Friday, July 16, 2010

Review: Murder in the High Himalaya by Jonathan Green

Murder in the High Himalaya is one of those rare non-fiction books that elicited a myriad of emotional responses from me. I love mountain climbing and had for years heard rumors of the Tibetan plight. Yet, I had no real idea what exactly their hardships were outside of knowing the Dalai Lama was exiled and the Chinese occupied their otherwise peaceful country.

Jonathan Green compiled an incredible amount of data from the few witnesses willing to come forward and confirm the murder they witnessed on Cho Oyu. He brings the stories of the survivors, the deceased, and the witnesses together in alternating stories, weaving a timeline of events.

From this book, I was able to grasp the extreme hardships these peaceful people go through to leave Tibet, go to India, and meet their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Pilgrims die, they lose limbs, are imprisioned, beaten, tortured, threatened, separated from their families, and murdered. Despite the hardships of little food, water, clothing, and shoes, ane experience, a few make it through the Himalayas. Sadly, most do not make it.

I listened to the audio version of this book. While listening my emotions varied from sadness to hope, anger to tears.

At the center of the story the main focus bounces from a young nun names Kelsang and her best friend Dolma to American mountain guide, Luis Benitez. Luis and a few other westerners risk their careers and lives to get the story out. Romanian journalist Sergiu Matei had the wisdom to break out the camera and start filming once he heard gunshots. He smuggled the footage out of the country and refuting the Chinese press release on the incident, proved the coverup with irrefutable evidence.

The stories of the Tibetan refugees and pilgrims were heartbreaking but I sincerely appreciate the effort of Jonathan Green, and all of the climbers who came forward as witnesses to such a cold blooded murder of a young nun.


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Ondrej from Legends of Dune said...

Sounds like extremely disturbing book, but life often is extremely disturbing.

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