High Peaks Pure Earth continues to translate the unpublished Chinese language manuscript “The Restless Himalayas” by Dolma Kyab, the work for which he was sentenced to ten and a half years in prison in March 2005.
The manuscript is comprised of a Preface, 57 Chapters, Concluding Remarks and an Afterword. Having previously published the preface and Chapter 1, Chapter 3 and Chapter 54, we now present the first half of the last chapter, Chapter 57, titled “A Letter to All Tibetans”. The next (and final) posting will be the second half of Chapter 57 and the Afterword.
The Restless Himalayas
Chapter 57: A Letter to all Tibetans
By Dolma Kyab
Standing upon our motherland, let us face the land of Buddha’s birth and, clasping our hands together, offer the most reverent of prostrations to the Buddha. Let us prostrate to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, with the purest of white khata in our hands. Let us together pray: May the souls of all living beings attain salvation; may the world progress towards universal peace; may our country once again gain freedom; and may our parents and all people attain happiness.
And let us together express the utmost of respect to those who fight for Tibet, day and night! Let us also express the highest of respect to those who plan to fight for Tibet! No matter what you do or how you do it, and no matter how much success or influence you achieve, as far as I’m concerned, you are all second only to the Dalai Lama in excellence. For years, you have constantly and proactively borne all of Tibet’s burdens. You have ingested this burden into your hearts. And you continuously supply me with confidence. Your wisdom and courage exemplify one of the classic features of Tibetan culture. To all of these people, I once again express the highest of respect!
My countless Tibetan brothers and sisters: We live in a time of national devastation. We have weathered countless years of darkness, countless dark nights. The spectre-like undying soul of the nation of Tibet wanders throughout every corner of this land. And over the course of these countless dark nights, a number of souls have ceased to breathe. Others have come alive. At times they gather together; at times they disperse. At times they stand up; at times they sit down. Only as we stand atop the Himalayas can we gain a clear view of this situation. For this all occurs at altitudes between 2,500 to 4,500 meters: the snow line–a frigid region. This a geographically unique place in the world. And in this geographically unique place resides an extremely unique people. These people have developed an extremely unique culture. These people are us–Tibetans.
But perhaps you don’t know: Those who fight for us are not only the enemies of the Chinese government, but they have also become the enemies of some Tibetans. Do you find this fact acceptable? If so, then you must also accept that you have enemies within your own family, for you cannot guarantee that none of your family members are fighting for Tibet. Perhaps your father or mother, brother, son or daughter is one of those fighting for Tibet. And why do they wish to fight for Tibet? Because we were once a country, and now, we are a country that will be revived again. We have our own territory; we have our own culture, which has formed along with our own language. No one can remove these facts from our brains. Our brains are not like computer hard drives. The Chinese government repeatedly attempts to educate us with their own information, saying things like: “The serfs have been emancipated; all of the schemes of the reactionaries and conspiracists who wish to split the motherland have been eliminated. You have gained the freedom of democracy and centralism through the peace of socialism.” However, behind the scenes, the Chinese government strives to wipe out Tibetan culture. They strive to control our every behaviour, so that we comply with their rules. Or in other words, we are made to closely follow behind the Chinese government, like a pitiful little dog. But the problem is that the fate of this little dog is strictly controlled by its master. Are we to believe that this is the Tibetan freedom of which they speak?
Dear Tibetan brothers and sisters: Let us review together an International Commission of Jurists report regarding the Tibet issue. Let us look specifically at the following four facts, which were presented in a special publication titled “Tibet and the People’s Republic of China.” The contents of this publication was written in accordance with the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” passed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1948.
A: The Chinese Communist Party has no jurisdiction to allow or disallow Tibetans to maintain practice of their Buddhist faith.
B: The Chinese Communist Party has worked to systematically eradicate Tibetan religious figures because the faith and religious practices of these figures could provide encouragement to and act as an example for other Tibetans.
C: Pursuant to these goals, the Chinese Communist Party has murdered a significant number of Tibetan religious figures because the faith and religious practices of these figures could provide encouragement to and act as an example for other Tibetans.
D: The Chinese Communist Party has forced a massive number of Tibetan children to live under an environment of Chinese materialism, preventing them from growing up in an environment of robust religious faith.
The above four statements have negatively impacted [the Tibetan independence movement]. How are we still able to put on a self-righteous, hypocritical face while acting as our own enemies and destroying our own culture? Are we to give up on our freedom just because we face difficulty as we venture into this perplexing new world? No! We cannot simply accept any and all actions taken by a country who is illegally occupying our country and doing with it as they please. We cannot simply wrap the false education of the Chinese government around our necks and around our children’s necks without thinking. For if we do, we would be bringing disaster upon ourselves, again and again. The person who died yesterday was one of us; the person being hunted today, too, is one of our own. Tomorrow, it will probably be another one of us. Perhaps this doesn’t matter to some other people, but to me, this situation is like waking up from a nightmare, only to face real-life doom. There’s a particular psychological tendency that invites this misfortune–namely, [in our case,] that a Tibetan never acknowledges that he is a Tibetan, or never discusses the issues of Tibet. For once one begins to discuss the issues of Tibet, he or she will inevitably come to consider the question, “Who are we, and what are we doing?” Secondly, one will realise, “We are Tibetan, and here’s what I want to do.” Once someone considers the first question, then he or she will inevitably come to this conclusion. This is an eternal, determined truth. And who can guarantee that no Tibetan will ever speak of Tibetan affairs? [That would be impossible,] unless the people of Tibet suffer from some kind of mental defect. Therefore, as no one can make such a guarantee, there will always be people who will do us harm in order to prevent us from considering these issues. Or could it be that we take our misfortune as a fact of life?
No! We have the power to entirely change this misfortune, as we are a strong people. To put it another way, let’s imagine that a one-year-old infant and a young person in his 20s are placed into a dense forest, and neither helps the other. If they were to come across a man-eating tiger, I ask: which of the two will suffer an inevitable fate? [Of the two] whose misfortune has the ability to change? The point is that an ideal depends less on its trueness than on its actual application in reality. I think this is a point that my parents and all Tibetan parents will understand–at least, as I express this point, I am [doing so] as one of the younger generation. Because we are currently in a state of national crisis, this burden does not rest on the shoulders of the older generation alone. Rather, the older generation will place their hope into the hands of the younger generation–because young people should be able to push Tibet forward. At the same time, we understand [that this hope that has been placed into the younger generation’s hands by the older generation] is not some stagnant, matter-of-fact point of pride. Rather, it is the hope that we can bolster our energy and step up to this serious and difficult work.
Dear Tibetan brothers and sisters: I often bear witness to our pain, for the pain of our wounds has yet to dull. As we bear these painful wounds, we cannot say, “We are very happy.” Would this not be fooling ourselves? Fooling oneself is the most foolish of behaviors. Is it not enough that there are others who fool us? We still want to fool ourselves? You must understand: fooling ourselves not only hurts ourselves, but also damages the spirit of our children.
We could choose to teach our kids that “wolves don’t eat sheep,” but that wouldn’t be right, would it? Or, your child might ask, “Why? China is our country, but China’s history doesn’t include any of our history.” You wouldn’t just tell them that we simply constitute one part of the Chinese people, would you? That we are an ethnic minority? Would this response satisfy your child’s curiosity? Have you ever thought about where we keep our history hidden? Why must we keep it hidden away? Is it because our history is a history of evil? If it is, then could we not conclude that we are an evil people? If the answer is yes, then how could that be? Perhaps one of the two sides [re: Tibet and China] is a bunch of idiots. If that were the case, then which side are the idiots?
Furthermore, as our culture and people weaken, we just shake our heads–“Ah, how helpless [we are]!” And that’s it? When Chinese people say that they want to restore the prosperity of the Tang Dynasty, do you think that Tibet is included into that concept? When Chinese people confidently chant “Long Live Deng Xiaoping!” do we also have the right to wish a “long life” to our spiritual leader the Dalai Lama? It is because the Dalai Lama has brought pain upon us? When the Chinese support their own population with Tibet’s economic resources, why must they lie to us and say that it is China that is supporting Tibet? Or as they ship massive amounts of our resources out, and as massive amounts of their people come in, are we to really believe that it is China who is supporting us?
When China uses power politics and says, “Tibet is a part of China,” are we to turn our backs on all of the accomplishments of our ancestors? This, would you simply say “yes?” In the legal opinion of jurists Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering, “We are unable, in accordance with the usual practice of states, to judge the effects produced by the narrowing gap between the law and the facts over an extended period of time. Some states, especially the People’s Republic of China, believe that any illegal occupation of a state’s territory by another state will never become legalized, no matter the length of the time [of occupation]. Therefore, conquered states can never fundamentally lose sovereignty over their territory.” When China aimed to “restore [their] sovereignty over Hong Kong,” they repeatedly brought up this legal opinion. But why are Tibetans unable to use this same logic?
No matter how it is explained, from now on, we want liberty. And we will certainly achieve that liberty, so long as everyone retains thoughts of liberty in their minds. For the world has already entered an era of freedom. It pushes humanity forward towards freedom. As long as every Tibetan realizes this, our happiness is right around the corner, and the sun will once gain rise up from our land. Perhaps some people are afraid that having such thoughts will cause them to be painfully conflicted. But we must understand that when one Tibetan has such thoughts, the Chinese government is afraid of that idealistic Tibetan. Although this Tibetan’s life may be greatly threatened, once a great number of Tibetans all have the same demands, the Chinese government will be even more afraid, and the overall safety of the whole group will grow significantly. This is because the world recognizes that it is wrong to kill people simply because their thoughts do not conform with your objectives. There are even people who are courageous enough to declare “we want independence” directly to Chinese officials. There’s also the story of the wife of a snack stall owner who said the following to her child: “After we become free, Mama will will make you the best food to eat.” She then reminds her child, “Do not tell other people [about this promise I have made to you]. If you do, Mama will die.”
It is plain to see that this great ideal is spreading throughout the vast lands of Tibet. This wife of a snack stall owner symbolises the freedom Tibet wishes to achieve. Her great love for her country and people bolsters the courage of all Tibetans. I would politely ask: Would she not be able to touch the hearts of a certain amount of Tibetan millionaires? Could Tibetans possibly still feel that their lives are being threatened by the Chinese government? Those strong men, those beautiful women, those idealistic monks and intellectuals–together you must know what we need [to succeed]. Oh! Please do not turn your face away, for your heart remains a Tibetan heart, for I see your pain within your silhouette–the pain of a people. Why not share this pain with all Tibetans? Oh! please do not abandon those who fight for Tibet, for your loved ones are among them. As you turn away and abandon them, are you so merciless as to abandon them forever?