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Raise the warrior’s sword, my fellow Tibetans

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2012
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By Theurang or Tashi Rabten*
Translated from Tibetan by Bhuchung D. Sonam

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

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.

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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