Friday, September 19, 2008

Mean Nasty World

Nepal, I've just read in a news feed, has agreed with it's northern border neighbor, China, to send Tibetans back to China who have been living in Nepal and who took part in the protests that began last March and continued through the Olympics. Formerly Nepal arrested them, and perhaps beat them up a bit, but then released them. If the Tibets are now sent back to China they will probably be arrested, jailed and tortured and held for many years.

We take freedom of speech for granted. Not so in many other parts of the world, especially China which allows no serious dissent, even in its neighbors. China has poured money into building roads in Nepal that will connect formerly roadless areas -- like Mustang -- to China. This is an economic boon for desperately poor Nepalese who can then trade with China; but it is a double edged sword, making the potential for invasion very real.

I have been to Nepal four times. It is a beautiful country with the world's most magnificent mountains and with kind and wonderful people. But it is terribly poor country going through tremendous political changes having just dethroned their hereditary kin

My heart hurts when I think of the Tibetans who have settled there and tried to find a new life in a mountainous country that at least looks like their home and their struggle to maintain their identity in the face of the, arguably, greatest power on earth that wants to eradicate them and is reaching it's tentacles into the neighboring country to snatch them up and stiffle their voices, perhaps end their lives. From here in the comfort of my home, sometimes I think, what did Buddha mean that life is "suffering?" And then I look at what is happening to people around the world and I know what he meant. Some of us are extraordinarily lucky but we must not close our eyes and forget that this is a big world and we are a very, very lucky, very, very small percentage of people on earth.

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