Tibet is the inspiration behind the idea of Shangrila, paradise on earth. Scholars can debate the veracity of that. But today Tibet, in the words of the Dalai Lama, its spiritual leader, is “hell on earth” and “these 50 years have brought untold suffering and destruction to the land and people of Tibet. Today, the religion, culture, language and identity, which successive generations of Tibetans have considered more precious than their lives, are nearing extinction.” The Nobel Peace Prize winner spoke on March 10, 2009 in Dharamsala, India, the Himalayan hill town that is the seat of the Tibetan government in exile. Tibetans outside of China and their supporters held rallies around the world to mark the 50th anniversary of the failed revolt against Chinese rule. The Chinese military crushed the rebellion, forcing the Dalai Lama to flee to India. Interview by David Barsamian.
Tenzin Tsundue is a poet, writer, author and a noted activist for Tibetan freedom. He is widely regarded as a leading voice of the Tibetan exile community. His book Kora is in its fifth edition and has been translated into several languages. His poems and essays appear in the Indian media as well as various publications around the world.