What to say about Tibet? It's a place beyond description. An ancient land of golden stupas, stilted monastaries, a place where people still live off the land, a spiritual place that seems to have existed before all others.
At least that's what I thought Tibet was before I came.
The reality is that it's a police controlled state. The Chinese now run every aspect of Tibet. Now I know what the Free Tibet protests have been trying to say for years. The Chinese have secret police that followed us everywhere. Conversations were taped. Emails were read and edited. Snipers stand on the roofs of buildings with guns drawn. Police march down the street pushing people out of the way. We were followed in monastaries by people dressed up as religious followers, our guide had to say exactly what he was supposed to say. This is the reality of current day Tibet. Tibet will be lost within 10 years completely if something is not done. I felt really small there, because I have never been in a place where I felt like my freedoms did not exist. I could not say what I wanted to. There is only one truth in China, and that is what the government wants to say. The first world has stayed on the sidelines becuase they depend so much on China for economic reasons.
It really tore my heart out to see the beautiful, amazing people of Tibet being assimilated into Chinese culture. Tibetan life is centered around the family, the crops, the simple lifestyle. Which is not to say that their lives are easy. Tibet is one of the harshest places to live on the planet. When I was there I could barely breathe from the altitude, I could not digest food, I had a constant headache, the wind was brutal, the sun was so bright and direct, my lips cracked and bled constantly from the dryness. It's not an easy life there. But it was their way, committed to spirituality, committed to the Dalai Lama, committed to the Buddha. In 10 years, it will be the blatant commercialism of modern day China........unless something is done.
Their eyes are so deep, they say a million stories. If you look a Tibetan in the eyes, you see thousands of years of history, you see happiness even in the worst of times, you see love and you see total peace.
I feel called to do something, even if it is just telling you about the situation. I am holding the vision of a free Tibet. I am holding the vision for peace. I believe in the goodness of people. I believe in the truth.