25 December 2008

"Every animal knows far more than you do." (Nez Perce)

Norbert Rosing's striking images of a polar bear coming upon tethered sled-dogs in the wilds of Canada. The photographer was sure that he was going to see the end of the dogs when the polar bear wandered in, but the bear returned every night that week to play with the dogs.

From About.com: "The location was a kennel outside Churchill, Manitoba owned by dog breeder Brian Ladoon, who kept some 40 Canadian Eskimo sled dogs there when Rosing visited in 1992. A large polar bear showed up one day and took an unexpected interest in one of Ladoon's tethered dogs. The other dogs went crazy as the bear approached, Rosing says, but this one, named Hudson, "calmly stood his ground and began wagging his tail." To Rosing and Ladoon's surprise, the two "put aside their ancestral animus," gently touching noses and apparently trying to make friends."

From Rosing's website: "1988 he started his still ongoing project: The World of the Polar Bear. It covers the entire Canadian Arctic from Churchill/Manitoba to Pond Inlet and Cambridge Bay in Nunavut. He captured in his pictures the life of the Inuit, Muskoxen, Atlantic Walrusses, Whales, Aurora Borealis and of course the life circle of the Lord of the Arctic, the Polar Bear."

Remember that Sarah Palin does not believe that polar bears are endangered, she hunted wolves from a helicopter, and she does not believe that global warming is real.

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
- Mahatma Gandhi

What incredible images!

Sending bear hugs to you all!

(thanks Existentialist Cowboy!)

16 December 2008

does religion make us more divine or deranged?

(photo credit: bhakticollective)

Kaustubha Das asks a very good question. no society is immune from religious fundamentalism, just look at our home-grown fundamentalist Christians. all fundamentalists have the same thing in common: devotion to their god and a belief that they are right and everyone else is wrong.

in Sanskrit that would be bhakti combined with avidya with a good dash of asmita thrown in. devotion combined with ignorance and ego.


"When we see innocent people running our city streets, scrambling for shelter from acts of violence committed in God’s name, whether in Manhattan or Mumbai, it’s a good time to ask ourselves whether our religion is making us more divine or deranged. On the verge of 2009, it’s become all the more apparent that the first decade of the new millennium will, in many ways, be defined by the impact of religious terrorism on our nations, communities, families and minds. Times like these call for us to examine how our faith affects our reasoning....

The most relevant questions about religion will address how we approach it. Religion, as a method of self-transformation (or yoga), can purify the heart, free us of unworthy instinct and compulsion, and nurture the best in us. A pure heart is fit to receive God’s grace in the form of wisdom, contentment and compassion. Conversely, a superficial approach sees religion as merely a ticket to salvation via membership to a group endowed with the favor of God. It can result in just the opposite, fostering pride, sectarianism and hate. It can become an instrument for the expression of exactly that which we need to be purified of. Which brings us to the real enemy: not Islam, not even extreme fundamentalist Islam...."

To understand human nature I don't have to read modern western psychology books...all I need to do is look to yoga philosophy and Buddhism. Buddha was the first neuroscientist and psychologist and after his enlightenment he taught how to relieve our suffering, nothing more, nothing less. in fact his teachings were so simple that he almost decided not to teach what he discovered under the bodhi tree because he thought people would not believe him. after his enlightenment he was asked what he was and he merely said "awake." that is all the word "buddha" means.

As Das explains and also asks: "Yogic literature speaks of six enemies (Ari-shad-vargas) which bind the soul: kama, (lust); krodha, (anger); lobha, (greed); mada, (madness); moha, (illusion); and matsarya, (hate and envy). True religion aims at uprooting these terrorists. The sincerity of ones purpose in their approach to religious practice weighs heavily in determining ones success. Will the soul be purified or putrefied?"

Are you your own terrorist or will you choose to awaken?

03 December 2008

the heroes of Mumbai

(photo credit: New York Times)

For Heroes of Mumbai, Terror Was Call to Action

"On any ordinary day, Vishnu Datta Ram Zende used the public-address system at Mumbai’s largest railway station to direct busy hordes of travelers to their trains.

But last Wednesday just before 10 p.m., when he heard a loud explosion and saw people running across the platform, he gripped his microphone and calmly directed a panicked crowd toward the safest exit. The station, Victoria Terminus, it turned out, was suddenly under attack, the beginning of a three-day siege by a handful of young, heavily armed gunmen.

“Walk to the back and leave the station through Gate No. 1,” he chanted alternately in Hindi and Marathi, barely stopping to take a breath until the platform was cleared. No sooner, gunmen located his announcement booth and fired, puncturing one of the windows. Mr. Zende was not hurt.

Overnight, Mr. Zende became one of Mumbai’s new heroes, their humanity all the more striking in the face of the inhumanity of the gunmen....

Not far from the train station, as the same network of gunmen stormed the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel, a sous chef named Nitin Minocha and his co-workers shepherded more than 200 restaurant diners into a warren of private club rooms called The Chambers.

For the rest of the night they prepared snacks, served soda, fetched cigarettes and then, when told it was safe, tried to escort the diners out through the back. They wanted to make sure their guests, many of them Mumbai’s super-elite, were as comfortable as possible.

“The only thing was to protect the guests,” said the executive chef, Hemant Oberoi. “I think my team did a wonderful job in doing that. We lost some lives in doing that.”

During the attacks, six employees from the kitchen staff were slain.

Even after an aborted evacuation bid, hotel workers helped get water for their guests and held up bedsheets to create makeshift urinals....

Mr. Zende joined the railways at the age of 19, when his father, a railway guard, died. With a 10th-grade education, Mr. Zende began at the bottom of the ladder, working himself up to the announcement booth. Now, he commutes an hour and a half each way from a working-class corner on the city’s northern edges, naturally on the railways. He makes little more than $300 a month."

India has lived with terrorism for years, yet it only becomes front page news when the white faces are killed.

I fell in love with India on my first trip. I was 51, alone, and I had never been overseas in my life, but as soon as my foot hit Indian soil I knew I had come home. when I returned to my American home a month later, I was changed. I experienced reverse culture shock that lasted for many months. I did not want to be here at all, it made me depressed. tired of my constant talk about India, my husband asked me, annoyed, "why do you love India so much?" I said without hesitation, "the people", and I started to cry.

I've spent my time with slum children who use garbage for toys and with Brahmins, the highest caste. I've spent time at a shelter with women who were rescued from the streets. There I talked with a former Bollywood star who told me, when I started crying because these women reminded me of the battered women to whom I teach yoga, "don't cry, madam, we like it here." I was hugged by a woman who could speak no English but she touched my hair and then touched hers and started talking to me in Tamil...the translator told me that she said we were the same because we both had the same thick, curly, dark hair. I've sat on the concrete floor of my auto rickshaw driver's two room apartment that doesn't have a bathroom, eating lunch with my hands in the south Indian way, sharing a communal meal with him and his wife and three daughters. they sleep on straw mats on the concrete floor.

I was the guest of honor at a school in the slums of Madurai where I told the children that they were all Gandhis. a teacher told the kids how it was their privilege for the American yoga teacher to visit their school today. I said, no, it was MY privilege to be treated with such graciousness, a total stranger. the principal took my hand and said I was a gift from God for them...and that's when I started to cry.

I've met people who have nothing according to white bread suburban standards and yet they have everything. there has not been one day since 2005 that I do not think about Ma India. she cracks open my heart and makes me count the days until I can run back into her arms and lose myself all over again.

28 November 2008

India's 9/11

(BBC photo)

The tragedy in Mumbai is India's 9/11. Unlike America before 9/11, India has always known terrorism, but never of the scale that has been experienced in Mumbai.

Those of you who know me know that India is my second home, however, I have never been north, I've always stayed south in my beloved Tamil Nadu. a Tamil friend in India emailed me this morning to tell me how sad she is that westerners were singled out by the terrorists. my friends here have emailed me telling me that they will worry about me even more now during my future trips to India (I have two planned.) I appreciate their concern, but I think it is misplaced because I can die within the hour or next week or 30 years from now. I am not afraid to die, not anymore. I do not live my life in fear, although I know I will die in India. don't ask me how I know, I just know.

I've heard from various news sources that the authorities think the terrorists have ties to Pakistan but also to Kashimiri separatist groups. For those of you who don't know India's history, Pakistan was created out of the Partition. There are some who think that it was one of the greatest tragedies in human history. this was a brutal time in India's history with atrocities committed on both sides. many westerners look up to Mahatma Gandhi, but I can tell you that some Indians hate him for his role in the Partition. I had a long conversation on a long Indian train trip with a man who told me that many Indians hate Gandhi just like Americans hate George Bush. it was an eye-opening conversation.

Terror and suffering in this world are created when we believe we are separate from one another, when we do not see ourself in the other person.

My heart cries for Mother India, my India.

18 August 2008

poetry: even yoga teachers get the blues

I used to write poetry -- even won a few awards -- and one of my favorite poets of all time is Leonard Cohen....Avalanche is one of his songs from his Songs of Love and Hate album released in 1971.

Cohen's recurring themes in his poetry were love and sex, religion, and psychological depression...all totally interrelated as far as I'm concerned....funny how I was so attracted to those themes as a dark, young, hippie chick in high school...I wanted to run away and live with Cohen on those Greek isles he wrote about....

"Well I stepped into an avalanche,
it covered up my soul;
when I am not this hunchback that you see,
I sleep beneath the golden hill.
You who wish to conquer pain,
you must learn, learn to serve me well.
You strike my side by accident
as you go down for your gold.
The cripple here that you clothe and feed
is neither starved nor cold;
he does not ask for your company,
not at the centre, the centre of the world.

When I am on a pedestal,
you did not raise me there.
Your laws do not compel me
to kneel grotesque and bare.
I myself am the pedestal
for this ugly hump at which you stare.

You who wish to conquer pain,
you must learn what makes me kind;
the crumbs of love that you offer me,
they're the crumbs I've left behind.
Your pain is no credential here,
it's just the shadow, shadow of my wound.

I have begun to long for you,
I who have no greed;
I have begun to ask for you,
I who have no need.
You say you've gone away from me,
but I can feel you when you breathe.

Do not dress in those rags for me,
I know you are not poor;
you don't love me quite so fiercely now
when you know that you are not sure,
it is your turn, beloved,
it is your flesh that I wear."

I'm dealing with some life-changing shit lately and one of my friends suggested a Rumi poem to me:


This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

10 June 2008

my mother died today

not today actually, but three years ago, august 6, 2005 to be exact. it's just that I found out today doing a google search of her name and I read the Social Security death records. hey, lin, your mom died and she was 89. at least I know I have some genes for longevity because my father died when he was 86.

my mother and I were seriously estranged, physically estranged for about 20 years since I neither saw her nor talked to her in all that time. but emotionally estranged for much longer than that. I figured she started getting even wackier when I was about 10 or 11 when she was in her early 50s, so around my age now. back in the mid-1950s when I was born, I think it was unusual for a woman over 40 to have a child. my father was almost 50. my mother liked to tell everyone that I was a "change of life baby." I don't think she liked me very much for that. but she waited until I was in my 20s to tell me that I should have been an abortion. thanks, mom. thanks for telling me that at an age where I could handle the craziness of that statement relatively well and not when I was 5 or 10 or 16. thank god for small miracles.

I am a survivor of more than a few things, and abuse at the hands of a parent is one of them. I won't go into specifics as I am not as brave as Utah Savage in writing about it. I feel that some things should be kept private in this age of in-your-face reality shows and tell-all confessions, but that's me. I have always kept my pain private and personal, but again, that's me. those of you who feel the need to scream your pain from your rooftop, more power to ya. despite everything I've lived through at the hands of others, I think I survived damn well and made it through my private hells relatively unscathed. better than a lot of other people I know, that's for sure. some are no longer alive.

when I think back about how my mother acted when I was growing up, I'm pretty sure she would be classified now as bi-polar. she had manic phases of high energy, doing yard work or cleaning the house from top to bottom, and then one day stay in bed all day in her darkened bedroom, never saying a word. there were times when she would not talk for days. when I was in college she told she was seeing a counselor, someone at a public mental health clinic, but she stopped because the person told her there was nothing wrong with her. she was very proud of that statement. I called the clinic to ask if my mother was seen there -- I said that I knew they could not tell me anything, I just wanted to know if a woman with my mother's name had ever been there. they said no. I never told her I did that.

growing up in the '60s and '70s, as a young feminist I came to realize that my mother was totally frustrated in her gender role. I remember her getting part-time jobs of one type or another and they would never last. I never knew the reasons why she quit them. my mother was very intelligent for a person who had never even gone to high school, she was a voracious reader, and was very proud of me that I always was one of the best students in school. of course she always said that my intelligence came from her. but I also remember that she never had anything good to say about her parents or her upbringing. she said her parents were ignorant Polacks. I never knew my grandparents from either side.

the bottom line was that my mother was nuts. I ran away (I had no idea where I was going, I just needed to get out) when I was about 15 and tried to kill myself when I was 16. I remember that the next day my mother was worried about what people would say if they found out.

you might ask where my father was during this time. he owned a little grocery store and meat market, he was a German butcher who came for the American Dream in 1927, so he worked 16 hours or more a day. I can't blame him because all my mother did was bitch about one thing or another. or scream at the top of her lungs. or lock him out of the house for days and weeks at a time. let's just say I did not grow up in the most positive and uplifting of households.

it was very obvious to me that my mother hated being married, and looking back, I don't think she liked men very much at all. so I guess it's because of that I was Daddy's Little Girl, there was nothing he would not do for me. when he could. my happiest memories are those of spending time with my father, not with my mother. it was never father-daughter abuse, it was mother-daughter abuse, but I guess he would be called negligent. negligent for working all the time. besides, he could never stand up to my mother. nobody could. she always liked to say that she'd kick the Devil himself in the ass. a tough broad. like mother like daughter.

you also might ask if I had any siblings. yup, one sister who is 19 years older than me and she left the house when I was 4 when she got married. she never looked back. I also have neither seen nor heard from her in 20 some years. so I guess you can say she abandoned me. once a tarot card reader told me that I've always been betrayed by women, never men. got that right, sister. now is there any reason I've never had lots of women friends, only a few close ones? I hate being with a group of women. I'd rather run with the boys any day. maybe that's why I feel so outside the box in the yoga world -- most yoga teachers are women.

I moved out when I was 18 and got my own apartment and I tried to have some semblance of a relationship with my mother, but it was not to be. in my 20s I realized to save myself, to save my own sanity, I had to sever all emotional ties with a toxic woman. there are many women who are not meant to be mothers.

when I got married for the second time at 35, before we moved to Texas for a corporate relocation, I wrote my mother a long letter telling her exactly why I can never see her again, with no return address. I had written my mother a similar letter once before, journaling all her actions in my life and my reactions, but that I forgave her. she told me I was a liar.

all these years I wondered how my mother was, whether she was dead or alive. I wondered if she ever thought of her long-lost daughter. there were times when I wanted to see her, to tell her in person that I forgave her, to try to get a mother's love that I so desperately wanted and needed when I was a girl. during the 18 years I lived with my parents my mother never once told me she loved me or hugged me. she always said the fact that I had food and a roof over my head was good enough. when I was about 15 she grabbed all the clothes in my closet and threw them down the basement stairs -- she said it was time I did my own washing and ironing. and I did.

I tried to convince myself growing up that I was adopted because I thought no one would treat their natural born child with such disdain.

I cried a bit today when it hit me that my mother was dead, that I finally knew for sure after all these years. in reality I cried for the way things should have been. I thought that I should have tried harder to find her, that I should have reached out. but when it came right down to it, the truth was that I was afraid of being rejected, again, and even at this stage in my life, I knew I could not stand that. maybe some people will call me a bad daughter for not having anything to do with her all these years. after all, "she's your mother, you should have been there for her." yes, like my mother was there for me all those times back in the day when I tried to kill my pain with booze or drugs or men. or when I used to hide in a closet when I was a little girl and talk to my invisible friend. I still have the teddy bear I used to hug. I can never look at pictures of myself as a little girl, they upset me too much because I am reminded of a lost childhood, but I can not let go of that teddy bear.

I forgave my mother a long time ago for the things she did to me. I make no excuses for her. we are all responsible for our actions, but in a way, she could not help herself. as a Buddhist, I have compassion for her, for how she grew up, for whatever or whoever made her the way she was, because something did. but more importantly, I have compassion and love for myself. I am a survivor. and I am glad her suffering is over.

rest in peace, mom. I wish for you the peace that you never had when you were alive. I wish happiness for you in your next life because you never had it in this one.

that is all I can do.

28 April 2008

daughters of India

My sidebar contains photos from 50 Million Missing: the International Campaign for India's Women and Girls. I first wrote about the campaign in January, 2007.

Barbara Raisbeck recently interviewed Rita Banerji, the founder of this online campaign, for her blog The Daughters of India.

India is in my heart and I consider it my second home. but things happen to women and girls in India that sicken me. in a country where the female Divine and the male Divine are equal in Hinduism, women are still killed over the amount of a dowry (technically illegal but still asked for) and fetuses are aborted for the sole reason that they are female. a British ex-pat I know in India told me that he's heard people say that "bringing up a girl is like watering someone else's plant." I've read stories in the newspaper about people finding girl fetuses behind hospitals.

"...it is estimated about 50 million women have been systematically purged from India’s population, targeted only because they were female. This is perhaps what makes it one of the worst genocides in human history. And it is silent. And ongoing. The causes of this elimination are primarily female feticide, female infanticide and dowry murders.

Female infanticide has long, historical roots in India. It continues to be a rampant practice in many rural regions of India, largely because it is more affordable for the rural poor than the method more prevalent in towns and cities — that is sex-selected abortions. A mid-wife is paid only about Rs 100/- (U.S. $2.50) to kill a newborn girl. Babies are strangled, buried alive, drowned in buckets of milk, or fed poison. In some parts of India that job is relegated to the father or paternal grandmother who does it for free.

Female feticide has now become an unbridled phenomenon in India. Even though it is illegal for doctors to reveal the gender of the fetus during an ultrasound, still about a million female fetuses are selectively aborted in India each year. This rate is expected to rise to an alarming 2-5 million/year over the new few years."

Here are some excerpts from Barbara's interview with Rita:

"Barbara: What is the 50 Million Missing campaign?

Rita: The primary aim of the 50 Million Missing campaign...is to raise awareness both in India and internationally, about the millions of women that have been systematically eliminated from India’s population due to customs like female foeticide, infanticide and dowry murders.

...Most people (not just outside India but also within) are either not aware of the situation or are in denial that it exists. The first and most important challenge of this campaign is to break down the doubt and denial.

Barbara: Has the campaign gained interest from others? Are you working with other organizations on this issue?

Rita:...The reaction from people is mixed. Those that are aware of the issue are indignant, and very supportive. Many people, I think, are still in disbelief or in denial – they know it’s true but that’s not the public image they want for India. This is the land of Buddha and Gandhi and the whole non-violence philosophy. How could we have exterminated 50 Million of our own people – our own family members – daughters, wives, and daughters-in-law? The very thought is ghastly...

Barbara: What do you wish to accomplish with the campaign?

Rita: The first thing we wish to do is STOP the killings – the infanticides and dowry murders, and STOP female foeticide as well. The problem is so massive that the only way to do it is to have the government enforce existing laws. That is why we have an online petition that we’ve started circulating. We want the Indian government to be held accountable.

The second thing we’ll do is launch ground projects that will address the mindset, since it’s quite clear to us that this is what the cause is. It’s not poverty, or illiteracy. It is a cultural mindset that is fundamentally misogynist. So we want to start effecting long term change to people’s thinking through seminars, workshops, school curriculum, etc. The means and methods have yet to be worked out. But this is a long term project that will have to be carried out in a very systematic and measured manner.

Barbara: What can the general public do to become involved?

Rita: ...speak out! Talk about the issues involved. Don't be a mute spectator to the abuse of young women for dowry whether it's in your family or that of your neighbors. Speak up. Intervene. Talk about the compulsion you witness of parents willing to take loans to pay dowry. Of parents refusing to allow their daughters to return home even when they know she is being abused. Of families forcing their wives and daughter-in-laws to undergo multiple abortions.

Silence - when people see it and don’t talk about it - has been one of the biggest perpetrators of genocide the world over. And don’t use the excuses: "These things cannot be changed. Dowry is an old tradition. People want sons to support them in their old age and carry on the family’s name," for that is resignation. That is a mindset that allows this genocide to exist. Allow it no room to exist."

Please sign the petition that reads:

"TO: The Government of India, The OHCHR, The UNICEF, The UNIFEM, The UNFPA, CEDAW, The EU and The G8.

We the undersigned, strongly condemn the practices that have led to the elimination of millions of girls and women from India’s population, and hold the government of India accountable for failing to protect the lives of its female citizens.

We further contend, on grounds of human rights, that immediate and effective action be taken by the government, through the implementation of rapid action task forces, to halt this femicide. We also insist the government officially commit to a time-line within which the associated practices of female feticide, female infanticide and dowry murders will be effectively arrested through the rigorous enforcement of existing laws and a stringent accountability on the part of India’s hospitals, government offices, and law enforcement agencies.

We further urge international human rights bodies and other governments to join in this effort to persuade the government of India to acknowledge and honor the call of this petition."

11 April 2008

Olympic fallout

Olympic sponsors:
Atos Origin; BOCOG; Coca-Cola; DB Schenker; General Electric; Johnson & Johnson; Kodak; Lenovo; Manulife; McDonald’s; Mizuna; Omega; Panasonic; Samsung; Visa

Protest the Olympics with your wallet. you don't need those Chicken McNuggets. your heart will thank you.

Vanessa has a great post about Bush boycotting the Olympics. Obama and Clinton have called for a boycott of the opening ceremony and McCain condemns China's oppression of Tibet. well, duh.

You know Bush won't boycott, but don't get me started on this. I'm tired. instead, let me post some stuff that other people are saying....

How San Francisco Became Beijing for a Day

"Democracy took a dive in San Francisco yesterday.

Earlier this week, the International Olympic Committee was considering scrapping the entire Olympic torch run due to the controversy and protests surrounding it. Apparently, PR-value and face-saving prevailed over common sense, and rather than cancel the contentious run, the IOC, the City of San Francisco, and the Chinese government collaborated to make the run happen in the only way possible -- they transformed the City into Beijing for a day.

At first I watched with mild amusement as police officers, secret service, and Chinese officials went to comical lengths to disguise the torch route and prevent protesters from approaching. Like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, the torch was hurriedly moved from one mode of transportation to the next, from boat to van to ... Duck Truck? However, my amusement soon gave way to anger, as the charade developed into an ugly display of first amendment violations and thuggish police tactics, and everything the City of San Francisco stands for was trampled on. People's Armed Police -- the same force implicated in the shootings of unarmed Tibetans on the Tibet-Nepal border -- roamed freely through the streets. Tibetans with flags were forced to vacate public gathering spaces while Chinese nationals were allowed to remain. A phalanx of riot cops -- five deep -- guarded the torch at every step, shoving protesters out of the way."

This is an email I received from a friend who works in San Francisco:

"The coworkers and I were out at lunchtime...and suddenly we heard a thunderstorm of motorcycles, long before we saw them. We stopped, and noticed unmarked black sedans (you know, the FBI type of official looking vehicle where the glass is so tinted you can't see inside) parked on both sides of the street....about twenty of those, and then the 50 + SFPD motorcycles were moving fast down the street...and we noticed they were protecting a big bus...again with the tinted windows...the motorcycle cops all took positions in front of the bystanders watching this weird parade, glaring at us...behind the bus were some pretty expensive shiney SUV security vehicles...then they were gone."

Rogge says Olympics in Crisis

"The protest-marred Olympic torch relay and international criticism of China's policies on Tibet, Darfur and human rights have turned the Beijing Games into one of the most politically charged in recent history and presented the IOC with one of its toughest tests since the boycott era of the 1970s and '80s.

"It is a crisis, there is no doubt about that," IOC President Jacques Rogge said Thursday. "But the IOC has weathered many bigger storms."

At the same time, Rogge called on China to respect its "moral engagement" to improve human rights and to fulfill promises of greater media freedom. He also reaffirmed the right of free speech for athletes at the Beijing Games.

Rogge, who has come under pressure from critics to speak out on China, was asked whether he had second thoughts about awarding the games to Beijing seven years ago.

'I've said that it is very easy with hindsight to criticize the decision,' he said. 'It's easy to say now that this was not a wise and a sound decision.'

But Rogge insisted Beijing had 'clearly the best bid' and offered the strong pull of taking the Olympics to a country with one-fifth of the world's population.

'That was the reasoning for awarding the bid to Beijing.'"

(emphasis supplied. DUH!)

While we're all dissing the Chinese government, let's not forget the Chinese dissidents who risk their lives to protest repression.

Go to Sirensongs' blog and read her April 3 post about the protests at the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal.

(original Sirensongs photo)

I'm tired. sick and tired.



31 March 2008

boycotting the Olympic sponsors

We've heard all about boycotting the Olympics. Now what about boycotting the Olympic sponsors? I know these are mega-corporations and emails and voicemails to them might (will?) get trashed, but the monks in Lhasa are still raising their voices, so I think we can, too. highly unlikely that they will pull their sponsorship, but each of us can express our displeasure at their decisions to sponsor the Beijing Olympics.

Lenovo, General inquiries
1-866-45THINK (866-458-4465). Lenovo also has a blog post about the Olympic torch being lit where you can leave comments, but note that they "await moderation." I've left my comment.

The link to Coca-Cola's "corporate responsibility." Ahem. and a link to their page about being the longest continuing corporate sponsor of the Olympics. On their page "Making a Difference" it says: "The Coca-Cola Company supports the Olympic Games primarily because we share the values of Olympism that, in addition to embracing the vision of a better and more-peaceful world, encourage the discovery of one’s abilities and promote the spirit of competition, the pursuit of excellence and a sense of fair play."

A "more peaceful world"? Hmmmmmm.....tell that to the Chinese soldiers who've beat more than few Tibetans lately. Here is the page for "Tell Us Your Thoughts."

Samsung Electronics. Great LCD TVs, highly rated by Consumer Reports, almost bought one, but....

Here is their link to "Contact Us" with a link to "Public Relations."

Telephone numbers are listed on all three sites. be polite. remember metta (loving-kindness.)

It may be too little, too late, but this blog has had over 700 visitors...that's over 700 voicemails and emails to Coke, Lenovo, and Samsung. and if all of you who read this post pass it on to 5, 10, maybe 15 people whom you know...and they pass it on....

remember you're doing it for them.....

Buddhist monks from the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, based in Dharamsala, are leading a peaceful procession on Tuesday, March 18, 2008, to pray for the fate of the Tibetans involved in demonstrations inside Tibet against Chinese rule. The monks chanted peace prayers for the victims of the Chinese crackdown as they marched around McLeod town in Dharamsala. The monks from institute later took over the ongoing chain-hunger strike near the Main Tibetan Temple for the next 24 hours. The monks held the peace march to appeal international community to support Tibetan people’s rightful and nonviolent struggle and help accomplish their goal of returning back to their motherland. (Photo by Tenzin Dasel / Phayul.com)

A Tibetan woman cries inside a police van in frustration after their peace rally being held along with Amnesty International was dispersed by policemen in Katmandu, Nepal, Monday March 24, 2008. Eleven members of Amnesty International along with their country head were also detained. (AP Photo/ Saurabh Das)

29 March 2008

the politics of the Olympics: the personal is political

"[T]he Olympic Games as an ideal of brotherhood and world community is passé. The Olympics is so obviously hypocritical that even the Neanderthals watching TV know what they're seeing can't be true. Even Neanderthals know that the Russians stomped the Czechs and that the Jews despise the Arabs and that racists rule the US. So, all of a sudden, the Olympics comes on TV - all this smiling and hand shaking, and even the Neanderthal has to sit up and say, "Hey, what the hell? How can that be? All year I watch nothin' but hate on TV; now they come on with the love! It's gotta be phony. The Olympics gotta be a put-on, man."
-- Harry Edwards, 1968

[emphasis added.]

Once upon a time there was something called the Olympic Project for Human Rights.

The Olympic Project for Human Rights was an organization established by sociologist Harry Edwards. The aim was to protest racial apartheid in the US and South Africa and racism in sport generally. Most members of the OPHR were African American athletes or community leaders.

Human rights? the only rights the International Olympic Committee cares about are television rights. what were they thinking when the awarded the games to China? the Chinese government promised to respect human rights, but the repression in Tibet questions this commitment given to the Olympic committee.

Here is an excerpt from Wrydbyrd's Wyrld about politics and the Olympics:

"Olympic Boycotts** (take special note of number three, below—I thought the PRC didn’t believe in making the Games political?—oh, guess that was then)

1956, Melbourne: Boycotted by the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland, because of the suppression of the Hungarian Uprising by the Soviet Union. Cambodia, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon boycotted the games over the Suez Crisis.

1972 and 1976, Munich, Montreal: African countries threatened the IOC with a boycott, asking it to ban South Africa, Rhodesia, and New Zealand. The IOC conceded in the first 2 cases, but refused in 1976. Twenty-two countries (Guyana was the only non-African nation) boycotted the Montreal Olympics because New Zealand was not banned.

1976, Montreal: The People’s Republic of China (PRC) pressured Canada to bar the Taiwanese team from competing under the name Republic of China (ROC). The ROC refused the compromise that was suggested and did not participate again until 1984, when it returned under the name “Chinese Taipei.”

1980, 1984, Moscow, Los Angeles: Cold War opponents boycotted one anothers’ games. Sixty-five nations refused to compete at the Moscow Olympics in 1980, protesting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The boycott reduced the number of competing nations to 81, the lowest number since 1956. The Soviet Union and 14 Eastern Bloc nations (except Romania) countered by boycotting the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984."

In case the photo at the top of this post is unfamiliar to you, it was 1968 when Tommie Smith and John Carlos took their stand at the Mexico City Olympics to raise their black gloved fists in a demonstration of pride, power, and politics. Smith and Carlos were part of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR) and they made their stand because of what was happening outside the stadium: the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, the growth of the Black Panthers, the May strikes in France, and the murders of 400 students and workers in Mexico City.

Afterward the International Olympic Committee said it was "a deliberate and violent breach of the fundamental principles of the Olympic spirit."

The actions of the Chinese government in Tibet are a deliberate and violent breach of the fundamental principles of the human spirit.



28 March 2008

March 31st, global day of action for Tibet

Monday, March 31, will be a Global Day of Action for Tibet.

Members of Avaaz - the organization that has collected more than a million signatures in the last week calling on Hu Jintao for dialogue with the Dalai Lama - will join Tibet organizations around the world in a Global Day of Action for Tibet. Please go to Tibet Network website to find an event near you.

If you want to see an extraordinary act of defiance, watch the video and you'll see a group of monks disrupt a tightly controlled Chinese government media tour of Lhasa - the only foreign media allowed into Tibet since the national uprising started on March 10th. As dozens of journalists and their government handlers toured the Jokhang temple, thirty monks burst out of a room to tell the journalists that "Tibet is not free" and not to believe China's lies.

As for China's lies, the Chinese government is saying that the Dalai Lama is like Hitler, was a slave owner, and is a serial liar.

Just days after accusing the Dalai Lama of being a slave owner, China's ambassador to Canada is now calling the Tibetan spiritual leader a serial liar.

Lu Shumin also compared Tibet's government -- before the Chinese takeover in 1950 -- to Nazi Germany.

"The Dalai Lama has been telling lies to the world for decades," Lu told journalists at a news conference held Wednesday at the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa.

And if all this is not enough, sources at British spy agency confirm Tibetan claims of staged violence,

LONDON—Britain's GCHQ, the government communications agency that electronically monitors half the world from space, has confirmed the claim by the Dalai Lama that agents of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, the PLA, posing as monks, triggered the riots that have left hundreds of Tibetans dead or injured.

So Chinese spies dressing like monks. Who's lying now?

Please sign the petition, watch the video, support Tibet.

25 March 2008

it's not just about Tibet

(photo originally uploaded: Students for a Free Tibet)

Human Rights in China and the Beijing Olympics

Amnesty International has created a new poster mocking the Beijing's marketing slogan “We are Ready!”.

Do we really need any more reasons to boycott the Beijing Olympics?

Tibet: less talk, more action

Here is another great photo taken by Caroline aka Sirensongs who is in Nepal right now.

She wrote another great post about how to take action in support of Tibet.

I checked out how many American cities the Olympic torch will pass through and there's only one, San Francisco. you can bet if it passed through Chicago I'd be out there waving my Tibetan prayer flags. Hopefully more and more protesters will line up along the torch's route throughout the world.

As Sirensongs wrote, "if you're stuck in a torch-less locale, you can at least phone, write, fax or email the International Olympics Committee (who keep insisting the Olympics are not political)." Below are letter-writing guidelines courtesy of Students for a Free Tibet:

Use the following talking points as guidelines when calling your NOC or drafting your own letter:

--Say you would like to leave a message with the President of the NOC.
--If the Torch goes through Tibet it will likely cause further unrest, which would result in another heavy-handed crackdown and consequently more arrests, torture, and loss of life.
--On humanitarian grounds alone, it is inconceivable that the Torch relay pass through Tibet at this time.
--Please urge the IOC to immediately remove all Tibetan area from the Olympic torch relay route.

The Students for a Free Tibet website has current information about the Tibet protests and instructions on how to take action. Here is a list of action you can take via the website:

IOC: Speak Up About the Tibet Crisis
Take Action: Tell your Congressional Representative to Support Tibet
Tell the Indian Government to Release the Tibetan Marchers
China: Allow Journalists Access to Tibet
Support the Protests in Tibet

This is a letter you can send to the IOC:

"I am outraged that the International Olympic Committee has remained silent while hundreds of Tibetans across Tibet are intimidated, imprisoned, beaten and killed by Chinese forces.

Tibetans have suffered greatly for almost six decades under Chinese rule and are now risking everything to speak out. Despite the growing unrest in Tibet, the Beijing Olympics organizers are moving ahead with preparations to carry the Olympic torch through Tibet and to the top of Mount Everest. China must not be allowed to bring its torch to Tibet after the Tibetan people have so strongly denounced China's occupation of their homeland. So far, the IOC has shirked any responsibility for the Chinese government's recent atrocities inside Tibet.

Mr. Rogge, we call on you to take action now and show the global community that you value the principles upon which the Olympic institution was founded. If the IOC allows China to carry its torch through Tibet, it will be complicit in the violent crackdown on Tibetans that will undoubtedly occur.

Unless you want the Olympic Torch to become a symbol of bloodshed and repression, you must immediately withdraw the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the Tibetan provinces of Amdo and Kham - now annexed into China's Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan, and Gansu - from the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay route.

As reports spread of arbitrary arrests, house-to-house raids, killings, and even beatings of schoolchildren, it is unthinkable that the IOC would continue to move forward with "business as usual". Allowing the torch to be carried through Tibet will escalate tensions, giving the Chinese forces an excuse to continue its violent crackdown.

People of conscience worldwide have responded with an outpouring of support for Tibetans inside Tibet and condemnation of the Chinese government's heavy-handed crackdown. Stand on the right side of history and immediately withdraw all Tibetan provinces from the torch relay route."

Those of us in the United States can contact our National Olympic Committee (NOC) to ask them to directly appeal to the IOC. Our NOC speaks not only for American athletes but for the US as well. Here is contact information for the National Olympic Committees.

Lastly, if you want to hear excerpts from a talk by my teacher, Gelek Rimpoche (who escaped Tibet in 1959), go to the Jewel Heart website to listen to MP3s on Karma & Tibetan Uprising, Part 1, Tibetan Uprising, Part 2, and The Collective Karma of The Tibetan People. Great stuff from a Buddhist master (and someone whom I believe is self-realized although Rimpoche would probably deny it!)

Less yakking, more action. please.

21 March 2008

for your consideration: Tibet situation

This is an excerpt from a recent talk by Gelek Rimpoche, one of my spiritual teachers. Rimpoche was recognized as an incarnate lama at a very early age and he is from the family of the 13th Dalai Lama. when he escaped Tibet in 1959 he never saw his family again. any time he talks about his old life, he refers to Tibet as "good old Tibet."

"Let's try to understand the current situation in Tibet. This has been going on for fifty years. The Communist Chinese have always been suspicious of monasteries and Buddhism. For example, in Drepung, the monastery where I was educated in Tibet, the Communists openly set up government-sanctioned committees, organizing people to spy on each other. You couldn't trust anybody - your teachers, friends, students, not even your parents. Kids were spying on their parents, students on their teachers, and disciplinary monk officials on their abbots. That is how it has been functioning for fifty years.

Close to two years ago, Communist officials had the idea to ensure that the monks there didn't respect His Holiness the Dalai Lama. They made up a document that basically said: "The Dalai Lama is evil" and wanted everybody to agree by signing it. The monks refused to sign. They said their refusal had nothing to do with politics, but was purely for spiritual reasons.

The authorities arrested the monks who refused to sign and put them in jail and never released them. A few days ago, some Drepung monastery monks went into the market place to demonstrate their request for these monks to be released. They were beaten, tear gassed and jailed. Turn by turn, each day following, monks from Sera, then Ganden monasteries also demonstrated, were beaten and jailed as well as nuns from various monasteries. The sound of their cries and screams were heard all over Lhasa. Everybody was crying. Eventually, some people got angry and started to throw molotov cocktails into Chinese owned shops, so there was a huge amount of destruction. The central government of China declared martial law at three am on March 14. The whole city of Lhasa is now completely filled with soldiers and para-military that were trucked in and the Chinese government said they would violently suppress any demonstrations. The Chinese claim 10 people were killed. Tibetan sources say that more than 200 were killed -- quite a different picture.

It is very clear that the Chinese authorities have had complete control over Tibet for 50 years but failed to win the heart of the people. That is because their policies are not helping the people much. In particular the local government of Tibet is run by lesser educated officials, many of whom are relics of the Cultural Revolution. They are confused and don't understand the true situation. Their reports to the Central government in Beijing are confused and incorrect and that is why the Chinese authorities were taken by surprise by the events of the last weeks.

The local Chinese authorities also can never understand the relationship between the Dalai Lama and Buddhism. They can neither separate the two nor put them together. They are completely confused about the role of the Dalai Lama. Vilifying statements like "The Dalai Lama is nothing but a wolf covered by monk's robes, a demon with human face" clearly show the limit of knowledge and character of those making such statements.

This situation is indeed very, very sad. It really calls for international support. This can be done by people expressing their sympathy and feelings and also urging their representatives, senators and house representatives, as well as journalists in national and local media, to pay attention and try to find out the true situation."

14 March 2008

save Tibet now

(Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)
Tibetans throwing stones at army vehicles as a car burns on a street in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, after violent protests broke out on Friday. (NY TIMES PHOTO)

The world screams about Burma, Sudan, and Rwanda, but where are the tears for Tibet? A genocide has been going on since the Chinese marched in over 50 years ago, yet the world does nothing.

Chinese Police Clash With Tibet Protesters
BEIJING — Violent protests erupted Friday in a busy market area of Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, as Buddhist monks and other ethnic Tibetans clashed with Chinese security forces. Witnesses say the protesters burned shops, cars, military vehicles and at least one tourist bus.

The chaotic scene marked the most violent demonstrations since protests by Buddhist monks began in Lhasa on Monday, the anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. The protests have been the largest in Tibet since the late 1980s, when Chinese security forces repeatedly used lethal force to restore order in the region.

The developments prompted the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, to issue a statement, saying he was concerned about the situation and appealing to the Chinese leadership to “stop using force and address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people”.

Gunshots Fired as Thousands of Tibetans Hold Fresh Protest

"...Around 50 monks from the Labrang Tashikyil Monastery began staging demonstration carrying the banned Tibetan national flag and shouting “Tibet Independence” slogans around 2:00pm today.

Some 600 more monks from the same monastery later joined the demonstration.

The number later swelled up to few thousands when general public continued to join the procession of monks and the protest became more intensive.

The source said police started to fire live ammunitions in the air and started to beat the demonstrators when the procession reached the Sangchu County Public Security Bureau headquarter.

“Public security and armed police began firing shots later as it (protest) became very
intensive. Whether it caused casualties is unclear,” the source said.

“Gradually the number increased and thousands of Tibetans gathered around in the main market. At the police station they shouted more loudly out of control, then the Chinese police started shooting among the protesters, as a result the mass scattered rapidly due to gunfire,” the source said...."

Riot in Tibet as Police Clash with Protesters

"...One resident of the old city near the monastery told The Times: “It’s very dangerous. Tibetans are fighting the Han people in the street outside. I can’t talk because I’m afraid.”

The nearby Tromsikhang market, built in 1993, had been set on fire and a column of smoke could be seen billowing into the sky, one witness said. The market contained shops belonging to Tibetans as well as ethnic Han Chinese and members of the Hui Muslim minority.

One Tibetan, covered in blood, was seen carried away from the scene by about five or six other people. Witnesses said dozens of ambulances and police cars had raced to the city’s 102 People’s Hospital but it was not known how many people were hurt or how seriously.

Dozens of paramilitary police vehicles were seen patrolling central Lhasa to try to restore order. However, crowds of Tibetans and monks were still demonstrating in the afternoon. One witness wept as he spoke and said he was too afraid to say anything...."

Here are the faces of protest...

(photos from Phayul.com)

Monasteries Under Lockdown

"Conditions are said to be increasingly tense within the three major monasteries in Lhasa, which are under lockdown and surrounded by troops following peaceful demonstrations over the last three days by hundreds of monks from Drepung, Sera and Ganden monasteries on the outskirts of the capital. Ganden monks demonstrated yesterday, marking the third day in a series of protests unprecedented in recent years that have now rippled through the Lhasa area, while others are reported in at least two remote rural monasteries and towns in areas of central and eastern Tibet.

All three monasteries are closed off to tourists according to several tourism operators. Two Drepung monks are said by Radio Free Asia to be in serious condition after stabbing themselves in a possible attempt to commit suicide, while monks at Sera are refusing to attend classes and are on hunger strike in a bold act of protest despite the crackdown at the monastery...."

of course the Chinese are blaming His Holiness the Dalai Lama for all of this.

I am beyond words when I read these stories. it disgusts me that the world screams in horror when these atrocities occur in other parts of the world but does nothing about Tibet. the world's leaders, and especially American politicians, are spineless and gutless when it comes to China. from the New York Times story: "The White House responded with expressions of concern, but not direct criticism, although it urged the Chinese authorities to use restraint." the word I'm thinking of right now starts with the letter "P".

Below is the letter I received from Barack Obama (he is my senator) when I wrote to him via his website...just a bullshit canned response from one of his staffers....

"Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about human rights in the People's Republic of China. I appreciate your perspective on this issue.

As the world's most populous nation, China's influence and power has been growing steadily over the past several decades. This is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, and presents America with challenges and opportunities to seek change.

In particular, China's treatment of ethnic and religious minorities and political dissidents, as well as its relationships with Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Tibet are very troubling. Despite progress over the last few decades, China must do much more to comply with modern human rights norms. I look forward to working with my colleagues on these difficult issues and am deeply committed to promoting human rights in China and other countries.

As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the East Asian Subcommittee, I will keep your thoughts in mind as the discussion on this subject continues.

Thank you again for contacting me. I hope you will continue to keep in touch on this or any other subject of importance to you.


Barack Obama
United States Senator"

"I will keep your thoughts in mind as the discussion on this subject continues." yeah, right.

I am Buddhist and my teacher, Gelek Rimpoche, escaped Tibet in 1959. you can read about Tibet and Rimpoche here on my sister blog.

If you care, read The End of Tibet, a Rolling Stone story.

"The small concrete room smells of urine. In the corner, a young woman lies on a metal cot, moaning softly and vomiting up blood. A former Buddhist nun, she is recovering from an operation on her stomach to fix internal injuries caused by beatings from Chinese guards. Her roommate, Lhundrub Zangmo, speaks in a whispery monotone. Zangmo's head is no longer shaven, and her straight black hair falls over her tight sweater emblazoned with the words The Coolest Boy. But even though she has left the clergy, Zangmo remains deeply religious. She has plastered the walls of the tiny room with photos of Buddhist deities and the Dalai Lama, leader of Tibetan Buddhists."

I sponsor a Buddhist nun who fled Tibet and who now lives at a monastery in India. if I went to Tibet and wore my Dalai Lama pendant, at best it would be taken from me, at worst I would be thrown in jail -- images of His Holiness are forbidden in Tibet, his birthplace.

The Rolling Stone story contains a link for the International Campaign for Tibet that lists six things you can do to help make the 2008 Beijing Olympics a catalyst for change in Tibet.

I will not watch any part of the Olympics this year. the monks that the Chinese have captured will still be in jail when the Olympics begin. as you sit down in your comfortable living rooms to watch the opening ceremonies, they will still be in jail, if they are not already dead.



12 March 2008

boycotting Chinese products

People say that boycotting the Beijing Olympics would only hurt the athletes and that's certainly a valid point. but if tainted toothpaste, pet food, and toys with lead paint aren't enough to stop you from buying stuff made in China...

From the Tibetan news website:

Latest threat from China: Toxic Clothes?

Here's a good reason to wash new clothes before putting them on infants and children: A New Zealand television station is reporting that "scientists found formaldehyde in woolen and cotton clothes at 500 times higher than is safe."

UK trading standards are on alert after Chinese-made clothes in New Zealand were discovered to have up to 900 times the safe level of formaldehyde in them. Formaldehyde is used to protect clothes that have to be shipped great distances against mildew. However, long-term exposure to high levels can be harmful, causing problems ranging from minor skin rashes to some types of cancer.

The latest safety alert over cheap Chinese goods was sounded in New Zealand. It has been passed on to trading standards officials in Britain.

"Any consumer worried about harm caused by clothes they have bought should contact the retailer or report their concerns to trading standards," a spokesman for the Government's new department for business, enterprise and regulatory reform said.

For more information you can visit the No More Made in China website

Find more photos like this on No More Made in China


Not China Made.net has a list of China-free shopping:

* American Apparel
* American Plastics Toys
* Blessed Nest
* Born Free Baby Products
* Buy American.com
* Corelle (Kitchen-ware)
* Crayola Crayons
* Holgatetoy
* ImagiPlay
* Justice Clothing
* Made In USA Products
* Maple and Mark
* Shop for America
* Still Made In USA .com
* Story Board Toys
* Toys Made In America
* Uncle Goose Toys
* US Made Toys
* Whittle Shortline Railroad
* Zebulon USA
* Zebulon USA- Toys

My reason for boycotting Chinese products is purely political -- I support a free Tibet. Mommy Zabs, who started Not China Made.net, says, "Not everyone may feel led to ban or boycott China. But I am asking you to be aware, read labels, pay attention to just how much we as parents buy from China. It’s alarming."

Yes, it is difficult not to buy things that are made in China, but that's no excuse. I read the labels of EVERYTHING that I buy. I have always said, BE AWARE, READ LABELS, LIVE MINDFULLY. If you think one person can not affect change, you are wrong.

It IS possible not to buy products made in China if one shops mindfully and not automatically. Don't mindlessly hop over to Wal-Mart -- #3 on the Top Ten Corporate Villians of the Planet list -- just because it's "easy" or "cheap." unfortunately, many people sleep-walk through life and don't THINK. they just drink any kool-aid that's handed to them.

Live mindfully, shop mindfully. is that really so hard to do?

10 March 2008

do no harm

three simple words that can change us and change the world.

many of us talk about how things need to change in this world, but how many of us talk about changing ourselves -- first?

from the Do No Harm website:

"We seem to be living in a world that is getting less hospitable every day. Look closely at any endeavor our species has engaged in and it appears we are unaware of the harm we do, we ignore the harm we do, we intentionally do harm for our own gain, or sadly in some cases we do harm for our own pleasure and enjoyment.

Has no one taught us to do no harm?

If we haven't been taught to do no harm, we see no harm in doing harm. We cause harm and shrug it off. We cause harm and laugh about it. We cause harm and brag about it.

Sadder still, our children bear witness to our actions and never learn to do no harm themselves. Above all else we must teach our children, by example and instruction, this basic moral principle of life.

We must begin to make better choices and treat each other, the other creatures who share this planet with us, and this planet we call home with greater respect and compassion.

We believe that the first and most basic moral law is, "Do no harm." Because we can feel pain and suffering, we can imagine the pain and suffering of others, and we can act accordingly to minimize the harm we cause."

When the Holocaust is discussed, people say that the Germans did nothing when they watched the trains roll by that carried the Jews to the concentration camps. but how many trains are rolling by each of us today and we do nothing?

change begins with us.

09 March 2008

why there's blood on the Olympic rings

The Nangpa La Shootings

From Wikipedia:

"On September 30, 2006 75 Tibetan refugees, among them many young children, and their 2 guides were trying to enter Nepal illegally via the Himalayan Nangpa La pass (5,700m). Chinese Border Security soldiers opened fire on the group and killed Kelsang Namtso, a 17 year old nun, just before the pass. Kunsang Namgyal, a 23 year old man, was hit in the leg twice, then taken away by the Chinese borderpolice and is believed to have died later. The Chinese claimed that their soldiers fired in self defence. Only 41 survivors reached the Tibetan Refugee Transit Center in Kathmandu, Nepal. Two weeks later they arrived at their destination in Dharamsala, India....

The following list of people were part of the original group and have been missing since the shooting. It is believed they are held by Chinese authorities. The names were forwarded by Students For A Free Tibet.

* Tenwang, age 7
* Lhakpa Tsering, age 8
* Dhondup Lhamo, age 9
* Dechen Dolma, age 10
* Wangchen, age 11
* Tsedon, age 12
* Sonam Wangdue, age 12
* Ming Shomo, age 13
* Lodoe Nyima, age 15
* Jamyang Tsetan, age 16
* Karma Tsetan, age 16
* Lodoe Namkha, age 16
* Karma, age 19
* Samten, age 19
* Sonam Palzom, age 20
* Dhondup Palden, age 21
* Kusang, age 22
* Lobsang Paljor, age 35"

Chinese officials have yet to release information about the detainees' whereabouts or well-being.

Look at the ages of these prisoners and think about what it would be like if your child was detained by soldiers after witnessing a woman being shot in the back.

And this is what happens when you try to do the right thing.

"Luis Benitez, who had grown increasingly disturbed by the silence, broke the news via an e-mail sent to an expedition news Web site. Luis, a mountain guide working for the commercial outfit Himalayan Experience, had watched the chilling event unfold days before. His began his e-mail with "The story not being told here in Tibet," and went on to describe the killing. Understandably, he asked his name not be used....

Benitez confided to fellow guide Paul Rogers that he was the one who broke the news. Rogers immediately informed their boss Russell Brice, owner of Himalayan Experience, of what Benitez had done.

Benitez claims Brice, Rogers and Henry Todd, a guide from another commercial outfit, angrily confronted him at base camp. Todd went so far as to make mafia-style threats....

Confronted with the choice of protecting business verses reporting human rights violations, they've chosen money. Ironically, the clients of these companies, who are generally very sympathetic to the culture of Tibet, are now unknowingly helping to destroy it.

In contrast, Benitez put his career on the line instead of selling his silence for blood money. Even if Benitez is allowed back into China, he's likely to be blacklisted by guiding companies, many of whom operate around the world. He has made some powerful enemies while trying to do the right thing."

The world was outraged over the events in Burma....Sudan...Rwanda...

Where is the outrage over Tibet?

from Tibetan Monks Warned to Return to Monastery...

"A 14-year-old monk, Tsering Gyaltsen, was wearing a photo of the Dalai Lama around his neck when he was detained, and police beat him severely after he refused to denounce the exiled Tibetan leader.

He was denied medical attention and left in the courtyard of a government building in Baikar town..."

from the website March10.org:

"One World, One Dream: Free Tibet

March 10th 2008, marks the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising when tens of thousands of Tibetans rose up against China's illegal invasion and occupation of their country. Despite China's best attempts to destroy the Tibetan spirit, Tibetan resistance has continued for nearly half a century inside Tibet and in exile communities worldwide.

This year, with all eyes focused on the Olympics in China, Tibetans and supporters worldwide are protesting the Chinese government's use of the Olympics as a political tool to legitimize its illegal occupation of Tibet.

Join the Global Uprising for Tibet! Help us draw attention to the worsening human rights situation inside Tibet. Help us use the Olympics spotlight to shame and embarrass the Chinese government and show them that until Tibet is free, China will never be never be accepted as a leader on the world stage."