Archive for The Kosovo Series

Free Tibet…or words to that effect…

Posted in The Tibetan Series with tags , , , , , , , on 31 March 2008 by Maggie

Disclaimer:  Farther down in this post, I use the word “you”.  It is not meant as an individual reference to anyone reading the post.  It is meant collectively.  Judge yourself only by how you fit into the references.  Thank you.

Beijing 2008 
This banner was developed by Reporters Sans Frontiéres (Reporters Without Borders).

My thought on the banner:

Yes, the handcuffs denote a shackling of freedoms, and no, it should have nothing to do with the Olympics. I see the five shackles as an imprisonment worldwide (including all nations who may or may not be appearing at the games) in these areas:

1. social tolerance
2. religious tolerance
3. economic restriction
4. political tolerance
5. ethnic tolerance

Remove the title, “Beijing 2008”, and you have “21st Century World”, which is more true than limiting the message to just Beijing. After all, look what even the U.S. government has done just in the last 20 years to various locations around the world. There is very little difference, except in the aspect that “we don’t like them Chinese”.


I think, in light of this, Reporters Sans Frontiéres would be better served in making their shackles represent the universal issues as I have suggested, and sell T-shirts that will last much longer than 4-5 months.


One of the things I find striking about the hoopla over Tibet is that Westerners are all anxious to boycott the 2008 Olympics and raise a ruckus and “free Tibet”.

Excuse me. How are you defining “free”? Do you mean you want them to be independent from China, or are you saying they should have certain freedoms?

One thing you have to realise in the most recent history of Tibet is that they have been a part of China for hundreds of years. It is not true that they have always been under the control of China, but it has been true since at least the 5th Dalai Lama, Lobsang Gyato, in the early 1600s. Those who do not know the history, also are not aware that at that time, and a few years previous, it was the Manchu Dynasty that saved the Tibetans from Mongol occupation, and were considered saviours. So the Chinese were welcome then, and up until 1959, were always welcome.

Why the change? Prior to 1959, Tibet had its own means of commerce, social civilisation, and religious freedom. Tibetan Buddhism was practiced freely and openly from the 5th Dalai Lama forward, and politically, each Dalai Lama was considered the head of state for Tibet, whether or not Tibet was considered a sovereign nation. The Chinese government recognised the Dalai Lama, just as did other nations…except, interestingly enough, many Western nations…because it was difficult for them to accept any sort of sovereignty governed by one who was considered a religious deity alien to white God-based philosophies.

It was a sad, sad time when the current Dalai Lama was sent to exile, and he has presided as best he could over his people as he has been in exile in India.

The current Dalai Lama has advocated a compromise, and has always felt that it would be a good thing if China and the region of Tibet could come to this compromise – and that is to allow religious, economic, and social freedom to the people, if not also governmental control. This is understandable. The Tibetan people have not been able to come to their own sense of solidity since the Mongol invasion, and so a solid government presence would not be against logic, or does not seem to be.

There were factions that split centuries ago. Today that split is there between those faithful to the philosophies of the Dalai Lama, and those who are so blind with rage and frustration that they take to the streets and retaliate against the Chinese government and their show of military force by burning shops, cars, and homes of innocent Chinese people. Tell me, please, how this is not both an ethnic and civil war. Please note that the Chinese who are fighting against the Tibetan people are the military, not the shopkeepers or Chinese people choosing to live in Tibet as regular people. Please note, also, that it is the verysame Chinese government whose military force, particularly in Lhasa, caused the deaths of Tibetans long before the rioting took place.

The Chinese people, however, are not there to hurt them. They are there because the Chinese have entered the world of enterprise, and thus these people were allowed to go into Tibet and set up shop, just as anywhere else in China. Are they doing this “on the backs” of the indigenous Tibetan people? Not so much. It is no different than our setting up shop somewhere that we have not lived before, because we have the economic advantage to do so. Do we care that the government has restrictions on others? Do we care enough to put our own families in economic jeopardy if the government says someone else cannot do the same as we?

What is happening in Tibet is not something that can be rectified by a “political” statement from the West in any way, shape, or form. Why do you think boycotting the Olympic games will make a difference? It won’t. The Chinese government is quietly smiling and nodding its collective head and letting Westerners make complete asses out of themselves. Hit them in their pocketbook? Surely you jest. If people do not show up in China for the games, boycott watching the games on the telly, or whatever, the Chinese can recoup their losses in many ways, including the serious consideration of cashing in their $3 trillion in U.S. Treasury Bills. Do not forget they also have remarkable investments in South America, as well as other places in the Middle East and around the world. Don’t think for a minute they cannot hurt every Western nation in the end, because they can.

So yes, jump up and down and shout “Hit them where it hurts!” Then tell me where you think you can realistically hurt them.

And over what, Tibetan “freedom”?

You tell me where you will be two weeks after the games are over, eh? Are you still going to be chanting “Free Tibet”? I would be a rich woman if I took bets on that, and China is counting on it. They’ll ride out the storm for the time being, and then you will all go away and your level of caring will be nil.

As Jesus outlined to Peter in the day or so before his death, when the cock crows three times, you will deny knowledge.

You did it with Burma/Myanmar two weeks after we talked about it last fall. You did the same with Kosovo in February. I have no reason to doubt you will desert Tibet two weeks after the games. You all run to the popular “crisis” du jour, and then run off to another one. You cannot be faithful, and you cannot be counted upon to fight when a threat is real.

Sign your wee petitions that will be turned into someplace out there in the ether and subsequently ignored. Paint your picket signs and march somewhere in a safe country where your freedom of speech says you can do this, so that you can pretend it matters. Turn off your telly during the games (you won’t – you’ll watch – you just hope no one knows you have been) – and then read the results in the papers, who won’t be quite as adamant about zero coverage. Piss and moan about how horrible human rights are in China. After all, everyone else is doing it. You will have done your part, at least for the time it takes for people to notice you raised a weak voice that then goes flat. You will have been running with the “right crowd”, don’t you know, and you will have exuded the appropriate self-righteous behaviour. And you will feel good.

For two weeks.

I hope those of you in the U.S. realise that when it happens here one day, Europe will chant for two weeks and then be done, as well.

Then you will know how it really feels.