NEW YORK, US, 7 December 2016
In the heat of the US presidential debate, when Donald Trump called global warming a hoax and a creation of China, and when it seemed certain that he would win the US election, the fossil energy sector surged on Wall Street and the small coal mining towns felt resurrected. Not to say that he was able to identify with their pain.
But beneath the surface of this rejuvenation, there was an undercurrent of resentment on the perimeter of a Native Indian area, where a sacrilege was being perpetrated by an oil company that threatened the natural state of things, by planning to push through an access pipeline that would gush millions of gallons of toxic impurities beneath the river, that would in certainty, in the near future, ruin the sanctity of the river and the life dependent around it, because for the natives, water is life.
A subjugated indigenous group that has worshipped without a “name sake religion” the natural state of things such as the rivers and the mountains for centuries, were faced yet again, in this time of supposedly progressive and liberal-mindedness, with a challenge that they were just too familiar with. An event that evoked a dark reminder of past bloody history.
But this was a human race that roamed in the plains and mountains well before Columbus “discovered” America and the European settlers that came along, who then later destroyed everything under the barrel of the gun.
The infamous memories of such genocidal atrocities are buried in our conscience, which now hide behind the exotic paintings of Native American Museums in their warrior regalia, which now deck Hollywood western cinematic themes and embellish the mascots of sports teams that play America’s favorite past time.
Isn’t it ironic though, that the most cherished Thanksgiving holiday, celebrated just a few days ago, without any heed or embrace, shrouded and discarded the significance of its historical meaning, where natives instead for their ancient hospitality and kindness were reciprocated with slavery and blood.
Standing Rock, as they say, awakened the dead and brought many descendant tribes of the indigenous nations that once roamed freely on this vast land, like free-spirited wild horses under the wide open skies under one breath. The native Americans were the people who lived on this land way before anyone else did. Their respect towards the environment, their reverence and care towards the mountains, forest and rivers, were in their inherent nature.
Many environmental activists these days are awakened, only upon being faced by the real imminent scientific dangers of global warming and destabilization of our ecosystem and its biodiversity. It’s upon such dire environmental impacts that non-native activists gather their tinder of sentiments to ignite fire within themselves.
On Standing Rock, a sacred land, when the peaceful resistance and protests were met with warlike policing with corporate protectionists mindset, further established a dark reminder of how the history, the heritage, the culture and the civilization itself of the Native Americans might have been systematically obliterated. This mirrored pretty much in real time, what we see happening in Tibet in contemporary times for the past fifty-plus years.
To witness such razor sharp canines, bullets, and piercing water hoses, unleashed upon peaceful protesters protecting a sacred land and its river, their lifeline from being polluted by the oil giants, is a scene of atrocity played all year round in the mountains of Tibet. Injustice and cruelty still wrath upon after more than five hundred years of prejudice, mistreatment, subjugation, and inequality is not the America that I believed in. The moral values the founding fathers were said to have built this new nation upon. One thing is certain and irrefutably true, that this land apart from the carved moral values on the stones in Washington was also built upon the skeletons of native Americans and the slavery of the African-Americans and exploited indentured colored people.
What the native Americans have been going through for hundreds of years resonates closely to what my people in Tibet are going through. The systematic destruction of their civilization by the white colonists, the coerced indoctrination of thousands of nativesx children into supposedly “civilized” way of living, forced assimilation, forced relocation and ethnic cleansing and burning of hundreds of native lands and cultural heritage, relocating them to reservations and creating a perfect system for them to succumb to cyclic existence of suffering, drugs, destitution and drown them in dirt cheap alcohol and tax free tobaccos, license to open casinos and unchecked rampant prostitution is what reflects success of the grandeur systematic scheme of killing the indigenous culture by the white colonist.
And this was exactly what was happening a few continents, a few oceans, and many mountain ranges away on the roof of the world before 1959, where Buddhism thrived and around which a civilization incubated hitherto untouched and uninterrupted, until the greed of Mao’s communism raised its ugly head and caused seismic collateral damage and destruction to the Tibetan civilization.
A land beyond the “middle kingdom and the great walls of China” they once narrowly thought the world didn’t exist, the leaders of which corrupted in time by Marxist/Leninist and imperialistic ideology, razed upon the innocence of Tibetans that were stuck back in time and self-imposed isolation, the land Tibetans knew, saw the twirling, whiplashing tails of the feigned dragon recklessly sweeping everything on its path without compassion or care, shaving of our forests, toppling of our monasteries, cutting our sacred mountains, drying our lakes with toxic wastes, paving roads to ferry our resources and leave us both barren and bone dry.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, reverberated an anguish long subdued by the white colonist and echoed to the sentiments of the oppressed race as far Tibet. But just as their spirits came out revolting through the forest, rivers and mountains, it fanned in retrospect a surge of cautious historical atrocities perpetrated towards the American Indians buried under the flags of star spangled banner ever more vividly.
In a parallel universe, the Tibetans who are undergoing similar obliteration of their civilization at the hands of the PRC, in empathy stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock tribes and wail with compassionate heart to find solace upon ignorant spineless humanity, who are vacant in morality and shallow on ideology that cause us so much deathly pain.
About the author
Ugyen Gyalpo lives in Woodside, New York, and works as an insurance agent for United Health Group, New York.
More articles by Ugyen Gyalpo on Tibet Sun.