adam yauch
His successful rap group, The Beastie Boys, has held four popular 'Free Tibet' concerts in 1996 and 1997



interview
q:  There seems to be a ground swell of interest happening around Tibet. Why is there so much interest in Tibet?

yauch:  I think it goes to a lot of different levels but the two main ways that I look at it is that on the one hand, we're able to help the Tibetans to gain their freedom--in a sense we're obligated to do that in a sense since we have the ability to help the Tibetans. But I think the really significant part of it for us for the western world is we have a lot to gain from the Tibetans--there are certain lessons that are within Tibetan culture. I mean understandings of compassion and of nonviolence that are things that we really lack in our society.

Also, the contrast is so huge between the compassion and nonviolence that's coming from the Tibetans and the unimaginably brutal oppression that's coming from the Chinese, the forced abortions and forced sterilization and the torture of monks and nuns ... for just trying to practice their own religion.

q:  Tell me about your concerts and what you hope to achieve....

a:  I feel like I've gained a huge amount from being exposed to Tibetan culture. From being in Tibet and being around Tibetans I feel like I've learned so much more about what brings a person happiness, about what actually brings myself happiness.

I think there are a lot of misconceptions in society in general about what actually brings happiness, we're caught up in all these ideas that having a lot of money or having somebody beautiful to have sex with or having some cool objects, having a cool car, cool stereo or whatever is gonna make us happy. And those things actually don't bring us happiness. I've learned a tremendous amount about how compassion or altruism actually brings a person happiness and I think that's a lot of what's trying to be put forward through the concerts and it seems like the optimum way to put those ideas forward is through helping the Tibetans gain their freedom because those values are so inherent within Tibetan culture.

q:  Tell me -- how do you effect change?

a:  I think every person has the ability to effect change. I think we're often led to believe that it's just celebrities have some ability to effect change but I think that what's important for us to realize is that everyone of us affects the world constantly through our actions, through our every smallest action, through our every thought, our every word, the way that we interact with other people we're constantly affecting the world.

q:  What are you trying to do for Tibet in in the music and the concerts you give?

a:  We're trying to just raise awareness/with the concerts, what we're really trying to do is create more of a forum for the Tibetans themselves to be able to speak, I know that like if I turn on the TV and I just see some movie star or rock star talking about some cause a lot of times I get really turned off to it so I guess the idea is -- creating some kind of forum where the -- the Tibetans themselves can speak and Tibetan culture can be there itself.

I bet there are a lot of Tibetans walking around at the concerts, there were hundreds of Tibetans walking around with petitions to be signed and there was monastery tent there and we did our best to come as close to having Tibetan culture exist naturally in a giant rock concert

q:  What impact do you think the concerts and films can have?

a:  I think concerts and films and and CD and things like that can bring the stuff into the mainstream. .... I think the films and CDs and what not, can really have an effect because I think that our government and our corporations are definitely affected by public perception. And so the more that we can raise this awareness, the more chance there is that our corporations and government will be forced to act in the interest of humanity.

q:  And what is going to on? I mean what do you see happening?

a:  I think the main focus in America is is basically greed. I think that that's the number motivator in our society and it goes to all levels, it goes to our government and our corporations and us as individuals and I think we have to recognize our own involvement as individuals in that greed that we're the ones that go out and and buy all these things that empower the corporations.

q:  What does Tibet have to offer us in America, in the West?

a:  Well some people have described it this way -- while the West has been outwardly modernizing ourselves, while we've been building better machines and cameras and faster trains and planes and faster telephones and computers, while we've been outwardly modernizing ourselves for the last few hundred years the Tibetans have isolated themselves from the rest of the world and have been inwardly modernizing themselves.

They've been spending the last thousand years learning about mind and what actually brings a person happiness and what brings a person unhappiness. What creates jealousy and what creates hatred and what actually creates true lasting happiness. So in a sense it seems like it's no accident that when we've come to this point where our technology has put the world on the edge of destruction. We've stockpiled so many nuclear weapons and dumping nuclear waste and creating materials that don't biodegrade and on and on. And just as we've put the earth on the edge of destruction here-- Tibetan culture has been forced to infiltrate into the rest of the world and expose itself in order for itself to survive. And, it almost seems like no accident-- that this has happened at that time, that they're, as Bob Thurman calls it, their inner modernity has been forced to be exposed to our out modernity .

q:  What is your dream scenario for the impact that your concerts and music and CD can have?

a:  I would hope that the concerts and the CD and the films that are coming out would help Tibet to gain their freedom. But on the other side of it, I'm really hoping that some of those values are going to infiltrate into American culture and in particular into youth culture uh because obviously that's the future of what this world is going to be come and what human it is going to become.

q:  And do you think that things like popular culture, like movies and concerts can ultimately have some effect on things like government policy?

a:  I think that movies and CDs-- they affect the way people think. I know they've radically affected the way I think. And so they definitely will have some effect on the world and in turn that will affect our government because I really don't think that Clinton wants to be remembered as a president that could have done something to benefit the people in Tibet. That could have helped with human rights and just didn't do that for reasons of greed or having America be a powerful country at the expense of other people. I don't think that Clinton that wants to be remembered that way. And so I think that the more that awareness is raised, that more that Clinton is gonna really go out of his way to make sure that Tibetan culture is preserved.

q:  Why is there an urgency suddenly about Tibet's predicament and dilemma?

a:  The thing with the Tibet cause is that there is very little time left with it because of the rate of the population transfer that the Chinese are pushing for right now and the sterilization and forced abortions that are going on with the women. And the religious oppression. There is very little time left that Tibetan culture will actually survive. Probably a few more years if a radical change doesn't come about. So I think that's part of what the uproar is that people are really coming together on this issue.

q:  Do you have a feeling the government has sort of abandoned this issue?

a:  I think it's scary that that our elected officials aren't operating under the principles of human rights, under the principles that this government and this country was founded on. I think that that if anyone should be holding those principles dear to their heart and and as the most important values there are then it should be our elected officials and the idea that our country is being run by a bunch of selfish egomaniacs is pretty terrifying.

q:  What's your hope for a kid who comes to a concert that you're putting on for Tibet?

a:  I guess the best way for me to put that answer is more in terms of my own experience. I was traveling in the Himalayas and I met some Tibetan people and then I began to really learn about a lot of much deeper ideas about mind and what actually brings a person happiness and the patterns of thinking the traps that we get ourselves into through our different lines of thinking. And so what I hope is that somebody might come to one of these concerts and run across some of that same information that I did-- that benefited me. And that they would also gain something from that.



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