Free Tibet

I’ve seen the bumper stickers and heard the expression “Free Tibet” for years now, but I never really understood what was going on over there or took the time to learn about their plight.

So last night Jody and I sat down to watch “Tibet – Cry of the Snow Lion.”

Ten years in the making, this feature-length documentary was filmed during nine remarkable journeys throughout Tibet, India and Nepal. Taking viewers to the long-forbidden “rooftop of the world” with an unprecedented richness of imagery, the film powerfully chronicles the dark secrets of Tibet’s recent past through interviews, personal stories and archival images.

It was such an eye-opener and so very sad to see how the Chinese have and continue to repress the Tibetans. I can understand this kind of treatment happening in the past, but here we are, in the year 2005. What is wrong with the rest of the world that we allow this genocide to continue?

If anyone is interested, there’s a good history of the Chinese rule over Tibet over on Wikipedia. I’d try to explain it myself, but that site does a far better job than I could do.

One of the things that’s really frustrating to me is that in 1989 the Chinese government likely kidnapped the new Panchen Lama (a six-year-old boy who was chosen by the current Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama). They then named their own Panchen Lama, thereby acknowledging Buddhism, but trying to keep it under their control. The Panchen Lama will be responsible for naming the reincarnated Dalai Lama after the current one dies. I don’t know if the Chinese really think the Tibetans and Buddhists are going to acknowledge the person they made their puppet Panchen Lama chose, but I can’t see that happening. But what will happen to Buddhism?

Watching that movie and hearing the stories of the horrible things the Chinese have done to the Buddhist monks and nuns is heart-breaking and incredibly frustrating. Here are a people who don’t seem to have a violent bone in their body, yet they are being imprisoned, tortured beyond belief and often killed. How can this happen? How can they continue to get away with it?

It made me very upset over the current state of affairs. I want to do something, but I don’t know what. Part of me thinks a large-scale organized boycott of all products made in China is necessary, but that seems so extreme. And would it even matter? Ugh.

I want to raise awareness at the very least. I am sure so many people have no idea this is going on. I mean, I didn’t! I knew Tibet wanted to be freed, but I had no idea why or from what! A “Free Tibet” bumper sticker seems so cliche. Will anyone even care to find out why Tibet needs to be freed?

I decided to look up “Free Tibet” stickers to see what is out there and I came across a website that reports some very different findings than what is portrayed in the movie. Of course, there are two sides to every story and while I still think that a lot of what the Chinese did and does is absolutely wrong and extreme, I’m wondering if some good didn’t come out of their occupying Tibet in the first place. Hmmm. (Scratching my head.) Guess I have more reading to do.

Playing catch-up

I know, I know. I’ve been a total blogging slacker lately. Not only have I been remiss in blogging myself, but I haven’t been checking in on my blogroll very much either. (Hanging my head in shame.)

It seems like this past week has been and September especially is going to be busier than the rest of the summer. It could be because some of my friends are back in town now so we have things planned. Could be that my in-laws will be driving up from OK and staying with us for a few days this weekend. Could be that our first official API meeting will be held mid-September. Could be that we are going on vacation at the end of September to Massachusetts (and meeting my parents there). Plus Ava is sick again with a virus. I had my annual physical today (whoopee), and I’m on gardening duty this week. Oy. So much going on. Not that I’m complaining, I like having things to do (well, I could do without Ava being sick, but at least we aren’t on vacation!). :)

I’ve got lots of things mulling around in my head that I hope to blog about in the near future, starting with the movie Jody and I watched last night – “Tibet – Cry of the Snow Lion.” But I will start another entry for that. ;)

In the meantime, I will do my best to be a good blogger (leaving comments and the like), but please don’t hold it against me if I don’t leave comments on every entry. I try, I really do. ;)