Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Fear in Lhasa

A hurried farewell to Lhasa,
Where the fear is in your breathing, in the beating of your heart,
In the silence when you want to speak but don’t,
In the catch in your throat....

countless police with their guns ...
plainclothesmen beyond counting ...

Dreadful footsteps reverberate all round,
but in daylight you won’t glimpse even their shadow;
They are like demons invisible by day, but the horror is worse,
it could drive you mad...

A few times I have passed them and the cold weapons in their hands...

All those cameras,
Taking it all in,
Swiveling from the outer world to peer inside your mind...

They’re watching us ...

A hurried farewell to Lhasa:
The fear in Lhasa breaks my heart. Got to write it down.

(The above are just fragments of a poem by Woeser. Complete poem, at Ragged Banner Press.)

This Tibetan writer, who lives in Beijing, risks being arrested for what she writes. Her work is banned in China because she's investigating the March 2008 uprising in Tibet, because she "articulates the repression that many Tibetans feel," because she flouts the official line that Tibetans are okay with Chinese rule. [1]

Woeser's poem Remembering a Battered Buddha:
-- Text
-- Audio [Recited in English by A. E. Clark].

You have the guns.

I have the pen.

--- Woeser.


No comments: