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domingo, mayo 11, 2008

On Mothers' Day Protests In Kathmandu

Mothers' Day isn't celebrated in Nepal. Modern Mothers' Day began as Women's Day of Peace. So it's a synchronicity that hundreds of Tibetan women in Kathmandu including Buddhist nuns chose today as an all-woman protest against Chinese occupation of Tibet.

Reuters reports:
Nepali police detained 562 Tibetan women at an anti-China rally in Kathmandu on Sunday, the first all-women protest against Chinese rule in their homeland, officials said.

Some shouted "We want free Tibet" while others wept as they were dragged along the road to police vans and trucks and driven to detention centers. Many were wearing black armbands and had their mouths gagged with cloths.

Nepal considers Tibet part of China, a key donor and trade partner, and has been cracking down on protests by the exiled Tibetans against Beijing.

Police said the protesters would be freed later.
Nepal borders Tibet. More than 20,000 Tibetans have been living in Nepal since fleeing their homeland after the recent failed uprising and China's crack-down.
"We are not against Nepal. Our protests are against China. So why are they arresting us?" asked a 70-year-old protester who gave her name as Chinjhoke, tears rolling down her face.
According to BBC Nepal
cannot allow Tibetans to demonstrate because it recognises Tibet as an integral part of China.

But the UN says the mass arrests are against the spirit of a society governed by the rule of law.
Today's protest in Kathmandu followed yesterday's in which
A group of Tibetan protesters chained themselves together in front of the Chinese Embassy's visa office in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, on Saturday.

Sixteen protesters secured themselves to each other with chains and padlocks at the Chinese embassy in the heart of Kathmandu, and were joined by dozens of other Tibetans who chanted 'Free Tibet' and 'We want freedom.'

Police official Ramesh Thapa says 120 people were detained for defying a ban on demonstrations against China, Nepal's neighbour to the north.
I don't think it can be argued that arrests for that reason comply with an acknowledgement of human rights. Evidently, it's important to Nepal to mimic Chinese responses to peaceful protest.

I watch all of this with increasing frustration. I am astonished by the courage of the Tibetan protesters, that they risk so much to bring to the world's attention their grievances about the occupation of Tibet. But I don't believe that what they do will result in action that will change things. That belief brings me despair.

All I have to offer is this Metta prayer:
May all beings be well and safe, may they be at ease.

Whatever living beings there may be, whether moving or standing still, without exception, whether large, great, middling, or small, whether tiny or substantial,

Whether seen or unseen, whether living near or far,

Born or unborn; may all beings be happy.

Let none deceive or despise another anywhere. Let none wish harm to another, in anger or in hate.”

Just as a mother would guard her child, her only child, with her own life, even so let me cultivate a boundless mind for all beings in the world.

Let me cultivate a boundless love for all beings in the world, above, below, and across, unhindered, without ill will or enmity.

Standing, walking, seated, or lying down, free from torpor, let me as far as possible fix my attention on this recollection. This, they say, is the divine life right here.

May it be so.

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