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The Iron Road: An Illustrated History of the Railroad
The Iron Road: An Illustrated History of the Railroad
by Christian Wolmar
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.23
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, May 21, 2015
For those of us who are fascinated by railroads this is an entertaining book. At 8 years old laying in my bed on a hot summer night on the South Side of Chicago listening to the trains the romance of steam could not have been greater. When the family met my father coming in on the New York Central at the LaSalle Street Station, the fear and thrill of the last blast of steam as the train came to a stop is embedded in my psyche. So I found the pictures in this book quite intriguing. I know that building railroads cost thousands of lives and made possible the real destruction of wild places, nonetheless I would love again to experience the clicking of the rails and the chugging of a steam engine. I must say I liked the pictures more than the text of the book. I know much of the history which the text could hardly touch upon. I wonder about diesel electric versus pure diesel. At age 13 in 1951 I traveled alone on the Great Northern steel Vista Dome to Seattle and in the early 60’s took the Burlington Zephyr back and forth from Chicago to graduate school in Berkeley. In the late 60’s and early 70’s taking the Canadian Nation and Canadian Pacific from Montréal to either Vancouver or almost Prince Rupert. Lightening at night across the plains of the Dakotas is a found memory. And the picture of the lines of Chinese high-speed trains intrigues me. As politically incorrect as it is, although I don’t want to travel any more, I would love to take the Qinghai-Tibet RR. Maybe some day! It would, of course, be better if it was to an autonomous Tibet with a residing Dalai Lama.

Charlie Fisher, emeritus prof. and author of “Meditation in the Wild” and “Dismantling Discontent.”


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3.0 out of 5 stars OK, May 19, 2015
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didn't help my problem.


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4.0 out of 5 stars good, May 19, 2015
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does the job, but has a hard time with confined spaces.


Indestructible You: Building a Self that Can't be Broken
Indestructible You: Building a Self that Can't be Broken
by Tim Ward
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.29
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Challenge, May 15, 2015
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This book will rattle your bones. Based on applying Nietzsche’s idea of Will that one of the authors Shai Tubali develops in a previous book, The Journey to Inner Power, (which I reviewed on Amazon) both authors assert that by recognizing the inner power of Will, people can dispel their suffering effectively and permanently. This is a tall order of business.

Throughout the text the authors give exercises on how to do this. For memories of trauma, they say you must: let go of self-pity, identify your defeated will, regain your sense of presence, and make it meaningful. They ask troubled people to locate the life force within them and use that as a resource to overcome what is self-defeating including the inability to accept the reality of the moment. Among other things they address vengeance, aggression, seeing one's self as a victim, depression and the allusion of just doing what feels good. They claim their methods take people beyond what Buddhist meditation presently offers.

This book will challenge you. A read may change your life

Charlie Fisher author of Meditation in the Wild and Dismantling Discontent.


The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake: 1577-1580
The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake: 1577-1580
by R. Samuel Bawlf
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.35
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4.0 out of 5 stars Oh well!, May 8, 2015
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It was a fun read and I really wanted to believe the author’s theory. After all my Marin County neighbors are too stuck up about their county’s marvels, including Drakes Bay. I thought it would be a good come-uppance for them to find out one of their precious claims turns out to be false. I read the book years ago when it came out and was convinced. I have read a lot about Drake since. It has been so long since I read the book, that I don’t remember the details. One reviewer claims that Bawlf has many historical errors and comes up with nothing new. But I like his idea of the Elizabethan CIA hiding the true facts of Drake’s voyages. And if I got the right book, about Drake abandoning some of his men in Oregon, several making it all the way to Mexico. If we only had the notes of the Spanish Inquisition we might find out what their debriefing (maybe torturing) of them reveals about indigenous life in California before contact. Where Bawlf really seems to fail is in his anthropology. Drakes description fits the native’s of the Point Reyes peninsula and not Vancouver Island.

So I have to let go of my dream and suffer the indignity of losing a bit of my Canadian chauvinism. Oh, well! I gave it four stars for its entertainment, not its accuracy.
Charlie Fisher


Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America
Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America
by Jill Leovy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.17
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Timely but flawed, April 28, 2015
With the occurrence of Ferguson and the Black Lives Matter movement this could not have been a more timely book. It will sell many copies and I supposed it deserves the success. I have been watching a lot of cop TV series on Amazon. The Closer, British Detective Series, Murdoch, and most recently NYPD Blues. The most common feature they all have is that male cops can’t express their feelings. And besides Helen Mirren’s wonderful appearance in Prime Suspect, starring women detectives have weird personalities or tolerate male cops’ rigid repression. This book reads like a TV detective series which gives it dramatic power but detracts from its intellectual claims. In fact reading the heroic lives of its heroes gets quite boring. I began to fear the beginning of new chapters which gave way more detail than I needed of the past of some new character.

The basic thesis of the book is that under-policing is a driving force of the criminal statistics of ghettos. Black lives don’t matter, so black on black crime goes unsolved or is solved with indifference to actual guilt or innocence. “They kill each other. It is their way of life. And anyway no one will testify because they are afraid.” The author claims that traditional justice was a matter of family, clan, mafia etc. This leaks into the era of state monopoly of law and violence. And when the state doesn’t act to protect people, clan/individual justice will prevail. I don’t know whether her historical assertion is correct. It seems much too simple. Whether or not cops enforced the law universally, the occurrence of crack created crime per se as does the war on drug. Supply and demand makes for illegality, whether it is guns or human trafficking. If every black kid could work at McDonalds many would still choose selling dope. You make more money and do work less. The rich kids selling in the dorms at Harvard probably have as much chance of getting caught as the ghetto seller if cops don’t really care about black on black crime.

The real dilemma of the book’s thesis is that the solution goes counter to what the many of the Black Lives Matter people are asking: cops out of the neighborhood and no harsh enforcement. It is interesting how little role blacks play in NYPD Blues. It isn’t until the third season that the heroes beat up a black guy to get information out of him and they are alerted not to do it in public (no Iphones then). The program portrays the beating as OK because it reveals the name of a cop shooter. Of course they beat whites too. It is equal opportunity abuse.

The police of Baltimore (30 or more percent black) are accused a killing a kid who stared at them and then ran. He was found to have knife. Of course, no one denies the police are out of control, some racist and all short of resources. But staring can be a crime in ghettos. “Are you looking at me white boy?” Some guy in the projects went to get his gun to kill me because I smiled at him. And running, is it from fear of being hurt or guilt? I say “yes” to every cop who stops or questions me. “What can I do for your officer?” It doesn’t pay not to be deferential because the balance of force is so unequal. I was surrounded by police cars in a suburban neighborhood. I had no idea what the policeman wanted. I answered his completely puzzling questions. They wanted to ascertain whether I was a car thief without letting me know what it was all about. I can imagine what would have happened had I bad mouthed them. It turned out my rear license plate had been stolen in Oakland.

Or the child policeman who stopped me in Ashland on a pretext because I was driving an old beat up van, like the Oklahoma bombers and I look like the Unabomber. He wanted to know if I had guns in the car. Then he asked about knifes and I answered him sarcastically: My hunting knife, my Swiss army knife my kitchen knife. At least I was intelligent enough not to say, my butter knife. He was too scared to search my van but gave me an undeserved ticket to cover his ass. I contested it but to no avail. I can understand the outrage of blacks constantly stopped and given tickets to raise revenue for strapped municipalities. But wise-assing cops is designed to increase their response. Does the police claim that everyone who is held down shouts “I can’t breathe,” have any basis? If the police became more meticulous as the author wants, so as to make black lives matter, would the communities respond positively or would they claim its was just more racism and they don’t want the police in their faces period. I know a cop of many years who up and resigned one day after riding through Harlem on duty and realizing how insane the whole setup was.

In the wake of the Civil Rights Movement, the ghetto’s were left behind the black bourgeoisie that the Movement enabled to rise. And yet many impoverished Cuban’s, Hispanics, Koreans get their s*** together. Part of that rise came from government programs and part from exercising good old Protestant self-restraint. In Baltimore many blacks came out to clean up the damage from the rioting. Were they middle class? Were they angry? They wanted peace and didn’t want their other blacks to destroy the neighborhoods in which they lived. There are 15 million black men “missing” as the Tuesday Times demonstrated several weeks ago. Is Daniel Moynihan right is his justifiably discredited book from so many years ago. How do you break socially dysfunctional inheritance? Take the kids away and raise them in something like a kibbutz! The Chinese communists broke the debilitating culture of the past. India has much worse cultural/economic ghettos than the US. But there many people live more or less together and exercise discrimination out in the open. The West has not nearly enough communal will to tackle ghettoside. We can fight unnecessary wars with citizen mercenaries but we can’t pay for schools. The Tea Party is only a right wing of this. Good liberals do not sacrifice much of their overabundant prosperity to help out.

Thanks for writing the book even if I took to skimming over its sentimentalized parts.

Charlie Fisher


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4.0 out of 5 stars works, March 11, 2015
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The Journey to Inner Power: Self-Liberation through Power Psychology
The Journey to Inner Power: Self-Liberation through Power Psychology
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Challenge, February 14, 2015
In a era of post post modernism it is interesting to find someone going back to the greats of the nineteenth and early twentieth century for inspiration to reset psychotherapeutic assumptions. Tubal has done it. This is not a book for the faint of heart. The author makes his reader think. The idea of a psychology of maximum responsibility is welcome in a environment where we run to excuse our behavior because of past trauma. This is not to throw out gentleness and understanding but to turn people from what others might call victim consciousness toward teasing apart where what, borrowing from Nietzsche, he labels “will to power.” It both drives and disables us. The author’s perspective also help us understand aggression rather than always interpreting it as the result of earlier victimhood. I just heard a news story of the tragic police shooting death of a young woman. Her community was outraged claiming race, ethnic, age, and gender prejudice on the part of the police. They oddly left out the fact that she was driving a stolen car and the police hardly had time to ascertain her ethnicity or gender choices. The author’s perspective on human behavior would give a much clearer understanding of the reactions of all parties here. Scared maybe prejudiced and violent police, kids with confused identities and little social control stealing in violent neighborhoods, communities with real grievances but also wanting to place responsibility for dysfunction elsewhere. It is a psychological Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, which the perspectives of this book can help unravel.

Charlie Fisher, emeritus professor and author of Meditation in the Wild and Dismantling Discontent.


Surviving the Dragon: A Tibetan Lama's Account of 40 Years under Chinese Rule
Surviving the Dragon: A Tibetan Lama's Account of 40 Years under Chinese Rule
by Lobsang Tubten Jigme Gyatso
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.40
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Innocence, naiveté or insouciance?, February 5, 2015
I have wanted to see behind the political propaganda of the Tibetan diaspora to understand what the conditions in Tibet were like after the Chinese takeover in 1959. If we can understand that we can get a better sense of the consequences for the Tibetan people in Tibet of the choice made by those Lamas who stayed versus those who left. Arjia was chosen as an incarnated Lama before the Communists came and was still a child when the 1959 uprising was suppressed. He came from a family of pastoral nomads. Such groups suffered particularly under both Russian and Chinese communization. He remembers monks he regarded as corrupt and fighting monastic gangs in traditional Tibet whose members were called Dopdos. He seems completely naïve about the social structure of traditional Tibet. The privileged childhood he led as a Lama was torn from him during the anti-religious and pro-peasant campaigns that swept China and Tibet in the 1960s and then the catastrophe of the Cultural Revolution. These were indeed terrible times. He was forced to do physical labor and he witnessed the imprisonment of family and monks close to him and heard of the execution of others. His father died in prison. His family was hounded and spied upon by Tibetan Party agents.

So two questions arise. Was it any worse for Tibetans than other Chinese? And, aside from jailing, torture and murder that went on around him, was his physical lot much worse than it had been for many peasants or serfs enslaved by monasteries in traditional Tibet? The answer to the first seems to be no. Tibet went through the same convulsions that did the rest of China. There may have been only degrees of difference for minorities. The author mentions “positivist” monks who identified with the changes and became enforcers of the new order. I have found no historical examination of this phenomenon in Tibet. Also though the Chinese occupied Tibet there were not nearly enough of them there to carry out the Cultural Revolution. Tibetans must have participated significantly. So while we can weep for Tibet the tears ought not be bigger than those we weep for China.

I don’t know how to give an answer to the second question, because I have not found enough information about what life was like for serfs in traditional Tibet. (Here Melvin Goldstein may the have the answer but I don’t remember what he wrote about it.) Certainly the author was torn from a life of privilege and forced to do physical labor. I have periodically abandoned my middle class privilege and done extreme physical labor but nobody forced me and I went back to middle class privilege. Life only truly seemed to have been threatened for Arjia during times of scarcity like the famine after the failure of the Great Leap Forward. As terrible as were the consequences of Mao’s ignorant economic whim, both China and Tibet had gone through periods of deprivation before but maybe not on the same scale (say millions versus tens of millions). So these things aside, was the labor to which the lama was subjected that much worse than life below had been during traditional Tibetan serfdom?

With the end of the cultural revolution and the turn toward capitalism life got much better in China and Tibet. Arjia gradually retook his place as a privileged Lama running a monastery slowly being reconstructed.

All along he has an interesting connection with the Panchen Lama. The latter stayed and the Dalai Lama fled. The young Dalai Lama’s coterie felt that it would be terrible if the Dalai Lama fell into Chinese hands. But the Panchen Lama did and continued throughout his dealing with the Chinese to maintain Lamistic Buddhism in Tibet. During the hardest times he suffered years of imprisonment, but emerged and renewed his efforts. I have seen no books dealing with his life and how much effect he had keeping Lamistic Buddhism alive in Tibet. Was he a Quisling? One might say that from the point of view of the diaspora that the “positivist” monk were Quislings. I recall references to him as a traitor. But then Panchens and Dalais seemed to have had periodic historical enmity. I wonder how much the exodus by the hierarchy in ’59 was motivated by maintaining their privileges. According to the Huffington Post, no authority on the matter, “In this exodus, almost the entire Tibetan Buddhist church, the Tibetan equivalent of the pope, cardinals, bishops and the clergy relocated in India. The dim view the Tibetans [sic: the diaspora] had then of the Panchen Lama was based on the fact that he was the lama who 'stayed back in Tibet', implying that he had sided with the Chinese Communist Party.” Byline 01/29/2014. Long after his death when there was no longer a competition for the loyalty of Tibetans the diaspora may have revised the image they had painted of him.

Arjia had a deeply respectful relationship with the Panchen Lama. Together they trod a careful line in the politics of post-Mao China to reconstruct, at least, the emblems of Lamistic Buddhism. And it is here that I have more questions. Sometimes our lama seems to deeply understand the ins and outs of politics in China and sometimes he seems horribly naïve. Although in his elevated position he travels the world, he seems to have little understanding of the places he goes. His perception of Buddhism in Burma when he visited was very naïve. Besides the fact that Theravada is often put down by Lamas, he says he would like to lead the quiet life of Burmese Buddhists. He seems ignorant that at the time he was there the dictatorship in Burma had the sangha and Burmese people under almost complete control and was engaged in ethnic cleansing of Christians and rebellious ethic groups. And when he finally flees Tibet, he does not seem to understand what the conditions are in Guatemala where he goes.

As for the reasons of his flight, they are odd, leading me to think there is much more to it involving the diaspora than he reveals. The Panchen Lama dies sometime in the middle or late ’80s but no replacement was made until after the hubbub around Tiananmen settled down. The Dalai Lama jumps the gun and makes an appointment before the Chinese, who quickly follow forcing Arjia to take part in faux installation ceremonies which the Chinese claimed derived from the Qing dynasty. He does so but feels that by taking part in what he regards as an inauthentic ceremony he has committed a terrible misdeed. I think his objection was to the ceremony, not the selection process. There were arguments in Tibet about where the committee should search, whether around the Panchen Lama’s monastery or elsewhere. (None of that makes sense to me because if there is a reincarnation somewhere about, then the committee would just have to keep looking till they found him. The starting place would seem irrelevant. Where did the Dalai Lama find his candidate anyway?) The sacredness of the ceremony seemed to be what was really important to him. He had had the feeling for a while that he was committing Quisling like behavior to keep the privileges of his position. This comes to a head when felt the Chinese forced him to endorse their reincarnated Panchen Lama, disown the Dalai Lama and his being appointed the Panchen’s new tutor. He decided to flee taking only his most trusted supporters. He knows that those he leaves behind will suffer because of his abandonment. A benefactor makes possible an escape to Guatemala, a place he had visited in his official role. He stays there for a while and then goes to NYC to see the Dalai Lama who tells him to lay low. There is retaliation against those he left behind and commercial restrictions on some of his American benefactors but he says little about these. He is finally offered a job at a Tibetan Institute in Indiana.

Here is what I wonder. While his physical escape seems reasonable, his survival in the New World seems unlikely unless he had subsidy from the outside. Yes, people gave him and his three companions places to stay but living expenses and air fares take more than that. Yes, there are a lot of wealthy American devotees of Lamistic Buddhism and they could have footed the bill. One wonders whether he or they knew the meaning of what they did in terms of world politics. His description of meeting the Dalai Lama lacks credulity. While writing this its seems as if it was a coup for the diaspora to have such a high Lama escape Tibet. On the other hand they would not want to be associated with it because it would give the Chinese more ammunition in their attacks on the Dalai Lama and also leave Tibetans in Tibet feeling more abandoned as they indeed were. So was there a hidden hand behind his escape? Would the diaspora reveal that? The CIA?

Also what of the Buddhism he sought to preserve in Tibet? There is an odd sentence in the epilogue that gave rise to this question. “Buddhism is based on a belief in reincarnation.” That is that the continuity of incarnate lamas is on what Buddhism depends. Well that certainly is not the case in Theravada. And what about meditation? I don’t think the word occurs in the book. He never talks about a meditation practice. When the Dalai Lama asks him about his practice he responds that he had read over the years, Tsong Khapa’s “Treatise on Step toward becoming a Bodhisattva.” And sometimes recited mantras. Rituals, relics, temple building, performing ceremonies, guru worship that is the Buddhism he seems to have been trying to preserve in Tibet. His leaving Tibet was based on the corruption he believed the Chinese committed in their selection of a Panchen Lama. But other high Lamas in Tibet went along with it and historically the selection of reincarnated lamas has been fraught with controversy. So who is right here? Could he not have become Tutor with the spirit of the previous Panchen Lama: do what is possible, resist when it was too much and accept the consequences. Do the Tibetan people in Tibet deserve any less, especially from someone who practices becoming a Bodhisattva? But then who am I to make judgments about courage. In my senescence I am not on the front lines and when I was, I often made the choice not to get arrested. So the author again leads a life of privilege that he once achieved in Tibet. I do too in my quiet exurban abode.

This book gives a sense of the deprivation that the Chinese imposed on the Tibetans. And for that I am grateful. That it was worse than what Chinese, Uighers and other experienced I don’t know. And how to Tibetan now feel about their lives. Some? Many? revere the Dalai Lama but how many value the life they now lead although they may not want to do so as second class citizens in China. Certainly Native Americans resent their second class status but not many choose to live in teepees hunting with bows and arrows. And Scots and French Canadians remain British and Canadian. I still have many questions about recent Tibetan history and I certainly have little sympathy with the belief in rebirth, relics, empowerments, temples, and ceremony to think they are worth any additional suffering that Tibetans might have experienced. I wonder how ethnic Tibetans in Tibet now feel. Political scientists say that the sweeping away of the “olds” by Mao made it possible for China to achieve the material prosperity it now has. In contrast India without that cleansing will give some prosperity but will be hobbled by the hundreds of millions left behind and those people continue to suffer greatly. Who knows?

Why to I put so much effort into dissecting Lamistic Buddhism. It seems I have an axe to grind. I do pay particular attention to both the inconsistencies of Zionism and those of Buddhism! Zionism because it is the harm “ my people” are doing to the world in the name of the religion into which I was born and by extension my name. Buddhism, because in the US I have watched what I regard as “meditation practice” evolve into religious claims that I do not find supported by the results of that practice and meditation centers grow to be temples. The creep into blind belief founded on faith based on unsubstantiated historical claims I find disturbing. Lamistic Buddhism is currently the most visible of American Buddhisms and I feel the most vocal in its assertions. According to our author, “In my view the best way to stop war and sickness---is to follow Buddhist teachings, especially the Kalachakra tradition.” Physical sickness? He is probably a wonderful man, but I have reservations about how he manifests his beliefs. He was very proud to construct a 55 ft high 85 ft. diameter palace of the Kalachakra deity at his monastery. And his predecessors, the fifth and sixth Arjia Rinpoches in the nineteenth century, both loyally fought for the Qing against indigenous Muslim uprisings in eastern Tibet. By doing so they clearly acknowledged Qing rule.

As a political being I am as disturbed by the diaspora’s propaganda despite the Dalai Lama’s assertion that he and it bring truth to politics, as I am offended by an experienced and prominent meditation teacher who claimed that the spread of meditation in the Western world is as earth shaking as the reformation. God help us. So this review. Both Buddha and Darwin made clear that by its very nature life has terrible challenges. I think this is much more important for human beings than claims that meditation is a panacea. I have a problem with the fact that part of Buddhism, like modern medicine, promises an exemption from life. Also Saints are saints because of their deeds. They don’t need a church or attestations of enlightenment to give them a title. How about a collective biography of incarnate lamas who resign or are corrupt? Every religion has its egotists, zealots and pederasts. I could no more worship a fanciful guru than I could Thomas Jefferson, whose vision of democracy, was blind to slavery, led to Jacksonian corruption and seeded some of the worst nativism in American history. Mother Theresa, Gandhi and ML Kings had their flaws. The Dalai Lama stopped voicing some traditional beliefs when he learned they were politically incorrect, Trungpa, well? And there have been enough Zen and Theravadan scandals. We are all human all although some manage to live lives less harmingly than others.

Charlie Fisher


Voices from Tibet
Voices from Tibet
by Tsering Woeser
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.00
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A conundrum, July 21, 2014
This review is from: Voices from Tibet (Paperback)
This book touches on many sensitive issues. Tibet in its own right is a tragedy. In the context of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine and else where its problems seem not much greater than what the Chinese people have suffered since the Revolution. It is really hard to get a picture of post 1950 Tibet. I read this book in expectation of getting multiple perspectives on those events. And it does indeed give glimpses in essays by the authors. But there is little to put those essays into a larger perspective. The thing that is clear is that Chinese bias puts Tibetans in a great disadvantage with respect to the changes going on there. They neither have much influence in the direction of development nor opportunity to participate in it. But lots of things are not clear. There are several anecdotal essays indicating Tibetans are slothful, even drunken when it comes to choosing whether to engage in economic development. They seem to prefer the casual profits of collecting Cordyceps (caterpillar mushroom used medicinally) and then dissipating rather than actively competing with Chinese entrepreneurs. But this is an episode rather than a bigger picture.

The authors say that Tibet is being overwhelmed by Chinese but the latter still make up only one sixth of the population. And the whole issue of immigration in the world is confusing. People argue for open borders but few really parse the consequences of them. Send home the Mexicans in the US, the Chinese in Indonesia, the Indians in the Pacific Islands, the Africans in Israel, etc. etc.

What is needed is a good overall structural description of what has happened to Tibet since the Chinese completely took over. We know about the destruction of religious institutions which may have exceeded similar events in China. What we don’t know about is Tibetan cooperation with the Chinese. One of the authors seems to be the progeny of the Tibetan general in the Chinese army. We know little about Tibetan participation in the Cultural Revolution. After all the Chinese population of Tibet was quite small during that era. We know little about rifts in the Tibetan populations in terms of current development and attitudes toward the Dalai Lama. During Collectivization in the Soviet Union the pastoralists of the “Stans” may have suffered much more than the Kulaks. But then Tibetan pastoralists who were forcibly settled seem to have had little connection to Lamistic Buddhism, Lhasa, or the diaspora. And do Tibetans who have taken “the capitalist road” still revere the Dalai Lama as a living Buddha?

Then there is the mystery of religious protests. The Dalai Lama has condemned violence but has not resigned, so to speak, as he threatened to when Tibetans riot and kill Chinese. Also while the essayists sympathize with recent immolations not much is revealed about the phenomena. Some in the Tibetan government have condemned it, but not the Dalai Lama. There has to be more to the immolation of a mother of three among many others who have burned themselves. That seems to take a lot more explaining than simply a protest against Chinese repression of religion.

Further the move to democracy in the exile community does not seem to be taking root. As much as the Dalai Lama has resigned from leadership of the Tibetan government, his elected replacement neither seems to be assuming authority nor do Tibetans see him as their leader.

These short essays give glimpses of Chinese oppression and Tibetan behavior, and publishing them are clearly acts of courage, but much more needs to be known about what is going on to come to an informed judgment.

Charlie Fisher


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