“Tibet on Fire” by Tsering Woeser

 

Tibet on Fire: Self-Immolations Against Chinese Rule

(Author: Tsering Woeser) + (Year: 2016) + (Goodreads)

(Around the World: China)


Review:

The fact that I’m the first and, so far, only person to review this book on Goodreads says a lot about the topic of the book itself. I will return to this later, because it’s very important for the cause Tibet on Fire defends.

Tsering Woeser and her husband Wang Lixiong are very prominent authors in China and defenders of the Tibetan cause(as Woeser is 3/4 Tibetan herself). Due to that fact, I’m very happy I had the opportunity to receive this book through Netgalley, despite the lack of interest from other readers.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: I do not understand how an abomination such as the Chinese government can be so easily tolerated and accepted by our “developed” world. This is a govenment which is guilty of at least two different genocides(that I know of) – the systematic humiliation, torture and murder of the people of Tibet, as well as that of Uyghurs, and not to mention the oppression of their own people.

And now to return to my first remark: we, Europeans and Americans, consider ourselves so smart, so liberal, so compassionate and understanding, we fight racism and homophobia… Yet, we do NOT stand up against genocide. We do NOT care about genocide. We do NOT give a rat’s a** that people are dying, as long as it’s not in our countries. Hey, who cares that China is systematically erasing Tibetan culture from the face of the earth and aiming and a complete cultural assimilation through violence? Why should we read a book about it? We shouldn’t! DUH! We shouldn’t burden ourselves with such unnecessary information. (And since I’m afraid of some not-so-bright people reading this review, I want to point out that this is sarcasm)

To the point, I have no connection to Tibet, do not know a single person from there, will probably never get the opportunity to visit, because of obvious reasons, and yet, I am scared that one day the Tibetan people will disappear, their language, their culture and their beliefs will be gone, deleted from history by the Chinese. And that would not be just a loss for the Tibetan people, it would be one for all of us, because this is our world, as we are all PEOPLE FIRST.

That being said, I completely disagree with the notion of self-immolation. The author repeatedly says that it’s a way for the Tibetan people to keep their dignity and protest against the atrocities done to them. However, I do not think that I will change anything, and therefore, I’m completely against it. Dignity would be through life and work to do everything in one’s power to protect their cultural heritage. With this rate the Tibetan people will exterminate themselves and all that that would do would be to make it easy for the Chinese. And the Chinese propaganda will not be in any way affected. They will lie their way out of it, the Western world will continue closing its eyes and that would be that. Therefore, my honest personal opinion is that the Tibetan people should stop sacrificing themselves and instead fight to protect their lives and culture.

What I didn’t like about the book was the writing itself. It was too weepy and sentimental, which on its own made the point the author is trying to prove weaker. I tried to not think too hard about it, but on such a topic I think a more scientific method should be used because in some moments, despite the fact that I sympathize and support the Tibetan people’s cause, I was rolling my eyes at some of the expressions the author used.

If you want to know what is happening in some of the places on our lovely planet, I recommend reading the book and/or watching this documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqdQtwFjeMY

 

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