Early last week a news item described a young nomad Tibetan from in the southeastern mountains of China who loved to read. Even while out watching the animals she would read books. She became a nun. The authorities announced that Tibetan would no longer be used in schools, only Chinese, even in ethnically Tibetan areas -- although now so many Han Chinese have been induced to settle there that they have become the majority. This young woman doused her robes with gasoline, wound wire around herself so the robes could not be easily torn off and immolated herself.
A few days later, in Delhi, a Tibetan immigrant, a young man who was not a monk, also set himself afire. He seemed to be protesting the reaction the Chinese authorities had to the nun's death which was to harangue more vehemently than ever about the Dalai Lama whom they have demonized at every opportunity for the past fifty years.
The destruction of a once unique Buddhist culture is almost complete thanks to the overwhelming influx of Han Chinese as well as other Chinese into Tibet where Tibetans are very much treated as second class citizen and denied even the right to own a photograph of the Dalai Lama. Although President Obama is currently traveling in China he seems to be entirely ignoring this gross denial of civil liberty to an entire country's natives. Ongoing treatment of repressed peoples does not make the news, the rest of the world would rather hear about the latest rebel protest, the latest example of domestic violence or doings of some celebrity. No one seems to be speaking up against mighty China for their inhumanity toward some of the most humane people on earth.
Beth Nash paints - Yellowman
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