By email, 28 March 2013
It was a great experience for me to visit Spain for the first time. I found it a mysterious country, with such a welcoming attitude towards strangers, yet a deep sadness that permeates the atmosphere, a country only relatively recently freed from the tyranies of war and bloodshed. I admire the spirit of the people who do not seem to wilt despite the hardships that they are undergoing right now, with the “Crisis” as they refer to their financial depression.
While here, I was invited to read poems from my book, I Am Tibetan, which chronicles stories that have been narrated to me by Tibetans living in exile in India, my home. It was in the village of Puttaparthi, India, that I made my first Tibetan friends 23 years ago, and it was through them that I learned about His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism, and the tragedy of the destruction of Tibetan monasteries, the slaughtering of thousands, and the diaspora of the Tibetan peoples caused by Chinese invaders under Mao Tse Tung.
The groups of Spanish people that I shared the story with, and who heard the poetry, were very moved. They told me that they did not know about these events, that they were not in their history books and not in the media. They had sometimes seen images of monks on fire but did not really understand what was happening in the approximately 30-second clips.
From I Am Tibetan:
I am Tibetan because the blood of the martyrs of Tibet spilled
into my hard heart and made it soft.
I am Tibetan because in our tent in Bodh Gaya,
the prayers of the refugees
to Buddha, to the deities, to the mountains, to the sky,
and to the clouds reached my ears.
I am Tibetan because the tears they cry for their Mother Land
fall out of my eyes.
We might think most people know about Tibet, but in my travels I have not found this to be true. It is necessary, therefore, to continue to carry the message: FREE TIBET, wherever we find ourselves, and to keep it in the consciousness of those around us.
Heartfelt wishes were expressed by the audiences that Tibetans would be able to return to their homeland, that the imprisoned Tibetans would be set free, and that there would be no more blood shed on the holy land of Tibet, the rooftop of our world.
About the author
Terry Reis Kennedy is a poet and writer who lives in Bangalore, India. You may contact her at treiskennedy(a)gmail.com, and read her blog at TerryReisKennedy.blogspot.in/