, it will be through working to “dispel the miseries of the world”.

I want so very much to wish my Tibetan friends a happy new year, but I think this year “Losar Tashi Delek” is more a statement that something deep takes place in the hearts of all mankind, and this madness ends. For those of you who can please stand with the Tibetans. If you don’t feel informed enough to do so, get informed. Hell, email me. But really, give some thought over the next couple of days about what’s going on inside Tibet. Ask yourself if a people can be considered happy or better off while daily, people seek to escape and find refuge in life-threatening journeys across hostile terrain or seek to draw attention to their plight besetting themselves afire. You tell me, does that sound like the results of a “peaceful liberation”?

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