Political murders


A secret Russian agent is in London poisoned

in the old way of the KGB by radioactive means,

which only superpowers have the means of;

but that Russia, which alone was motivated to the murder

does of course deny it, as did Putin when the journalist of civil courage

Anna Politkovskaya was murdered

shot down in the elevator of her home

with no less than five mortal bullets

in the ordinary mafia style,

which murder also only Russia could have any motive for.

Things don't look any better

as the murdered London agent Litvinenko

was investigating the aforesaid murder

of the lovely Anna Politkovskaya;

but Putin and the politicians reason with some realistic cynicism:

"Who cares? Who has the energy and time to bother

when the world goes down the road to ruin anyway

by aids, catastrophes, malaria, TBC,

the global warming and ever increasing floods?

We can afford to overlook some small politic murder,

one or two, a dozen or another

since they must be soon forgotten anyway

and disappear in the most boring usual flow

of normal global catastrophical statistics." 

Himalayan Global Warming Report

Global warming: Tibet's lofty glaciers melt away
Research by scientists shows that the ice fields on the roof of the world are disappearing faster than anyone thought.

from an article in "The Independent" by Clifford Coonan.

Dharamsala November 20th

The Qinghai-Tibet plateau is home to tens of thousands of glaciers, fields of ice at the roof of the world where Mount Everest and other Himalayan peaks look down on China and Nepal.

But the glaciers are melting faster than anyone thought, fresh research by Chinese scientists shows, as global warming speeds up the shrinkage of more than 80 per cent of the 46,377 glaciers on the lofty plateau.

Rising temperatures on the ice fields of Qinghai-Tibet and surrounding areas in the past 50 years are having a devastating effect on the environment, as receding glaciers translate into water shortages in China and huge swathes of south Asia.

China will soon have to add more deserts, droughts and sandstorms to its already lengthy list of pollution woes, while India and Nepal will have to deal with staggering environmental consequences, as the melting lakes of ice threaten essential natural resources for the large population centres at the foot of the mountain ranges.

About 47 per cent of China's glaciers are on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in the Himalayas, where the Yangtze, Yellow, Brahmaputra, Mekong and Salween rivers all originate.

The rate of melting, estimated at some 7 per cent a year, has meant more water run-off from the plateau, which worsens soil erosion and leads to desertification.

It is an environmental nightmare for rivers such as the Yangtze, 20 per cent of which is fed by glaciers, while the Taklamakan Desert in north-west China could be flooded before later drying out, researchers say.

Research just released by China's leading scientific body, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, shows global warming is dealing a hammer blow to ice fields at some of the world's truly awesome mountain regions.

This week the United Nations warned that Tibet's glaciers could disappear within 100 years due to global warming.

"Almost all glaciers in China have already shown substantial melting," the UN Development Programme said in its 2006 Human Development Report. "This is a major threat to China's over-used and polluted water supplies. The 300 million farmers in China's arid western region are likely to see a decline in the volume of water flowing from the glaciers."

The melting glaciers have not led to more water flowing into China's dry north and west because much of the melted glacier water is evaporated before it reaches the country's drought-stricken farmers, again as a result of global warming.

In the past 40 years, glaciers across the Tibetan plateau that spills from China into South Asia have shrunk by 6,600 square kilometres, especially since the 1980s, the conservation group WWF said in a 2005 report. The glaciers now cover about 105,000 square kilometres, it said.

It is not just the glaciers of Tibet that are melting - 95 per cent of Alaska's glaciers are thinning, too. Global temperatures rose about 0.6C during the 20th century, and the consensus among scientists is that warming will continue as long as greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, accumulate in the atmosphere.

China is the world's fastest-growing major economy, but it has only a quarter of the world's average water per person, and rampant economic growth has sharpened competition for water resources.

The Qinghai-Tibet plateau covers 2.5 million square kilometres - about a quarter of China's land surface - at an average altitude of four kilometres above sea level. The world's highest ice fields are a natural biological museum for the array of geological phenomena they contain.

The temperature has risen by 0.2C every 10 years, according to the Cold and Dry Zone Environment and Engineering Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The institute's scientists selected 5,000 glaciers in the region for study, using remote sensors and other methods for gathering geographical information, to monitor changes over the past 50 years, Liu Shiyin, one of the scientists taking part in the programme, told the Xinhua news agency.

The results were harrowing. Liu said only a small number of glaciers were expanding and about 82 per cent of the monitored glaciers had receded by 4.5 per cent in the past 50 years.

The rate of shrinkage in glaciers in the central and northwestern parts of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau was slightly slower, but it was noticeably faster in neighbouring areas.

Of 170 glaciers on the northwestern slope of the Qilian Mountains, a range of peaks in the northern province of Gansu formerly known as the Richthofen Range, 95 per cent had thinned by 4.9 metres each year on average. Only 10 glaciers had expanded during the period.

In the Tianshan Mountains in Xinjiang province, almost all the glaciers on the northern slopes, and 69 per cent of glaciers on the southern slopes, were dwindling.

In the Pamir Mountains of Central Asia, site of the 72km long Fedchenko Glacier, the world's longest ice field outside the polar region, the glacier acreage shrank by 10 per cent.

Glaciers on the northern slopes of the Kunlun Mountains, which stretch for 3,000km to form the border of Northern Tibet, are shrinking, as are the ice fields of the Himalayas, which are home to the world's tallest mountain, Mount Everest.

Global warming is causing China's highland glaciers, including those covering Everest, to shrink by an amount equivalent to all the water in the Yellow River every year.

Monitoring results show the flow of water in some rivers in north-west China's dry regions has been increasing, which was possibly a result of melting glaciers, Liu said.

Liu warned that if glaciers continued to melt at such a high rate, it "would impose serious impact on local production and the life of local people".

In Nepal, where temperatures rise an average of 0.06C per year, snow-fed rivers are declining, and water levels are getting lower on the wetlands of the Qinghai Plateau.

Melting icefields are expected to trigger more droughts in an already parched China, expand desertification and increase the frequency of sandstorms.

Han Yongxiang, a meteorologist, said average temperatures in Tibet have risen by nearly one degree centigrade since the 1980s, accelerating the melting of the glacier and frozen tundra of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau.

The desert is creeping right up to the edge of Beijing, despite the planting of millions of trees to stop the sand's onset.

Drought is a fact of life and sandstorms are getting worse every year in north China. A strong sandstorm swept across huge swathes of the country last month. One particularly virulent storm dumped 330,000 tonnes of dust on Beijing and had an impact as far away as South Korea and Japan.

It has been known for some time that the glaciers are melting. Last year, scientists said three quarters of the glacier in the south-east of Tibet, and the marine glacier along the Hengduan mountains, a series of parallel mountain ranges running through the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet, would fade away by 2100 if the temperature rises by 2.1C.

Earlier this year the Chinese ran a railway line across the plateau for the first time. China has ruled the remote mountainous region of Tibet since 1950.

Water shortages due to overuse affect 538 million people in northern China, where 42 per cent of the country's population is supplied by 14 per cent of the country's water, according to the UN report this week.

The report said that more than 70 per cent of the water in the Yellow, Huai and Hai rivers, which between them supply about half of China's population, is too polluted for human use. Half of China's rural poor live in the basin areas of these rivers.

China's deputy environment minister, Zhu Guangyao, said in June that dealing with pollution may cost the country as much as 10 per cent of its GDP, which was £1.2 trillion last year.

Not everyone agrees with the gloomy prognosis, and some scientists say that glaciers in the Himalayas have not drastically shrunk despite global warming and are unlikely to melt away in coming decades. Zhang Wenjing, an expert on glaciers, who also works at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, did not question global warming, however, he said it would take perhaps centuries to melt the dense ice packs that accumulate and creep down the Himalayas.

WWF believes glacier recession would first cause flooding, then, decades later, reduce the flows of major rivers such as the Ganges, Mekong and Yangtze. This would, WWF predicted, cause environmental problems for Nepal and parts of China and India as irrigation and hydropower suffered.

"The world faces an economic and development catastrophe if the rate of global warming isn't reduced," said Jennifer Morgan, the environmental group's climate change programme director. "They need to work together on reducing CO2 emissions, increasing the use of renewable energy and implementing energy efficiency measures."

The WWF ran a witness report by Ngawang Tenzing Jangpo, the Abbot of Tengboche monastery, the most revered monk in Khumbu, Nepal. "The temperature of the earth is rising. It is not natural," said the abbot, who has lived in Khumbu for over 30 years and witnessed floods from lakes bursting with glacial meltwater.

"The Sherpas of Khumbu may not know everything, but they are suffering the consequences of the people's greed. We mountain people should be careful and take precautions. If we don't save Khumbu today our fresh water will dry up and the problem will be impossible to solve in the future."

The Exile

Dharamsala, November 20th:

The Tibetan poet Tenzing Tsundue, exile from Tibet in India, has been placed under house arrest to prevent him from protesting with other Tibetan exiles while the Chinese president Hu Jintao makes his three days visit here...

The Exile

Driven hard across the snows
over the pass in wintry mountains
with frost-bitten feet and corpses on the way
shot brutally to death by occupation soldiers
or just stranded in the snows in freezing death,
old people, children, mothers, victims of all kinds;
thus suffers the whole nation
driven out by brainwash propaganda
and enforcement of autocracy,
thus turning a whole people into prisoners and exiles
in the country they themselves had built
and turned into a unique culture of philosophy,
respecting life above all and tradition
with a wonderful flourishing sense for ceremonies,
pompous, colourful and solemn
as the perfect ordered party going on forever;
until brutal unhumanity broke in with force and hate
intentionally wiping out a culture of two thousand years
destroying six thousand and forty-six monasteries and temples
out of six thousand and fifty-nine
and burning manuscripts, hand-written books,
three fifths of all the libraries and treasuries of literature,
- and why? For sheer stupidity, the joy of violence,
the glory of destruction and the rape of beauty?
For the triumph of the opposite of culture,
human dignity, nobility, humanitarianism, compassion
to let evil with voluptuousness replace all virtue
and all man's constructive efforts?
The dictatorships and mad rapes of politics in the 20th century
has turned the cultural protectors, humanists and lovers
into exiles in this world of barbarism and cruelty;
and it goes on, the rape of beauty by barbarity,
not only in Tibet but everywhere
by blind and brutal brainwash from the media and politics
through the carelessness and greed and ignorance of mankind.


Other poems at:


Himalayan realism - from the traveller's diary

The turning point of this journey was on the 11th, when suddenly the weather changed, and even the most experienced trekker here has never met with anything worse. I was then in north Sikkim, it was not as bad as on November 9th 1995, when there were disasters all over the Himalayas and 14 people perished on Mount Everest, but almost next to it. Now everyone is suffering from brutal colds, with running noses, hollow coughs, aching limbs and insufferable headaches. I will not be able to go into Nepal in a condition like this, with a sore foot at that which forbids me any trekking, but I will ride the crisis out here in my favourite place Darjeeling, since it is very strengthening and hardening to be here, my first and last love in India, for some days before embarking on the train journey back west, where Halvar expects me in Dharamsala on the 20th.

              From the bottom of despair...

Infection, insect bites and running noses,
snoring room mates, sleepless nights and aching limbs,
you just lie tormenting yourself
with furious scratchings of your wounds,
you cough your lungs out, eyes are watering cascades,
and everywhere you hear around you
this tremendous Himalayan cough,
the empty dryness of the hollow hoarseness like of horses,
snows and rains, the worst that ever trekkers met with,
worse than even my friend Veteran encountered by Mount Everest,
and nightmares, worries, tortures and laments;
but still you carry on, enduring anything
just for the pleasure of surviving
even the worst thinkable ordeals
to one day finally return back home
to work, to humdrum winter weariness,
to just a normal life instead of these extremes,
however beautiful, revolting, educating and adorable.


Silver beams illuminate the landscape
and increase with constancy around the hills
until they blind you into rapturous exhilaration
for the mountain far above all others
so serenely highlighted in heavenly and perfect majesty
by the enchanting morning glory rising from the sun;
and in its shadow, this small village
like a child born from this paradise of beauty
living almost only from the beautious charm of Kanjenjunga,
so benevolently generous from this life-giving magic,
that immediately she naturally must become the Queen of Hills.
Thou art the Emperor and majesty, o Kanjenjunga,
but your child Darjeeling mirrors this supremacy
and grows into the most desirable of queens
by stealing irretrievably your heart
and leaving, as you have to leave her,
a nostalgia to ache for life
unless you constantly return.

The Fifth Element

The question is which element to choose,
which one you best identify with,
which is stronger or most likeable.
The first is Earth, the solid matter, all that is concrete,
which more often than not, however,
is submerged and drowned by Water.
Water also quenches every Fire -
Fire which devours all is always powerless against it,
except when it combines with Air,
which then can dry up any lake.
Is Air then the most powerful of elements,
since nothing can subdue it, pin it down or even see it?
But there is in Buddhism a fifth element
denominated Wood, which is organic.
Of all organic forms, wood is the hardest and the most enduring,
which is why in Buddhism it has come to symbolize the essence
of this fifth of elements, which is simply life.
It is dependent on the other four,
it has to breathe with Air, it has to grow and live on Earth,
it can't do without Water, and the Fire is its energy.
But basically, all four elements have together that one function only
to support the fifth and make it possible,
the only really meaningful and interesting, important element,
the toughest and most usable longliving form of which
is that most precious Wood we all need knocking on at times.

So let's just plant more trees, the most invaluable support of life
producing air (that's oxygen), providing energy,
enriching earth and binding the wild waters
and not take them down,
for that would ruin everything on earth,
let loose the fires and the waters
and impoverish the air - in short,
a tree is of as much importance as the life of any man.