Wednesday, August 12, 2009


TIBET IS NOT CHINA. Neither is it part of the latter. This I know when I began to read history books in the '70s.

There's a whale of a difference between the two! Tibet is a theocracy while China, officially the People's Republic of China, is a socialist state. The finest form of Buddhism is practiced in Tibet. The PROC have, long ago, shelved the spiritual aspect of its citizens by the Cultural Revolution of Mao Zedong.

The PROC invaded Tibet in 1959 and have subjected the Tibetans to a long history of ridicule, oppression, violence and unimagined cruelty. Tibetans don't consider themselves Chinese in much the same way as the Basques in Spain and the Tamils in Sri Lanka; yet they have not taken the path of armed resistance. Theirs is the path of non-violence and compassion.

Their present plight is what a small group of Cebuano peace activists called the Circle of Friends for Tibet have taken up in a meeting deep in the heart of Friendship Village, Cebu City, Philippines in the late afternoon of August 2, 2009. Ernie Salomon and I, both fresh from a whole day of mountain climbing, came to that meeting by invitation. We all watched a DVD documentary – Tibet's Cry for Freedom.

I understand, when the PROC decided to invade Tibet, Tibet did not maintain a standing army. What they have were volunteer monks, untraditioned in the art of warfare; armed with bows, spears and flintlocks called to defend against a modern mechanized communist army – themselves an army of a once-oppressed people in 1939-45.

The film documented the first Western eyewitness accounts of a peaceful Tibetan demonstration sometime in 1998 which was violently quelled by the PROC authorities. In it were numerous photographs and videos surreptitiously taken by outsiders showing the People's Liberation Army imposing their will upon the Tibetan people. More than a thousand died: monks, nuns, old men, women and children.

This Tibetan trait for peaceful resolutions of their predicament have been taken advantaged of by the PROC authorities. In one segment of the film, the PROC army gang up on a lone and helpless monk cowering on the ground and took turns in beating him to bloody pulp with nightsticks. Despite those, the Tibetan people offered its other cheek.

As if that is not enough, a third of Tibet's land area were gobbled up by their hungry neighbor up north. Tibet's cultural and spiritual structures were demolished to give way to condominiums and malls. Chinese immigrants came, wave after wave, and dominated Tibet's economy; saturating their puritan community with wickedness associated with night life.

Tibet's people were relegated as second-class citizens. What economic and employment opportunities offered where reserved for ethnic Chinese immigrants. Traditional crops were replaced with those that support China's population. Many Tibetans seek asylum in other countries while those that remain have to contend with extreme poverty or death. Meanwhile, the United Nations do nothing but talk, talk and talk. Blah. Blah. Blah...

I have never seen of a peaceful and spiritual people being subjected to such cruel and inhuman persecution by another people of another culture until now which happened in Tibet. Theirs is of the same parallel to the persecution of the First Christians by the whole Roman Empire. Perhaps, it is in the same length and breadth done against Native Americans by the immigrant population of white America.

We were all caught aghast by the barbarity of the treatment the Chinese heaped on the gentle people of Tibet. The suffering of the Tibetan people goaded the Circle of Friends to organize a Free Tibet Concert last year in Mambaling Park to create awareness in this part of the world about their miserable plight. They have also picketed the PROC Consulate here in Cebu and distributed leaflets condemning the grave human rights violation they have inflicted on the people of Tibet.

I have vowed to help Tibet in my own little way. They will always have space in my heart and in my blogs. This is a story of Tibet and I am not afraid to tell it here.



Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer


lynette said...

Hi! Your blogpage was forwarded to me by a dear friend, Claude Levenson, and she told me about your efforts to bring more awareness about Tibet's plight. I first heard of your group last year at the Candle4Tibet site. Kakatuwa kasi I never thought i'd see fellow Filipinos joining the campaign. Anyhow, thanks for joining the Tibetan cause. I first got exposed to the plight of the tibetans in the late '80s and I've always admired and respected HH the Dalai Lama's non-violent approach to this issue. I've been to Dharamsala [a 15-year-old dream coming true] last year at the 49th anniversary of the Lhasa uprising and saw for myself how the exiled Tibetans responded at the reports coming out from Lhasa at that time. The older Tibetans especially radiated an energy that speaks of compassion deeply rooted in their faith. It's difficult to describe but they are also at the crossroads... the Tibetan issue is a complex one, which is further compounded by the changing mindsets of younger Tibetans. I've rambled on, but let me thank you again for doing what you're doing. I agree with you, we can help in our own little ways. Blessings to you! Om Mane Padme Hung!

PinoyApache said...

Om mani padmi om...

LAGATAW said...

Thanks for that overview. It's the best way to get people to understand the reality and the plight that is TIBET! This is real awareness campaign. I hope you don't mind if I share this article.