I was waiting and hoping and hoping that what I saw and heard would not be true that it was an exageration by the media. I believed firmly that this could not happen - not now anymore. As some of you know I was in that holiest of holy lands in the year 2000. Its one of the places on earth where you go and come back as a changed person if you look beyond the golden roofs, into the spirituality into the people into the high treeless land. Yet what changed me most was a multiple days talk with a young tibetan monk about buddhism, about tibet, about politics about Tibets past and its future - and for me in the end one thing was clear - there is no Tibet without China anymore, the occupation has been made permanent and the Tibetans slowly started to realise this and tried to adjust their lives accordingly tried to save their culture nonetheless. But it was also clear that there are still warriors among the Tibetans - those who would want to fight - those who wait for a chance to blow up the next bridge - but these people have been by far far the minority. Back then even the Dalai Lama admitted that the goal for Tibetans should be cultural sovereignty - politically they stand no chance at the sleeping giant dragon.
Now I don´t know exactly what happened but I do actually believe the Chinese media account because that is exactly what I saw when I was there 8 years ago.
Peaceful march in India joined by prayer ceremonies in Lhasa - organised by the Dalai Lama. Extreme World Wide Media attention - those who still want to fight stir up trouble, poor Tibetans living in Lhasa take opertunity to go against some Han-Chinese controlled shops - sleeping dragon awakes, sees no difference between the friendly protestors, monks and the raving mob - especially since the main monestaries involved are right inside Lhasas Tibetan district - kills them all (and I truly believe the 300 dead number floated around is understimating the real toll of what happened). More restrictions in Lhasa (which have always been there but where not enforced heavily btw) complete news blackout, closing of monestaries (making them pure tourist attractions in return) and the only dream left for the Tibetans - to save their culture, religion and spirituality - might be lost forever.
Who to blame? Western media arrogance in thinking they are helping by giving the protests such a huge feedback without talking about the dangers of a Tibetan uprising that stands no chance and therefore giving the violent groups of both sides a good reason to exploit the peacefull presentation of their original goals. And yes I do not only blame mainstream media but also some mainstream blogs like boingboing who should have known better then just spread a meme.