Letters to the West

seven years in Tibet-in-Exile (and counting …)

US food waste is worth more $$ than offshore drilling

New Scientist, 28 July 2010

“More energy is wasted in the perfectly edible food discarded by people in the US each year than is available in oil and gas reserves off the nation’s coastlines.”

See the photo of good and delicious food being scraped into garbage! I know this is true. I grew up in the U.S., and i am back there now. It is … amazing and disgusting. Oh, and by the way, i have never seen so many fat, and sad-faced, people in my life. Was it like this when i left 10 years ago, and i just didn’t notice?

The home where i am staying in the U.S. is one of the few places in the whole country, that eats, or uses (compost, chickens), all of the food they get.

Written by walker

2 August 2010 at 6:14 pm

Q. Why no sanctions on China?

A. money money money money money

In http://www.dvb.no/news/youtube-global-film-contest-bans-burmese/11051
“YouTube ‘global’ film contest bans Burmese”,

A YouTube contest aimed at collating footage from global citizens into a ‘Life in a Day’ film will not include entries from residents of Burma due to US sanctions on the country.

Because …

the contest’s Terms and Conditions … says “You will not be eligible to submit Videos to be considered for inclusion in the Film if you are: a resident of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Myanmar/Burma, Syria, or any other U.S. sanctioned country”.

But …

The contest therefore appears not to have reconciled the effect of US sanctions with their stated intentions; indeed the rules seem to override the contest’s own aim of “[documenting] one day, as seen through the eyes of people around the world”.

So that is sad. Following the letter of the law but not the spirit.

And noticing those “sanctioned countries” … China’s not on that list. What does China do that is different than Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Myanmar/Burma, Syria, or the other US-sanctioned countries? Oh right. It is big, powerful, and doing lots of commerce with the U.S.

Power and money, the common religion of the West and the East.

Written by walker

2 August 2010 at 5:49 pm

Giving up our lives …

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.”
Helen Keller – American writer and activist, deaf, dumb, and blind from age of 19 months.

“They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.”
Benjamin Franklin – American writer and activist, co-founder of the principles on which the United States of America is (was?) based.

There are people still fighting for their liberty …

Read the rest of this entry »

China’s Tibet

Written by walker

5 November 2008 at 12:27 am

Pictures from Tibet

Maybe you already know the things i’m going to tell you now. But i want to tell some things, in case any of you don’t know. The exposition below is probably too long. That’s too bad. The last 50 years in Tibet is way too long. As is each day in prison now.

What the Chinese are doing to Tibetans (and Mongols and Uighurs in Eastern Turkestan and Inner Mongolia — and to the Chinese themselves!) surpasses any of Hitler’s dreams. The pronouncements of the Chinese government read like they were taken straight out of Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. The story that is happening also — the only difference is the species, and the extent. And the amount of blood.

And how the west is responding to it — makes me sick. Makes me angry. Makes me able to do nothing but work … except when the combination of China’s doings and the west’s response, depress me to be unable to do anything at all.

It’s all about money. When the early reports came out in March, the response in the western media boiled down to, “oh dear this is awful. But we can’t jeopardize our economic relations with China!” Dither dither, and mealy-mouthed “oh um gee you shouldn’t come down quite so hard” messages to China.

Do you know that China owns a large proportion of the US national debt?
And also a large proportion of United States companies and big buildings?
Mmmm hmmm.

I believe it is also about race and culture. It is not white people who are being tortured and murdered and displaced. They are yellow and brown. And complicated cultural and historical issues. Much harder to relate to.

And the fact that there is religion. Ah, so romantic — the best of Buddhism, and a peaceful, deeply religious people … a lovely Dalai Lama. So nice. Just watch the drama, surely it will all work out. We can have organic popcorn.

It is easier to get exercised about people’s fates when they are just plain old folks like you and me. (And China doesn’t understand at all … “They don’t appreciate all we are doing for them! They are primitive and thankless, we have to force them to become modern and advanced, it’s for their own good.”)

Sometimes i think that one factor in the lack of response, is the way it is handled by Tibetans themselves. If this was happening to westerners’ brothers and mothers and friends, there would be screaming and wailing, dramatic stories in magazines, threats to sue, appearances on Oprah. (And, at least in the 1940s, action by organisations and governments. Even bombs.)

Tibetans don’t do that.

Every single Tibetan face you see in your travels around Sikkim and Dharamshala, has a relative, friend (or knows someone who does), who is injured, dead or in prison (being tortured) in Tibet.

Tibetan mind is not like Western mind. Nor is it like Indian mind. Nor Chinese mind. I don’t know how to describe it, because when i try it comes out in Western terms. Then westerners think things like “patient”, or “passive”, or even “accepting”. (Or my favorite piece of bullshit: “passive-aggressive” …)

It is none of those things.

But maybe more bitching and complaining, would help the powerful golden west to realise the awfulness of what is happening in Tibet.

So i’m the westerner. I’ll do it.

Here are some pictures.

I will try to draw them in words for you, because there are no photos — that is the other reality of this situation — communications are extremely controlled inside Tibet, and so everything is “hearsay”.

See this:
A sixteen-year-old girl walks out on the street, holding a picture of the Panchen Lama in front of her. She walks down the street with her neighbors and friends. Soon they are surrounded by “People’s Armed Police”. Soon, she falls to the ground, shot through the head.

See this:
A large group of Tibetans gather outside a Police station in Tibet, to demand the release of an arrested Tibetan. The police come out and start shooting at them. One man is shot several times. His friends try to take him away and he refuses. He says,
“Let me die here so that the world will know.”

See this:
Over and over again, for many weeks, monks and nuns and laypeople march along streets and roads all over Tibet, peacefully protesting.
Sometimes carrying Tibetan flags, photos of Dalai Lama.
They are shot, beaten, arrested (which mean more beatings and torture).

They come out and march *knowing* that those things will happen.

And they march again. And again.

And again.

Written by walker

4 November 2008 at 11:19 pm

Posted in tibet under china

To those of you who are helping create the world-wide surveillance uber-state

To those of you who work for Google, Cisco, and the other corporations who are assisting China and other governments in the technologies of censorship and otherwise helping to build surveillance states:

Many people who i work with here, are leaving their email accounts at gmail and google apps, and getting email elsewhere. Why? “We don’t trust google.”

Just today, an interesting article in the Bangkok Post computer section. Thailand, and other countries, are following China’s excellent example. And using your company’s technologies and cooperation to monitor and control their people. Here’s an interesting quote: “Gmail remains secure when accessed via HTTPS, although he did question what went on behind the scenes when Thailand lifted the ban on Google’s YouTube and if any agreements had been struck.http://www.bangkokpost.com/040608_Database/04Jun2008_data003.php
(Italics mine. Inferring, what goes on behind the scenes, between the governments and google, to allow governments to access private information, emails, etc.Hmmm?)

Well, yes — we are using google maps at http://tibetanuprising.org/tibet-march-map and http://tchrd.org/maps/march_2008/ … It’s part of buddhist philosophy: you use the power of the evil for something good.


Google-ites and other IT-ites: I challenge you to open http://webwalker.to/, and, for five full minutes, watch that photo while repeating these mantras:

“This is not a black-and-white issue. This is not an easy issue”

“it’s better to serve users in a limited manner than not serve them at all.”

“Google can make meaningful and positive contributions to the already impressive pace of development in China.”

“The decision that we made to follow the law in China was absolutely the right one.”

If this has any effect on you, please don’t waste time emailing me about it. I’m busy. Go f-ing do something about it.

Sadly yours,

— james walker

Written by walker

4 June 2008 at 9:32 am

The situation in Tibet — and in China — is no better.

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Well this blog became just another example of internet abandonment. Not like any body sees it anyway. If an unread blog dies in the ocean of the Great Sea of the Web …. uh …. well obviously, No.

Things got pretty busy, especially after March 10. I had so many thoughts, i could have written a lot here. But also so busy there was no time. And the heart hurting so, feeling like squeezed in a steel cage. It was all i could do to get up every morning, and move through the day. Can’t even imagine what Tibetans must have been feeling like — and still. My most useful thing to do is write code, not blogs. So i did that.

A recent email from an old friend, who is actually being influenced by what i write, moved me to try to drop some of my mental turds into this again. If only one person gets a new idea, then everything is worth it, right? That was the whole point to begin with, the whole rationale why i sometimes, against my true nature and instinct of self-preservation, blurt out english sentences instead of for loops.

Tibetans in India are trying to March to Tibet


I know a lot of the people mentioned in this article.

I’m not quite sure what the difference is between the Indian government blocking supplies to the marchers’ camp, and the Chinese “People’s Armed Police” blocking food and water to the monasteries in Tibet.

The article says that Tenzin Tsundue has lost a lot of weight. He never had a lot of weight to lose to begin with! So he must look like a skeleton now.

These days it is almost impossible for Tibetans to get out of Tibet. And also impossible for Tibetans outside to get in. *You* are a westerner, like me. *You*, and i, can walk into almost any country’s embassy and get a visa, just like that. You (nor i) cannot imagine what it is like to have to jump through so many hoops, spend so much money and time, to be able to go out of your own country. … if you can go at all.

It’s interesting how India is so schizophrenic about its support/antoginism to the Tibetans it shelters. It’s all about money and power, and China appeasement.

“… the movement of this group of unarmed men and women threatens Beijing’s massive propaganda exercise. They are a nonviolent force dedicated to their people, their nation and the truth. They refuse to be silenced at a time when China’s long arm of oppression and manipulation stretches around the world.”

Appeasement … Bush said last week, regarding Iran i think, that appeasement never works! … but then … Iran doesn’t have as much money invested in the US as China. To whom appeasement is the name of the game for governments all over the world.

No attribution for the last. Just trust me. Google it. I’m tired again. Probly be another 6 months before another post …

Written by walker

4 June 2008 at 8:52 am