איפה הקסיסה?

יום השואה – באנגלית

לא יכולתי לתרגם לעברית – קוראת ובוכה , לא מצליחה לכתוב ממש כמו שצריך, מי שמכיר את העם הטיבטי יודע, גם מי שמכיר את הסינים יודע ואני מנצלת פה רגע את הבלוג הזה לבקש ממכם להעתיק את המכתב הבא ולהפיץ אותו ברבים, לפתוח עליו בפורומים, לבקש מאנשים אחרים שיפיצו ואולי אפילו לשלוח העתק לועדת הספורט של הכנסת שתחרים את האולימפיאדה ולאלתר!!!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday it was quite hot outside and the military that were
guarding one of the petrol stations was protected by a big
umbrella from the intense sunrays. Today it's the opposite;
cold, cloudy and even quick snowfalls as storm fronts hover on
the mountains and sometimes close in on the valley. Like the
weather here in Lhasa the rules are changing too. One day you
can go nearly everywhere, the next, military checkpoints won't
let you pass. At the beginning of last week it seemed life was
getting back to normal. Guards at the checkpoints relaxed and
they seemed not as serious anymore, and overall, there was less
military on the streets. But then suddenly heavy military
presence was back. A few days ago, in the evening, I walked up
Beijing Road. As I did, many military trucks passed me and there
were patrols everywhere, only a few cars were to be seen driving
around and the streets were near empty of civilian people. The
atmosphere was tense and made the young, normally childish
ooking military, suddenly look scary.

It is difficult to describe Lhasa these days, because you can
only see a fraction of what is really going on. If you quickly
glance at the city it may seem normal except for the old Tibetan
centre, east of the Potala Palace. In the centre, military has
occupied every intersection and stand on every side street,
diligently checking your identity card. Even the tiniest of
alleyways have at least four military personnel, of whom at
least one has a bayonet and all of them a shield, a bat and a
helmet. The bigger intersections have more military and people
often have to line up in order to get checked. Ethnic Chinese
can pass these checkpoints much easier than local Tibetans.
Tibetans living at Dromsikhang and the Barkhor need a special,
police issued paper in order to be allowed to go in and out the
immediate area surrounding their homes.

The square in front of the holiest Tibetan Temple, the Jokhang,
normally a sea of people, prostrating, circumambulating and
socialising, is now completely empty. In front of the square two
military in blue uniforms strictly ensure nobody walks on the
square. As back up, in case they miss a person, military in
green suddenly appear out of no where to apprehend and push back
person's entering these normally public areas. The round
pedestrian street circling the Jokhang is empty too. Only people
living in this area are allowed to pass, forbidden to do
religious Koras around the Jokhang, and instead on the normally
bustling retail and religious lanes you can only find small
children playing football and other games, trying to get on with
life, behind the military guards on these silent streets.

On Beijing Road and Sera Road the government has initiated road
works. Sections of road are being dug up and replaced where cars
were burnt during the March 14 protests leaving black tarmac.
Sidewalks on Beijing Road are being repaved as well after
protesters used the pavement stones to throw and break shop
windows. As you walk through Lhasa, you can still see many burnt
or damaged shops. On Beijing Road alone, there are around 16
shops or shopping complexes burnt out, one of them being the
Bank of China and one a jewellery store.
Not only are roads and shops getting rebuilt, but also some old,
traditional Tibetan houses.

If you look complacently around town you may think there is not
a heavy military presence anymore. However, if you look in every
hotel and building courtyard and in windows, you see these areas
covered in military; trucks, tents and more often the military
themselves exercising. Wherever there is space, you find
military. They are hidden in any empty building, behind
buildings and even in the hospital courtyard of Lhasa City
Peoples Hospital.

Walking the streets of Lhasa, seeing big tea houses unusually
empty and many shops still closed, it makes you aware of how
scared people are these days. Very few people stop on the street
when they meet friends, because every gathering of people is
suspicious. A lot of people still stay at home because they are
scared they will get arrested for no reason if they go out.
When you finally find someone not too scared to talk to you, you
hear consistent, dramatic, disturbing and daunting stories that
give you nightmares. But since they don't have proof of what
happened, it is difficult to inform the media. From the 14th of
March 2008, there has been a heavy military presence in addition
to the original security cameras which all monitor the city so
people were too scared to take photographs of the tanks in front
of the Jokhang Temple and elsewhere in town. And since all the
dead bodies got immediately carried away by the military or
taken from peoples home during nightly military raids, nobody
can prove their brother, relative or friend died, all they can
confirm is that this person disappeared. Only rumours about the
death toll and the arrested people are anxiously passed from
person to person.
Yesterday I talked to a Tibetan man who was speaking for himself
and his friends who want the world to know what is going on
here. He asked me if I can pass all the information he has on to
foreign media, so people here get help and don't have to be so
scared anymore.
By talking to me he risks being arrested and being tortured in
prison, but he seems desperate enough to not care about that. In
order to protect him, his family and friends and also myself, I
don't want to tell more details about the place we met, his age
or job.
But that is what he told me:
"On March 14th in the afternoon we heard that there were
demonstrations going on in front of Ramoche Temple. Later we saw
four people dragging a person who was shot dead in front of the
Jokhang and that was when we became really scared. Normally the
government should use gas or water against protesters, but here
they shoot them. So we went home as fast as possible.
In the evening my wife went to pick up our child from school
around 6p.m. At that time the military was already on Jiangsu
Road were the school was. The military was shooting at the
locals who went to pick up their children. One woman got shot in
her leg and one man was hit in the head or neck and he died.
Later his brother wanted to get his corpse from the hospital,
but the hospital didn't want to give it out. Finally the brother
got so desperate that he threatened to burn himself and the
hospital if they didn't give his dead brother to his family. The
hospital gave him his brother's body, but just a few hours after
they came home the military came and took the dead body away.
After March 14th whenever somebody died, you had to get three
different papers in order to be allowed to bring the dead body
to the sky burial place. If you didn't have these papers you got
pushed back inside your house with the dead body by the army; a
very bad omen in Tibetan culture. These three papers one needed
were from the local police, the hospital and a lawyer. The
reason for this was that with this rule the government made sure
that everybody who didn't die under normal circumstances was
found and taken away from the family, so nobody can make
pictures and show them to friends or journalists outside Tibet.
The problem for the people was that all the offices were closed
during these days and therefore nobody could bring their dead
family members to the sky burial place on the days they should
have according to Tibetan astrology.

On March 14, 15 and 16 military came around midnight to check
the homes in our area for pictures of the Dalai Lama, and took
everybody with them who didn't have an identity card. They also
had with them pictures of people who were in the demonstrations
and they compared them with our faces. About 50 military men
with guns came to our home and searched everything. We stayed at
home for three days, only going out to go to the toilet and we
only had Tsampa to eat, and people whose home ran out of gas
even couldn't boil water. The gate to our house complex was
closed and there were army posted in front of it. If you went
out, you got beaten up quite badly by them. After three days
everybody who worked for the government got a phone call and had
to go back to work. Without this working permit we were still
not allowed to go out. I know at least seven people who got
arrested and one who got shot.
When the foreign journalists were in Lhasa, I think it was from
27th to 29th of March, the military suddenly disappeared from
the streets. Instead of wearing their military uniform they
changed into traffic police, gatekeeper uniforms or civil dress
and they were hiding inside buildings and behind corners where
the journalists couldn't see them. We were suddenly allowed to
go everywhere; there were no checkpoints during these days. When
the journalists were allowed to walk around by themselves,
officials in normal clothes or traditional dress followed them,
answered their questions and made pictures of individuals who
talked to the press. We wanted to tell the press what is going
on here in reality, behind this show that was made up for them,
but we didn't have any chance to get close to them without being
punished for that later. When we finally heard that the Jokhang
monks told them the truth we were very happy.
The pilgrims inside the Jokhang temple were all elderly
officials who were forced to go there for pilgrimage on this
day. Normally these people are not allowed to engage in any
religious activities, but on this day they had to go. And lot of
the other officials were given leave from their office and were
told to go to the Barkhor and the Potala, if possible with their
families, so it looks like there is lot of freedom in Lhasa.
After the journalists left the military came back into public
immediately and we heard that the Jokhang monks got arrested for
their statements in front of the media and officials two days later.
Between 17th and 20th of April most of the monks were taken away
from Sera to an unknown place. Sera Monastery normally has over
300 monks but now there is only a handful left who care for the
chapels. Around midnight about fifteen to twenty military trucks
came and detained the monks. We have this information from
inside the monastery and also from an abutting owner. But we
don't know what is happening in Drepung and Ganden, two of the
biggest monastic centres around Lhasa, but we have heard they
have been arrested and taken out of Lhasa.

From the monasteries around Lhasa a lot of monks and nuns got
taken away too and the ones who are still at their monastery are
under house arrest. We think the government is scared that when
the Olympic flame is in Lhasa there will be new protests by the
monks and nuns, that's why they detain them. They took all of
them, no matter if they protested on March 10th and the
following days or not, only chapel keepers, drivers and a few
other monastery workers are allowed to stay in the monasteries.
Lately there are only a few monks to be seen on the streets. It
is dangerous for them, because on the Tibetan TV channel they
said that for every suspicious person you report to the police
you will get RMB20000. In reality you only get about RMB2000 but
still people call when they see monk or nuns.
Since last week all Tibetans who are not from Lhasa have to go
back to their homeland, except students and teachers studying at
government schools. The police come to your home and send you
out of Lhasa if you are not from here. When the Olympic Torch is
in Lhasa only local people and Chinese are allowed to be here.
They did that few years ago too during the 50 year peaceful
liberation celebration.

There is a big problem in jail now. There is not enough food,
not enough water and not enough blankets. The prisoners have to
sleep on the ground and sometimes they only get one cup of water
a day and nothing else. This way they get health problems, their
bodies get really weak and they die, either in prison or after
they get released. The prisoners get beaten up very badly. They
especially beat the kidney, liver and gall region so prisoners
get internal injuries and slowly die. We know this from three
friends who just got released from prison.
We are so worried about our friends and family members who are
in prison. We need to help them, but we don't know what to do.
That's why we have to tell the foreigners so the world will get
to know and help us.
It is still very tight here in Lhasa. Without ID cards you
cannot go out and if you live at Dromsikhang or Barkhor you need
a special paper. Wherever there is a gathering or argument
people get arrested.
At the schools and in the offices people have to write stories
about the 14th of March and they have to speak ill of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama. When they write about the Dalai Lama
they are only allowed to write Dalai, otherwise they have to
write it again. My child already had to write such stories three times.
We are scared and worried about the prisoners. After the
demonstrations, I saw some military vehicles like they use in
the Iraq war, the same vehicles I saw in the news about Iraq
[Tanks] but they were in our city. I thought these vehicles are
only allowed in war between two countries. On the Tibetan TV
News one presenter said that the military did a very good job
since this was their first experience with something like war
and a good opportunity for them to practise how to shoot and how
to kill people.
Now they already started the preparations for the Olympic Flame
to come here. They are putting up decorations on the Potala and
Jokhang Square [big Olympic Rings were set up in front of
Jokhang and removed again yesterday evening]".
What this man told me, I have also heard from other people
without connections to him.
I have no doubt the Chinese government will forbid foreign
tourists from visiting here for the next few months. Tibetans
want a chance to tell their side of the story; they try to tell
you what happened to them. They know they need help from outside
and therefore I believe, by preventing tourism, the government
has a way of controlling, censoring and suppressing the
situation here.
What has happened and continues to happen in Lhasa is extremely
sad and scary. Never before have I heard monks talking about
methods of torture used in local prisons and different gun types
that were used by military during this year's demonstrations in
Lhasa. And never before have I seen Tibetan people so desperate
and angry that they do things they know they will die for or be
put in prison for a long time.
With the up and coming Labour Day Celebration and Torch Relay in
May anxiety has increased in Lhasa and fear of citywide house
arrest has resulted in the stockpiling of food.
Every day you see people arguing with army at checkpoints. A
father and daughter wanted to pass a checkpoint however the
military personnel told the man he was permitted but his
daughter, who is not old enough to have an identity card, was
refused access due to not having one.
But even in this difficult time you still see brave and good
actions. Yesterday I saw a little boy, around one or two years
old; that I believed displayed a good example of Tibetan spirit.
The baby looked as if he had just learnt how to walk and was out
with his grandmother and her little dog. They were standing in
front of the Jokhang Square where military in blue ensures
nobody crosses the square. The baby walked up the three steps to
the square and started to make prostrations towards the Jokhang
while his grandmother also prayed but her frail body prevented
her from prostrating as well. When the boy finished he looked at
the guards, then at his grandmother, and then started to walk
closer to the temple. The guards looked at the baby, not knowing
what to do. After about ten meters the baby boy stopped and
prostrated again, then turned around, walked back to one of the
guards and took his hand to say goodbye. Seeing this reminded me
that all Tibetan people want is religious freedom and the right
to preserve their culture. They are tired of writing papers
against the Dalai Lama, of patriotic re-education and all the
rules and regulations that make their life so difficult.

Lhasa, 27.04.2008

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