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March 20, 2008



What to say about this sort of stuff? That there was no such thing as Tibetan television before 1949, or that a Buddhist theocracy never had a “basic human right to freedom of speech and religion”, that a list of major Tibetan banks would be very short indeed

Nitpicking, there. He's talking about Britain, and so gives a list of Important British Things that have been taken away by the aliens, just as a lot of Important Tibetan Things were taken away by the Chinese. You might as well point out that Tibet didn't have a queen.
I don't see any racial animus in that letter, for that matter - far less than you might see in the average Guardian discussion of, say, the Israel/Palestine issue. You could point out that the Palestinians didn't have many banks or TV stations before 1948 or 1967 either - or, for that matter, a right to freedom of speech as citizens of Jordan or Egypt...
Is it really so irrational to write a letter suggesting that invading and occupying other countries is bad?


Ajay: I think you're right on the analogy but my instinct then goes the other way - if someone wrote that same letter about the Israeli occupation (and they certainly could), then it would set off my alarm bells that we might be dealing with a nutter. The reality is bad enough without calling people aliens or the like.


... and I've just realised why. All this "imagine this ..." stuff just really sounds like it's building up to "wouldn't you want to kill the bastards?"


"He's talking about Britain..." Actually, no. She (it's a she) is trying to suggest that things you would miss if you lived in Britain were also present in Tibet, which was why I pointed out the bit about "free speech and religous freedom". It's also not nitpicking to point out false claims in this context: there are a lot more than "one or two" monasteries "kept open for tourist reasons"; there's an entire Tibetan language curriculum, etc.

None of this actually justifies Chinese rule in Tibet. But Chinese oppression in Tibet doesn;t justify a cultural genocide narrative, and I don't see how any of that can't be racially charged.

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