Friday, 28 March 2008

A Himalayan People's Struggle for Freedom

Exile tibetans protesting China's violent crackdown on their countrymen. Such sadness in their faces.

The Indian Himalayas are seething with anger and frustration as the Tibetan exile community watches China crack down on the protests of their countrymen back home in Tibet. In Shimla a number of Tibetans had organised a hunger strike to raise awareness for the issue. It was truly moving to see the desperate, yet dignified and peaceful protests of a people too long denied their most basic right to self-determination and protection of their human rights. In a recent piece of news, China has sent civilian-clothed forced into Nepal to disrupt Tibetan protests there. It is truly despicable.

I will take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to the Tibetan struggle for freedom. Whether Tibet should be sovereign or whether some form of autonomy within China can be satisfactory I'm not sure. But Tibetans should be able to freely express their culture and their opinions, and those exiled should be able to return to a Tibet, where the will of the people is expressed in the political arena. I truly understand the call of Tibetans for the Olympics to be boycotted, but in some sense I hope that the international spotlight created by the Olympics may cause the Chinese government to enter into negotiations with the Dalai Lama, so a process of normalisation can start.

More hunger strikers, young and old.

Nitoli writes a message of support for the Tibetans, while standing in front of the photographic documentation of China's violence and human rights abuses.

The tired, hunger striking protesters sat silently, while signs behind them expressed their - very reasonable - demands.

Later in the day a large group of Tibetans had changed their tactic by doing a parade through Shimla.

Even a mock Red Army showed up for the protest march.

A group of ladies shouting out for Tibet. I wonder if they will ever get to set foot in their homeland.

2 comments:

Oxhomiya Jeet said...

Hi Esben,

Very nice blog about the Tibetans. It is a story I've been following closely as well. Not sure if this piece by the Dalai Lama has been carried in Indian newspapers, but you may find it an interesting read.

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=411281

Jeet

Esben said...

Hi Oxhimiya

Thanks for the interesting link. I think the Dalai Lama has taken a very constructive and conciliatory approach, which only makes the Chinese course of action all the less comprehensible.