Awareness is a tricky thing. We grow up with images in our heads of the great leaders of the modern era, from Gandhi through Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Dalai Lama, and we sometimes feel that unless we're moving masses of people we're doing nothing. And nothing could be farther from the truth.
Great leaders raise awareness of the issues that engage them within a gradually increasing circle of advocates. But they all began by raising awareness within themselves first. And we can do the same thing.
In fact, it's the only thing that we can be assured of doing.
With Tibet, we begin by looking closely at the map above (thanks to tibettruth for posting it). Take a close look at where Tibet really lies, how its borders have been circumscribed, and its land mass reduced over the years.
And then you will begin to notice that the Western media continually talks about the current self-immolations that are occurring in Western China or Sichuan. Now, having seen this map, you know that they are occurring in Eastern Tibet and Kham. There are no large concentrations of Tibetan people living in Western China. There are, however, Chinese currently occupying Eastern Tibet.
Does this seem a small thing? It's not. Because to make these micro-corrections within ourselves about the cultural and political geography of the Tibetan plateau turns our awareness toward the truth just a bit more than it had otherwise been turned.
Raising awareness corrects a lie; it privileges the truth. And we know the power of the truth because the Chinese fear it so deeply.