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Culture, History, Politics, Society

Raise the warrior’s sword, my fellow Tibetans

By Theurang or Tashi Rabten*
Translated from Tibetan by Bhuchung D. Sonam
Source: Burning Tibet 

Our courage is fading amidst stacks of religious texts

Our self-confidence is weakening under foreign occupation

My fellow Tibetans of the same blood and flesh

You are being drowned in tears of sorrow

And being bundle up in pain of agony

Today

Crossing the spine of history I enter into your chest

Staring at you, I write these words I want to convey

At a time when this generation, trapped in the leaves of heavy scripture

Is growing old chanting the six syllable mantra over and over again

When each of our ancient forts and ancestral pillars

Shake from inside amidst the growing whirlwinds

When you think about the lice and nits that suck your blood

Sunbathing on the slopes of Marpori

And this ancient land is turned restless and unlivable

Will this soil become a proud new Tibet or

A place where red hands shamelessly strike at their whim?

My fellow Tibetans, who are drowning in my teardrops,

Today a sharp thread is constricting your blood vessels

A book of crooked words is being thrust into your history

A red hand is digging into your chest

A black tongue is buying up your people

Buying them with sweets lies

Buying them with brute force

At a time

When our land is churned inside out in the name of development

When everything is being ordered from top down

When everything is subsumed in rules and regulations

Isn’t this the time

To exercise your fundamental rights

To assert control over your own life

Your consciousness

Your courage

Your wisdom

Utsangpa, your bones no longer have the smell of tsampa

Khampa, your minds are starved of any new thoughts

Amdowa, you are constantly busy in mutual disputes

Now is the time

To call upon the courage of our conquering ancestors

To raise their warriors’ swords

To invoke their martial spirit

To revisit their tombs and pillars

Now is the time

To rise up from the pool of pain

To raise the Snow Lion flag

Now is the time

For each warrior to stand tall

Like torrents of a waterfall

Like flames of fire

Now is the time for each of us

To do anything anytime anywhere

One year, ten years, one hundred years

After many years

From the Potala Square we hear tunes of Tsangyang Gyatso’s songs

We remember the courage of heroes dead from enemy bullets

We evoke the spirits of our lost mountains, lakes and grasslands

We recall those words written in blood

Again and again from the depth of our souls

Hatred, bitterness, pain, shackles,

From the abyss of flesh and bones

Two heavy words are asking a question

They demand an immediate answer

Like …

The US Declaration of Independence

The Hind Swaraj of India

The end of apartheid in South Africa

Courage, heroism, slavery, oppression.

Raise the warriors’ swords, my fellow Tibetans

***

* Theurang, author of Written in Blood and editor of Shar Dungri or Eastern Snow Mountain (a magazine banned by China), was sentenced to four years in prison on 2 June 2011 by the Chinese authorities in Ngaba, Amdo, northeastern Tibet.
Notes:
Marpori – literally ‘Red Hill’ on which the Potala Palace was built
Utsangpa – people from Central Tibet
Khampa – people from Kham, Eastern Tibet
Amdowa – people from Amdo, Northeastern Tibet
Tsampa – roasted barley flour, which is Tibet’s staple food
Hind Swaraj – self-rule in India

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