16 November, 2006

Rangzen (Freedom)

The Government’s gag order on Tenzin Tsundue (link via Desipundit ) should come as no surprise. Over the last several years, we’ve seen the ease with which institutions bend over backwards to avoid displeasing those whose sentiments are easily hurt. Think of the censor certificate row that led to Vikalp.

Of course, while it is not clear that the Chinese Government is similarly stuffed with fragile sentiments, our Government probably feels it is right to err on the side of caution.

But deportation? And to Tibet? What does that mean – to deport a Tibetan with a Resident Certificate, to a country that doesn’t exist as an independent entity? In effect, does it not mean handing over Tenzin Tundue to the Chinese Government? It seems a disproportionately severe threat to hold over someone who is only going to say, Free Tibet.

Here’s a poem of Tsundue’s:


When I was born
my mother said you are a refugee.
Our tent on the roadside
smoked in the snow.

On your forehead
between your eyebrows
there is an R embossed
my teacher said.

I scratched and scrubbed,
on my forehead I found
a brash of red pain.

I have three tongues
the one that sings
is my mother tongue.

The R on my forehead
between my English and Hindi
the Tibetan tongue reads:


More poems here.

But lest anyone think that Tsundue is another woolly-headed Tibetan who believes that something will happen some day that will magically solve all the problems of Tibetan refugees, this article should dispel those illusions. He says:

A general apathy over Tibet and this non-action "non-violent freedom struggle'
isslowly killing the movement. Though exotic Tibet sells in the West, there
arehardly any takers when it comes to tackling the real issue. The issue

and later:

The very nature of the Tibetan problem is political, and it has to have
apolitical solution. We are grateful to India for whatever help and support
sheextended to us, but if the Tibetan problem has to be solved she should
supportthe freedom struggle.

This might help to explain India's gag order. A call to actively support the Tibetan freedom struggle, over some well-meaning arrangements they might make to facilitate a Kalachakra ceremony? Oh, no. That would be way too risky. Who knows who else might follow with calls to support their freedom struggles?

Other links:
Amardeep’s post at Sepia Mutiny
Friends Of Tibet
Pankaj Mishra’s article in NYT

11 November, 2006

Alwan for the Arts & Action Wednesdays Against the War



'THU, November 16th, 2006
@ 7pm
Alwan for the Arts16 Beaver Street, Lower Manhattan
$10 suggested sliding-scale, no one turned away.
Cash BarDirections: http://www.alwanforthearts.org/directions.html

This is the season of despair, this the season of longing. This is the season of the cage and the season of the noose. But this too the season of passion, the season of compassion, the season of resistance. In an age of war, let poetry and music give voice to hope, peace, justice and love.

Come out and listen to musicians and singers, and to performers reciting iconic, classical, contemporary, and radical poetry from the Axis (and near-Axis) of Evil in the original Arabic, Persian, Korean, and Urdu along with English translations.



Dalia Basiouny is an Egyptian Theatre director and academic who is writing a Ph.D. on Arab American Women theatre at CUNY Grad Center and currently works for the UN Radio.

Hossam Fahr is an Egyptian writer and interpreter. He has published three collections of short stories and a novel in Egypt. His fifth book is due to come out in Cairo this month. He lives in New York with his family.

Ali Mir is the co-author of "Anthems of Resistance," a book about the Urdu poetry of the Progressive Writers' Movement.

Iraj Anvar, is the translator and editor of the ground-breaking book of the poetry of Jalal al Din Rumi, "Divani-i Shams-i Tabriz: Forty Eight Ghazals of Rumi." A leading member of the theater community in Iran until his departure in 1978, Dr. Anvar has taught for many years at NYU and has led the New York Ava Ensemble, dedicated to performing classical Persian poetry.

Sok-Min Seo was raised in Seoul, and has studied film and communications in London and New York. He is a film maker and has several short and documentary films to his credit. He is currently working at the UN department of public information.


Tareq Abboushi (Buzuq)
Taoufiq Ben Amor (Vocals, Oud, Daf)
Hedayat Shafei (Tar)

If you're in the area, do try and attend. And pass the word!