Upload this picture as your profile pic on FB, to show support for Tibet
  • Upload this picture as your profile pic on FB, to show support for Tibet

Before I begin I'd like to mention that I borrowed the title from a friend's Facebook status tag because it mirrors questions that arise in my mind.

What does Tibet mean to the rest of the world? That's a bit far-fetched. What does it mean to its neighbours? Until this June, I had no idea of Tibet's problems. Yes, vaguely, it was a country ridden with conflict. But, the real deal, I had no clue of that. Then I got selected to the annual awareness camp organised by the Students for Free Tibet, a self-funded week-long trip to McLeodganj, Dharamsala where the Tibetan Government in Exile is based.

Through film screenings, talks and interviews the group of about 20 got a glimpse of Tibetans living in India. I have been following the news events since SFT is prompt enough to share news from within Tibet. For the past several months monks self immolating themselves has become a common occurence, yet nothing is being done.

Today, after I saw this here - https://www.facebook.com/SFTIndia, the pictures posted made me angry. Then I read this - http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/07/tibetan-monk-self-immolation..., it made me wonder. Why is the global community quiet?

I want to quote another dear friend, who rightfully said, "It is a slap on the entire world that in the 21st century a country is being oppressed and the global community is watching silently, almost ignoring what China is doing to the people, to the pristine landscape of Tibet."

Anger doesn't even began to define what I am feeling. Sad, maybe? Or Anger-Sad?

Imagine this, China controls the place such that you can't even visit Tibet. I blow up my chance of ever visiting Tibet (as long as it is under Chinese occupation) because I take a pro-Tibet stand. Ever thought of Tibet as a vacation destination? Even tourism is highly controlled.

But, my question is - Is there any hope for Tibetans (within Tibet and outside)? And how can I as a global citizen use the power of the web help out?

Comment on this Post


I visited Tibet in the winter of 2006. I had a conditional visa which restricted me to 16 villages. I went because I wanted to study rare Himalayan herbs - one of my passions. During my 8 - week stay I experienced the Tibetan way of life in its most unaltered form. What I felt is that people there hardly bothered either about China or about Dharamshala. They just bothered about poverty and hardship. Interestingly, on my way back, I met Lobsong, who lives in Kushalnagar (near Bangalore and the 2nd largest Tibetan settlement in India) and is now a good friend. I have visited Kushalnagar several times and what strikes me is that the generation here is half- Kannadiga, speaking local language, managing with the semi-arid climate etc. I haven't seen much of pro-independence activity there either. That makes me believe, there is a loose connection somewhere, that even after so many years, the entire movement is way too concentrated in Delhi and Dharamshala. It needs to spread out. Despite the huge, huge obstacles, Palestine movement is today moving towards some concrete conclusion because the Palestinians are united like a rock. Are the Tibetans like that? My experiences say,not really. However, that apart, Tibet should belong to Tibetans, not any invading army or power!

Stella Paul Twitter: @stellasglobe