Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Free Tibet

I've seen the bumper stickers and heard the expression "Free Tibet" for years now, but I never really understood what was going on over there or took the time to learn about their plight.

So last night Jody and I sat down to watch "Tibet - Cry of the Snow Lion."
Ten years in the making, this feature-length documentary was filmed during nine remarkable journeys throughout Tibet, India and Nepal. Taking viewers to the long-forbidden "rooftop of the world" with an unprecedented richness of imagery, the film powerfully chronicles the dark secrets of Tibet's recent past through interviews, personal stories and archival images.
It was such an eye-opener and so very sad to see how the Chinese have and continue to repress the Tibetans. I can understand this kind of treatment happening in the past, but here we are, in the year 2005. What is wrong with the rest of the world that we allow this genocide to continue?

If anyone is interested, there's a good history of the Chinese rule over Tibet over on Wikipedia. I'd try to explain it myself, but that site does a far better job than I could do.

One of the things that's really frustrating to me is that in 1989 the Chinese government likely kidnapped the new Panchen Lama (a six-year-old boy who was chosen by the current Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama). They then named their own Panchen Lama, thereby acknowledging Buddhism, but trying to keep it under their control. The Panchen Lama will be responsible for naming the reincarnated Dalai Lama after the current one dies. I don't know if the Chinese really think the Tibetans and Buddhists are going to acknowledge the person they made their puppet Panchen Lama chose, but I can't see that happening. But what will happen to Buddhism?

Watching that movie and hearing the stories of the horrible things the Chinese have done to the Buddhist monks and nuns is heart-breaking and incredibly frustrating. Here are a people who don't seem to have a violent bone in their body, yet they are being imprisoned, tortured beyond belief and often killed. How can this happen? How can they continue to get away with it?

It made me very upset over the current state of affairs. I want to do something, but I don't know what. Part of me thinks a large-scale organized boycott of all products made in China is necessary, but that seems so extreme. And would it even matter? Ugh.

I want to raise awareness at the very least. I am sure so many people have no idea this is going on. I mean, I didn't! I knew Tibet wanted to be freed, but I had no idea why or from what! A "Free Tibet" bumper sticker seems so cliche. Will anyone even care to find out why Tibet needs to be freed?

I decided to look up "Free Tibet" stickers to see what is out there and I came across a website that reports some very different findings than what is portrayed in the movie. Of course, there are two sides to every story and while I still think that a lot of what the Chinese did and does is absolutely wrong and extreme, I'm wondering if some good didn't come out of their occupying Tibet in the first place. Hmmm. (Scratching my head.) Guess I have more reading to do.


At 8/30/2005 3:39 PM, Anonymous Rowan said...

I have boycotted China for years. This is actually fairly easy if you don't shop at WalMart.

My best friend's in-laws and extended family, thereof, are all heavily involved in the Buddhist community of Seattle. So, I've had a bit of a crash course in the Tibetan plight.

It is so sad, and such a common story when we stop to look around. Heck, we could even create a war to save them if only they had some natural resource that we wanted. But, that's another topic all together, isn't it?

On another note. In AZ we're not required to have front license plates. Everyone uses then as a sort of extra opinion bumper. So, I have a 'Free Tibet' plate on there. Yes, I know it has become cliche, but I don't really care.

Well, anyway, I was sitting in the carpool line outside of Maya's Middle School one day. Bear in mind that this school has been rated A+ due to high test scores. As I was sitting there reading, along came a couple of boys who asked me,
"Who's Tibet?"

Flabbergasted, I couldn't think of anything to say, but "Um, ask your social studies teacher." I wish I would have had the presence of mind to say something a little more intelligent - and possibly even enlightening.

I was simply too shocked.

At 8/31/2005 2:49 PM, Blogger Harmonia said...

Great place you have here! Can I link you!?

I'm at:

At 8/31/2005 9:26 PM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

Thanks for the info, Rowan. Glad to hear someone else gives a hoot. :) I rarely, if ever, shop at Sprawlmart so that's good to know. And I will make an effort to check the label on things in the future.

I'm sure I would've done the same thing had someone asked me "who's Tibet?" I get all flustered if I'm not expecting to be questioned. At least now you can formulate some sort of answer in case that ever happens again. :)

And yeah, don't get me started on wars. It just shows where our priorities lie.

Harmonia - Welcome to my blog. Feel free to link me. :) Thanks!

At 9/01/2005 5:43 PM, Blogger halloweenlover said...

It is so sad and I really feel like almost no one knows what is going on there. It would be easier to raise public support if more people heard about it, I think.

I'll have to check out that movie too! Thanks for the tip!


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