Whenever I have the pleasure of participating in group discussions about my novels, I am nearly always asked a question that can be distilled to Why Tibet? or Why set your books in such a distant, unknown land? Some assume it is simply because I sought an exotic locale to add color to my mysteries. The answer is far more complex. Conveying the realities of modern Tibet and the drama of Tibetan resistance in all its many aspects is as important to me as creating a spellbinding mystery. Of all the labels that are applied to me, I wear none more proudly than that of being part of the Tibetan resistance. My sentiments run deep:
-I write about Tibet not because I am a Buddhist but because I am not a Buddhist, because the ultimate treasures of Tibet are ones that transcend religion or philosophy, lessons that the rest of the world needs desperately to learn. Converting to the cause of Tibet does not mean a conversion to Buddhism, it means a conversion to compassion, self-awareness, human rights and political equality.
-I write about Tibet to give those who do not have the opportunity to travel there to understand what it feels like to witness an armed policeman assault a praying monk.
-I write about Tibet because after traveling a million miles around the planet I know of no more perfect lens for examining ourselves and the world we have created.
-I write about Tibet because in a war between an army of monks bearing prayer beads and an army of soldiers bearing machine guns I will side with the monks every time.
-I write about Tibet because of the despair and shame I feel over what prior generations did to the American Indians and many other original peoples. I know that though the same thing is happening in Tibet, this is our generation, it is happening on our watch, and I don’t want my descendants shamed by what you and I allowed to happen there.
-I write about Tibet because there is no purer symbol on earth of the struggle of soulless bureaucracy and sterile global economic forces versus tradition, spirituality, and ethnic identity.
-I write about Tibet because the world below is starved for heroes and saints and there are so many unsung ones living on the roof of the world.
-I write about Tibet because I can hear more in one hour beside a silent monk than in a hundred hours listening to Western media.
-I write about Tibet because in it lies the seeds of the antidote for the troubled world we have created.
-I write about Tibet because Tibet is a monk sitting in front of a steamroller, and if enough people around the world sit with him we can stop the steamroller.
The ultimate credo of the ideologue who commanded the invasion of Tibet was that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. In this as in so many other aspects Tibet has shown us a new truth — for Tibetan resistance has proven the opposite.
For more information on Tibetan culture or how you might get more involved in the Tibetan cause, click on the following: