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On Tibet and Palestine

March 10, 2009

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Before I learned about Palestine, I used to campaign for Free Tibet. What happened? I suppose I just got sidetracked by many other atrocities that were happening in the world. Because Tibet has nothing to offer the geopolitical interests of any major nation, it has been pushed out of the international consciousness and left in silence. It has been taken for granted that there will never be a free Tibet, that China will never give up its claim to the region. 

But today, after reading the Dalai Lama’s speech in which he describes Tibet as “hell on Earth,” I began thinking that occupation happens in very similar ways. Truck in a couple thousand troops, set up checkpoints and start building settlements on the ‘free’ land. Then, lay claim to the region’s natural resources, build roads (Palestine) or railroads (Tibet) to cart these valuable materials away. Then, deny that the occupied culture and/or people ever existed. Finally, make yourself indispensable to the international community (America and Western Europe) and its interests ($) so that no one will be able to interfere although they can criticize your human rights abuses to their heart’s pitiful content.

 

Chinese forces have set up checkpoints to seal off the region while foreign tourists as well as journalists were told to leave several weeks ago.

The government has also apparently stopped internet and text-messaging services – which helped spread word of last year’s protests – in parts of the region.

Nevertheless, the Dalai Lama still has hope that the truth will prevail in the case of Tibet. He advocates for a Tibetan autonomous region which would still fall under the political rule of greater China. The Tibetans are seeking only the freedom to keep their culture and heritage alive, something that the Chinese refuse to allow.

Lamenting that Tibetan culture and identity were “nearing extinction”, he said “even today Tibetans in Tibet live in constant fear … regarded like criminals, deserving to be put to death”.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2009/03/20093104183107889.html

The Dalai Lama is frequently referred to as a “wolf in monk’s clothing”, by the Beijing authorities, and it is clear they regard him as devious and untrustworthy.

For his part the Dalai Lama seems to have reached a level of frustration with that process that has made him suggest he is on the verge of retiring.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2009/03/2009310313204736.html

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