‘Then they came for me……’

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“Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak.” That comes from a piece made famous after WW2, and in today’s climate in Tibet, it is STILL relevant.

As I have watched the last two weeks’ violence unfolding in Tibet, I have really marvelled at how far we have come in the world. Today, unlike in WW2, we have global internet. We have NO excuses for pretending we don’t know what is happening in Tibet. The converse of the marvelling at our global connectedness, is absolute despair at our total LACK of progress. How ingrained the old patterns of international response still reverberate around the world.

I have read a whole lot on Tibet this last couple of weeks, and really, the international community STILL doesn’t have a clue. And, to me, our ignorance is wilful, inexcusable.

Explanation of the Symbolism of the Tibetan National Flag

Tibet flag

* In the centre stands a magnificient snow-clad mountain, which represents the great nation of Tibet, widely known as the Land Surrounded by Snow Mountains.

* The Six red bands spread across the dark blue sky represent the original ancestors of the Tibetan people: the six tribes called Se, Mu, Dong, Tong, Dru, and Ra which in turn gave rise to the (twelve) descendants. The combination of six red bands (for the tribes) and six dark blue bands (for the sky) represents the unceasing enactment of the virtuous deeds of protection of the spiritual teachings and secular life by the black and red guardian protector deities with which Tibet has been connected since times immemorial.

* At the top of the snowy mountain, the sun with its rays shinning brilliantly in all directions represents the equal enjoyment of freedom, spiritual and material happiness and prosperity by all beings in the land of Tibet.

* On the slopes of the mountain a pair of snow lions stand proudly, blazing with the manes of fearlessness, which represent the country’s victorious accomplishment of a unified spiritual and secular life.

* The beautiful and radiant three-coloured jewel held aloft represents the ever-present reverence respectfully held by the Tibetan people towards the three supreme gems, the objects of refuge: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

* The two coloured swirling jewel held between the two lions represents the people’s guarding and cherishing of the self discipline of correct ethical behavior, principally represented by the practices of the ten exalted virtues and the 16 humane modes of conduct.

Lastly, the adornment with a yellow border symbolises that the teachings of the Buddha, which are like pure, refined gold and unbounded in space and time, are flourishing and spreading.

“Freedom”, “spiritual happiness”, “ever-present reverence respectfully held by the TIBETAN people..” but not so much by the Chinese regime, it seems. Who can forget these pictures?

Crowd at deaths, the first pictures out of Tibet
First pictures out of Tibet

And then there is this:

A protester killed by a bullet to the back of the neck.
A protester killed by a bullet to the back of the neck.

I know you didn’t see these in the mainstream media. Over at the BBC site, the picture on the right is more what you saw:

A body that had been wrapped in blankets.
A body that had been wrapped in blankets.
Tibetan sources say 80 people were killed during the unrest. Chinese authorities said 10.
Tibetan sources say that as many as 80 people were killed during the unrest, though Chinese authorities said just 10 people had died.
Chinese Troops stop a car in the street.
Cars and houses were reportedly being searched as large parts of the city were effectively shut down.

Another not so mainstream picture source:

Nepalese police go after a Tibetan monk protestor with a baton during a protest rally in front of the visa section of Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal
Nepalese police go after a Tibetan monk protestor with a baton during a protest rally in front of the visa section of Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal, 25 March 2008. Nepalese police on Tuesday arrested over 100 out of several hundreds of demonstrating Tibetans targeting the Chinese embassy as their campaign against Chinese rule in their homeland continue since their protests started nearly two weeks ago. (

[Wednesday, March 26, 2008, Phayul]

And so it goes. To hear the Chinese media tell it, a few Tibetan rioters were killed as the Chinese troops worked to restore order within Chinese boundaries. Of course, Chinese media also faithfully reports the Chinese authorities “party line” that it is the Dalai Lama who has incited these events to disrupt the upcoming Olympics.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Yep – that’s the spiritual leader of Tibet who the Chinese say is an evil man, who holds great influence over the rioters in Tibet. The Dalai Lama’s own struggles in Tibet are closely linked to the very history of Tibet. In the last Chinese crackdown on the Tibetan community in 1959, the Dalai Lama escaped over the mountains and now has been the spiritual leader from afar.

So, apart from the Tibetan monks, WHO is speaking out for the Tibetans in this current genocide? Yes, I do choose that term deliberately. As I read, what I understand today is that part of the current issues are the fact that Tibet itself has been overwhelmed by an influx of Han ‘immigrants’. That is only a small part of what is happening. Meanwhile, around the world students have been protesting and there are many internet sites dedicated to the struggles within the Tibetan lands.


UK protest calls for Tibet action

Protesters are demanding action over repression in Tibet

Hundreds of people have been marching through central London to protest against China’s violent crackdown against demonstrators in Tibet.

Protesters marched from Regent’s Park to Trafalgar Square, staging a rally in front of the National Gallery.

The marchers, including many exiled Tibetans, also sang the Tibetan national anthem at the Chinese Embassy.

Protesters said a meeting due between Gordon Brown and spiritual leader the Dalai Lama must produce solid action.

Solidarity

Chonpel Tsering, a Tibetan who has been in the UK since 1982, said it was crucial for independent observers and journalists to be allowed into his country in order to tell the truth about what is going on there.

[ BBC ]

Just yesterday, there were demonstraters at the lighting of the Olympic torch, which is scheduled to go through Tibet on it’s route to Bejing.

The politicians? ALL they are doing is speaking – using the typical politicalspeak gobbledygook they are infamous for. There has been talk of some countries entertaining the idea of boycotting the Olympic Games. Much debate on the airwaves as to what that would accomplish. The concensus is that very little would change from such a boycott, but that the athletes themselves would suffer. Am I the only one who thinks that is just too bad? Yes, Olympic calibre athletes have trained for years for their few minutes of Olympic exposure, but I suggest that THEIR suffering doesn’t come close to what the Tibetans have historically suffered at the hands of the Chinese. What WOULD make an impact, in my opinion, is if ALL the Olympic participants – politicians, athletes, sponsors, spectators, EVRYONE – boycotted these Games. To have even given the Olympics to a country with such abysmal human rights record, was an absurdity in my opinion. But yes, President George W Bush intends to go to Bejing for the Olympics.

What about economic sanctions against China? As typically happens, it would be the regular Chinese citizens, not the party elite, who would bear the brunt of such international sanctions. Anyway, the US, just as one example, has their economy so entwined with the Chinese economy, I am not clear that could even be implemented, without a negative impact on the US economy (like the US needs that right now!)

The Dalai Lama has offered to “step down”, whatever that means! When I first heard that, I was reminded of anti bullying workshops I have been a part of in elementary schools. Walk away, is the conventional wisdom. BUT, the Dalai Lama is NOT in elementary school. In my opinion, his walking away from the bully that is China, would accomplish NOTHING. As was explained to me (by my in-house poli sci expert…lol) even if the Dalai Lama did remove himself from the ‘political’ leadership role, he would STILL be the spiritual leader of the Tibetans; his role as the 14th Dalai Lama is not one he can just slough off as he would a change of clothes. Not gonna happen. Nor should it.

And so we come to world leaders suggesting there needs to be dialogue. Riiiiiiiight. The Chinese leadership has given no indication that they plan on “dialogue” anytime soon, unless it is at the end of a gun. Disclosure here: I am currently re-reading a Tom Clancy book “The Bear and the Dragon”, and if present day events were fiction, Jack Ryan would certainly know how to deal with the Chinese. He does it very well in this novel. But today is REAL LIFE, not fiction, and no novel writer is going to resolve the legitimate grievances the Tibetans have with the Chinese.

Then we come to the role of the media. Chinese media are doing a great job of telling the millions of Chinese readers that the Chinese government is merely protecting their interests as they “crush” the pesky Tibetan revolutionaries. To read the Chinese public’s response on internet message boards, is to see how well the Chinese propaganda machine is working.

This last week I have been really ticked off at the western media. The silence has been deafening, only broken by whispers as they have parroted the official line spoonfed them by the party machine. True, the mainstream media was booted out of Tibet, which in itself rang loud alarm bells for me. So then, for days – silence. Now I understand very well the trials of trying to report events if you are not allowed to witness them unfolding, BUT this past week I have been reading Tibetan blogs and underground media. The facts ARE out there. In this age of global internet, there is NO excuse for the mainstream media NOT reporting what is happening in Tibet.

NewsBlaze WILL be following the history of Tibet as it evolves. Remember the Tianamen Square images as the heavy boot of the Chinese crushed dissent? Shortly thereafter, the world spotlight moved on, and China continued business as usual. Not this time. Just because the mainstream media moves on to the next lead that bleeds, NewsBlaze will continue to document what is going on. That is our job.

Stay tuned.

Ros Prynn is a NewsBlaze investigative reporter and editor, who writes on a range of topics. Contact her by writing to NewsBlaze, or at her milblog assolutatranquillita.blogspot.com