Tuesday 31 August 2010

Orange Peels, Carnations & Vibrations

A deep chasm of earth
Where trees randomly grow
A river flows from a rocky cliff
I looked up to the shy sky
My eyes rolling, heart pulsating
Clouds rolled over me and the silence broke
Rhythm, shudder – vibration, perforation
Someone has peeled an orange
Fragrance escaped into the air
Seeds have fallen into the chasm
Come … Come
Carnations bloom into a cloud

Twin hills snow-capped
Stand far above the valley
Suddenly there are actions
Snows melt, water rushes down
Earth shakes in sweet moans
Someone peeled an orange
Seeds fall into the chasm
Come… Come
Rose petals rain from ten directions.

Orange seeds in the chasm
Drops of honey in the valley

Monday 30 August 2010

I will Not Die

Song by Samtse, Words by Tatse
Translated by BDSonam

The bright yellow sun has
Set behind the freedom hill
Now I cannot put my faith on
This dark and violent storm –

The bright youthful moon is
Suddenly covered by clouds
Now I cannot trust this
Fake moon-like image on water –

My peace-loving lama
Was forced to go into exile
Until I will see him again
I won’t die even when death comes –

Our ancient culture and tradition
I will maintain, promote and renew
In so doing I will sacrifice my life
And I will have no regrets –

When I heard a sky full of tales
About how fathers were killed
Those enemies I will never forget
Even when I attain enlightenment –

A Soldier Boy

I found this poem by David Allen in my eighth grade English notebook dutifully copied from somewhere. The handwriting is no longer mine. My hand is no longer innocent.

A little girl asks
“Why must Johnny be a soldier boy?
How do all the wars begin?”
“People from different faiths,
Many different creed and skin,
Over questions of religion, dear, every war begins!”
Said mother of the little girl, knitting by the fireside.

On my recent visit to the school, I found that the rickety desk on which I sat through boring classes had long been broken down and dumped off. But the classroom still stands.

Is the girl or a boy who sits in my corner still read story books hidden inside their textbooks while the teacher writes on the blackboard? The answer, as Dylan sang, is blowing in the wind.

Friday 27 August 2010

Human Resistance

Tsering is a Tibetan-American living in Boston. Every Wednesday, he joins the other Tibetans for a Candle Light Vigil commemorating those who died in the March uprising in Tibet in 2008. Every day, like many former political prisoners who escaped from the Chinese rule, he lives with memories of pain and estrangement from his native land.

At the age of 20, Tsering entered Ganden Monastery near Lhasa. Five years later, on March 5, 1988, he joined the pro-independent demonstrations in the Barkhor, in the city center, and was arrested by the Public Security Bureau. He was detained in Cell No. 7 of the Tibet Autonomous Region’s Detention Center.

While Tsering and thousands of Tibetans were being jailed or held in detention centers throughout Tibet, the Dalai Lama addressed the European parliament in Strasbourg on June 15, 1989. In the Strasbourg Proposal, Dalai Lama put forward the idea of “a genuine autonomy” the basis for negotiations with China on the future of Tibet. However, China rejected this by saying that the proposal was "independence, semi-independence or independence in disguised form.”

In March 1989, Tsering was given four-year prison sentence for his part in the peaceful protest and was transferred to Drapchi Prison. He was interrogated everyday to undergo “thought change” and was forced to do “reform through labor.”

A year later, Tsering and other political prisoners demanded change in the prison conditions and asked reasons for the transfer of five fellow inmates to another prison. In a brutal reprisal the prison guards charged the prisoners with guns and electric batons. They tied Tsering's hands behind his back, and inserted an electric baton into his mouth. They also shot him through the stomach. One of his kidneys burst. When Tsering regained consciousness, his clothes were soaked in his blood, urine and excrement.

The Dalai Lama was offered the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1989 for “his struggle for the liberation of Tibet" and because he had "consistently opposed the use of violence.” Talks between the Dalai Lama and China resumed in 2002 and so far nine rounds were held with no outcome.

While the negotiations between the representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese go on, the fundamental issues of human sufferings remain unaddressed. Tsering’s story is a case representing the agony that Tibetans undergo everyday in today’s Tibet. The blame for this failure rests mainly with China for its intransigence and lack of trust in the Dalai Lama and his political overtures.

China is playing a waiting game for the Dalai Lama to pass away, hoping that the issue of Tibet and its global support base will fade in time. This is a shortsighted policy which in the long run will bring more troubles for China. It will only invite a further grassroots movement against Chinese rule, and the resulting crackdowns will engender even more resentment and dissents in Tibet.

What the world can do is to pressure China to bring about political reforms. Economic gains are imperative, but basic rights for people are non-negotiable. People living in the free world must urge China to respect the aspirations of the Tibetan people and their desire to live in freedom. Recent events inside Tibet have proved that suppression leads to resistance and brutality breeds revolt. If Chinese leaders continue to deny Tibetans their fundamental right to self-determination, they must be ready to face a united resistance by Tibetans and their supporters all over the world.