Until formulating my thoughts for this article for Rising Voices, I hadn’t given much thought to the use of offline spaces Tibetans use to promote online security. It was a fun exercise to think about the various spaces we inhabit and use!
Thank you to Rising Voices for publishing this article and to Tibet Action Institute for their pioneering work on these issues!
Read the full article on Rising Voices: http://rising.globalvoicesonline.org/blog/2013/08/22/getting-offline-for-digital-security-working-with-tibetans-in-exile/
A long interview that I did with Clare Harris has been published today by Cerise Press. Clare Harris is the author of “The Museum on the Roof of the World” and very generously gave her time to answer all my questions about her book, Tibet in museums, propaganda and Tibetan art. I’d like to thank Clare for her patience both when giving the interview as well as in the follow up process. I really encourage everyone to read her interview and buy the book! It’s also the kind of book that would make a great gift.
I’d also like to take the time to thank Cerise Press for giving Tibet a place in their journal several times, Cerise had also published my interview with Woeser last year. Cerise Press announced that this edition will be their last. Fortunately, all issues of Cerise will remain archived online at the current site.
Update on August 10, 2013: Very happy to report that the wonderful team at Karkhung.com have translated the entire interview into Tibetan! It is online in three parts, here are the links:
1) “འཛམ་་གླིང་ཡང་རྩེའི་འགྲེམས་སྟོན་ཁང་”གི་རྩོམ་པ་པོ་དང་མཉམ་དུ་ཁ་བརྡ་བྱས་པ།(སྔ་མ) http://karkhung.com/?p=2537
2) “འཛམ་་གླིང་ཡང་རྩེའི་འགྲེམས་སྟོན་ཁང་”གི་རྩོམ་པ་པོ་དང་མཉམ་དུ་ཁ་བརྡ་བྱས་པ།(བར་མ) http://karkhung.com/?p=2551
3) “འཛམ་་གླིང་ཡང་རྩེའི་འགྲེམས་སྟོན་ཁང་”གི་རྩོམ་པ་པོ་དང་མཉམ་དུ་ཁ་བརྡ་བྱས་པ།(མཐའ་མ) http://karkhung.com/?p=2569
Enjoyed talking to Tsering Kyi very much last week!
Following on from my first translation of a Woeser short story for MANOA, I’m pleased that a second piece titled “Garpon La’s Offerings” has now been published in Manoa, vol. 24, no. 2 (2012): “On Freedom: Spirit, Art, and State”, edited by Frank Stewart and Fiona Sze-Lorrain. The original title of the short story by Woeser la in Chinese is 《卡尔本啦的供养》.
The editor’s note says:
Woeser’s essay in On Freedom, “Garpon La’s Offerings”, tells the story of a Tibetan master’s loss and recovery of freedom. On one level, the narrator speaks in the voice of a slightly distracted reporter attempting to describe the “rehabilitation” of the political criminal Garpon La, the last acknowledged master of the Tibetan performance ritual known as Gar. On another level, Woeser uses irony to describe the government’s restrictions on physical, spiritual, and cultural freedoms.
I didn’t know much about Gar music and performance before translating this essay but I found Garpon La fascinating. When I told a few Tibetans about what I was translating, the older ones immediately recognised Garpon La and some even remembered him from Dharamsala!
One day last year I was on Facebook and came across a photo supposedly of Garpon La in Dharamsala in 1997, I am posting it below. I am sorry I don’t know who to credit for this photo.
The essay as published in MANOA is available on Project MUSE and for those without access, an excerpt is online: http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/manoa/v024/24.2.woeser.html
After meeting the poet, novelist and human rights activist Philo Ikonya at the Bjornson Literature Festival a few months ago in Norway, I’ve become a really huge fan! Her own story is remarkable as is her commitment to freedom of expression, for everyone.
I’m also really moved at her continued interest in and support for Tibet. Below is Philo’s creative and moving response to the self-immolation of 20 year old nomad Tsering Kyi, as posted on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=398067366936009&id=112797722129643
“Song for the Soul of Tibet”
By Philo Ikonya
I was not here on the promised tomorrow
But I was in presence of mind
It was my own hands that stopped my writing
My spirit stood up in question
in examination of why some of us write
What others bleed and why some read
Why some are touched and harden
What the children say, what the Tibetan
Child says when the day dawns and
a beautiful mother such as I saw
A wonderful girl such as Tsering Kyi
is gone and is not playing any more
gone for freedom search in spirit
Gone and never to be seen
Her brief visit to the world
dousing with paraffin and dying at 20
Being a harsh judgement on what is precious
Why Tsering Kyi is no more if she so loved
to play with her cousins and so often
to sleep outside under the stars and sing to freedom.
I just wanted to share this video that was made by CNN and shown at the awards ceremony last week where Dhondup Wangchen was honoured by Committee to Protect Journalists with their 2012 International Press Freedom Award. A huge thank you goes to CPJ, not only for this award but for their support for Dhondup Wangchen and “Leaving Fear Behind” ever since 2008.
Here’s a link to a blogpost I wrote for CPJ in 2009 about my meeting with Dhondup Wangchen: http://cpj.org/blog/2009/12/the-story-of-dhondup-wangchen-a-filmmaker-jailed-i.php
One of the best things about my unusual line of “work” is that I get to meet all kinds of people who also do unusual things… and by unusual I mean AWESOME. I’ve known Leah since 2007 and when she hasn’t been subverting mainstream media from the inside, she’s been spending her time taking on big bad regimes and big bad corporations. She might even have been deported from more countries than me!
Leah is one of those rare people who knows how to give real help and support, be it putting Tibet on prime time international news, hooking SFT UK up with venues in London, getting “Leaving Fear Behind” shown to new audiences, giving media training to young activists, reading Woeser’s poetry and making it sound
intense great … all with minimum fuss.
So the least I can do is give a shout out to everyone to donate to Leah’s documentary project “Dirty White Gold”. It’s shocking that 300,000 Indian farmers have killed themselves to escape debt. At one point, up to 26 per day were killing themselves, some by drinking the pesticides with which they farm. It’s even more shocking that their stories aren’t told and that we seldom hear about it – we certainly don’t want to think about the part we’re playing in it by buying cheap cotton and cheap clothes. All that’s got to change though.
So far £12,405.10 has been raised, help them get to the £18,000 goal by November 16th AND every £1 donated unlocks another £3 – can’t say fairer than that!!! More information on the film and how to donate here: http://www.sponsume.com/project/cotton-film-dirty-white-gold
Can’t wait to see the finished film, good luck Leah, let’s make a crazy party once it’s all done!