Edited by Petra K. Kelly, Gert Bastian, and Pat Aiello
The Anguish of Tibet
Edited by Petra K. Kelly, Gert Bastian, and Pat Aiello.
Parallax Press: Berkeley, 1991.
382 pp. $17.00.
Tibet may be in vogue in this International Year of Tibet, but the iron yoke of Chinese oppression continues unimpeded by world opinion. Despite the fact that the Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, Tibet continues to be occupied by China and isolated from the global community. In fact, the Chinese government continues to dismiss its flagrant abuses of human rights in Tibet as a purely "domestic affair. "
Blare Kerr, who led a medical expedition to Tibet, interviewed Tibetan women about Chinese practices of forced abortion and mass sterilizations. In "Tibetans under the Knife," Kerr documents the apparent Chinese policy of genocide toward the Tibetan people, outnumbered in their homeland already by an influx of Chinese settlers.
Contributions by John Avedon, Hugh Richardson, and Orville Schell provide historical and political evidence for Tibet's thousand-year-old claim to sovereignty: the Dalai Lama and Galen Rowell contrast the traditional Tibetan reverence for nature with China's exploitation of Tibet's vast mineral wealth, dense ancient forests, and slaughter of wildlife, all of which have created an environmental crisis on the Tibetan plateau. Other writers warn of China's nuclear arsenal and plans for high-level nuclear-waste dumps on the Roof of the World.
The reader is left with a sense that time is running out for the Tibetan people and their homeland. Yet diplomatic efforts to gain the United Nations' recognition for Tibetan self-determination as well as political initiatives, such as the Dalai Lama's Five-Point Peace Plan, have kept alive the hope that Tibet may become a free land again. With the winds of liberation blowing from Eritrea to the Baltics, that hope may be more than a futile dream. The Anguish of Tibet is an invaluable resource for achieving that goal. It is not a coffee-table book with colorful photographs of an exotic Shangri-la for cocktail party pleasantries but an organizing tool to inform, outrage, and arouse readers to action. Nonetheless, leave it on the coffee table. It might prick someone's conscience.
Berkeley writer, Christine Keyser, is a student of Tibetan Buddhism and is on the steering committee of Eco Tibet, California.