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Interview 6:35 - 12:03 Play 6:35 - More
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Petra Kelly  

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Tibet  

Interview 12:21 - 1:40:25 Play 12:21 - More
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Heinrich Harrer  

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Tibet: Past, Present, and Future  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
16 Apr 1991

    Geography
  • United States
    District of Columbia
    Locality
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture; Jefferson Auditorium
    Latitude/Longitude
  • 38.88667   -77.02972
    Channels
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Recorders
    Microphones
    Accessories
    Equipment Note
  • Stereo=1; Dual-Channel Mono

Petra Kelly
Heinrich Harrer

Petra Kelly (from the German Parliament) introduced RH. She quoted from Avedon's book when HH met with DL: "he opened his book and said now we will learn English"

Q. what he remembers from that first encounter with DL.

HH talked about the following in his lecture:

Mountain climbing, the Eiger and the Himalayas, his days in prison camp and his many escapes, his arrival in Tibet, captured and escaped again many times. Barley growing so high on the mountainsides, so much smoke because the Tibetans burn yak and cow dung.

In Tibet everything is different. But most important, the Tibetans are the gayest and happiest people on earth¿¿..

One unusual custom is to stick out their tongue.

Butter tea -butter is usually rancid and full of yak hairs!

Yaks -most useful animal

the holy mountain which is the center of religion -many make pilgrimages there

talks of Nomads -had to bluff and cheat them, Yaks were stolen, food was eaten by wolves and snow leopards.

Q. Where was he headed when he kept escaping? After two years of walking he saw the Potala. Afraid monks
were protecting it, but people were kind and greeted them when they walked thru the gates. then under house arrest. Dalai Lama lived on top floor of Potala -modestly Potala -one of 7 wonders of the world Photos are more than 40 years old -NGS was first to

publish them Lhasa Rimpoches -lamas

Dalai Lama became his friend

State Oracle of Tibet -man or woman who gets into a trance -dances, struts thru town, collapses, he decides major issues of war and peace

Showed a photo of D.L.'s mother -she had 14 children, only 5 survive -she was strict with HH, and said he should not be late for teaching D.L.

Wonderful time but it didn't last long. Chinese came and wanted to "liberate" China ¿¿¿¿ D.L. and HH crossed borders
-took refuge in small monastery

When Tibet opened for tourism, HH snuck along with an American tour in '82. From then on he had an agent with
him everywhere he went (story in itself he says)

HH made a joke about how one Austrian can give such a
headache to one billion Chinese.

Showed new pictures of Tibet -Lhasa -totally different under Chinese.

Q. When he returned what had changed What is it about the culture which so distinguishes it Why is it so unique

99% of all 6,000 monasteries destroyed. Except for the Potala, all is lost. Books lost¿.¿¿¿

When he left Tibet for the second time, he told D.L. what he saw. Went to see the oracle, and he said "The Gods Shall Prevail". (Good ending for your piece perhaps -at 1:09:44 on the OAT) HH also ended his speech with those same words.

Better to go to Ladakh to find Tibetan culture, nothing left in Tibet

Tibetan medicine important. Also their knowledge of herbs and how they can be useful to medicine

He tells the story of the blue flower -of romanticism, of youth, of dreams, searched for 50 years for that same flower which he found in Tibet

he then talked of his freindships -Peter who traveled with him, and then his wife, and of course the Dalai Lama

he talked of magic, and mystery as it is associated with Tibet

Also of E.T. and how he says in the movie he is homesick and "I want to go home". Tibetans want to go home too....

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