Torture Without Trace: Five Songs by Detained Tibetan Singer Tashi Dhondup

High Peaks Pure Earth presents five music videos by Tibetan singer Tashi Dhondup (also sometimes spelled Tashi Dondrup) from Amdo. According to this report by Radio Free Asia from March 5, 2010, Tashi Dhondup, 30, was sentenced to 15 months of re-education through labour for “separatist activities” related to his music on January 5, 2010.

News of Tashi Dhondup’s detention on December 3, 2009, had been reported by media, including this short article in The Times and here at High Peaks Pure Earth we had also been monitoring news of his arrest.

On December 8, 2009, the International Campaign for Tibet released a report and gave the following details about his arrest:

Tashi Dhondup was detained last week at gun-point while his wife wept and grabbed one of the police officer’s legs in an attempt to hold him back.

A popular singer in Amdo, Tashi Dhondup became well known for his song “1958 – 2008″ that compares two “terrifying” periods for Tibetans. This song spread amongst Tibetans via the internet and mobile phones and was written about by Tibetan writer and singer Jamyang Kyi on her blog as far back as February 12, 2009. Jamyang Kyi wrote:

I arrived in Ziling (Xining) yesterday and I learned that a young boy name Tashi Dondrup of Mongol origin has produced a CD named “Songs of 2008″ but he was arrested before distributing it into the market in December 2008. I was told that his song has been posted on the internet and widely downloaded on to cell phones and is now distributed amongst the Tibetans.

Tashi Dhondup had been detained in September 2008 because of that song and the ICT report tells us “He was detained and beaten for over seven days by police in Xining”.

Here is the High Peaks Pure Earth translation of the song “1958 – 2008″, for slower internet connections listen to the mp3 below the video:


“1958 – 2008″

 Hey!
The year of 1958,
is when the black enemy entered Tibet,
is when lamas were put in prison.

That time was terrifying
That time was terrifying

Hey!
The year of 1958,
is when Tibetan heroes were put in prison,
is when innocent Tibetans were put in prison.

That time was terrifying
That time was terrifying

Hey!
The year of 2008,
is when innocent Tibetans were tortured,
is when the earth destroyed people’s lives.

That time was terrifying
That time was terrifying

The Radio Free Asia report tells us that Tashi Dhondup was detained again in Xining after thousands of copies of his CD “Torture Without Trace” started to be sold in Amdo. Court documents obtained by Radio Free Asia say that Tashi Dhondup and “some other associates copied about 3,000 CDS and distributed them in 11 counties in Qinghai, Sichuan, and Gansu”.

This is the CD cover of “Torture Without Trace”:

 CD cover of “Torture Without Trace” by Tashi Dhondup

 

The full track listing reads:

01: Waiting With Hope
02: Western Land of Scholars
03: Torture Without Trace
04: Unable to Meet
05: For That I Shed My Tears
06: Pain of Missing
07: Let’s Go
08: Unbearable Fate
09: No Escape
10: Tibet Has Good Karma
11: No Regrets
12: Think
13: A Sad Life

Four tracks from “Torture Without Trace” with full English translation are below, including the title track, in video and downloadable mp3 form. For High Peaks Pure Earth readers who wish to see more of Tashi Dhondup’s music videos, all thirteen music videos from “Torture Without Trace” have been uploaded on YouTube and can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/sonam0tenzin

Chinese translations of Tashi Dhondup’s songs “Waiting With Hope” and “Torture Without Trace” are available on Woeser’s blog: http://woeser.middle-way.net/2009/12/blog-post_07.html Woeser also wrote an excellent essay titled “What Kinds of Songs Are Reactionary Songs?” in early 2009 which is worth another read as background to Tashi Dhondup’s situation.

Finally, High Peaks Pure Earth is very grateful to Bhuchung D. Sonam of Tibet Writes for his translations of the songs “Torture Without Trace”, “No Regrets”, “Unable To Meet” and “For That I Shed My Tears” and for allowing us to use and publish them. A big thank you also goes to the translator of “1958 – 2008″!

Torture Without Trace
First, a sad tune for my brother hasn’t returned from afar
Second, the pain because there is no harmony for people
Third, the occupation and denial of freedom for Tibetans

This is all torture without trace

First, the regret as our ancestral wealth is lost to outsiders
Second, the pain that we aren’t the owners of our resources
Third, the practice of sterilisation to wipe out our race

This is all torture without trace
This is all torture without trace

First, the hurt from being denied my parents’ love
Second, the failure to hear the inner voices of my people
Third, the grief that our mountains are belittled

This is all torture without trace
Third, the grief that our mountains are belittled
This is all torture without trace
Unable To Meet

When I think about it I am unfortunate
I am unable to meet the Precious Jewel
Even though I wish, I have no freedom
If I think about this I am unfortunate

When I think about it I am unfortunate
I am unable to wave the Snow Lion Flag
Even though I wish, I have no freedom
If I think about this I am unfortunate

When I think about it I am unfortunate
I am unable to sing a song about loyalty
Even though I wish, I have no freedom
If I think about this I am unfortunate

Even though I wish, I have no freedom
If I think about this I am unfortunate

For That I Shed My Tears

My lama, the compassionate one
Has gone into exile from Tibet
It pains my mind no end
And the tears fall from my eyes

Courageous patriotic martyrs
Have sacrificed their lives for Tibet
It pains my heart thinking of them
And the tears fall from my eyes

Tibetans are denied freedom
And beaten up for no reason
It pains me thinking of this
And the tears fall from my eyes

It pains me thinking of this
And the tears fall from my eyes

No Regrets

Some say I am bad
Some people say I am good
I can be good and I can be bad
But this suffering in me
for not being able to see my lama
I will tell the people of Tibet
For which even if I am killed
I have no regrets

Some people say I am bad
Some say I am good
I can be good and I can be bad
About the Tibetan martyrs
I will sing for the rest of my life
For which even if I am killed
I have no regrets

Some people say I am bad
Some say I am good
I can be good and I can be bad
Tibet has no freedom I sing
And I’ll sing it throughout my life
For which even if I am killed
I have no regrets

I have no regrets

 

This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified)

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