Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Doesn't Anyone Care?

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.


Monica Devine said...

I couldn't agree more. What is interesting is the Dalai Lama's reaction, or lack thereof, to the total repression of his people by the Chinese. He does not protest; he would not set himself on fire; he urges instead, adaptation to the present circumstances (which inflames the younger generation who are calling for increased action). I hope to travel to Nepal in the near future...a dream of mine. I no longer say "someday." The time is now!

June Calender said...

I recommend Pico Iyer's book The Open Road to get a picture of the Dalai Lama's position.

By all means go to Nepal -- to the mountains not just Kathmandu.

Bev Sykes said...

I think it's not that nobody cares, though that is certainly a part of it, but we are on "atrocity overload." We send letters of protest and contribute to what we hope are helpful organizations, but really what can we do otherwise.

I am concerned with the atrocities in Uganda and Kenya (which I knew about before the big push to make Kony more visible) because I sponsor children there and I worry about their safety.

But those of us in this age range have fewer options available to us, either because of financial or physical reasons.

Added to that is the fact that the situation in Tibet receives so little exposure, when the media is more interested in covering reality TV stars and celebrity break-ups. This country has its priorities, after all.

June Calender said...

Right, you are Bev, this country has its priorities and I have very different ones. So I write about what concerns me and hope a few people will simply be concerned enough to speak to a few more. I wish Uganda and Kenya were the only countries in Africa with serious problems. I was in Zimbabwe a couple years ago and there was no food in the grocery stores. Caring is the important part even if we can do nothing.

zippiknits said...

Lots of People care. Don't be fooled by the fact that not many say anything about it. I've cared for decades. What to do? Keep your ears open and harangue politicians in THIS country about policy towards China that let it get away with murder, over and over again.