I feel affinity with my Tibetan brothers and sisters and the recent protests in Lhasa and right here in Delhi at the Chinese Embassy (literally a hop, skip and a jump from my classroom in Chanakyapuri) are disturbing. I sent out a petition to some friends and below is a thoughtful email I received from a friend living in Shanghai in response.

Hi Meena,

 

Unfortunately I think many countries are too afraid to do anything, not just India.

 

China is so strategic, whether to economic interests, or to China’s voting on the Security Council, or because many countries feel they have human rights issues at home, so they don’t want to criticize China and be labeled hypocritical.

 

China paints a totally different view of the situation. Chinese are very nationalistic and believe Tibet is a natural/historic part of the “motherland”, and that China “liberated” the Tibetans from the hierarchical serfdom under which they claim the majority of Tibetans lived prior to 1959.

 

It is also not easy for a people of 1.4 billion people, most of whom belong to one ethnicity, Han, to understand the delicate cultural dynamics of Tibet. The notion of culture was so damaged in China from the communist experience and the Cultural Revolution, creating a generational gap of real cultural appreciation. Culture and connections to the past are being rebuilt again today, but in the age of hyper-capitalism where money is king.

So you can imagine the challenges.

 

Unfortunately, like with many ethnic/social/religious challenges, demographics will largely shape the end result, and (a) China continues to encourage ethnic Hans to move to Tibet, and (b) China carved out much of “Greater Tibet” into other neighboring provinces.

 

Thanks for sending this out and I really hope the situation improves. Tibet is a beautiful place and so unique, but the cultural and spiritual tension is also so apparent.

 

Abraços,

 

Paul

 

Subject: Petition to Support our Tibetan Brothers and Sisters

Friends, below is a letter urging you to sign a petition to support our Tibetan brothers and sisters. My dear friend Swati just sent it to me and please take the time to sign the online petition. Many of you know about the protests that are happening right here in Chanakyapuri at the Chinese Embassy (literally a five minute walk from my classroom). We watched some of the protests on youtube in class and it was quite disturbing. All as His Holiness is scheduled to arrive to give teachings in Delhi this weekend.

 

Dear friends,

 

In view of the recent uprising in Tibet, and the Indian government’s lack of support for the people of Tibet, I felt the need to create a platform where those of us who support the aspirations of the Tibetan people and its non-violent expression, could express our views. I have felt frustrated by the “over-cautious” stand adopted by the Indian government, to quote His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and know that you may have felt the same way.

 

Please visit the online petition, ‘We, the people of India, support the people of Tibet’ at http://www.petitiononline.com/indtib35/petition.html and

take a moment to read the petition statement. If you feel moved to, please sign the petition. Once we have enough signatures, the petition will be sent to the official email addresses of the government of India.

 

I also intend to circulate this petition among our Tibetan friends, so that they know their non-violent struggle is supported. Those of you who may have read my book Dharamsala Diaries, or have followed the Tibetan issue closely, know of the courage and fortitude with which the Tibetan community has preserved its culture, religion and language in exile. I truly believe we in India are fortunate to have the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other teachers who have brought the wisdom of Buddhism back to the country of its origin. I also feel that if we have any respect for Mahatma Gandhi and his path and philosophy, we must support the non-violent struggle of the Tibetan people, for they follow in Gandhi ji’s footsteps. It will be a shame if the Tibetan struggle loses hope, or its belief in non-violence as a credible method of resistance, in the absence of support.

 

Please forward this message to as many people as possible. And feel free to write to me, or leave your comments on the petition website.

 

With all good wishes

Swati

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