Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Tibetian Myths...

... or why I love the Internet. In my post below, commenter Billy Pilgrim turned me on to this link: http://dissidentvoice.org/Articles9/Parenti_Tibet.htm (click here), which gave me quite the education on Tibet, some of which of I was vaguely aware of but none of which I was keenly aware of. A sample:

...In addition to being under a lifetime bond to work the lord's land---or the monastery's land---without pay, the serfs were obliged to repair the lord's houses, transport his crops, and collect his firewood. They were also expected to provide carrying animals and transportation on demand. "It was an efficient system of economic exploitation that guaranteed to the country's religious and secular elites a permanent and secure labor force to cultivate their land holdings without burdening them either with any direct day-to-day responsibility for the serf's subsistence and without the need to compete for labor in a market context." [17]

The common people labored under the twin burdens of the corv�e (forced unpaid labor on behalf of the lord) and onerous tithes. They were taxed upon getting married, taxed for the birth of each child, and for every death in the family. They were taxed for planting a new tree in their yard, for keeping domestic or barnyard animals, for owning a flower pot, or putting a bell on an animal. There were taxes for religious festivals, for singing, dancing, drumming, and bell ringing. People were taxed for being sent to prison and upon being released. Even beggars were taxed. Those who could not find work were taxed for being unemployed, and if they traveled to another village in search of work, they paid a passage tax. When people could not pay, the monasteries lent them money at 20 to 50 percent interest. Some debts were handed down from father to son to grandson. Debtors who could not meet their obligations risked being placed into slavery for as long as the monastery demanded, sometimes for the rest of their lives. [18]...

Sometimes things are not even close to how they seem. Should China be ruling Tibet? Probably not. Should Tibet be ruling Tibet the way they did rule Tibet? Definitely not. Food for thought.

2 comments:

jackyt said...

Wow! What an eye-opener. Propaganda comes from all sides. It's really interesting to look under the window dressing.

Bob said...

Indeed. I was quite surprised.