Monday, April 4, 2011

Background and History of Tibet (#3)

The Tibetan people are said to have been warlike and greedy once upon a time, but have since then embraced the peaceful ways of Buddhism and beaten their swords into plowshares. An unfortunate result of this – probably the only one – is the lack of an army that could have opposed Chinese invasion. This is not to say there is no opposition within Tibet, in fact there have been recent uprisings and many public protests in the half-century since China's invasion, but the nation is currently under the administration of the government of the Tibet Autonomous Region, which is based in the Republic of China and oftentimes violent. Many Tibetans have fled their homeland and gone into exile in other nations; from those places they have been able to give the world a firsthand account of the brutal history of Chinese colonization.

Of the fifteen publications on Tibet that I was able to find on the shelves in our school library, twelve were published in the States, two in the UK, and one in Hong Kong. Maybe there aren't many printing presses in Tibet, still I wanted to take notice of where the written history that I am getting my information from originated. Since it does not apply to the specific situation I am analyzing, I have excluded the little bit of information I've gathered about Tibet's early history (including the first kingdoms, annexations, territorial unities and so on). It is, however, worth mentioning that there have been a million "usurpers" in the history of Tibet, even before it became a nation. First, there were small scale usurpations, then a push-and-pull of power between the ancestors of Tibet and the Mongol people, then the same with India, and a dozen other conflicts and micro-colonizers. This fact has challenged my assumptions about colonialism. Ive had to stop and ask myself, "Is the process of colonization merely something that's inevitable, collecting like dryer lint or a snowball rolling downhill?" After all, if there were no collective actions made by humans (such as the formation of a state), we wouldn't have established religion, or neighborhoods, or marriage and family, or systems of trade. Furthermore, even in a relationship between two people, there is often a more powerful personality, and a more submissive one. So, isn't some form of domination simply what happens when one person's life collides with another? Everything must have an impact.

1 comment:

  1. RE-POSTS:

    TaelorShirley has left a new comment on your post: 
    “Sarah, I love that you took notice of where the writings about Tibet were published. I honestly hadn't even thought of doing that concerning my topic. I also heard a Tibetan man speak in my Human Geography class, so either that is a huge coinscidence or I heard the same man speak- either way, I am excited to read what you find!” -Taelor 
    Posted by TaelorShirley to Reflections on PCIIFA (HON 4013 Colloquium) at March 30, 2011 1:44 PM

    Debbie Barnard has left a new comment on your post:
    “I agree with Taelor: Smart thinking to look at the places of publication. As for the inevitability of colonialism, you could be right. After all, aren't parents practicing hegemony? What about teachers? Aren't we all, in some way? As for Tibet, though, they certainly are colonized, perhaps in both the traditional way, and via neo-colonialism. Let me know if I can help. I look forward to reading your paper.”
    Posted by Debbie Barnard to Reflections on PCIIFA (HON 4013 Colloquium) at April 4, 2011 4:25 PM