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Arrested and Willing to Die for a Homeland She’s Never Seen

Arrested and Willing to Die for a Homeland She’s Never Seen

Like so many of the people I know who fight for Tibet, Choedon, a beautiful young Tibetan refugee I interviewed, had requested I not show her face in this interview. 

Her dream is to return to Tibet, and she fears her activism would result in denial of a visa. 

In 2008, Choedon, along with almost 400 others (mostly Tibetans) worked together and planned a march back to their homeland – Tibet.

According to Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

  • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
  • (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

The march lasted over 100 days, and there were numerous arrests within India, as this group tried to assert this basic human right.

Choedon and I sat in her apartment during this interview, sipping apple juice.  The sun was shining over the Himalayas, kids were laughing outside.  This was no ordinary conversation. I felt a sadness; this kind of conversation seems to be the norm here in the exile community.  We talked about hope and family; Choedon ended the interview with something that left me in tears. 

Please take a minute to listen to this interview; please share it if you are able.

Related Stories:

China Crackdowns on Journalists, Closes Tibet to Foreigners

Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees [Video]

A Refuge and Place to Find “Common Ground”

 

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Photo credit: Built on Respect (2011)

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45 comments

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6:47AM PDT on Jul 19, 2011

Very interesting, it made me do a little more research on the Dalai Lama and Tibet. He left in 1959. At that time not only did Tibet not have even 1 university, it also did appear to have any schools at all! They had no hospitals! A complete theocracy. They had 200 religious holidays a year where it was compulsory  to attend. Though as buddhists they had no death penalty,they  would beat a person to within an inch of their lives and then cast them out onto the freezing hillsides to die. Amputation was a popular form of punishment, and also punitive taxation. Eg. Paying money to secure your release from prison. Tibet was also one of the last places to outlaw slavery. 1959. After the Dalai Lama left! Essentially Tibetans who were not part of the ruling theocracy were slaves with the better off ones as serfs. I have always wondered about this grinning man who seems to be saying wise words that under scrutiny are just empty words and platitudes. 

8:36PM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

wow. thats crazy. sad.

10:20PM PDT on Mar 20, 2011

Chris S. wrote:

"Treat others as you would want to be treated... abused many times, over the period of man's history. Freedom to the Oppressed
Justice where there is Injustice, Peace where there is War, and most of all Love, Honour, and Respect for each other ~ that's all."

Hi, Chris S.

Indeed, you said it all.

10:15PM PDT on Mar 20, 2011

Richard S. wrote:

"The Chinese government is reported as lamenting the attacks on the sovereign nation of Libya.
Does that mean that they are going to free Tibet?
It doesn't matter what country is doing it, repression is repression."


Hi, Richard S., yes. And we can look at this sad dilemma further:

The US government is attacking the sovereign nation of Libya, allegedly to defend lybian people. And there has been reports that the US bombings had killed civilians (Iraq? Again?).
Does that mean that they are going to give back North America to the Native Americans?
It doesn't matter what country is doing it, repression is repression.


May God bless those who love fairness, and the animals

7:21AM PDT on Mar 20, 2011

The Chinese government is reported as lamenting the attacks on the sovereign nation of Libya. Does that mean that they are going to free Tibet? It doesn't matter what country is doing it, repression is repression.

9:23PM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

Tara A. wrote: "It would be nice if the Tibetans and The Dalai Lama could return to their homeland. I am a Native Canadian and see my people still suffering from being taken over in a ruthless way. Instead of being treated with the respect all persons and earthlings deserve on this beautiful earth we ALL call home.

Free Tibet from this tyranny."

Yes. There's plenty of suffering for native people all around the world, from being taken over in a ruthless way.
It is past time to respect be given to all persons and animals from this planet.
It is past time to free all indigenous people and animals alike from the tyranny of those who took away their future, their lands and their dignity.
So let us transform beautiful words into beautiful actions.

So let us give back all the lands taken away from the Tibetans by the Chinese.

Give back all the lands to the Native Americans in the USA.

Give back all the lands to the native Canadians in Canada.

Give back all the lands to the Ainos in Japan, to the native Serbians in the Former Yugoslavia, to Armenians and Greeks in Turkey, and to the Natives in Central and Southern America.

Stop all the wars.
Stop all the oppressions.
Renounce to greed.
Help those in need.
Lay behind any hypocrisy.
And let us learn to live in peace and justice with our brothers, humans and as well animals, not only in words but also in deeds.

And may God bless all the people with good will and the animals.

12:16PM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

It would be nice if the Tibetans and The Dalai Lama could return to their homeland. I am a Native Canadian and see my people still suffering from being taken over in a ruthless way. Instead of being treated with the respect all persons and earthlings deserve on this beautiful earth we ALL call home.

Free Tibet from this tyranny.

11:58AM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

wow

9:32AM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

I agree with with Patricia A they will never relent.

Living in china I had a talk with some young students and asked why and the same for Taiwan..their answers was ...it is ours....and it is according to THEIR text books!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I said so you consider them your brothers? Yes was the answer...so...said I... you would kill your brothers because they dont want to be part of your family???

To that they did not know how to answer and of course some said yes and others no BUT it shows that most young people just repeat the party lines without really understanding the objectif behind....
If us foreigners can show them the real facts then the young generation might see things in a different light...
Lets hope for it!

3:10AM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

sad..thanks for the article

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