High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a letter written in prison by Tibetan writer, poet and editor Tashi Rabten who writes under the pen name of Therang. The letter was simply posted on a Tibetan blog on November 4, 2012 with no background information given.
From the letter we learn that Tashi Rabten is currently being held in Mianyang Prison in Sichuan province. Tashi Rabten’s first disappearance was reported by Tibetan bloggers back in July 2009. In July 2011, it was reported that Tashi Rabten had been sentenced to four years in prison. Tashi Rabten had been one of the main editors of the banned journal “Shar Dungri” (Eastern Snow Mountain) in which Tibetans published commentaries about the 2008 protests and subsequent crackdown. Tashi Rabten also published a collection of essays and poetry titled “Written in Blood”, translations of which can be found on the blog of Students for a Free Tibet.
In his letter, Tashi Rabten mentions many of his friend and colleagues who are also writers and intellectuals, some also in prison with him such as fellow “Shar Dungri” editors Garmi and Nyen. He enquires about Me Che, an intellectual who was arrested in October 2011. High Peaks Pure Earth previously translated a poem dedicated to Me Che titled “The Truth of Flames on the Thorny Path”.
Below the letter, High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a selection of the 27 comments left by Tibetan netizens on the post so far.
“A Letter from Prison”
Friends, are you well? How is our beloved child, with the complexion of a conch shell, the mountainous body wearing armour made of letters and with lively mind and soul doing? How old is he now? Are Me Che and Galtsig living in freedom? I’m wondering, where are Zhog, Gyen, Yang and Me? Are they still making their noises in the midst of the storm and rain?
How are our relatives Shogjang, Nodring, Byangdong, Dronpo and Choleb Dawa doing? Are Ruthur and Dzumdrug from North-West University still sharing their sharp minds and shining thoughts with you all?
I hope our collective dream will come true very soon. Here, I, and those sharing the same fate, Nyen, Garmi, Chenag, Tsagbig, Choleb Dawa, are well. We will be speaking the truth loudly wherever we might be.
Here, although our bodies are like corpses confined in the darkness, our thoughts resemble gold and are always shining brightly. The wisdom of the great thinkers like Tolstoy, Rousseau, Hugo and Baudelaire are showing me light in the darkness and they have been showing me that freedom is limitless.
My friends, this time I was forced to see the dark side of Communism and was gotten rid of by asociety that is marred by dirt and abnormalities. I feel that I do not owe any debt to this society. Therefore, you should wisely keep the balance between government work and personal vision. If I can manage to complete my sentence and come out alive, what choices should I make? It is difficult for me to make such a decision. I admire the choices you have made.
I had the chance to read the eye opening book edited by friend Me Che’s “Differentiate Youth”. The book which discusses thoughts of three great men (a foreigner, Tibetan and a Chinese) is excellent and I praise the book and appreciate it a lot. I need some more books, please send them to me. With all auspicious greetings.
September 26, 2012, Mianyang Prison
16: Therang, Garmi, Nyen, Byangnag, Tzagbig whose images are painted in the mind of Tibetans. Their voices are heard by all Tibetan readers. I am happy to know that they are alive and hope to see them again soon.
15: A big star is rising in the sky. It is wonderful.
14: It is great to hear that the insightful and talented man Therang is well. By Shawo Rinchen from Northwest University
12: Besides Therang, I am also informed Nyen and many others are still alive. I hope they will return home soon. By A Tsebar
11: This reminds my past experience of serving sentence at Jar. In Mianyang, the prisoners make bricks. If this is the prison where Therang and others are jailed, then it is most likely they may be facing deterioration of health and they will be complete damaged in the end. What sadness and sorrow! By Dza Tsering Tashi
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