Memo from Jantar Mantar – Killings in Lhasa, Unrest in Delhi
Amidst the city’s Tibetan citizens.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Red-robed lamas, apple-cheeked girls and the Tibetan flag. Also: fists, frowns, and slogans.
In that side of the Himalayas, Chinese are killing Tibetans. Violence in Lhasa has left 80 dead. In this side, Tibetan refugees have gathered at Jantar Mantar, Delhi’s Tian Mien square. Most are young born-in-India Tibetans whose parents and grand parents had escaped here after China invaded the Buddhist nation in 1959. Today these angry people are demanding freedom. But who will take them seriously? They don’t have suicide bombers.
Cry, my beloved country
All together – young ‘n’ old
Read me, again
Here’s how you can support Tibet’s cause
Please visit the online petition, ‘We, the people of India, support the people of Tibet’ at http://www.petitiononline.com/indtib35/petition.html and take a moment to read the petition statement. If you feel moved to, please sign the petition. Once we have enough signatures, the petition will be sent to the official email addresses of the government of India.
You are quite a photographer! Excellent shots….
Hey, great to see you helping the Tibetans get some attention. Minor nitpick: not all monks are lamas (and a lama is not even necessarily a monk).>>Cheers, Thomas
Thanks for bringing Tibet into the spotlight…>However, there is another side to this Tibet-mongering fueled by corporate media. >>A great furore is being created by imperialist powers and their reactionary supporters all shapes and stripes regarding the Olympics in China. From Islamic fundamentalists planning to bomb the Olympics (East Turkestan Islamic Movement) to the feudalist Free Tibet Movement led by Dalai Lama and now Steven Spielburg, there is a full on concerted campaign to put pressure on countries to boycott the Olympics in China.>>The fact is that China is the first Third World country to host the Olympic games. China has>succeeded in almost completely overcoming its colonial legacy of under-development. China is not only the fastest growing economy, it has demonstrated the most>amazing results as far as human development parameters are concerned as well. UNDP report of 2005 reads:>>“China has registered some of the most rapid advances in human development in history, with its Human Development Index Ranking increased 20 percent since>1990″>>“if China’s achievements were not recorded, the world would have actually regressed in its progress towards poverty alleviation.”>>“The country climbed 20 places in the Human Development Index ranking to 85 since 1990”>>China was reported as having 250 million people living in absolute poverty in 1978. Today they have none.>>CHINA IS THE ONLY THIRD WORLD COUNTRY THAT HAS>COMPLETELY RID ITSELF OF ABSOLUTE POVERTY.>>We have seen in the case of Iraq and Palestine how the Western media, dominated by imperial concerns builds up complete hysteria about human rights abuses of other countries while legitimizing genocide in the>name of democracy. In the same way, they are today building up a media frenzy to boycott the Olympics in>China. The reality is that if the Olympics in China are successful all their lies about that country will be exposed. The people of the world will be able to see that China has prospered, grown, and developed. It has thrown off its colonial past and is becoming a new>world power that may challenge the global imperialism.
Whilst your pictures are fluid and intimate, they lack the particular context – each image, protest and movement has a setting – a larger arena of action. If divorced from that context, the representations of that struggle undermine themselves…>>Alas, these are not captured – the Lamas or Monks as you confuse the two, could be anywhere – the streets of New York, Hyde Park or for that matter Mumbai.>>A blog on Delhi must not lose touch with its ethos – this is not a critique but a reader’s observation.
Tibet Riot Documentary>>This is a blow by blow account of the riot in Lhasa>and shows that the supporters of the so-called Free>Tibetan movement were the perpetrators of gruesome>violence.>>Pictures at:>http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/90785/6378050.html>>>The riots in Lhasa last Friday are the most serious>incident in the region for decades. Local residents>are still reeling from the aftershock, even as they>try to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. In>the following documentary, we look back at the events>to see how they’ve impacted the people in Tibet.>>>11 a.m., March 14>>(Ramoche Temple, Lhasa) At eleven o’clock on the>morning of March 14th, rioters gathered at the Ramoche>Temple. On the temple roof, about a dozen monks stood>and threw stones at police.>>2 p.m., March 14>>The situation escalated in the afternoon as more>rioters gathered at the Ramoche Temple. Others, some>armed with knives, began to arrive from the streets in>downtown Lhasa. As the riot intensified, a group of>people tipped over a police wagon, and then flipped a>nearby car.>>An amateur cameraman recorded the scene as members of>the mob stopped a motorcycle on the road and>bludgeoned the rider’s head with rocks. As the>violence intensified, some people caught up in the>riot suffered severe injuries. This innocent man was>blinded in the right eye, and his left ear was cut>off.>>An amateur cameraman recorded the scene as members of>the mob stopped a motorcycle on the road and>bludgeoned the rider’s head with rocks.>>>3 p.m., March 14>>>From three o’clock in the afternoon onward, the mob>moved along Yutuo Road, Beijing East Road, and>Duosenge Road, smashing businesses and setting fires.>>They stormed into shops, hospitals and news agencies.>Nearby public facilities, transportation and electric>power lines were damaged.>>Seven banks operating within the area failed to escape>the mob. Rioters smashed ten ATM machines to pieces>leaving those branches in a complete mess.>>Rioters set fires in the areas around the Jokhong>Temple, Ramoche Temple and the Chomsigkang Market. In>the city centre, fires started in the Si Fang>supermarket, Lan Dun Plaza and Wen Zhou Plaza.>>Rioters even attacked schools, setting Lhasa’s Number>2 Middle School on fire. The smoke from these fires>covered the city.>>When firefighters arrived, two of their fire trucks>were torched and four firefighters were injured.>>13 innocent civilians were burned or stabbed to death>in the riots. 56 cars were damaged or burned. Dozens>of public security officers and scores of armed police>were injured, 10 in serious condition. Rioters have>set fire to over 300 sites, and burned down over 200>residential houses and shops.>>After the riots began, Party and government officials>of the Tibet Autonomous Region reacted quickly. They>deployed the police to disperse the violence, and>firefighters to put out the fire and evacuate those>trapped inside burning buildings. The wounded were>rushed to hospital for treatment.>>Local authorities say more than 580 people have been>rescued by the armed police, including three Japanese>tourists, as well as teachers and students in a>primary school and a middle school. There wereno>foreigners among the casualties.>>China’s public security and armed police have exerted>the highest restraint.>>In their handling of the incident, China’s public>security and armed police have exerted the highest>restraint. They did not use any deadly weapons, not>even when their own lives were threatened. Some riot>police were cornered and beaten. Others were stoned.>Armed police on duty outside the gate of the Romache>Temple were surrounded and attacked by rioters. None>of them fired on their attackers.>>One day after the riots, vehicles were restricted from>entering the city’s main roads. But the streets were>still littered with roll-over cars, burned motorbikes>and bicycles, and smoldering reminder of from violence>from the day before.>>Local officials in Tibet say there is plenty of>evidence to prove that the incident was masterminded>by the Dalai clique.>>Baema Chilain, vice chairman of government of Tibet>autonomous region, said “The Dalai clique used various>means to contact and issue orders to their>co-conspirators in Tibet. They also resorted to all>sorts of tricks to stir up trouble among the people,>hiding the truth from them. All this shows that the>Dalai clique has never stopped its efforts to disrupt>national unity and seek Tibet independence.”>>“I am outraged!” a Lhasa resident said.>>“My heart is very heavy. A small group of>secessionists has unleased great violence on Lhasa.>They’ve destroyed our happy life. We can’t go to work.>Our children can’t go to school.” another resident>said.>>“If there should be similar incidents in the future,>we will definitely be against them. It’s absolutely>necessary to punish the culprits in accordance with>the law. This is for the interests of the people, for>social stability, and for national unity.”>>Many places were attacked and burned down to the>ground. The Youth Road in the downtown area suffered>the most.>>Businessman Peng Xiaobo said “After an explosion,>heavy smoke was everywhere. My uncle was over there>with the woolen blanket — he jumped down from the>second floor. Then he urged us to jump, too. He said,>‘Don’t worry about the money. Life is more important.’>The explosion shattered all the glasses, and heavy>smoke covered up everything.”>>Peng Xiaobo’s four shops were all set on fire. His>family had to jump down from the second floor in order>to escape. His wife hurt her back during the jump. But>the worst was yet to come.>>Peng said “I had a younger sister. She just had her>18th birthday in December. She didn’t dare to jump>from such a height. She tried to find another way to>escape, but the stairs under her collapsed. She fell>through to the first floor and was burned to death.”>>18-year-old Chen Jia came from the southwestern>province of Sichuan. Last Friday, the clothing store>in Lhasa, where she and five other girls worked, was>targeted by rioters. The door of the store was>destroyed. Trapped inside, the six girls were forced>to flee to the second floor.>>In shock, Chen Jia sent a text message to her father,>saying, ‘Father, the rioters here are very brutal.>We’re hiding in the store and don’t dare to leave.>Don’t worry about me. You tell Mother and Sister not>to go out.’ Several minutes later, the store was set>on fire. Five of the girls were burned to death. The>tragedy broke Chen Jia’s father’s heart. He said “My>daughter was so girlish. We all loved her.”>>Chen Jia, Cering Zhuoga from Xigaze, Yang Dongmei and>Liu Yan from Sichuan, and Han Xinxin from Henan were>also burn to death. Zhuoma was left shocked at being>the only survivor. Days after the violence, Zhuoma>still can’t accept that her friends are no longer>here.>>She said “I never thought about that. We were happy>together that morning, but it suddenly changed hours>later. I can’t believe it, I can’t accept the truth>that they have left me. I want to ask the rioters why>they did it. I really can’t understand why the rioters>killed innocent civilians…why they killed our>sisters. We’re just employees, we don’t have much>money. If they wanted money, why did they rob us of>our lives?”>>Violence in Lhasa broke out on March 14th, and took a>heavy toll in innocent lives and property.>Businessman, Wu Guanglin, can’t forget what he and his>son suffered that day. Rioters targeted him and his>six-year-old son. They stamped on the little boy’s>chest, sending him into shock.>>Businessman Wu Guanglin said “I searched all over for>him, at last I saw my son was lying on the ground>without clothes and shoes.”>>Wu Guanglin stopped an ambulance,
and doctors gave his>son first aid. But the ambulance was targeted shortly>after driving off. He said “My son’s only six years>old. I really feel sad. The rioters even beat the>doctors with stone and sticks. The doctors directed me>to cover my son with my body, the rioters even>destroyed the face guard. I was really sad. My son was>in serious condition for two days after the incident.>I went to hospital twice to thank doctor Lobsang, but>he told me that was his duty.”>>Wu Guanglin says he will always remember the Tibetan>doctor, Cering Lobsang, who risked his life to rescue>the boy. Lobsang is still recovering from his wounds>at Lhasa People’s Hospital.>>Tibetan doctor Cering Lobsang said “We picked up the>Wus on our way back. The boy wasn’t breathing, and had>no heart beat. The rioters stopped us. We told them we>are medical workers, but they didn’t care. They>targeted the ambulance, and beat us.”>>Local authorities took control of the situation>shortly after the violence broke out. They also took>effective measures to restore peace and order. Local>residents also volunteered clear away debris and clean>up the streets.>>Vice chairman of Tibet autonomous region Dorje Cering>said “We are working to gather enough materials for>people’s basic needs. Tibet is at such a special>moment. We have to guarantee that every citizen lives>a stable life here in Lhasa. At the same time, we’re>working hard to arrest those behind the violence as>soon as possible.”>>By Wednesday, more than 150 rioters had turned>themselves in to police, and handed over what they had>looted.>>In downtown Lhasa, the shells of stores and homes can>be seen everywhere. But as people start putting things>back together, the city is on the way back to normal.
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