A multimedia account (SOUND, IMAGE, and WORD) of my travels in Tibet during April 2004. Thanks to Michael Liss, Kevin Collins, Raphael and Andrea Tamari, the “Six Tibet Guys”, and my other new Tibetan friends met on my travels , for their assistance and companionship.
While the photos on this website present an image of Tibet as a peaceful, serene land filled with beauty and joy, the reality that lies beneath could not be further from that. The ability of Tibetans to be a fundamentally joyful, peaceful, and welcoming people, while continuing their day to day struggle to survive, serves as a primary inspiration for both the work I do for Tibet, as well as in my own personal life.
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1. The peaceful Buddhist country of Tibet was invaded by Communist China in 1949. Since that time, over 1.2 million Tibetans (1out of 6) have been killed, over 6000 monastaries have been destroyed, and thousands of TIbetans have been imprisoned.
2. In Tibet today, there is no freedom of speech, religion, or press and arbitrary arrests continue.
3. The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s political and spiritual leader, fled to India in 1959. He now lives among over 100,000 other Tibetan refugees and their government in exile. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his efforts to bring a peaceful settlement to the Tibetan issue.
4. Forced abortions and sterilization of Tibetan women and the transfer of low income Chinese citizens threaten the survival of Tibet’s unique culture. In some Tibetan provinces, Chinese settlers outnumber Tibetans 7 to 1.
5. Within China itself, massive human rights abuses continue. It is estimated that there are up to twenty million Chinese citizens working in prison camps.
6. Most of the Tibetan plataeu lies above 14,000 feet. Tibet is the source of five of Asia’s greatest rivers, upon which over 2 billion people depend. Since 1959, the Chinese government estimates that they have removed over $54 billion worth of timber. Over 80% of Tibet’s forests have been destroyed, and large amounts nuclear and toxic waste have been disposed of in Tibet.
Despite these facts and figures, the US government and US corporations continue to support China economically. This shows a blatant lack of respect for these critical issues of political and religious freedom and human rights.
For more information on Tibet, please visit SFT’s historical background page.
Also, read two recent stories from the Christian Science Monitor: Frontier Life and Young Monk
Downloads these brief (one to three minutes) audio tours through different parts of Tibetan life.
Included are some humorous reflections by wayward tourists (myself and my friends).
Busy City Street in the Daytime (Lhasa)
Young monks gather for morning prayer (Sayme Monastery)
Chinese Party Line on the History of Tibet (Tibet Museum, Lhasa)
Young Monks Debating in the Courtyard (Drepung Monastery)
A playful walk through a farm field (near Samye Monastery)
Musicians perform in the Norbulingka, the Dalai Lama’s summer palace and park grouns
Mike and Nathan discuss the weather, Uno, and tuna (In a Tent, Near Nam-tso lake)
A street musican tunes and plays the Pi-wan (Near the Jokhang)
Kevin and Nathan discuss the harsh beauty of nature (Nam-tso)
Tibetan Classical Opera performance (At the Norbulingka)
The walkthrough through the Barkhor marketplace in the afternoon
A woman’s laugh and other sounds (On the Barkhor)
A work crew rebuilds a wall (Near the Potala)
Below are selected pages from my personal journal kept during the trip