Four self-immolitions on Friday -- Buddhists protesting the continued Chinese destruction of the culture of Tibet. This year there have been nearly 70 self-immolitions. American newspapers do not mention them, of the 2 billion Chinese almost none know they are occurring. Most Chinese think their presence in Tibet is not only historically appropriate but that they are improving the lives of Tibetans. Tibetans think otherwise and they protest in the only way they can. These are not people who will, like too many other oppressed people in the world, become suicide bombers. The only life they will take is their own.
China is about to swear in new leaders. All the American press writes about is their economic policies. Civil rights have long disappeared from out news papers and media coverage. We are deeply in debt to China; they have efficiently muzzled us.
Many groups are suffering, tyrants continue to murder their own people. We read eagerly about whether the rich in our country are going to have to pay higher taxes -- or at least be assessed to pay higher taxes -- many of us are cynical and think they'll find ways to avoid paying up no matter what laws are changed. We cannot think beyond our pocket books. Meanwhile a culture has been nearly destroyed already in Tibet -- it was a magnificently complex and rich culture. Now the Tibetans who remain are second class citizens in their own country. Many are in jails, being tortured. The Dalai Lama is contiually vilified although he has offered compromise again and again. And desperate monks and nuns, who know their monasteries and shrines are not really their own -- they are seen as tourist attractions by the Chinese, the only reason some are allowed to remain, and the ranks of lamas are infiltrated by spies -- desperate people who set themselves on fire, the only way they can speak out. And no one seems to care. Their pain is unimaginable. When was the last time you accidentally burned your finger?
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!