Why Protest the Olympics in China?

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Why Protest the Olympics in China?
by Misty Day
We, the American people, are blessed with M&M's and buffalo wings, tacos, diaphragms and motorcars. What happens on a mountain clear across the world can't possibly affect the quality of our lives.
Faithfully we await the ceremonial hour of opportunity, the 2008 Olympic Games, when we can willingly fall under the compelling spell of sports history, vicariously fulfilling fantasies of championship.
Huge bowls of fresh popcorn and 6-paks of our finest sports drinks are prepared for our pleasure. We place our bets. Briefly, with little fanfare in our region, a news story flashes across our pampered collective consciousness: There seem to be protests developing here and there in an attempt to interrupt our royal pleasure with something rather inconsequential and boring.
Apparently someone thinks China is not a suitable place for the sainted Olympic Games! Frivolous of them! “Why?”, we diffidently ask, reaching for a plastic container of cheese nachos. Well, it goes something like this:

Tibet finally became upset enough to fight back, though the Dalai Lama demurred and even considered moving to America to chide them. Even monks lost their cool. China finally pushed the fabled peace-teachers into a philosophical and economic corner with assaults on their ancient monasteries, murder and imprisonment of monks. Chinese officials have forced Tibetan holy men to take propaganda courses designed to indoctrinate them to renounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama and realign their loyalties to their fave rave, set up in his place.
Monks were perturbed enough to gathered in protest. "On March 10, a group of about 500 Buddhist monks marched from the Drepung Monastery (one of the "great three" university monasteries in Tibet) to demand the release of monks arrested last October for celebrating the award of a United States Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama." [Carole Reckinger, July 21, 2008.]

“Yawn”, we dither, entering a fugue of infantile denial, waving this side issue away. We up the ante on our bets, loosen our leather belts, and switch channels. As the rudimentary root of conscience recedes, we salt our pickles and burp.
China is, apparently, upset with Tibet for wanting to maintain freedom of religion and control over their ancestral home and land. While we amuse ourselves with breads and circuses, an ecological disaster is being made use of to displace an ancient people. Since global warming is revealing land mass in the Himalayan Tibetan Plateau, long known as "The Roof of the World", China plans to dig right in. 
  • “'I can’t proclaim to know the reasons why China occupies Tibet,' says [Thubten Samphel, official spokesperson of the Tibetan Government in Exile], 'But our minerals are being carted off to China. Tibetans have no control over any affairs, everything is controlled by Beijing and we are autonomous in name only.' What sort of minerals? 'The First Secretary of the Communist Party in China said that Tibet has the largest uranium reserves in the world. They have been mining for uranium since the 1970s but we don’t know the details because it is kept from us.'” ...
  • “Tibet has large quantities of copper, coal, chromite, tin, gold and iron amongst many other minerals; the Chinese have resettled skilled Han migrants in these areas, Tibetans are not employed.” [Khadija Sharife, undated blog in Thought Leader, Mail&Guardian Online.] "At least 500 million people in Asia and 250 million people in China are at risk from declining glacial flows on the Tibetan Plateau," Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, told me last week." ...
  • "This is one of the great concerns -- a staggering number of people will be affected in the near future. There aren't too many researchers who have looked at this water situation and its far-reaching impacts." ... "With more than a quarter of its land classified as desert, China has long sought Tibet's water resources. Yet the IPCC and others warn that the Himalayan glaciers are receding faster than anywhere in the world and could vanish within three decades." [Carl Ganter, May 8, 2008 -- The Huffington Post]
  • "The Qing-Tibet Plateau has long been known as the natural geological museum, the golden key to the global orogenic[mountain-forming] mechanism, the natural laboratory for the continental dynamics theory, and the pulser of the global changes, which is the important source region and the competition field deriving new theories, knowledge and discoveries." [from Guide Information for Geological Scientific Expeditions of Tibet 2001.]

Tibet is, apparently, upset with China for systematically seeking to wipe out their way of life, replacing them with workers from other regions, forcing them to deny their religious heritage and to renounce the leadership of their trusted Dalai Lama. And, incidentally, for beating and imprisoning them when they finally took to the streets in protest. According to Andrew Potter of Reuters, “thousands of police and paramilitary officers” were deployed to line the Olympic torch route in order to stave off attempts to disrupt the event and draw attention from the media. The Olympic torch relay path was diminished from 9 kilometers to 3, and Olympic authorities wiggled out of confrontation by keeping the time of the relay a secret.

Tibetans also may be upset about the “Steel Dragon”, a train connecting their once mysteriously exclusive and difficult to penetrate Shangri-La to the outside world, forced into their territory when Chairman Mao Tse Tung was still in power. This is understandable, as it is near to collapse in several places. "When the engine chugs to a halt, I walk to the very front and find the train’s two engineers. With the help of my new English-speaking friend, I declare my unbridled love for trains, show my passport as requested, and make a plea for a ride. The engineers look perplexed. People in these parts get rattled by out-of-the-ordinary occurrences – like an unannounced visit from an American trainiac asking for a ride to Lhasa. Anything related to Tibet can attract unwanted attention from authorities. The subject is a minefield of political, religious, and cultural tension. During my trip, I met foreign visitors who dismissed this concern as paranoia – “the old China,” they said. But the new China hasn’t yet taken hold in the wild west, especially when it comes to the T-word.
A few questions here, a license plate number jotted down there, and six months later – after the foreigners have safely returned home – police or state security officials knock on someone’s door, or make a few quiet phone calls that lead to the loss of a job, or worse." ...
  • "Ever since Tibet was incorporated into the People’s Republic of China in 1951, Chinese leaders have dreamed of a railway that would link the mountainous province with the rest of the country. Such a rail line would be a long-distance lasso drawing the people and resources of the far west closer to central control. It would also provide an efficient means of transporting Chinese settlers, troops, and weapons into Tibet and the disputed border with India." [David Wolman -- July 2006.] 

Mr. Wolman goes on to say that the permafrost under the train tracks is melting and it is expected to warp and derail as global warming continues. 
Meanwhile, back at the concession stand, our freshly baked and buttered free world is sending a huge amount of support, publicity and money into China to provide a nest for the gestation and hatching of the Olympic Games. Human rights groups and ecology activists are upset about that. It makes us look like we sanction the beating and imprisonment of monks in Tibet.

Upset a bit yourself?  Here is something that might be worth doing: Those who would like to provide constructive input and support to the plight of the Tibetan people and their ecology may want to investigate the following:
  • "The mission of the Tibetan Ecology Foundation is no less than to preserve the balance of the ecosystem. We will do this by operating environmental conservation programs and by encouraging people to be environmentalists in their everyday lives. The only way to make this planet peaceful, and the only way to ensure long lives for ourselves and for future generations, is through constantly working to maintain our ecosystem. Our motto is 'Protecting the planet, one conscience at a time.'" [http://www.tibetanecology.org]
  • "Himalayan Glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau have been among the most affected by the global warming. The Himalayas contain 100 times as much ice as the Alps and provide more than half of the drinking water for 40% of the world's population-- through seven Asian river systems that all originate on the same plateau. With in the next half-century, that 40% of the world's people may well face a very serious drinking water shortage, unless the world acts boldly and quickly to mitigate global warming." - Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. 2007 Noble Peace Prize winner.
And while activists chip away at Global Warming, let us hope they keep ever foremost the protection of rights, entitlements and freedoms wherever possible.
As a woman of heart with a cat of her own, my conscience muses, “why did we send the Olympics to China at all? Setting aside what they have done to humans who don't conform, they still eat puppies and kittens there, for pity's sake.

Misty Day, C.A.P. is a writer and political commentator who uses astrology in accurately predicting world and national events and weather conditions. Her website is www.timesmithing.co. She has recently released a book of poetry, “Fool's Knapsack”. Another book revealing techniques for astrological analysis and prediction is in the works.

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