Writers in Prison (10)
High Peaks Pure Earth has translated extracts from a poem by Dawa Dorje titled “Treaty on Man” (མི་ཡི་བསྟན་བཅོས་). According to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, Dawa Dorje, a writer in his 20s, has been detained since February 3, 2012.
Originally from Deru County, Nagchu Prefecture, in the Tibet Autonomous Region, a February 13, 2012, report from Radio Free Asia says that Dawa Dorje was arrested by Chinese security personnel at Lhasa Gonggar Airport after he participated in a cultural conference in Chengdu. Previous publications by Dawa Dorje include the book “Lam” (English: “Road”) which discusses democracy, freedom and human rights. As far as we know, Dawa Dorje is a graduate in Tibetan language from Tibet University and at the time of arrest was working as a researcher in the office of the county prosecutor in Nyenrong, Nagchu Prefecture.
“Treaty on Man” is a long poem made up of over 100 stanzas in total, High Peaks Pure Earth has selected 20 stanzas and published the English translations below. “Treaty on Man” originally started appearing on Tibetan language websites and blogs around August 2011 and has been subsequently re-posted on many other Tibetan language websites – High Peaks Pure Earth has seen a re-posting most recently in February 2012 and many of those pages are still online. Searingly strong and fierce, the poem eloquently targets the powerful and any kind of injustice, ranging from corrupt CCP cadres as well as ambitious Trulkus (reincarnate lamas).
In Tibetan, the poem is written in a style that is humorous and sarcastic. This style of poem conforms to the Tibetan tradition of Zur sa (ཟུར་ཟ་), satirical writings. This type of poem and songs lampoon the high and mighty, very much like a satirical cartoon in the West. The meaning of the poem would be obvious to any Tibetan readers but for outside readers requires some explanation of subjects. One example of a play on words and giving opposite meaning is in stanza 87. The propaganda teams that are sent to work units and villages are known in Tibetan as las don ru khag (ལས་དོན་རུ་ཁག་), in the poem, the writer refers to the work team as Za don ru khag (ཟ་དོན་རུ་ཁག་) Here, Za has both meaning of bribe or feasting. When the work teams descend on a village or monastery, the cadres take the opportunity to use the budget allocated to them for hosting lavish feasts or as an opportunity to earn additional allowance. Tibetans often joke that when work teams leave the village, they leave behind excrement and empty beer bottles.
The poem deals with the contemporary social situation in Tibet and targets both Chinese and Tibetan officials for corruptions and bankrupt Communist ideology. In stanza 20, the Communists’ fondness for prefixing every office with “The People’s”, is mocked. At the very sight of the word, “the people”, the masses are frightened. The poem is remarkable in its cutting critique of a wide range of topics, directed at Tibetans as well as current Chinese governmental policies. Dawa Dorje criticises certain aspects of capitalism, education and the lack of legal system. It should be stated clearly that the poem is social commentary and does not offer a political stance or advocate Tibetan independence.
Screenshot of the poem "Treaty on Man"
“Treaty on Man” By Dawa Dorje
In a time of economic prosperity The pus of corruption is everywhere The deeds of disorderly leaders Are marked by dirty and ugly actions Power and money are interchangeable
Socialist characteristics are a delusion The banner of the Party stands firmly on the earth The mighty words are a void It is like lightning arrows in the dark
Socialism is deluded by money Money is the only talk Education is all about money All lead to the path of deception
CPPCC is filled with Trulkus Speeches from United Front office is filled with voices of Trulkus Nationalities Religious office is filled with minds of Trulkus The skill of Trulkus is to occupy the political throne
As a politician Trulku is like a butcher When practicing religion He is like a saviour Mutation of religion and politics Contradiction strikes like lightning Double face is the image of Trulkus
Wherever the leaders go, hangers-on surround him, Drinking the sweat and blood of the masses Whereever the Trulkus go, hangers on escort him Devouring the flesh and blood of the faithful
The tradition of reincarnation has become a path of politics Merging of religion and politics, is the tradition of Trulku Trulkus are turning the wheel of politics Without knowledge of politics, affairs are accomplished
Without the tiniest knowledge of law Haughty leaders speak of law Without knowledge of Dharma The fat Trulkus speak of Dharma Without knowing head and tail of culture The learned speak of theories Without knowing the alphabet It is like a vagabond talking of pride All these are laughable!
A meeting to establish good moral character But it is a feast of corrupt officials Gathering of nine bad omens Corrupt and evil leaders united
Uttering “Oppose Splittism” Holding a bottle of whisky In hand “Honourable Running dogs”, a title bestowed from above A seat that needs to be safeguarded at all times
Bandits are executed Thieves are sentenced for life Vagabonds are humiliated The crooked leaders flee Abroad
All are born in the same country Ability and wisdom are equal A leader’s son will be a leader A servant’s son will remain a servant
When the people sees the People’s court The people are terrified When the people hear the People’s Procurator The People are afraid When the people think of the People’s Police The people are terrified In the name of the people Creating misery for the people
Haven’t been to the vegetable market for many years Speaking of improvement in people’s livelihood Haven’t read books for many months Making nonsensical speeches about changes in the world
Do you know the condition of the county hospital? Do you know the price of medicine? Without venturing outside the gates of the government building Speaking of great healthcare services
At the time of a festival, there is a strike-hard campaign During a day of happiness, there is darkness A year is frozen into the hearts of the people How long will the campaign last?
Autonomy is only on paper The true practice is in the mind Broadcasts announce to protect the national language Assimilation of language and race can be seen in schools
Empty inside, outwardly magnificent The doors of the school are wide open Beautiful name, barren in content Many with degrees To create a beautiful exterior There are numerous donkeys wearing leopard skin
The mouth of people’s representatives are sealed The intellectuals are blinded Free press is obstructed World wide web is blocked It is a land rich in sources for corrupt officials
In the sweet words of liberation Master and slave are changed deceptively In the sweet word of revolution There is an evil design
This post is also available in: Tibetan
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