Tag Archives: Tibet
My yearly ritual of posting twelve songs that have either defined or been the soundtrack to moments that have made my year has come around again. I have put some up with links to blog posts that are the reason they are up there so have a click on those underlined.
Thank you all for being such smashing readers, heres to another year of this!
Without further a do, here goes….
Had this in my head the whole time I was in Paris. Now it reminds me of my brief but brilliant trip to that wonderful city.
2. James Blake – Case of You
A Joni Mitchell cover that out of all of these songs I urge you to listen to as its quite simply beautiful. Reminds me of reading my book on Hampstead Heath in the bitter cold.
It still hurts to think about that run!
Listening to Tibetan music makes sure I never forget where my heart truly lies, back in India.
This was very much the soundtrack to choosing and preparing photographs for my first exhibition.
The official song for the BBC coverage of our Olympics.
7. Karima Francis - Wherever I go
A stunningly warm and emotive voice, saw her live at a music festival this summer. Well worth a listen!
Reminds me of the stupid amounts of train journeys I have taken this year!
Possibly the most cheerful song in the world! Never has failed to caffeinate my spirits.
A song that has kept me warm on many a long photography walk.
A song that has been on a constant loop on many occasions. I love it not only because it has coffee in the title but how it reminds me how lucky I am.
Right my lovely fellow bloggers and readers alike I have a favour to ask.
In a moment of madness, that this year seems to be populated by, I have decided to become a very VERY late entry to the British London 10K run that is in… A WEEK!
The cause is one that has dominated most of my adult life, Tibetans living in exile. The charity I am running for is The Tibetan Relief Fund and they do incredible work for Tibetans living in Tibet but also India and Nepal. They do this by funding initiatives in education, healthcare, self sustainable community building and youth development. To read more on this fantastic charity click here.
So my favour is simple, support this charity and me. I’m not asking for millions only what you feel you can spare during this tough time. If you donate over £6 then you can choose any (I mean any) song that I have to listen to on the 10km track (route here). I will post a photograph of me with my medal and if you donate I will give you a plug in that post. If that doesn’t convince you watch the video voiced by His Holiness.
It would mean a lot. Thank you.
To me there are few things more beautiful than prayer flags fluttering against the breeze; a dance of shadow, light and colour.
It has been far too long since I have sat below these flags in McLeod Ganj, closed my eyes and been mesmerised by the sound of silent prayers whipping in the wind.
Just one of a myriad things I miss about my home from home.
I took this photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the incredibly fun Tibetan Children’s Village 50th anniversary celebration in October. I took a lot of His Holiness that day but this one for me personally stood out as the most unique and emotive one of His Holiness.
I’ve seen the Dalai Lama at a lot of events and teachings over the past five years but the effect he has over a person never diminishes and I must admit my hands were shaking while I took this picture. After the event I showed these photographs to a lot of people but the best reaction came from my friend Tashi, who looked at this photograph, smiled and simply said, “the greatest man on earth”.
A collection of confidential documents released by WikiLeaks this month has revealed China attempted to limit the Dalai Lama’s movements by politically pressuring many international countries. Other documents discuss the international communities concern about Tibet and the free Tibet cause.
The WikiLeaks website was founded in 2006 by among others Chinese dissidents and journalists with the aim to exposing oppressive regimes and revealing unethical behaviour of governments. During its early days its reportedly used Chinese hackers to gather information about Chinese espionage activities, which they then relayed, to “Non-government targets of the Chinese espionage, such as Tibetan associations,” said WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange. During the Uprising Day protests in Tibet, in 2008, WikiLeaks released a collection of photos and videos of the protests in Lhasa that the Chinese government has attempted to censor. They also encouraged others to spread the media throughout China and worldwide calling China’s censorship regime “the Great Firewall of China.”
The UK’s Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) in China, Chris Wood reported that in May 2009, the Chinese government demanded that the UK not allow His Holiness to travel to London. The British government did not meet the demands so they requested that government officials not meet with the Dalai Lama. Dan Wood also reported that local authorities in Gansu Province had detained a British Consul, reflecting the authorities’ angst over foreigners traveling to the Tibetan regions of the province. The French government also voiced its angst over China’s threats, French DCM Nicholas Chapuis noted that the Beijing city government had threatened to break its sister-city relationship with Paris if the Dalai Lama were to receive an honorary citizen award from the French capital. Despite these threats the Parisian mayor, Bertrand Delanoe bestowed His Holiness with the honorary citizen award on June 7th, 2009.
A further cable relating to US and Chinese relations, dated the April 30th, 2009, stated that the Chinese Vice Foreign Miniser, He Yafei hoped the United States would deny His Holiness a visa, and if not, then agree to hold no official meetings with him, including President Obama. However the US official replied, “there were serious concerns among the U.S. public, the Administration and Congress over the situation in Tibetan areas of China. China should take steps to address Tibetans’ legitimate grievances and engage the Dalai Lama’s representatives in productive dialogue. Denying a visa to the Dalai Lama was not being contemplated.”
A file released on Monday by WikiLeaks revealed China’s concern of US Speaker Nancy Pelosi -who is an outspoken human rights supporter- visit to China. The Chinese ambassador in Kazakhstan, Cheng Guoping told his American counterpart, Richard Hoagland that “She (Pelosi) had the Ministry of Foreign Affairs scared to death on the eve of her visit,”
Another leak in March 2009 revealed that during Kevin Rudd administration as Australian Prime Minister he had urged China to strike a deal with the Dalai Lama for autonomy in Tibet. In the cable between himself and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, he urged her to use her stature to have ”a quiet conversation” to push the idea with Beijing’s leaders. He also said that the West should be prepared to use force against China “if everything goes wrong”.
During the Beijing Olympics a cable stated that the US were concerned by China’s detaining and deporting of pro-Tibet demonstrators. The communication was sent by Dan Piccuta the Chief of Mission at the US Embassy and called the protests as an “ongoing campaign of well-organised protests in Beijing.” It continues by detailing the protests made by US citizens stating, “among the six were reportedly two American citizens belonging to the “Students for a Free Tibet” organisation. All protesters attempted to display either Tibetan flags or banners calling for an end to human rights abuses in China,” adding that they were removed some forcibly by venue security.
Senior Chinese officials orchestrated the hacking of Google in January, this year, which led to the search engines withdraw from the country, a WikiLeaks cable has revealed. The cable from the US embassy in Beijing states, “that the closely held Chinese government operations against Google had been coordinated out of the State Council Information Office.” The leaked US government cable to Washington says the Politburo Standing Committee directed the intrusions.
It continues by saying that the activities were “100% political in nature” because of Google’s direct challenge to China’s legal restrictions on Internet content. The source, whose name is deleted from the cable explains that Chinese’s strategy “seemed to be to appeal to Chinese nationalism by accusing Google and the U.S. government of working together to force China to accept “Western values” and undermine China’s rule of law”. However, the cable also identifies the problems behind their censorship attempts as Google now became “like the forbidden fruit” and made it more interesting and attractive to Chinese Internet users.
According to the New York Times, Chinese operatives are also believed to have hacked into the computer of His Holiness along with computers of the United States and it allies.
Unsurprisingly the Chinese government have taken steps to censor these sensitive details and have blocked all citizens from accessing the WikiLeaks website.
Now I have returned to ‘sunny’ England I find myself being painfully reminiscing about McLeod Ganj, for me the small town nestled in the mountainside is home and a brilliant one at that.
Whether you spend one week or one year in McLeod you will feel it has changed you and hear the place calling you back, as soon you’ve left. Now I find myself, like at the end of a relationship, thinking about the small things that made it so amazing to me. A smiling monk, the affectionate Indian sun warming you, the sound of prayer flags whipping in the wind, Tibetan music echoing down the jumbled streets and best of all being completely surrounded by incredible beauty.
Sitting in a rooftop restaurant you can look up and see the sun kissing the jagged ancient mountains and prayer flags colouring the skyline. Looking down you can see children playing on the street below or a frail Tibetan woman turning a hand prayer wheel in avid devotion. On the terrace itself you have such an incredible eclectic mix of people; hippies, tour groups, Indian tourists and a nun flicking back her robes so she can reach her latte. It’s a place so intense you lay in bed with your eyes hurting from over use through the colour, the vibrancy and the sheer brilliance of the town.
What ever you want to do on holiday McLeod has it by the truckload; volunteering opportunities, trekking, tons of restaurants, yoga, religion, education, relaxation and one hell of a view.
The community that welcomed me in so warmly almost four years ago, when I arrived a very young and immature teenager raised me into the man I am today. It forced me to grow up rapidly, through hearing the heartbreaking stories of people who have been beaten, tortured and oppressed their entire lives. I have heard countless stories that never fail to shake my view on humanity, which is why I do my upmost for the Tibetan cause, to be a voice (no matter how small) for those who are so often ignored by the western community.
McLeod cannot fail to change you, a people, a landscape, and a community that will shake you to the core and leave you a completely different person because of it.
So go, go now, as you are only a plane journey away from one hell of an experience.