Friday, March 14, 2008
Lhasa is burning today. The town on the roof of the world, the inspiration for Shangri-La, the spiritual home of Tibetans is aflame.
Tibetans are demanding their freedom, which was taken from them by a military invasion nearly fifty years ago by the Chinese communists.
Tibet is NOT part of China. It NEVER WAS part of China historically. The Tibetans speak their own language, have their own venerable history, their own religion and their own rich culture. They aren't Chinese and never will be.
So instead, China seeks to eradicate them. This is the world's quietest genocide, a murder of an entire culture by the slow process of murder, arrests, tortures but also mass immigration into their land from Han China, the Sinization of their towns like Lhasa.
In an astonishing display of compromise, the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual and political leader, has long sought to negotiate a deal with China that would prevent the Sinization of Tibet by allowing Tibet autonomy within China.
In other words, they are prepared to sacrifice their independence forever in order to obtain a limited freedom in which their culture and people might manage to survive. China's response has been to close more monasteries, kill more Tibetans, and move millions more Han Chinese into Tibet.
In this Olympic year, even the profoundly pacifist Tibetans are not going to accept the ongoing murder of their culture. That is why Lhasa is burning today.
The fires over Lhasa are a much more genuine symbol of human endurance and the quest for freedom of expression and achievement than any sullied Olympic torch spluttering in the Beijing smog ever could be.
Boycott the Beijing Olympics. Show your support for the people of Tibet.
See also my account of visiting Lhasa last year.
UPDATE: It didn't take long for the Chinese to start murdering Tibetans, sadly.