By Maura Moynihan
On October 10th, 2008, rights networks around the globe had press releases ready in expectation that the 2008 Peace Prize would be rightly granted to Hu Jia or Gao Zhisheng, to condemn China, for jailing and slaughtering citizens in preparation for the summer Olympics. Just as the Olympic Committee was bullied and backed off, the Nobel Committee felt the chill of China's displeasure, and bestowed the prize upon an obscure Finnish diplomat. China doesn't play by any rules but their own, and in 2008 they're relishing the global kowtow.
In September 2008, journalists gathered in Honolulu for a conference about China after the Olympics. There was unanimous agreement that that Beijing is pleased with the outcome; the athletes performed brilliantly, as did the security minders who welcomed foreign guests who unfurled the Tibetan flag with a tackle and shackle, and swift deportation. Those irksome Olympic visitors have gone, but the extensive security apparatus installed for the Games will stay, and in a world order where might makes right and possession is 9/10ths of the law, the persecution of Tibet will continue.
China is accustomed to getting its way in Tibet, assured that Tibet's remoteness, will preserve their reign of terror. The Tibetan cause rouses sympathy, China wins in the bank and the boardroom. The Tibet movement has no army, no wealth, no state, not one government on earth will back it up. Tibet must settle for moral victories only. So what is to be done?
The Rangzen Revolution
It is a miracle that the Tibetan people have survived at all, given the catastrophe of the Chinese occupation. They did survive, and ignited an international peace movement, for the Tibetan freedom struggle offers the people of the world a path to non-violent activism, a refuge of sanity else we descend into barbarism.
This Rangzen fire was kindled in the golden age of globalization, when many activists of today intersected Tibet by chance, wandering into tea shops on Janpath, Boudhanath, Manali, into pieces of Old Tibet. This global transmission of Tibetan civilization was accomplished by refugees living in rented rooms across the Indian subcontinent, selling sweaters, running hotels, raising families. 50 years of exile, and the Tibetans are still a tiny bands of stateless refugees in a hostile sea, wondering when deliverance will come, how long must they pray, in exile, for the people of Tibet, whose dark night has not passed. But they have not surrendered.
The Shangrila and Tintin legends were the only Tibet we knew in our youth, a wondrous land of temples and mystics in the high Himalaya. These symbols convey a truth, for a country's myths are part of its identity as much as its politics and human condition. In tea shops and jewelry stalls we found the unique genius of Tibetan civilization, carried by mothers, fathers, children, caught in a tragedy, trying to survive against incredible odds. Clutching seeds of Buddhadharma, with their language and rituals, a tiny flame of hope in a psychotic world. And a story of cruelty and loss so overwhelming, the Chinese Communist Occupation, it summoned outrage and alarm in all who heard of it.
2009; Earth Cow Year
Within the PRC a tsunami looms. The Toxic Milk scandal has eclipsed the Olympics in the 2008 news cycle and poisoned trust in the China brand. The global economy is melting down, as are the polar ice caps. Pollution and natural disasters will stall the PRC's development plans. Corruption has corroded all trust in the state, which deploys brute force to crises that demand civic action. The Chinese Communist Party commands fear but no loyalty, as did the Soviet Union as it stumbled towards collapse. That Tibetan culture, Falon Gong and community organizing are forces that so petrify the mighty People's Republic of China, that summon punishments so cruel and extreme, reveals a crippling psychosis within the Communist leadership, that cannot humanize its response to what it deems a threat, and declares war on its own citizens. How cruel will it be inside Tibet, in 2009, when following anniversaries will come; 60 years of the PRC. 50 years HH Dalai Lama in exile. 20 years Tienanmen Square massacre. 20 years of HH Dalai Lama a Nobel Laureate. Last summer, while toasting the end of the Olympics in a Delhi bar, a Khampa elder paused, and said "Its going to blow up. It's not over".
2008 revealed that Rangzen is not a lost cause. A cause is only lost when it is abandoned. In 2007 Tenzin Tsundue offered his Olympic forecast;
"I want to tell China we will come down from the sky, emerge out of the earth into your Olympic stadiums. We will be there; we will see who stops whom….China cannot wish away their Tibet problem, with young Tibetans growing up everywhere in the world, the issue of Tibet is only becoming bigger. It's not about Dalai Lama, it's about us; our lives, our future, and we will not give up, no matter what."
In August 2008 Tenzin Tsundue's vision came to pass; the Tibetan flag descended upon Beijing, from the sky above Bird's Nest. And it came and came again, and the Rangzen heroes were beaten and arrested, and can forever bear witness to the truth of China's Tibet. Everyone who joins a Rangzen Rally intersects this ray of truth. When I am afraid, when I forget to believe, I cling to this truth, in a piece of old Tibet which landed somewhere in Delhi, Paris, Tokyo, New York, where someone is raising the Tibetan flag.
George Orwell wrote in his essay "Looking Back on the Spanish War" "Shall the common man be pushed back into the mud, or shall he not? I myself believe, perhaps on insufficient grounds, that the common man will win his fight sooner or later, but I want it to be sooner and not later—some time within the next hundred years, say, and not some time within the next ten thousand years."
Free Tibet Now.
Maura Moynihan is the daughter of the late Senator Moynihan who was a great friend of Tibet. Maura herself has for long been a front-line supporter of Tibet and is a musician, songwriter and successful writer.
The views expressed in this piece are that of the author and the publication of the piece on this website does not necessarily reflect their endorsement by the website.