Yeti Riots Follow Up
Some of your interesting, provocative, even brilliant
responses to Yeti Riots
From Come Carpentier, Delhi
Dear Israel Adam,
Thanks for these thought-provoking pieces. In the eighties in America when I was
associated with the organizing committee of the University of Colorado's annual
World Affairs Conference I invited to Boulder the King of Zingack-Gyalrong, the
Canada-based, exiled monarch of a once-independent state located in the East of
Tibet. His Majesty gave a speech and we also talked a lot in private about the
situation in Tibet. At the time I was surprised to learn that he of course
resented the Chinese Communists who had abolished his rule but was also quite
critical of the Dalai Lama's government in exile which, according to him, had
taken sole control all the Tibetan refugee community and prevent the recognition
of the political diversity which existed before the Chinese takeover. He pointed
out that Tibet had been a loose federation of kingdoms and monastic domains
under the political suzerainty of the Dalai Lama who had been given paramountcy
by the Mongols and the Chinese Emperors over the respective supreme lamas of the
other religious orders.
This brings to the fore the complex issue of national independence which you
raise in your essay. How many "free" nations should exist? All states can be
broken up into several, even hundreds of units, if we look at the Kosovo case.
In fact, every town or village could claim the right to nationhood, whether or
not it is economically autonomous and has demographic and geographic "critical
mass", The UN might end up consisting of thousands or even hundreds of thousands
of independent countries if we go by that arbitrary notion. Like the atom of
subparticle-physics, the atom of a nation is infinitely fissiparous and
divisible. Predictably this would cause in many cases endless bloody civil wars
and ethnic purification campaigns, as we have seen in the Balkans...
From Ken Freeland, Texas
You write: "Tibet is hardly unique: it is a region of special
character related to China like Bretagne to France ; like Wales to Britain ,
like Catalonia to Spain , like Sicily to Italy , like Dixie to the US ." I
question the validity of these analogies, and I am hard-pressed to find a
historical analogy of my own, though I think that the Basques of Spain (vs. the
Catalonians) might come closer than the ones you offer. But please note that
they, too, are embroiled in separatist controversy.
The question here is one of national sovereignty and/or
autonomy. The Basques never voluntarily relinquished their sovereignty to Spain
(they assert), nor, to my knowledge, has Tibet to Beijing. The very fact of the
existence of a Dalai Lama, and the long succession he represents, and the fealty
of the people towards his theocratic throne, suggest that there is something
more here than a regional variation... we are talking about a different state in
many respects. Perhaps I am in error on this history (I admit to having scant
knowledge of it), and you can set me straight. But you cannot simply undermine
the aspirations of independence-minded Tibetans with an assertion of Chinese
suzerainty here. You will FIRST have to provide the historical ground for it.
From John Wheat Gibson, Texas
makes a good point. I would add that Texas never relinquished its sovereignty
to the United States. It was a small gang of thugs with guns who pretended to
separate Texas from Mexico, and the US Army that converted theft to political
geography. In fact, the very idea of a nation means nothing but the area
within which a group of armed thugs are able to extort tribute from the
population and prevent other gangs from muscling in.
it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last
resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be
protected by the rule of law" (From Preamble to the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights of 1948)
From Roger Tucker,
Israel, it saddens me that you buy into the Chinese
propaganda so easily. Not that the situation is as simplistic as some Tibet
supporters would have it, but it amazes me that you don't see the parallels
between Tibet and Palestine. You could just as easily be writing hasbara for the
I will write hasbara for the Israeli government :-) if and
when the Palestinians will have equal rights with the Jews. This is the meaning
of One State solution.
From Margit Alm, Melbourne, Australia
My sympathies rest with the Tibetan people because they see
their ancient culture and ancestral lands lost to a culture they do not want to
embrace. Or, if they would want to embrace it, then in their own time and by
their own decision but not through invasion.
My sympathies rest with the Palestinians because their
ancestral lands and culture were forcibly invaded and destroyed by 'aliens', to
the point where they are now virtually dispossessed, demoralized, and of course
massacred - with no end to their misery in sight despite all the rhetoric.
Globalization leads to the loss of cultural diversity. That
is a great pity. A few hegemonic countries impose their values and views on the
rest. It is no surprise that people fight back as they seek to preserve their
traditions. There are definite benefits from globalization, but loss of cultural
diversity is a negative and must be resisted.
It would be nice if these differences were sorted out
peacefully and rationally, leading to a win-win situation for all parties
concerned. Alas, humans have not reached this enlightened stage of rationality
Margit Alm, Melbourne, Australia
From: Lille Singh, New York-Delhi
Shukraan and salaams for all the articles, sick of the
overblown coverage here. Do you recall a world prior to the putrid incessant
propaganda of CNN? Ratiocination was still in vogue now, alas the concept is
archaic. Excellent selection of news and your own assessment is always so
From Dr. Siegfried E. Tischler, Indonesia
RE YETI RIOTS:
when I heard that Steven Spielberg is dumping the Olympics, I "tuned out". The
entire topic is for me (someone who has lived with Chinese people on and off for
a quarter century!) not a "topic".
That is the POLITICAL connotation of it all. The entire "thing" is a staged
event to try and create a dialectical nightmare from which the usual "winners" -
who always manage to have themselves bemoaned as the "victims" - make fat
I look at HISTORY and simply fail to see (with two exceptions: the 1421
Treasure-Fleet adventure of Zeng He and his fellow eunuch admirals and the
recent "excursion" into Vietnam) any FOREIGN adventures /aggression of China
against anyone. TIBET and the entire region are the "backyard" of the biggest
ethnicity on Earth that has managed to live pretty "quietly" and prosperously
for thousands of years.
The Chinese have had a FOREIGN religion (Buddhism) forced on them and this does
not "sit well" with them. It may be "good" for the peoples of India - but why
should the Chinese be "happy" with it? The Tibetan Mahayana "Buddhism" (note the
inverted commas: since the counsil of Asoka Mahayana is NOT real Buddhism
anymore...) has been proselytizing in China for some 2 Millennia and has
supplanted Taoism/ Confucianism to a large degree.
That is the religious connotation of it all
The pic you sent (of the Chinese soldiers in monks’ robes) is neither here nor
there! Even if it was REAL (as in pertaining to the present situation ... which
it may well not be ... but again ... does not matter. A picture says more than a
thousand words! Well, ever since John Dewey and his gang of consciousness
cybernetics experts, people BELIEVE in this SHIT! A picture is only a REFLECTION
of REALITY .... and what happens on ("BY") the MIRROR? So what? Soldiers get to
play monks for a movie ....? Guess who John D. Mills "used" as Roman soldiers in
Ben Hur? GOTCHA! This is all MEDIA HYPE in order to sow discontent!
I VERY MUCH AGREE with what IAS had to say on this topic.
BUT - for a final comment on it all ... ask me in another 25 years ... when I
have HALF a CENTURY of LIFE with Chinese under my belt ... maybe THEN I feel
more comfortable to comment. As for now: WHERE IS THERE A PROBLEM???
All the people that got killed in those Riots are 2-3 days "harvest" of American
criminality .... and THAT goes on EVERY DAY .... a little hullaballoo in a far
recess of the biggest country of the world .... come on! What is wrong? People
will be people!
MY SALUTE to the "dictators" of China... they have managed to keep their people
well fed, educated and in jobs! More than what can be said for the
From Marek Glogoczowski, Krakow
During the summer of 1989 I participated in a Himalaya
climbing expedition, which had as a departure base, the small city of Padum
(circa 4 000 m above sea level) in the remote Zanskar valley inside the Indian
part of the Tibet. Soon after our departure from Zanskar, in autumn 1989 there
were riots in Padum, local Buddhist merchands there were figting against
immigrant Moslem merchands, which arrived into predominantly Buddhist Padum
valley, following the swarm of Western tourists, interested in Zanskar Tibetan
culture. In all evidence the same kind of commercial competition, between
Buddhists and Moslems, has contributed to the recent violence in the Chinese
part of Tybet, in particular in Lhassa, which is at present very popular among
Western tourists. See below.
PS. MY ERROR.
In previous email I suggested, copying the longer text pasted
below the photograph of soldiers holding buddist monks orange outfits, that this
photo was made from a sattelite. One of my friends remarked that:
"I'm not sure this is a satellite picture, at least not from
1000 km up. Also, the soldiers don't seem to look Chinese."
And the second friend added the text pasted just under the
photo of soldiers-actors, which text I overlooked:
"This is not an uncommon
'tactical move' from the Chinese government, as could be seen on the back-cover
of the 2003 annual TCHRD Report This photo was apparently made when monks
refused to play as actors in a movie,
so soldiers were ordered to put on robes."
Plese, excuse me for this error.
From Mrs. Olwen Baumgart, Berlin
Good day to you Mr. Shamir,
I hope you are well.
I generally agree with your viewpoint and found your artikle
"Yeti Riots" as usual very interesting and honest.
You do err on one point though. "the Albanians of Kosovo
regained freedom from Serbia and became a colony of the EC serving as the
biggest American military base and the oil terminal". They did not regain they
usurped. They are traitors to the country that took them in.
Kosovo was almost purely Serbian up until about 50 years ago
then they started admitting Albanians to work.
The Albanians are muslims, they had multiple wives and had
The Serbs, who are the true Kosovars who fought against the
muslims on the Amselfeld, only had 2 to 5 children, they are a mixture of
orthodox christians, catholics, and probably multiple religious minorities.
They mix-married and generally got along with each other.
The Albanians had 5 to 15 children and probably more if they
had more than one wife and, abracadabra, within 50 years they had the democratic
majority and took over the country, well on their way to "Greater Albania" their
dream of the past. The formation of satelllite colonies is just another form of
conquest. Let's see when conflict breaks out between the US-block and Albania
with Turkey probably firmly behind it. The war-maschine must be kept rolling!
Just for your information Mr. Shamir.
with all respect and admiration
Mrs. Olwen Baumgart
PS I have this information from a "Zeitzeuge", my 70 year old
She is living in distressed conditions here in Berlin. She is
a widow, has gigantic difficulties at all European borders when she travels home
to visit her family because there is still some kind of blockade on the poor
people of Serbia.
Her family and the families of other Serbian neighbours
cannot get Visas for their families to visit.
She says the situation in Kosovo is abysmal. No running water
often no electricity, very little medical care and constant fear for their
lives. Sh said she would be dead inside a year if she had to live there and she
is still a healthy woman. Communication between her and her family is almost
impossible. She is from an enclave in the south.
From Olsi, Albania
As I have told you before, in Kosova there is an organized effort from Vatican
to convert the Kosovars into Catholics. Profil magazine of Russia has a news
about it. Please distribute it.
From Ian Buckley, the UK
Dear Israel Adam,
Possibly not a piece to win new friends ;-)
While my own sympathies remain (mostly) with the Tibetans,
deep suspicion should be aroused by the ostentatiously pro-Tibetan
coverage delivered by the Establishment media.
As with the Ukrainian elections, they pushed one
viewpoint hard to the exclusion of alternate opinions.
If Tibetans were Palestinians, the same media would eagerly
turn the Dalai Lama from living saint into a 'fanatical Buddhist cleric'.
From John Spritzler
I am forwarding this collection of articles on Tibet that
Israel Shamir sent because they include eyewitness accounts that are
informative, and because Shamir's own analysis is provacative and worth
My reaction to Shamir's "Yeti Riots" is that some of his
points are very good--like equality and human rights being a better goal than
"independence" or secession. Some of his other points (like praising the Chinese
authorities) seem to make some sense, but only conditional on two premises that
Shamir seems to hold but which I reject: that an international working class
revolutionary movement is NOT a realistic option and, related to this, that
government elites in China etc. are not worried about such a movement.
There is, however, tremendous conflict between the Chinese
working class and the Chinese government, sometimes violent, because the Chinese
peasants who are now forced to work in sweat shops to survive are treated like
like this one
and this one are probably just the tip of the iceberg. It may very well be
the case that the Chinese government wants, and will increasingly make use of, a
"foreign enemy" like the U.S. or Japan for the same reason that the American
government wants and needs a foreign enemy like "communism" in the past and
now "terrorism"--to use it as a pretext for clamping down on its domestic
It would be wrong to praise the Chinese government for
"standing up to U.S. imperialism" when in fact what is going on is like WWII
when the Allies and Axis governments used the war as a means of controlling
their own populations that were growing revolutionary at the time. Remember that
after 55 million people died in WWII and the Allies were victorious over the
Axis nations, the Allied leaders kept the very same capitalist elites in power
in the Axis nations. There's no reason to believe that the goal of the Allied
leaders was to free workers anywhere from oppression. Nor is there any reason to
believe that the Chinese elite would use their victory against the U.S. in any
confrontion to make life easier for the Chinese workers in the sweatshops.
During the war FDR told American workers they should not go on strike because
the people FDR once called "economic royalty" were now the "good guys" since
they were fighting the "real enemy"--Hitler and Tojo. But had there been a
revolution in the U.S. the entire world would have been far better off today.
Lesser evilism was a huge mistake then.
Before 9/11 and the War on Terror de-railed it, there was a
growing international working class revolutionary movement that had staged one
huge demonstration after another in cities like Seattle and Genoa, and in fact
even the mass media had begun to characterize the movement not simply as
"anti-globalization" but "anti-capitalist." We should be working to build and
strengthen that movement, but we can't do that by praising its enemies, like the
Chinese authorities, whenever they seem to be at odds with U.S. imperialism.
This is "lesser evilism" on a global scale and it is as damaging as the domestic
"anybody but Bush" version that told us to support the likes of John Kerry in
the past and will soon be telling us to support Obama next.
From Lille Singh, Delhi
Salaams Adam Bhai,
The comments always reveal people's biases and misconceptions
not to mention their refusal to accept facts or to inform themselves about a
situation. I thought that your essay as well as the articles you included were
comprehensive enough to dislodge any doubts but one cannot discount inanity at
every level. Otherwise reasonable people are so deluded that one cannot
communicate these days, for some of us there are no innocuous topics nor can one
remain indifferent. Requires an enormous amount of patience not to react. Some
of your readers are so comical, they agree with one thing yet diverge on another
by repeating official data - can't they observe the discrepancies?
Colonial labelling is intact. Complexities, geographical
realities are brushed aside or submerged, would be funny if it weren’t
infuriating. Perhaps you should include maps next time. There are affinities
and other traditions/heritages which endure in spite of global cloning. Do they
think labour practices in the anglo world are superior? 4 continents are
occupied yet this obsession with Tibet continues, Japan's Asian massacres which
goes back for centuries and preceded the 'German invasions' is never mentioned
at all. The total disconnect between govt media and actuality is so farcical.
From Come Carpentier, Delhi
Most westerners are romantically in love with Tibetan culture and the legend of
Shangri La. I am too and can sympathise with them but one has to read reports on
the state of health and the economic conditions of Tibet before the Chinese take
over to realise that it was a medieval polity which had preserved serfdom,
slavery and the most extreme form of feudalism and theocratic oligarchy. One can
find those features endearing and rejoice in finding a country that remains an
open air historical museum but then why is all the modern world ideology based
on development, science, technology and fostering individual freedom and
learning? The Chinese are being blamed for dominating the Tibetans and
committing atrocities there (which is true) but also for spreading "modern
civilisation" and its amenities to Tibet, which is both unfair and hypocritical.
Even the Chinese's worst critics admit that Tibet, at least in the big cities,
has been turned into a prosperous, clean and well educated society in the last
30 years. Obviously those who mindlessly intone the mantra of "freedom" would
have rather had the Tibetans remain untouched under their feudal clerical and
warlord masters. Even the Dalai Lama himself and some of his top advisers
admitted freely to me, and to others, that the Chinese occupiers had done a lot
for Tibet and that it was doubtful that Tibet on its own would have liberated
itself from illiteracy, endemic diseases, numbing superstition, slavery, serfdom
and endemic banditry any time soon. That is why, the Dalai Lama often says
(controversially) that Communism and True Buddhism have much in common. He even
adds that he is grateful to the Chinese for abolishing some of the social and
economic abuses that were prevalent before they took over. Undoubtedly the
Maoist Government committed brutal and cruel injustices and sought to eradicate
Lamaism (though that policy was reversed after 1976) but the Lamas and Lords who
held sway, also spread stupid beliefs among their people to keep them in thrall
and out of touch with the world. They for instance had disseminated warnings
among the masses that the Chinese PLA trucks were fuelled by the blood of
Tibetan babies and that by vaccinating people against epidemics they were
killing the nature spirits who had to be honoured. This is typical of backward
elites and is comparable to what ultra-conservative religious forces have done
all over the world but it should help us to mitigate our wholesale condemnation
of the Chinese. Obviously those who have decided that China is the Yellow Peril
will not be moved!
http://en.fondsk.ru/article.php?id=1320 for historical background.
From Robert Leverant, California
Israel, Check this out:
Why are Nuns and Monks in the Streets? (Parts I & II)