So after a lovely day marred by a dog death. I slept off the depression and we went to the temple and compound of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
The temple itself was a simple affair and the icons/imagery were beautiful and it was altogether a fabulous experience.
We posed for photographs with Indian tourists (I’ll explain that phenomenon later) and went to the museum of Tibetan culture.
As an overly sensitive human being who likes to be completely insensitive to relieve the constant emotional upheaval it takes to get through the day to day–certain things still really get to me.
When I was in 5th or 6th grade I read a book about the holocaust while on a family road trip and I had to have them pull the car over so I could throw up. That kind of inhumanity bothers me to the point of serious sickness and despair. Over the years I’ve had various embarrassing emotional breakdowns in public spaces: slave quarters in New Orleans, a plantation in Louisiana (it had a book encased in glass with the names and prices of human beings listed in it like a grocery list), the Lorraine motel, the memorial of the Mississippi three (Kris and I did what I like to call a civil rights tour of the south in 2004). Other times and places play a large part too: Robben Island, Kibera, Chiapas, and pretty much anywhere else poverty is in your face. I know it exists everywhere but when I see it on such a massive scale it does something to me and activates the “this is really fucked up” sensor. While almost always on “really messed up” the sensor only sends me into an emotional downward spiral when confronted on a such a large scale to denote a systemic problem.
I keep going to these places because it is important to remember what people are capable of both doing and surviving, what people fought and died for, and most importantly how essential it is to never be apathetic about what is happening here and around the world because it is happening to people like us everywhere.
Colonialism, slavery, poverty, genocide, Bosnia, Rwanda, Tibet. There is something seriously wrong with a society that not only lets these things happen but keeps letting them happen over and over again without asking why? Without analyzing some very basic assumptions about the way in which we live and how that continues to create inequality to the point of desperation, blame and retribution.
Anyhow, not to be Debbie downer but it hurts me on the most fundamental level that people are actually capable of these things let alone ignoring the fact they are happening. No one can solve the problem alone but if enough people are actually thinking, talking, doing something (whatever it is they can) about these issues then it’s a first step to solving them.
I might get all emotional about it but the reason I need to keep reminding myself of these things is because I forget all the time. I get comfortable and content and stop pushing myself and that isn’t what I want to do or who I want to be.
Anyhow all of this came from visiting the Tibetan history museum and reading first hand account of torture and hearing about how the Chinese government is working towards the complete annihilation of the Tibetan religious and cultural heritage.
To some extent I understand (and obviously hate) the “I want your land/resources” but I don’t understand the need to desecrate religious iconography, hold religious figures hostage and torture people. I just don’t understand and it makes me sick and sad.
So in an effort to cheer up we got a bottle of wine and ate some Italian food. I’m so ridiculously simple that it pretty much did the trick.