I’ve been concerned lately that there is almost no coverage about the Tibet/China earthquake. Perhaps it’s overload from all the various tragedies that has rendered environmental upheaval “old news.” Yet my blog stats have hit an all time high in the last week with the post Tibet Earthquake Relief getting the most hits of all time (over 300 page views). That post – meagre as it was – has also been Twittered and trackbacked and pinged. So clearly only the media has lost interest.
Today I received this email from the Canada Tibet Committee. After thinking long and hard about what it means to put it on the blog, I decided that whatever the intent of the blog, whatever my personal views are about Tibet and China, this is something we may wish to think about and fold into our practice as we see it fits. So here it is below, verbatim, with no attachments to any view other than to bear witness to suffering that is still happening.
Last week’s earthquake in Jyekundo (Chinese: Yushu), a predominantly Tibetan area, has devastated the region. Local citizens need your help.
The official death toll at the time of writing this email stood at 2,039, but unofficial reports indicate the toll may be as high as 15,000. Another 12,000 are injured.
The CTC has pledged funds towards immediate relief for the victims of the earthquake. Our donation will be channeled through Machik, an organization that is already on the ground providing relief. Machik is also able to issue Canadian tax receipts.
If you are able to donate please visit:
https://www.canadahelps.org/DonationDetails.aspx?cookieCheck=true and select the Jyekundo Earthquake relief option on the Fund designation icon. Or visit the Machik website – www.machik.org – and click on “Donate Now” through the Canada Helps icon.
You can also help by contacting your MP
Please write or call and ask your MP to:
Make a statement in Parliament acknowledging the tragedy, and specifically referring to Tibetans. The population of the region is 97 per cent Tibetan.
Encourage the Chinese government to graciously accept international offers of support from aid organizations ready to provide immediate relief, and for long term support in rebuilding.
Encourage China to review its development policies in the region related to hydro facilities and water management, see:
Request that the Chinese government accept His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s offer to visit the earthquake zone. Tibetans in Jyekundo have issued a remarkable letter appealing for His Holiness to visit the region and His Holiness has expressed his willingness (full text below).
You can find your MP’s contact information at:
Letter from Tibetans to President Hu and Premier Wen, requesting a visit by the Dalai Lama
16 April 2010
Dear President Hu and Premier Wen,
Wish you both good health. During the initial hours of the natural disaster, we appreciate your government’s immediate relief efforts through soldiers and all round support from different sections of the society and we, the victims of this calamity, thank you for the same.
But we are a deeply religious community having a strong faith in the teachings of Buddha. Since many generations, we have a deep faith in His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Today, as we are suffering from a great physical and mental anguish, we really need His Holiness to visit the quake affected area to pray for the departed souls and to provide solace to the broken hearts. Today, we request you, president Hu and premier Wen, to find the compassion in your hearts and fulfill this desire of us quake victims. We, the quake victims numbering more than 10,000, implore you from our hearts to temporarily set aside your government’s political differences with the Dalai Lama and kindly consider our request.
With this invitation to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we have no other objective apart from fulfilling our religious aspirations of praying for the departed souls and the survivors of the disaster.
In this hour of distress, His Holiness’ visit to offer prayers and condolences in person is the only way to heal our wounded hearts.
There is no other better way.
Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Eager to Visit Earthquake Affected Area
As I mentioned briefly soon after I heard the news, I was deeply saddened by the effects of the devastating earthquake in the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Tibetan:Kyigudo) of Qinghai Province which resulted in the tragic loss of many lives, a great number of injured and severe loss of property. Because of the physical distance between us, at present I am unable to comfort those directly affected, but I would like them to know I am praying for them.
I commend the monastic community, young people and many other individuals from nearby areas for their good neighbourly support and assistance to the families of those who have lost everything. May your exemplary compassion continue to grow. This kind of voluntary work in the service of others really puts the bodhisattva aspiration into practice.
I also applaud the Chinese authorities for visiting the affected areas, especially Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, who has not only personally offered comfort to the affected communities, but has also overseen the relief work. I am very appreciative too that the media have been free to report on the tragedy and its aftermath.
In 2008, when a similar earthquake struck Sichuan, Chinese central and local government leaders and auxiliary authorities took great pains to provide relief, allow free access to the media, as well as clearing the way for international relief agencies to provide assistance as required. I applauded these positive moves then and appeal for such ease of access on this occasion too.
The Tibetan community in exile would like to offer whatever support and assistance it can towards the relief work. We hope to be able to do this through the proper and appropriate channels as soon as possible.
When Sichuan was rocked by an earthquake two years ago, I wished to visit the affected areas to pray and comfort the people there, but I was unable to do so. However, when Taiwan was struck by a typhoon last year, I was able to visit the affected families and pray with them for those who had perished in that disaster. In providing some solace to the people concerned, I was happy to be able to do something useful.
This time the location of the earthquake, Kyigudo (Chinese: Yushu), lies in Qinghai Province, which happens to be where both the late Panchen Lama and I were born. To fulfill the wishes of many of the people there, I am eager to go there myself to offer them comfort.
In conclusion, I appeal to governments, international aid organizations and other agencies to extend whatever assistance they can to enable the families of those devastated by this tragedy to rebuild their lives. At the same time, I also call on the survivors of this catastrophe to recognize what has happened as the workings of karma and to transform this adversity into something positive, keeping their hopes up and meeting setbacks with courage as they struggle to restore what they have lost. Once again, I pray for those who have lost their lives as well as for the well being of those who have survived.
DALAI LAMA, 17 April 2010
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