The Eradication of Tibetan Culture

This post was submitted by photographer Heather Lindquist

Tibetans resisted celebrating Losar, or Tibetan New Year, in 2009 out of fear. Their continuing anxiety over the missing and murdered was heightened by turmoil and casualties that occurred before the summer Olympics in Bejing. Over the past few years I have documented this culture at its origin in Tibet, visited areas of forced relocation in India and met Tibetan refugees in the US.

In the summer of 2004 I travelled with a lama throughout China and Tibet and attended the Monkey Year teachings at Drikung Thil. Historically occurring every twelve years, these teachings had been forbidden since China’s invasion of Tibet in 1959 until recently. At the time of my visit, it seemed as though there had been some progress and acceptance of the Tibetan tradition, which once again is disintegrating. Resentment is growing among the current displaced younger Tibetan generation about the unfair reality that others can visit their homeland but they themselves may never be able to experience it. Images from the protests give a sense of their anguish and determination to reclaim what is theirs.

My experience of Tibet and China has greatly impacted me. I have met people who were unjustly beaten and imprisoned, and I believe that one person I knew was killed due to the protests over the Olympics. Worried for the Tibetan people, I feel strongly that this issue must be acknowledged. I am still working on a book project that reflects the beauty of the Tibetan people and their belief in Tibetan Buddhism that is practiced for the common good. I think that showing Tibetan culture will spread compassion.

Heather Lindquist

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