Well, I just released a book titled Shadow Tibet (a collection of my essays from 1989 to 2004) on 8th March in New York City at a Tibetan Youth Congress organized symposium. The roughly 1000 strong Tibetan audience was so surprisingly outspoken, savvy, and raring to do something that I realized I had to find a way to maintain some kind of discussion with them, which was when I seriously thought of starting a blog. I have a tendency (as my long suffering readers will know) of writing ponderously lengthy essays) so I had to find a medium which would force me to be more pithy and readable. Then 10th March happened. I knew I had to start the thing asap. The designer of my website, Ambum Golok of Geneva, thought that Shadow Tibet would be a good title for the blog, since that was the territory I was exploring in my writings. What do you think? Here is the blurb from the book:
Like alternate worlds in science fiction, two distinct Tibets co-exist these days. One flourishes in the light of celebrity patronage, museum openings, career opportunities, pop spirituality and New Age fashions. This is the Tibet that has captured the romantic fantasy of the West and which has drawn much of the interest that the Tibet issue receives at the moment. Here, Tibet is far more than the issue of Tibetan freedom and represents the millenarian aspirations of the affluent and the established for spiritual solace, ecological harmony and world peace. Here the problems of Tibet: the nation of the Tibetans, is nowhere as relevant or important as that of Tibet: the repository of a secret wisdom to save a materialistic and self-destructive West.
The other Tibet exists in the shadow of a cruel and relentless Darwinian reality. Under Chinese Communist occupation it is a world of paid informers, secret police, prison walls, torture, executions, unemployment, racism, threat of extinction, and overwhelming cultural loss; revealing itself in individual lives (like sores on plague victims) in alcoholism, broken families, violence and growing hopelessness. In exile, it manifests itself, especially in the leadership, in cynical apathy, intellectual confusion, religious bickering and complete loss of political direction. Yet, this is also a world, unacknowledged perhaps, of selfless service, loyalty, love of country — and when called upon —of heroism and sacrifice. This is the world I have attempted to write about. This is Shadow Tibet.