01.05.2008

For Tibet and Truth

Jeremy Ball voices what so many others are feeling in the ongoing tragedy of Tibet.

Jeremy Ball voices what so manyothers are feeling in the ongoing tragedy of Tibet.

Ihave delayed writing this article as I have faced atough decision within my heart. Do I speak openly againstChina and risk having a black mark against my name atthe Chinese Embassy and never being allowed to visitmy beloved Tibet again nor show the people I lead onmy tours to Tibet, the blessings deep within that landand her people, or do I speak frankly from my heart?

I went for a short walk to collect my thoughts andstopped at a cafe'. On the table in front of me wasthe daily paper which reported the courage and honestyof Kevin Rudd who, in China's capital Beijing and speakingin Mandarin, defended his early call to the Chineseauthorities to cease their violence in Tibet. My heartopened and tears came to my eyes - at last a politicianwith conscience and courage.

I think by now we all know what is going on in Tibet- the killings at peaceful demonstrations and the massdetention of monks and students whose fate goes unreported,the expulsion of all media from the region and radicalChinese propaganda brainwashing the region and beyond.Perhaps the most insidious problem in Tibet, besidesthe tragic loss of life and basic human rights and freedoms,is the impenetrable iron curtain that surrounds thismountain kingdom - and this in an era of unprecedentedcommunication and access to information. The Chinese"liberators" cut mobile phone connectionsand Internet connections so that Tibetans could notcontact their family members outside Tibet. Neithercould they be contacted to verify whether they werealive or to determine the truth of what was going onin the wake of the uprising.

From my friends within the Tibetan refugee communityin Australia I have been made aware that the "crackdown"by the Chinese authorities, whilst claiming many lives,is not the worst part. The worst is to come and is happeningnow. It goes unreported and unnoticed by the Westernmedia because it does not involve hundreds of civiliansand soldiers in public places. Yet is the daily scourgeof secret police visiting and tormenting suspected participantsand "ring leaders" of the protests and puttingseveral under house arrest. This is not unfamiliar toordinary Tibetans - they've endured these kind of restrictionsand far worse at the hands of the Chinese, for nearly50 years and the world has stood by and allowed it tohappen.

What the Chinese authorities are doing in Tibet bearsa similarity to what the English did in Ireland, India,Australia, New Zealand, America, the Spanish in SouthAmerica, the USA in Iraq, and the European carve upof Africa, and the list goes on. All of us in the Westeither have this imperialistic scourge in our Ancestoror, at the very least, have benefited from the fruitsof taking another's land and humiliating and subjugatingher people while raping the environment of its naturalresources so the people in the motherland can benefit.In saying "no" to the villain outside of usand standing up for our brothers and sisters in otherparts of the world, we say no to the imperialistic urgeswithin ourselves.

On Saturday March 28 approximately 200 people gatheredin Hay Street, in the centre of Perth, as did thousandsupon thousands in other cities around the world. Theorganisers urged those assembled to remain peacefuland respectful. A speech by His Holiness 14th DalaiLama was read out, with the Dalai Lama requesting thatrallies not be directed against China or Chinese, butrather be pro Human Rights, and that we gather togetherand march in harmony showing our support for all thosesuffering around the world. The march was lead by ZatrelRinpoche, the leader of the Tibetan Community in Perthand a former member of the Tibetan Government in Exile(Kashag).

In his speech, His Holiness re-asserted his supportfor the Beijing Olympics. "China has the world'slargest population, a long history and an extremelyrich civilisation. Today, due to her impressive economicprogress, she is emerging as a great power. This iscertainly to be welcomed. But China also needs to earnthe respect and esteem of the global community throughthe establishment of an open and harmonious societybased on the principles of transparency, freedom, andthe rule of law.

"I express these concerns both as a fellow humanbeing and as someone who is prepared to consider himselfa member of the large family that is the People's Republicof China."

These are enormous problems that affect thousands ofhuman beings. So how can you help? Take a stand fortruth, freedom and love on our planet. Give of yourselfand your resources. It is truly through giving thatyou receive. Through the realisation that other peopleare living in truly dire circumstances, you developgratitude for the numerous blessings and abundance inyour own life.

Know that if you stand up for others you will standup for those aspects of yourself inside and your worldjust might change. I know mine has.

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