One more sleepless night. Just one of many. I have already become used to running around looking like a zombie. No problem. It is always my pleasure to give people something to talk about. They hunger for news. For bad news. Good news is even worse than no news at all.
I spend the night up in the mountains. The snow capped peaks passionately kissing the vast expanse of the blue skies. The skies of the deepest blue one can witness here on our planet. Prayer wheels turning around in my head. Around and around and around they go. Why, why, please someone, tell me why? Mantras cut into my heart with a knife. Chants stuck in my throat, making me want to throw up. I am cold. The annoying noise of the air conditioning from the neighbour`s house making me shiver. My hands and feet sweated. My lips dry and parched, trembling. I put on a hoodie and cover my ears and eyes with the hood.
From half way around the world it looks beautiful. Stunning, untouched nature, plains that do not seem to have neither the beginning, nor the end. Kind and refreshingly genuine people walking with their yaks miles and miles along narrow paths high above the turquoise lakes. The red-robed. The fascination for so many of us. Their inner peace, their wisdom and… their minds tranquil like a lake, making our own minds appear even more delusional than we have thought them to be. A humbling and life changing experience to meet them.
Turning around in my bed, away from the window, I hear the screams of a red-robed man. In his cell, without a bed, without a sink, with a window so small, you hardly realize it is a window, they have been torturing him for more than twenty years just because he prays to the one they think he should not. His body has perished long ago. Broken bones, ribs, bleeding wounds and bruises no longer exist. His mind is away. Alive and vigorous, flexible, pliant and soft. His mind is free, travelling the plains, painting thangkas, chanting, cultivating peace. Peace.
Tenzin, a 16-year old girl, sitting on a rock in front of her parent`s hut. Bleeding. Something must have gone wrong during the procedure. The nearest hospital is four hours away. Their horse is old and weak. Two days ago, the men came and dragged her away. To a doctor. He cut her fallopian tubes. This same thing has happened to most of her friends.
I get up. It is 5.30 a.m. On my way downstairs, to the fridge I meet a young boy, running…. not to be late for classes. He is visibly in shock, tears running down his cheeks, his almond shaped eyes puffy. In his thin hand he is holding a sort of a bag. “What do you have in your bag?” I just have to ask him as this strange plastic bag looks so out of place.
“A rat,” he says, starting to weep violently. I hug him. He is so painfully thin that he is almost translucent.
“What for?” I ask quietly.
“If you kill a rat you get 20 points. I need them. I don`t want to fail in school.”
I sit down on the weather beaten stones out in our garden. They are cool and solid. Solid. What a word! The look of the little boy is tearing me apart. It hurts when I try to stitch back parts of my tattered heart faster than they are falling apart again. To kill a sentinent being is the greatest crime for these peaceful, compassionate people. All living beings small or big, in the water or in the skies or walking the land are equal for them. No one is superior, no one inferior. A fly or a lama. A life is always sacred.
Behind the yellow wall, more than 1.2 million Tibetans have died as a direct result of the Chinese occupation. This number is increasing rapidly, as the Chinese government is also now adopting programs to sterilize and force abortions upon Tibetan women. Unless other nations band together and demand China stop these practices, it is clear that it will not be long before almost the entire Tibetan population is annihilated.
Up until 1951, the land of Tibet was a culturally beautiful one; having it’s own set of customs, language, history, and way of life. After the communist People’s Republic of China seized control of the state in 1951, however, the Tibetan way of life was changed forever. The primary goal of the Chinese rulers is to eliminate all signs of independent Tibetan culture, and have set right to their task. Between the years of 1959 and 1977 all but 12 of more than 6,000 Tibetan monasteries were destroyed by the Chinese military. Many sacred religious items were taken and sold at international auction, to raise money for the People’s Republic.
Another aspect of the occupation, however, is that it also is harming the physical region itself. It is widely believed that the Chinese government is now using the province of Tibet as a nuclear waste dump. Farmers are complaining that the “fertilizer”, which they are required by law to use, is killing their crops and animals. Many rare wild animals uniquely found in Tibet are also being harmed; the wild blue Tibetan sheep and famous snow leopard are almost non-existent. Much of the forestland of Tibet is being cut down and used in China – since 1950, 68% of the trees in Tibet have been chopped down.
1.2 million people have died in Tibet. How many mothers, sisters, grandfathers, aunts, nieces? How many people have been left alone? How many young children were witnesses when their parents were shot? How does that make you feel? Imagine your own child. Imagine your wife being sterilized. Imagine your aging father tortured in prison, his legs and arms broken, then left alone on the cold floor of his cell, which has been his home for twenty years and will be for as long as he does not give up.
I am one of the 1.2 million people. Who have died. I am still going through the bardos, although 46 days have passed long ago.
I do not own the text in italics, nor the photos. No copyright infringement intended. The last photo owned by the amazing MATJAŽ KRIVIC