Sunday, June 1, 2008

Settling dust

For the longest time, everything I'd known about Tibet consisted entirely of the Western media's portrayal of it, i.e. Mountainous spiritual paradise raped by communist China, exemplified by cute speccy old man living in exile. 7 years in Tibet more or less captures that image.

As I got older, read a little Chomsky and Macchiavelli, got acquainted with the scientific method, it appeared to me that something wasn't quite right, that the whole story wasn't being told. I lived in China for a year, and had the good fortune to stumble across Alai's Chen Ai Luo Ding (lit. "Settling Dust" or "When the Dust Settles"), which tells a story of Tibetan society before the Red Army came rolling in. Long story short, pre-PRC Tibet as portrayed here was a harsh, primitive world of feudalism, corruption and conflict, where life was cheap and all that spirituality was confined to an ivory tower, a palace-monastery far, far away from the realities of life on the ground.

As yet, I've kept an eye open for some reliable, independent 3rd-party information, i.e. not from the PRC, obviously, and not from newspapers of countries with an interest in smearing shit on the name of the PRC (read: the USA). So it came as a surprise to me to find >>>this article<<< by Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek in International Herald Tribune. Reading it sheds much more light, I have to say, and the purpose of this entry is largely to share Zizek's article, which is deserving of a good read by anybody who would ponder the Tibet question.

In other news, if you live in Jakarta or know anyone living there, ZOMG RUUUUNNN!!!

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