Sunday, October 2, 2011

When the Apocalypse Comes, Only Tibet Will Be Left

This post was sparked by the following post, which I came across on tumblr:

title: “shangri-la”
i always look at the world for how beautiful it is, which can be found everywhere and anywhere as long as you look for it. but one day, man will destroy all that is left of that; and when i’ve had enough and want to make the whole world disappear, i will walk into tibet and lose myself in the himalayas.
Tibet is the perfect example of the Brown Space That Is Stuck in a By-Gone Age of Meditation And/Or Flying Monks Who Live Forever and Other Peaceful Spiritual Things. Assuming that the answer to human survival will lie in the Himalayas, while the rest of the world is in flames, is ridiculous. (Makers of the film 2012: I’m looking at you.) It assumes that Tibet, in its current state, is peaceful and happy and doing perfectly fine by itself—which, of course, is far from the truth. Believing this kind of tripe completely erases the last fifty years of Tibet’s history. Doesn’t it seem a bit odd to you that while Tibetans are fleeing into Nepal and India, risking limbs and life to seek freedom of religion, a good education, the chance to learn and use Tibetan in their public lives, the (usually) White Person is flying to Tibet and proclaiming it a magical place that not only can cure cancer but is Happiness and Peace made geographical?

The saddest part about the original quote is that this individual has gone to Tibet and still walked away with this view. I guess some ignorance is hard to break, especially when it’s being subtly and blatantly enforced by the oppressors. The Chinese government is notorious for paying students to show up at big functions (such as the arrival of Chinese delegates in foreign countries) if but to give some fodder to the media that shows that people love China and it’s just a rag-tag group of “splittists” who feel a different way. The Chinese government also coerces Tibetans into lying to the media, donning traditional dress and attending festivals and holidays that they were previously boycotting (knowing that it would piss China off if they refused to be puppets for China’s lie that We Keep the Tibetans Very Happy and Liberated, Yes), among many other things.

We of the West are still ignorant. We refuse to let go of the belief that Tibet is a space to be put on a pedestal and worshipped—but only while we’re taking the food off of their altars for our own private consumption. The end result of this thinking is almost always invasion, of both bodies and mind. We fear, so we invade to “liberate”; we lust after, so we appropriate. It’s been centuries and we have yet to change our outlook; we’ve just substituted our weapons—guns and Bibles when we’re entering countries of Adults and toys for when we’re entering countries of Children.

So when the apocalypse comes and you go walking into the Himalayas, I think you’ll find that not a single mountaintop has snow (thanks to global climate change), and not a single person will be there to guide you. I hope when you finally spot Lhasa and gravitate to the sparkling object in the distance, when you arrive there, you’ll find the golden arches of a McDonald’s.

1 comment:

  1. As usual a thought provoking post.

    I wanted to bring a new blog to your attention as well. Angry Tibetan Girl is the name of it and topics are very much related to this blog.


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