I mentioned Tibetan singing bowls a few nights ago, and got some lovely responses. Here’s a glimpse of what can be done with them:
Jan 13 2009
Jul 04 2008
cross-posted from The Dream Antilles
Lost in the July 3 rush to start July 4th partying is the
Commander Athlete in Chief’s announcement that he will support the athletes by attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. This direct, single digit salute to people who care about human rights in China and who are concerned about the continuing genocide in Darfur, was delivered to avoid outcry. Put another way, it reeks of cowardice.
The New York Times reports:
The White House said Thursday that President Bush would attend the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics next month, a decision fraught with international political symbolism that quickly drew criticism from advocates for human rights.
The advocates have been pressing world leaders to boycott the Olympics or at least skip the opening ceremonies to protest China’s violent crackdown after riots in Tibet and its support for the government of Sudan, whose Darfur region remains enmeshed in violence.
The leaders of Britain and Germany have said they will skip the opening ceremonies. For some time, the White House has said that Mr. Bush will attend the Games, but has refused to provide further details.
That changed late on Thursday afternoon. With most of official Washington already gone for the Fourth of July holiday, the White House press secretary, Dana Perino, issued a simple statement outlining Mr. Bush’s August travel schedule, including the notation that he would go to the opening ceremonies.
press secretary mouthpiece, who gives frequent evidence of being both utterly tone deaf and unable to distinguish facts from opinions, explained in an interview:
“This is a decision by the president that he really wanted to go in support of our athletes,” Ms. Perino said in an interview. Asked if Mr. Bush was making a political statement, she said, “He does not look at it that way, but we recognize that others may.”
May 11 2008
cross posted from The Dream Antilles
Mothers’ Day isn’t celebrated in Nepal. Modern Mothers’ Day began as Women’s Day of Peace. In fact, NPK today has posted the stirring 1870 Proclamation. So it’s a synchronicity that hundreds of Tibetan women in Kathmandu including Buddhist nuns chose today as an all-woman protest against Chinese occupation of Tibet.
Nepali police detained 562 Tibetan women at an anti-China rally in Kathmandu on Sunday, the first all-women protest against Chinese rule in their homeland, officials said.
Some shouted “We want free Tibet” while others wept as they were dragged along the road to police vans and trucks and driven to detention centers. Many were wearing black armbands and had their mouths gagged with cloths.
Nepal considers Tibet part of China, a key donor and trade partner, and has been cracking down on protests by the exiled Tibetans against Beijing.
Police said the protesters would be freed later.
Nepal borders Tibet. More than 20,000 Tibetans have been living in Nepal since fleeing their homeland after the recent failed uprising and China’s crack-down.
“We are not against Nepal. Our protests are against China. So why are they arresting us?” asked a 70-year-old protester who gave her name as Chinjhoke, tears rolling down her face.
According to BBC Nepal
cannot allow Tibetans to demonstrate because it recognises Tibet as an integral part of China.
But the UN says the mass arrests are against the spirit of a society governed by the rule of law.
Today’s protest in Kathmandu followed yesterday’s in which
A group of Tibetan protesters chained themselves together in front of the Chinese Embassy’s visa office in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, on Saturday.
Sixteen protesters secured themselves to each other with chains and padlocks at the Chinese embassy in the heart of Kathmandu, and were joined by dozens of other Tibetans who chanted ‘Free Tibet’ and ‘We want freedom.’
Police official Ramesh Thapa says 120 people were detained for defying a ban on demonstrations against China, Nepal’s neighbour to the north.
I don’t think it can be argued that arrests for that reason comply with an acknowledgement of human rights. Evidently, it’s important to Nepal to mimic Chinese responses to peaceful protest.
I watch all of this with increasing frustration. I am astonished by the courage of the Tibetan protesters, that they risk so much to bring to the world’s attention their grievances about the occupation of Tibet. But I don’t believe that what they do will result in action that will change things. That belief brings me despair.
All I have to offer on this Mothers’ Day is this Metta prayer:
May all beings be well and safe, may they be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be, whether moving or standing still, without exception, whether large, great, middling, or small, whether tiny or substantial,
Whether seen or unseen, whether living near or far,
Born or unborn; may all beings be happy.
Let none deceive or despise another anywhere. Let none wish harm to another, in anger or in hate.”
Just as a mother would guard her child, her only child, with her own life, even so let me cultivate a boundless mind for all beings in the world.
Let me cultivate a boundless love for all beings in the world, above, below, and across, unhindered, without ill will or enmity.
Standing, walking, seated, or lying down, free from torpor, let me as far as possible fix my attention on this recollection. This, they say, is the divine life right here.
May it be so.
May 09 2008
YANGON (AFP) – Myanmar said Friday it was not ready to let in foreign aid workers, rejecting international pressure to allow experts into the isolated nation where disease and starvation are stalking cyclone survivors.
One week after the devastating storm killed tens of thousands, Myanmar’s ruling generals — deeply suspicious of the outside world — said the country needed outside aid for those still alive, but would deliver it themselves.
The foreign ministry announcement came as a top UN official warned time was running out to move in disaster experts and supplies to prevent diseases that could claim even more victims.
Instead, the ministry said some relief workers who arrived on an aid flight from Qatar on Wednesday had been deported.
Al Jazeera has an exemplary in-depth analysis of this tragedy, including an extended round table featuring UN Humanitarian Chief John Holmes, Bo Hla Tint, spokesperson for the Burmese Government in Exile and Marie Lall of the Asia Programme at Chatham House:
May 08 2008
ITN News UK is reporting that experts predict the death toll in Burma will be over 100,000:
This is bolstered by the military junta’s own estimates:
The Burmese military says it believes 80,000 people died in the one district of Labutta in the Irrawaddy delta, which bore the brunt of the storm.
That figure would imply an overall death toll for Cyclone Nargis well above 100,000 people.
And yet the authorities in Burma have put up roadblocks to international assistance, including receiving relief supplies and – more vitally – disaster workers as the situation on the ground deteriorates.
It’s time for us, all of us, to start changing the way we do business.
May 07 2008
Despite economic sanctions against Myanmar by the United States and the European Union, Total continues to operate the Yadana gas field, and Chevron Corp. has a 28 percent stake through its takeover of Unocal. Existing investments were exempt from the investment ban.
Both Total and Chevron broadly defended their business in the nation.
“Far from solving Myanmar’s problems, a forced withdrawal would only lead to our replacement by other operators probably less committed to the ethical principles guiding all our initiatives,” Jean-Francois Lassalle, vice president of public affairs for Total Exploration & Production, said this week in a statement.
ABC News Australia is now reporting that the death toll from Cyclone Nargis in Burma could be as high as 80,000 right now, and a perfect storm of lack of sanitation, food and aid workers to – among other things – dispose of dead bodies decomposing in rice fields and local water supplies could lead to an even larger human tragedy. link: http://www.abc.net.au/news/sto…
May 06 2008
First, please take a moment to reflect on the cyclone in Burma, which the AP estimates has killed over 14,000 people. The military junta in Burma has been roundly criticized for failing to enact an early warning system that could have saved lives:
The government had apparently taken few efforts to prepare for the storm, which came bearing down on the country from the Bay of Bengal late Friday. Weather warnings broadcast on television would have been largely useless for the worst-hit rural areas where electricity supply is spotty and television a rarity.
“The government misled people,” said Thin Thin, a grocery story owner in Yangon. “They could have warned us about the severity of the coming cyclone so we could be better prepared.”
Some in Yangon complained that the 400,000-strong military was only clearing streets where the ruling elite resided but leaving residents, including Buddhist monks, to cope on their own in most other areas.
The AP reports that the UN and aid organizations are mobilizing supplies, and that the EU has committed $3 million in humanitarian aid, the Chinese government stands ready with $1 million in cash and supplies, and the US is giving an intial $250,000 in aid with more to come if a disaster team is allowed inside the country.
UPDATE The BBC is now reporting that the death toll has reached 22,000:
The death toll from Burma’s devastating cyclone has now risen to more than 22,000, state media say.
Some 41,000 people were also missing, three days after Cyclone Nargis hit the country on Saturday, state radio said.
Apr 30 2008
Screen Cap from SFGate
Former mayor Willie Brown, football player Hershel Walker, and swimmer Natalie Coughlin, carry the torch on the final leg of the ‘surprise’ route. Surrounded by a phalanx of Chinese security, police with batons, and a motorcycle motorcade….with nary a protester in sight. Yep – this is how San Francisco shows its Olympic spirit!
On April 9th the Olympic torch came to San Francisco – the only North American city on its route. This was preceded by weeks of controversy over China’s human rights record, the situation in Tibet, and how this most liberal american city would handle the event and the surrounding protests. My parents (from Illinois) were in town that week so I took the opportunity to schedule a day off and go see the Olympic torch.
Lots more pics below the fold.
Apr 25 2008
The big news from the AP:
BEIJING (AP) – The Chinese government plans to meet with a private representative of the Dalai Lama in the coming days, state-run media reported, after weeks of pressure from world leaders.
The official Xinhua News Agency said it had learned of the development “from official sources.” It quoted an unnamed official as saying there had been requests repeatedly made by “the Dalai side for resuming talks.”
The official said “the relevant department of the central government will have contact and consultation with Dalai’s private representative in the coming days.” No date was given, and it was unclear exactly which representative was expected to take part in the meeting.
UPDATE NHK has further analysis from their Beijing correspondent:
Apr 24 2008
There is a BIG difference between a protester and a separatist. A protester is a white man, holding a Tibetan flag, yelling, screaming and cussing at Chinese, a man ill-informed and stubborn. A separatist is a Tibetan man holding a Tibetan flag, yelling, screaming and cussing at Chinese, with the intent of separating the People’s Republic of China. In total, about 30 “protesters” came, and 2 “separatists” came. That’s right, only 2 Tibetans, and two or so dozens of ill-informed westerners.
Quote from text accompanying this pro-China YouTube of the protests surrounding the Olympic torch relay in Australia today:
Apr 23 2008
Protests have already started in Australia before tomorrow’s Olympic torch relay. So far they have been peaceful, and protest leaders are renewing calls to use nonviolence in the waning hours before the torch takes its course through the streets of Canberra.
Australia Tibet Council chairman George Farley addressed protesters at a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese embassy:
“The world believes the cause of Tibet is moral,” Mr Farley said.
But he warned world opinion could change if tomorrow’s protests turned ugly.
Mr Farley said the non-violent approach endorsed by the Dalai Lama was the only approach to take.
“If they (pro-China activists) spit on you, just wear it.
“If they attack you, run away. Do not approach the Chinese, do not interact with them.”
This YouTube is from one of a small group of protesters walking 43 miles while on a hunger strike to join the wider protest in Canberra: