“May the Deities Protect the Snowland” By Woeser
A few days ago, the Norwegian magazine “Ny Tid” asked me if I would write an article about Liu Xiaobo. As is widely-known, on December 10, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee will bestow the Nobel Peace Prize on Chinese independent scholar Liu Xiaobo, this day is also International Human Rights Day. The media’s assessment is that this year’s award has definitely been bestowed by international civil society on an individual Liu Xiaobo to recognise, encourage and support all of those who have struggled for all these years for freedom, democracy and human rights in China and to defend universal values. This makes me think of all the Tibetans who share in the same pursuit at great cost and after thinking about this, I’d like to write an article about these Tibetans who, although not known, are equally worthy the world’s honour and attention, for example, Dolma Kyab.
This is a Tibetan from Amdo who taught history in a middle school in Lhasa and was imprisoned because he wrote an unpublished book “The Restless Himalayas” as well as essays on environmental protection, women’s rights and so on. In the winter of 2005, on grounds of “inciting state subversion”, the Lhasa court sentenced Dolma Kyab to ten and a half years in prison, just half a year less than Liu Xiaobo. At that time it was said that Dolma Kyab was transferred to a labour camp in Xining but recently it has been said that he is detained in Lhasa’s Chushur Prison, notorious as the place for imprisoning heavyweight political prisoners, a source said that the 34 year old Dolma Kyab was in poor physical health.
His book “The Restless Himalayas” discusses various topics such as the concepts of Tibet’s history and geography, the unity of Tibet’s three provinces, sovereignty, the birth of democracy, China’s political system, Tibet’s right to autonomy, colonialists, nationalism, Tibetans under Communism, rescued memories, the evil of politics, defeating the enemy to regain freedom, the responsibilities of Tibetan lamas, Tibet’s crisis and the way forward, the new generation of Tibetans and so on. Three years ago, after I read a digital version of his book, I sincerely recognised that Dolma Kyab was the true voice of Tibet. Writing like a Greek philosopher and with his unyielding national spirit, as well as now having to spend ten and half years in a harsh prison environment, he shows that he is able to enlighten the Tibetans, especially the Tibetans who were educated about Chinese culture. This will be engraved on the history book of Tibet, he is invigorated by the glory of the autonomy enjoyed by the Tibetan nation in the past, even though he is heavily hit with the pain of the loss of his own country at present, and to be saved in the future, to save his hopes and spirit, this is the most valuable thing!
After I read his book I felt moved to write: “He is truly a Boddhisattva as written about in ancient texts, compassionate and wrathful, these come in turns in his writings, there is self-redemption but he is also helping to save others! I can’t help but wonder why he wrote such things, he wrote alone, he was taken away alone, he sits alone in prison … I want to bow to Dolma Kyab, because I have never before seen a Tibetan inside Tibet using the language of the coloniser, using history and reality, especially all aspects of today’s reality, to tell us the facts about being colonised and the way out of being colonised. Also, there are so many of us writers, if in times like these we don’t write anything, don’t say anything, if in these extraordinary circumstances we don’t act to document in order not to forget, then what use are writers at all?”
Actually, our nationality does not only have one Dolma Kyab, we also have outstanding sons and daughters of the Snowland who are the same as him. According to our tradition, in our snow-mountain encircled land, there are protector deities who have the magical power to create miracles and defend our homeland. Although it may seem as though these recent decades of upheaval only protect the enemy, this is a way of thinking that lacks foresight.
Just as Dolma Kyab writes: “The last drops of the blood of our nationality are pulsating through our veins. Our flesh and bones are expanding with the rejuvenation of our nationality, our spirits are deeply guarding the homeland that we have lost. This is all about to ignite our land and illuminate our land. The heavens will bear witness, Buddha will bless us, we will struggle for ourselves and all of mankind.”
Yes it’s true, these kinds of talents are the real embodiments of the Snowland, in addition to Dolma Kyab, there is Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Bangri Rinpoche, Lobsang Tenzin, Runggye Adak, Dhondup Wangchen, Wangdu, Yeshi Choedon, Norzin Wangmo, Paljor Norbu, Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche, Kunchok Tsephel, Kunga Tsayang, Tashi Rabten, Karma Samdrup, Rinchen Samdrup and so on, and even more Tibetans who are not known, may the deities honour and protect them!
Beijing, December 8, 2010