Revolutionary Worker #749, March 27, 1994
Tsomo was a woman of the Memba people from a border region in Tibet. During the Cultural Revolution, she told the story of how she first met Maoist revolutionaries. "My family were serfs, so poor I was farmed out to work for another family. When I was seventeen, the Lamas told us to run away into the mountains because the Hans were coming and would kill, rape, eat the children. We ran and hid in the cliff. And we saw Chingdrolmami arrive. [Chingdrolmami is the Tibetan name for the People's Liberation Army.] The soldiers camped near our village. We expected them to take away everything, to burn our fields and houses; but after a day or two, we saw they did not touch our fields so I came down a little lower to watch them.
"They were working. I know now they were making a road.... My mother said: `Don't go.' But I came down again the next day, and I saw among them women in uniform. One of them saw me hiding behind a rock and called to me in my own language to come down, not to be afraid. She was a woman interpreter."
The revolutionary soldiers showed Tsomo how they were taking good care of the villagers' cows. They gave Tsomo milk and butter to take back to the hidden villagers. The elders thought it was all a trick. But some young boys were brave enough to return with Tsomo. Within a week, the relieved and curious villagers were back in their homes.
Tsomo says, "Chingdrolmami treated us well, did not beat or shout, helped us with the harvesting and threshing, never looked at the women. Never had anyone been like this to us before. My heart began to glow with a great fire--I wanted to be like them. I told them: `What can I do to help?' An officer said to me: `Would you like to learn something? To read and to write?' I had never dreamt this could happen."
Tsomo became a student at the Institute of National Minorities in Peking. She returned to lead the dangerous work of land reform in her district, moving secretly from village to village arousing the serfs. During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution she emerged as vice-chairman of the Women's Federation in Tibet.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497
(The RW Online does not currently communicate via email.)