This month marks the 50th anniversary of a failed rebellion against the Chinese occupation/invasion. It marks the 50th anniversary of the escape into exile of His Holiness the 14th Dalia Lama.
I don't know when I first became interested and curious about Tibet. Maybe it was a National Geographic article. Maybe it was books with Tibetan-like settings like Lost Horizon by James Hilton. (Did you know it was the first mass produced paper back book by Pocket Book?) Maybe it was learning about the Himalayas, Sir Edmund Hillery, and Mt. Everest. Maybe it was just the sound of the name...Tibet, Roof of the World. Maybe it was because it seemed so mysterious, isolated as it was by both physical and political barriers.
Whatever the reason, over the years I have read a little (not nearly as must I would like to) and have had a secret longing to go there.
But the Tibet I long to see, the one that Alexandra David-Neel managed to see, the one His Holiness had to leave behind, no longer exists.
China has smothered the Tibetan people, committed mass cultural genocide. The mystery that was Tibet is now the mystery of what China has done. Tibet, and its indigenous people, is as isolated and alone today has it has always been. But rather than being locked away behind mountains and its own policies, it has been locked away and isolated by China. Who knows if we will ever know the truth of what is going on/has gone on there.
On March 28th China has ordered/told Tibetans to celebrate China's invasion and the destruction of their culture and heritage in what will be known as "Serf's Emancipation Day."
I say it is a day to mourn.