Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Chokta Lobsang: in memoriam

                                  Chokta Lobsang, a kind and warmhearted young Tibetan monk who was a writer and advocate for freedom of expression has been brutally murdered. He told me that when he was 16 going on 17, he left Tibet in winter and with a group of 56 people crossed the Himalayas through the deep snow into India. He knew his life wasn't safe in Tibet. Two of his nephews had immolated themselves, to keep out of the hands of the Chinese secret service: The ultimate form of resistance, out of free will and choice. People working for the latter dis-service raped and killed his young niece. During two PEN-Conferences I met this amazing young man and we had several warm, personal and serious conversations. He told me then that a couple of times a years - not having seen his mother for 17 years - he would call his mother. Yet then they could not speak freely, seen the aforementioned 'service' was always listening in. With a kind of code, they managed to at least a bit of personal  exchange. Probably the biggest joy for this young man was hearing his mothers voice.
He was an unwavering Vice-president of PEN Tibetan Writers Abroad always defended colleagues in trouble, literature and freedom of expression. Many of us having met Lobsang at PEN meetings over the last number of years, including the PEN International Congresses in Reykjavik (2013), the WiPC Conference in Krakow (2013) have been touched by this thoughtful and kind person. In India he was a teacher to the young monks. His murder was gruesome. And we might never know the full story of who did pull the strings. Heavy hearted, saddened yet also grateful to have been touched by this extraordinary person I want to remember our last meeting when he offered David, the then president of PEN-Flanders and myself a white scarf which we both hold dear and cherish.
Thinking of you in gratitude for having known you.

1 comment:

  1. So sad and so violent. The antithesis of a life lived in peace and love. Very sorry, Annmarie.