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The Lhakar Diaries: By Coco

by on November 30, 2011

Coco Carey

30/11/11

The Lhakar Diaries

The two blogs I read, and video I analyzed, address conflicts within Tibet. These blogs are from the 2011 Lhakar Diaries. The Lhakar Diaries is a, “blog dedicated to the movement inside Tibet where, by buying Tibetan goods, eating Tibetan foods, wearing Tibetan clothes and speaking Tibetan, ordinary men and women resist China’s occupation. We want to highlight these actions inside Tibet, and show solidarity by promoting similar actions outside Tibet by posting our personal journey to explore and honor our shared cultural heritage and identity.”

Both blogs were Tibetan’s reactions to the live broadcast of Tibetan artist, Tenzing Rigdol’s, art installation in Dharamsala, India. The simple installation included twenty tons of soil from Tibet, which was located on a stage in a square area at the Tibetan Children’s Village basketball court. In the video, it looked as though the installation transformed into a ceremony. Hundreds of people, mainly Tibetans who have fled to India, were able to touch the soil and present their feelings in response to the ceremony. The people who watched the broadcast of this event shared their outlooks on the installation in the blogs I read. In regard to some of the soil being taken to the Dhali Lama (who was exiled to India), the author of the first blog said that this bringing of soil, “invoked extreme happiness in me that His Holiness was able to come into contact with a piece of his homeland, but this was obviously quickly followed by deep sadness that this tray of soil has been the closest thing to returning to the home he lost at such a young age.The author’s friend was going to Tibet, and the friend asked what the author’s wish list was; the Tibetan author requested Tibet’s earth.

The author of the second blog went into greater detail about the ceremony. In the blog, a summary of the ceremony, the reactions of older Tibetans to being able to touch their homeland’s soil, a video of the entire broadcast, and the author’s response to the broadcast, were included. One reaction of an old Tibetan monk was, “After all the years in exile, I have grown old. Over the long years, I had given up the thought of ever seeing my home. But after walking on this soil, I feel hope, that soon I can return home. I want to go back. Everyone should know, soon, we will all return to Tibet.” The author’s response to the broadcast was, “I have never seen older members of our community express their desire to return home so publicly. The way they felt the earth from Tibet and the longing for home it evoked were so painfully emotional. I feel the change in the air. I feel like I was seeing the sentiments of my people, young and old, born in Tibet and exile, being expressed for the first time together. We all will return home, SOON.”

In order to fully appreciate my summary of the blogs I read, it’s necessary to have a general understanding of what’s happening in Tibet. At the beginning of the 1950s, China gained sovereignty over Tibet; although Tibet wasn’t recognized as an independent country before China’s take over, they enjoyed de facto independence. Since China’s take over, Tibetan’s religious freedom and human rights has been completely violated. This violation led to the 14th Dali Lama’s exile, and many Tibetans fleeing their country. An article that reveals crimes against Tibetan’s human rights is located at this website,

http://www.thetibetpost.com/en/news/tibet/1308-china-crackdown-on-tibets-religion-culture-like-language-continues

These blogs unveil the strong connection people have to their land and environment. When Tibetans felt the soil, some of them cried and admitted how happy they were to feel their land’s earth. I also think, that in the bigger scheme of things, the Lhakar Diaries is a form of resilience. Tibetan culture, weather it exists in India or other places in the world, still exists. These diaries provide a way for Tibetans to stand up for their identity, rights and freedom. So, in relation to Holling’s definition of resilience, Tibetan culture might not be the same culture is was fifty years ago, but it’s changing, adapting, and existing in response to China’s disruptions and disturbances in Tibet.

Both blogs, and the video, really affected me emotionally. I had goose bumps from reading the second blog because I was so touched by the older Tibetans’ and author’s responses to the ceremony. That being said, I want to know your reactions to the blogs and video; how did reading and watching them make you feel? What’s your personal connection to environmental aspects in your homeland? What’s your response to the human rights violations committed by China on Tibet?

 

 

 

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13 Comments
  1. Megan Powell permalink

    I too found these blogs and video to be very emotionally touching. I think they stress how much where we come from is a part of our identities. Reading/watching these gave me a slightly new perspective on this idea though: that the very landscape of home is a part of our identities. Just knowing that that was the soil from Tibet (it could have been any other soil really) had such a strong emotional effect on those Tibetans. When I think about it, I have similar feelings for my home, Boulder. You do kind of feel that your homeland is a part of you.
    Also, I agree with your point about the way in which the Tibetans are keeping their culture alive applies to the ideas of resilience we’ve been talking about. But it does make me sad that there culture may change because it has to adapt to what China has done to them. I bet Wade Davis has a lot to day about the Tibet-China situation…

  2. I found the reading really emotionally touching as well. especially the video when the Buddhist monk just starts crying. You can sense the suffering he feels. I think its interesting that all the people in the article have so much attachment to the physical place of Tibet, that touching soil that came from there is enough to cause intense emotion. I’ve never had to deal with that before. I always leave knowing that I can always come back. What happens when that choice is taken away? It seems that these people are so home-sick that the physical presence of something from their home means the world. Going off of Holling’s definition of resilience, could we apply it the the people that call Tibet their home, but as far as they know can never come back. When is the tipping point for them, and what might that be?

  3. When I go back home to Florida, which is not very often, I try and bring back a piece of shell or something that will remind me of my homeland and my family. When I look at the shells in my room, they make me smile and bring back memories. There is a connection I hold with these shells. I can sense that same connection in the art illustration in Dharamsala, India. These stories in the bog really brought a sense of home to these Tibetans – that connection. That feeling permeates so deep inside and awakens the soul. I feel for these Tibetans and sadden that they are being displaced and mistreated in their homelands. We must all continue to educate ourselves on the events going on in Tibet in hopes for a better future for everyone.

  4. morganspyker permalink

    I completely agree with Megan Powell that the landscape of home becomes part of our identities. Whenever I see pictures, videos or hear of someone from San Diego I get excited and sad in the pit of my stomach at the same time. Drawing from personal experience, I was strongly encouraged to leave the city for reasons that don’t need to be aired over the internet, so I can understand on a very small scale what the Tibetans must be feeling. As my personal “exile” has been lifted (halllaaa!), one can only hope that they too can return home soon because the loss of never feeling at home or being able to go to a place that is comfortable is a feeling that can never be filled otherwise.

  5. I was very touched by the blog posts, however, before now, I had never really understood the situation in Tibet. I was aware that it was a violation of human rights but I have never studied the situation itself and I found this blog to be very helpful in my understanding of the injustice in Tibet. Reading the blogs is very different from reading descriptions of the situation because they are personal and carry with them the element of experience that lacks in a simple description of the situation. I completely agree also with Coco’s claim that Tibetan culture is resilient. I also agree with Morgan, I hope they can go back home very soon.

    • janellekramer permalink

      I, like Megan, never really understood the extent to the oppression of the Tibetan people until now. It is sad to know that just being able to lay on the soil from their homeland lets the people feel so much more connected. That leads me to believe they really have no physical connection to Tibet at all, and that is an extreme injustice. It amazes me, like others in our class, that they still feel such a strong tie to their nation and have kept the culture as strong as it is. The Tibetan people, and their story, is very moving. I also hope they can return extremely soon.

  6. punam123 permalink

    I agree with Coco that this video was very emotional and touching for me. A person identity is known by their origins, their home, their parents, their culture. Although Tibetan people have been preserving their culture, tradition, arts and their joint community in this globalized diaspora, but losing the homeland to the others is very emotional. For the people living in Tibet, not having the freedom to speak, practice their culture is very oppressive of the chinese government. The video where everyone was smelling the soil makes me realize the love towards their motherland.

  7. punam123 permalink

    For second question, my personal connection towards the environmental aspect of my homeland is the mountain where i used to see every morning with the rise of the sun, buddhist monasteries where i used to pray, the grassland where i, forest etc. i felt really connected and emotional in the video when the monk sees the Tibet from far but could not reach. China should stop abusing the Tibetan people human rights and give them the freedom of learning their language and stop torturing. When my Tibetan friends grandmother used to tell the story of how they cross the boarder when China invaded Tibet and the intention abandonment of her son to escape . It made me really angry and i had the question arising in my mind why do Chinese government does like that? Greed or politics but i guess the answer is more then that. In addition to that, i once visited the lhasa and the monasteries where destroyed. It really sad to see with out own eyes the destruction of the spiritual and religious places.

  8. I feel like the articles, blog posts, videos, and discussions we have done/are doing have been very interesting and, most of all, moving. It has been very surprising to discover the facts regarding the Tibetan situation. I am glad to have the opportunity to be educated about Tibet’s oppression because we have learned how huge of an impact this all has on the people and how many different aspects of a culture that are involved.
    After our guest lecture, we could all easily see how emotional this situation can be for people. This is people’s homes and homeland that are being negatively affected, it is a very sad part of our world. As Punam summarized in her comment, the abuse and oppression is wrong and this involves a very personal relationship with a certain culture and their homeland. No governmental or overriding force should ever come between that relationship.

  9. Summer Rose W permalink

    The blogs really showed me so much more than I had known before about Tibet. I have never before really been aware of the situation for Tibetans. These blogs make me feel more connected, and feel much more real than news articles. Each person writing a blog has something personal to say, which I think has a much greater impact than news articles.
    It makes so much sense to want to go back to a home country, to go back to living in their culture again. There is really nothing quite like home, and to never be able to go there even though it is so close must be so hard. I couldn’t imagine how I would feel if I could not go back to my home, but I am sure it would be very difficult and painful.

  10. After reading these blogs and watching the videos, i found that i had a stronger connection and deeper understanding of homeland, both from an outsider’s perspective on Tibet and my own feelings towards what i consider my “homeland.” Like Kristin, I too always take a piece of my home with me whenever i travel some place new. Ever since the first time i moved houses from CA to CO when i was eight years old, i have kept a rock in a jar from every place that i have lived. I always knew that these homes meant something to me, but until now i had never realized how much a home, a city, or even a country defines who i am and how i perceive myself among others. Even when we are forced to move to a foreign place (like my Dad’s new job bringing us to Colorado or the Chinese Government taking over Tibet) I still consider my homeland to be California, even though i haven’t been back there since 1998. The emotional ties that a person can have to a particular landscape can have a great affect on how they identify themselves. This topic of Tibet also made me think about how we brought up in class one day about what it means to be an American. Although we are all Americans, there is no one right way to define our “culture” or our constructed identities formed from the land in which we come from.

  11. Benjamin N. permalink

    The Lhakar Diaries were extremely informative and moving, and the guest speaker we had in class definitely enriched that feeling. I think the atrocities in Tibet are unthinkable. I can’t even imagine how awful it must be to have your culture completely repressed and taken away from you from a more dominant force. I’m glad to see that there are people retaliating and standing up for what they believe.

    On my side of things, I’m sad to say that I don’t have major connections to my “homeland.” I moved all over the midwest as a kid, never staying anywhere for much longer than a few years. Because of this, I feel no major emotional connections to the area. I consider Colorado home, and I certainly identify with being “from Colorado,” even though I didn’t live here until I was ten. I do have emotional connections to the landscape here. I think we live in the most beautiful state in the entire country, and I want to see the integrity of our landscape preserved as much as possible.

  12. I always find videos about people expressing their love of a place or a group of people to be heartwarming and emotionally charged. With the articles concerning Tibet, I found it extremely important not only to be educated about what these people have gone through and continue to go through, but I found it important to understanding what this class is all about: people and the environment. This entire semester has been filled with studying and learning about people and how they interact with an environment, so to see people so attached to their country, to have a very set place within which they thrive, and to really press forward and fight for what they’ve got is an integral part in understanding people. It’s an anthrpological dream in terms of understanding the way in which people associate themselves with a place and the importance of that relatinoship.

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