Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Behind Barbed Wires

Picture courtesy of www.tenkalden.com

History is full of stories about persecution,genocide and mass murder of people. The reasons behind such events mostly trickled down to the geopolitics of the era, and in many cases ascribed to communal hatred and ideological differences.Regimes driven with a particular ideology have more then often promoted violence to meet their ends.

But that is history. And yet the memories of the past haunt us even now. Whether its the havoc caused by the Nazis, memories of cultural revolution in China for many, the mass murder at Tiannamen square, it all lingers around. Ironically, violence somehow always tends to leave behind unscathed scars.

Contemporary world, despite all its glamour and niceties, still witnesses these acts of violence with a shy face, helpless to do anything. The crisis at Darfur, the suffering in Gaza, the hunger in North korea, and the genocide in Tibet all remain unresolved. Other then the obvious reasons and the technicalities to explain our failure in these matters, what I see is the failure of Humanity . This realisation was very much thrown at my face, unlike before, while I worked for an organisation of former political prisoners from Tibet.

Apart from the obvious cliches of stories pertaining to suffering and hardships,common to the lives of all prisoner's of conscience.There were a few unique and very individual things I came to learn while working with former political prisoners of Tibet.

During an interview with one of the political prisoners, the answer to one question remains etched in my memory. On being asked whether one feels any guilt about having participated in an action that resulted in their imprisonment, every political prisoner i was able to speak had one unequivocal answer. That answer was "Yes".

What lied behind this acceptance of guilt for an action of conscience, revolved more around the realization of the futility of their action's outcomes rather then disdain for those outside Tibet.

"I have practically become a useless man now", "telling stories about the past seems to be the best thing I could do","my health or my intellect doesn't allow me to be able to do something practical,both for myself as well as my society". These were remarks of one of the political prisoners from Tibet. Of course there would be many who might have been made stronger in both will and wit after this experience. And yet many remain broken and disillusioned.

This is the underlying truth behind the failure of all of us responsible and all of us who have a conscience to answer. Many have lost lives and many more forgotten in the obscurity of prisons.

Whatever our actions might have been and whatever we might have done. Yet it is clear that humanity has failed and bowed down to tyranny and money( what seems to be the new age synonym for power).

Behind Barbed Wires lies the woes and cries of so many. For how long will we be deaf.


  1. Dear Rinchen,

    Tashi Delek and Namaste,

    You write powerfully. What you are doing here looks very interesting. I would like to know more about you and the people that you have worked with. Much of the world's inability to respond is that it is simply ignorant to the every day realities in other places. The stories of the prisoners means a great deal. How you live and the ordinary things that you do also mean a great deal. We need you to tell us. It is much more difficult to do damage when one realizes our sameness.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog. Peace.

  2. You write well, Rinchen. I enjoyed reading your posts and subscribed to your blog. Keep writing. Cheers!

  3. about the political prisoners who have gone thru such a truamatic experience, they need medical help to get out of the past. such memories do no help and i think its highly injurious to their well being if they are made to recount their stories again and again because telling the tales will be reliving them. it only rubs the wound and are continiously reminded of the horrors when flashes of the past keep resurfacing .
    i wonder if they were given pyschiatric help to recover from post traumatic experience. it should be done at the earliest.
    they should be rehabilated. help him/her acquire an identity other the political prisoner he/she is exhibited around.
    just my two cents.