Tibet’s on fire.

Pictures have an incredible power. This one struck me, much like my visit to Dharamsala did this summer. It is so violent and emotional and it makes me want to move or scream or travel to the other side of the world.

The world is swirling with talk of homelands and people, displacement and responsibility. Discussions around China, the Olympics, and Tibet in the past few days – spurring from anything like Bjork’s outburst in Shanghai to Steven Spielberg’s abandonment of the Olympic games – continuously remind me of my feeling of…I don’t know how to put it…solidarity with the Tibetan people. To be fair, there is still so much I do not know about China, about Tibet, or about their history. And it is not just in the far east that I have found or felt this. The recent news of Israel building new settlements in Gaza also creates a similar feeling within me, simultaneously frustrating and baffling me. Kazakhstan recently mandated a “reteaching” of Kazakh culture and language, a cultural re-education that some have called dangerous. All of Africa is on fire, in a metaphorical term, and constantly people do not know homes, families are being separated or killed, and so many, so many have died. There are still people living in poverty in my own city left over from Katrina, two and a half years ago. The recent procurement of an independent Kosovo has also created a heated debate about the future of the former Yugoslavia.

I tried to explain this to someone – this feeling of confusion and empathy and anger – they were similarly confused, but not as to why people, nations, leaders allow this to happen – but to why I cared. There are people not only pushed from their homes, but their homelands. Cultures are being forgotten, dissolved, I said.
They countered – so what? I have my own problems to deal with. Like whether or not I get money for the alcohol I will be consuming over spring break.
Don’t you want to learn about everything that happens beyond your own personal bubble? Or worry about the impact it will make on the world? I ask.
No. They said. And that’s fine by me.

I crave to know more, to do more. Always, I want more. I have, since I was little, been trying to learn all I can. I constantly attempt to educate myself – though not always in the way Georgia Tech insists. I want to create an impact, to create a legacy that will change lives and conceptions and nations. I want to be old and look at my life and think that it had been greater than the sum of its parts. This person, in previous conversation, had said that they wanted to live as they did now, with children and grandchildren and never have to leave the country. But how can you not be curious about what happens to everyone else?

Curiosity kills cats, they say.

Well, apathy and megalomania kills everything else.

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2 thoughts on “Tibet’s on fire.

  1. well said. very well said. There is nothing more frustrating to me than to feel like I’m forced to watch the world fall apart from the sidelines, unable to help in any way. Especially when the obstacle is people who prefer to ignore everything outside of their bubble.

    I have the utmost appreciation, admiration, and respect for people I meet like you. The ones who are eager and anxious to fight for something better, who never tire of trying to out-smart the hindrances of ignorance, and refuse to give up on other people.

  2. Trido. (Ditto x3)

    What’s even more frustrating is to know that one cannot effectively enjoin another to care without sounding pretentious when their choice is to be willfully provincial. Even the most earnest of exhortations are laced with arrogance, testaments to the difficulty in remaining objective when attempting such a feat.

    And then there’s the case to be made for “minding one’s own business,” so to speak. It’s one thing not to care, it’s another entirely not to get involved. I have faith that most people care, but not enough to put a personal stake in it.

    But that’s another topic for another day.

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