Just about everything I ever knew about Tibet I learnt from the Beastie Boys. I doubt I'm alone.
I was (and am) a big Beastie Boys fan, and back in 1994 they sampled Tibetan monks on Ill Communication. The Milarepa Fund fund was created to disperse royalties to these monks and in 1996 the first Tibetan Freedom Concert was held. Adam Yauch used his band to support the cause of Tibetan independence and increase awareness and it certainly worked on me.
The recent unrest in Tibet is huge news right now, especially with the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing mere months away. As always with events in China, information is difficult to attain and believe. On March 16, for example, the Chinese government says at least 22 people died in Lhasa violence. Tibetan rights groups say nearly 140 Tibetans were killed that day. There's a Wikipedia page tracking the unrest.
As if we needed another reason, this crackdown on Tibet has people considering a boycott of the 2008 Summer Olympics. The Polish government has already decided to boycott the opening ceremonies. That's a start.
When I think back to the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the overuse of capital punishment, the treatment of Falun Gong practitioners, the deadly pollution crisis and the overall suppression and oppression of Chinese citizens, and now this recent Tibet unrest, I hate the idea of rewarding the Communist Party of China with an Olympic Games. Isn't it time we enlightened nations sent a message that these practises aren't acceptable?
And to think all this awareness started with the album that brought us "Sabotage".