I nearly pulled my previous post when I read a letter in today's Cape Times from Sydney Kaye. Kaye quite rightly pointed out that "old" Tibet [ie before the Chinese invasion] was anything but a land of sweetness and light - it was a savage, barbaric medieval fiefdom run by religious despots and aristocratic clans, rife with semi-slavery, systematic sexual abuse of the poor, mutilation of "criminals" including such gentle Buddhist practices as the putting out of eyes and chopping off of hands, etc etc. The religion cheerfully justified all this savage repression with the following [I quote]: "The poor and afflicted brought their troubles on themselves because of their wicked ways in previous lives and had to accept their current miseries as atonement, in anticipation of a better lot in the next life." God, religious oppressors have such convenient dogmas, hay. Presumably the fat-cats were those who had lived amazingly pure and blameless previous lives and their reward was to be able to kick the peasants around. May bucket loads of vomit be poured upon your re-incarnated heads, you bunch of sh*ts.
I wondered whether Archbish Des had ever discussed these charming aspects of Tibetan cultural and religious life with the man in the big square specs.
When I had calmed down, however, I realised that even though the state of old Tibet was hardly improved by the bloodthirsty Chinese savages taking over and liquidating everyone they didn't like, it still didn't change the fact that both Clayson and Kgalema lied to the people of South Africa, thus putting themselves out with the rest of the political rubbish with which history is sadly littered.
What has this got to do with maps? Well, Tibet is in the Himalayas, right? And they are the highest mountains on Earth, right? I rest my case.
- Kaartman, 10 October 2011