« the power of place | Main | tabla, new family, and lost pieces of the puzzle »

A Really Good Map - A Call to Action

Blogging connects all of us through the internet in amazing ways. We can share in our loved ones' journeys across the globe, comment with sentiments of support, encouragement, and information. We are quite lucky to have this tool to deepen our personal connections while we are far away from each other, or while we are right next door.

With this in mind, I thank you all - parents, students, friends, loved ones - for contributing to our online Global LAB community. And with this post, I ask for even more response and interaction than before. My gratitude in advance for reading on.

Lhasang Tsering.
Tibetan Freedom Activist.
He spoke to our group the other day. His talk left all of us reeling with hope and determination to contribute in whatever way we can to the cause of Tibet. The students and I were totally charged.

One piece of his talk, which rang true to me last semester when we heard him speak as well, stayed with me again this time:

Lhasang-la suggested that we use our power and privilege in a functional way when we get back to the states. "When you get back home, there will be so much to tell and share about with your family and friends. Please talk about Tibet," he says to us. He asked us to "ask our politicians to take a good look at a good map," one that shows the actual boundaries of Tibet during the last centuries and point out how Tibet was independent of China. Not only this, but look at a good map currently that shows how the 4 occupied territories have been assimilated into China.

Last semester, I asked him about where I could find a map of this sort to show folks back home. We looked and looked for one but couldn't find a "good map" of these things. I am continually inspired to find one, or make one that shows these truths.

Map making is totally subjective. Maps are arbitrary visual communications of political borders that are constantly changing. There are maps made these days that are "fair to all people of the world." (I know this, but my good ol' gradschool SIT has them for sale in the bookstore.) But are they really? Are maps able to communicate genocide and millions of people living in exile from their homes? are they able to communicate families being split apart with no hope of seeing each other again in their lifetimes?

My question for all of you...
Does anyone have connections with a mapmaker, or know how one would go about making a map? This is where the networking and the wonders of the internet come in. I would really like to make this happen. More amazingly, I would like to publish such a map and make sure it gets into the hands of political powerfuls in the U.S. Government and plenty of activists in all communities that are working toward the cause of a Free Tibet.

What do you all think?


Caitlin- It's Hannah Sadwith, you all aren't still in Dharamsala are you? I've been here for almost a month now, and I saw some kids looking around my age at the library and thought that it might be this group. My grandmother sent me your newspaper clipping in the Times completely unaware that I knew you, saying "this reminded me of Hannah." Anyway, if you are still around send me an email (hsadwith@yahoo.com) or go to the library reading room between 12-1 anyday and we should get a cup of chai.

Hi Tracy-

There are some good maps that show Tibet in the way it should be... you can access some via searches with Key words like "Office of Tibet" and " Tibet Map" I just went through this yesterday when a slide show that was set up for a play about Tibet that I was previewing included a map with the Chinese boundaries of the T.A.R... I said "no way" and we searched through several options until we found one with more accurate borders! :)

Thank you for your passion. I hope you are able to find both a special mapmaker and sympathetic eyes and ears. Sometimes, though, it takes the experience of being there and bearing witness to heighten awareness in others. That is where Global-LAB provides such a valuable service, directly to the participants and, indirectly to family & friends who follow your adventures.