11/23/2011, 00.00
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Self immolation for Tibet: a cry of pain in the midst of the world’s indifference

The videos of the Buddhist monks who set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet reopens the debate on this form of protest. The Dalai Lama expresses doubts (although praying for the souls of the living and the dead), while a Tibetan source tells AsiaNews: "The West is all talk, but has no idea of how we live here". A Lama adds: "The dead monks have chosen a way to affirm their faith. Wrong, but imposed by the regime. "
Lhasa (AsiaNews) - The Buddhist monks who have set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet "have a very strong faith, that's clear. But we can not know what are the paths that led them to such extreme gestures, gestures of which even the Dalai Lama has expressed many reservations. Their souls were moved by the desire for freedom, and they all died invoking our spiritual leader. The situation for them is really hard”, Lama Geshe Gedun Tharchin, who for years studied the five great treatises of Buddhism tells AsiaNews.

The lama, who has a profound knowledge of the Buddhist faith, says: "For our religion, all life is sacred, and killing is an enormous loss for the soul. But those who live in Tibet are hungry for freedom, especially religious freedom: a hunger which pervades all of China. And the government is certainly very hard on them, I have seen videos of these sacrifices which appeared on the Web in recent days, and I could not feel anything but compassion for these people. "

The videos depict both the last moments of life of Palden Choetso, the only woman among the 11 monks to die in the last 3 months, and those of another monk for now unidentified. They are both very strong images and can found at the following addresses:


In recent days, in an interview with the BBC, the Dalai Lama has reiterated once again that this method of protest will not help the Tibetan cause and is especially damaging for the karma of the dead monks: "Many Tibetans sacrifice their lives: it takes courage , a lot of courage. But with what effects? Courage alone is not enough. You have to use trial and wisdom. " Soon after, however, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism said: "Nobody knows how many people are killed and tortured, or die from torture. Nobody knows, but many people suffer. With what effect? The Chinese respond with more force. "

A Tibetan source (anonymous for security reasons) told AsiaNews: "With the riots in the Arab world, the advent of the Internet, the repression gets worse from year to year. These are the reasons why so many people look to extreme actions against China. You only see the cases of self-immolation because of the shock factor, but there are many Tibetans who make choices that are just as strong, if less spectacular. Going to jail, sentenced to 10 years maybe, for expressing an opinion is a form of sacrifice. "

According to the source, "the West talks a lot, but does not understand. You do not understand what it means to live without the ability to decide anything in your life. There is the issue of religious freedom which is denied and which for us is a sacrilege, but also there is no work and society is in the hands of Han Chinese. The economy does not exist, and whatever the party decides for us is the law. So we can not go forward, we are less and less, but willing to fight to the end. "

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