In light of recent events, I am jumping ahead for a moment…
Saturday, March 15, 2008 @ 3:15pm
I'm sitting on a deck, watching the rain, the sound of electric saws buzzing below at Sim's Cozy Guest House break the silence.
Earlier in the afternoon, upon checking my e-mail, I read a disturbing message from The International Campaign for Tibet. The Tibetan uprising which began at the start of the week as peaceful protests by Buddhist monks had become a full-fledged riot. The protests for religious freedom coincided with the 46th anniversary of a large-scale uprising against the Chinese occupation in Tibet in 1959.
Foreign tourists reported streets filled with police and military vehicles, Tibetans burning Chinese shops, and people losing their lives.
I opened up The Lonely Planet's Thorntree forum to find a message that as of March 14, all Tibet Tourist Permits were revoked. I was due to get mine March 17, the day before my much-anticipated 48-hour train ride from Chengdu to Lhasa was set to begin. To top it all off, I had just paid for my exit fight to Kathmandu.
As much as I've wanted to take the train and visit Tibet, being there in the midst of riots and a military crackdown would be far from ideal. At best, my freedom to move around Lhasa and apply for access to surrounding areas would be dramatically affected. At worst, my safety could be threatened. If there is one underlying concept I've taken away from Buddhism over the past 6 years, it is that attachment causes suffering.
So I am going to try my best to gracefully let go of my intended plans. I will hopefully receive partial refunds on my transportation, and figure out how to spend the next two weeks before flying to Nepal.
My mood = melancholy
Please keep the Tibetan movement for freedom in your mind during this time, as well as those on both sides of the issue being harmed as a result of the violence.
Lonely Planet Tibet Forum
Tibetan Uprising – new blog dedicated to situation
International Campaign for Tibet – a good organization to support
China Tibet Train – I was just 3 days away. :(