Wednesday, May 07, 2008
New Issue - May 8-21
China's Tibetian Frontiers Rekindle Tradition of Defiance
Zhuoni, China, April 9 - Across China’s mountainous west, armed troops watch over the Tibetan monasteries and towns that have emerged as hotbeds of protest kindled by traditions of defiance and newer economic grievances.
More than the Tibet Autonomous Region itself, where the upsurge of anti-Chinese protests and riots erupted in March, the historically Tibetan parts of neighboring provinces have defied efforts to smother unrest with troop convoys, roadblocks and patrols, and warnings of harsh punishment to lawbreakers.
In Zhuoni, a county in the northwest province of Gansu, protesters in mid-March torched a school, set up their own roadblock and trashed officials’ cars, residents said.
A recent trip along its tightly guarded roads showed the protests had stopped. Smashed windows of the local police offices and Chinese-owned shops had been quickly repaired, and traders were returning to dusty streets.
But Tibetans here and across south Gansu spoke of anger with the government campaign against the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, and with economic shifts they said favored Han Chinese migrants and Hui Muslim merchants in nearby towns.
“There are more and more Han here, so we can’t develop,” said Tsairang, a herder and farmer. He rejected the government’s claim that the Dalai Lama’s supporters orchestrated the violence.
“It wasn’t the Dalai Lama. He’s like a member of our family who isn’t allowed to come home. You can’t blame him.”
An Act For Change
Amid sunbathers and baseball players on the Boston Common, a group of Suffolk theater students gathered on April 23 to perform a play in an effort to promote social justice and awareness for the issue of homelessness.
The play, titled Infinity, was student written, produced, directed, and acted. Rachel Kelsey was inspired to write the play after working with Neighborhood Action, a group dedicated to serving Boston’s homeless.
“I met some people at Neighborhood Action and it got me examining how we look at each other,” said Kelsey.
Director Purima Baldwin was drawn to the project by Kelsey’s insightful writing. “We wanted to do a final show before we graduated, something that had a social impact,” said Baldwin.
Baldwin’s life has been directly affected by homelessness. Her older brother, Dan, has been homeless for nearly twenty years. “He’s spent probably half his life on the street,” said Baldwin.
“I’m hoping maybe my brother will stumble across the Common that day, but I doubt it,” continued Baldwin, during an interview before one of the cast’s final rehearsals.
Kelsey and Baldwin hoped the production would attract the attention of people who are not ordinarily attuned to issues of homelessness and poverty. By performing in a public space, they were trying to reach a broader audience. “I just hope people walking by will stop and watch us,” said Kelsey.
Voices from the Streets: Connecting the Dots
Unfortunately for the human species and all the others occupying this battered planet, the dots are bigger than we think, and as fast as they connect, we disconnect them. So much is happening I don’t know what to talk about first.
First. We have this Presidential primary going on where the top two Democratic contenders are in the 11th round of a 12-round boxing match, both battered having been on the canvas a number of times. Yes, I like Obama, but so what? I’m watching Hillary and Obama in a fight where, at the end, there will be no man (or woman) standing.
I trust John McCain. I believe John McCain. By listening to him I realize that if he wins the Presidency (and that’s all too possible now) wars will go on, fuel prices will continue to rise, which means food prices will continue to rise and the death toll will rise, ever higher, ever higher.
What’s happening here? Does every politician so desire winning that they don’t care the human species sits on a humungous playground slide where at the bottom waits death and destruction on a scale that we have never known before? No one tells the truth because they all want to win.
Actually, I don’t know what Hillary believes, and I’m not really sure what Barack Obama believes, but I know that Deval Patrick fooled me and dammit, like the Who said, “I don’t want to be fooled again.”