Rika Krithara

Nangpa La Pass, video installation 2008
Old Parliament, Athens
photos above by the Slovenian Alpinist Pavle Kozjek (1959–2008)

Τον Σεπτεμβριο του 2006 μπροστά στα μάτια εκατοντάδων ορειβατών απο όλο τον κόσμο που παρέμεναν στην κατασκήνωση βασης του βουνού Cho Oyu στα Ιμαλάια, κινεζοι στρατιωτες σκότωσαν εν ψυχρώ τουλάχιστον δυο νεαρά άτομα απο το Θιβετ που προσπαθουσαν να περάσουν τα σύνορα προς το Νεπάλ. Η αρχική ομάδα των νεαρων ατόμων, από 8 έως 25 ετών, ήταν περίπου 80 και προέρχονταν από τα μοναστήρια του Θιβέτ.
Καποιοι απο τους παρευρισκόμενους ορειβάτες πρόλαβαν να τραβήξουν βιντεο και φωτογραφίες από την πισώπλατη εκτέλεση της 17χρονης Θιβετιανής μοναχής Kelsang Namtso.

Οι μαρτυρίες λενε χαρακτηριστικά "Τους σκοτωνανε σαν τα σκυλιά." Εννοείται οτι η ομαδα των παιδιων ήταν άοπλη. Περπατούσε σε κατασταση εξαθλίωσης απο τον παγο και το υψόμετρο, με ελαφρά ρουχα.

Το πέρασμα Nangpa La Pass βρισκεται σε υψόμετρο 5.200μ και είναι ενα από τα αρχαία περάσματα απο το Θιβέτ προς το Νεπάλ. Η δημοσιευση των φωτογραφιων που με - μεγαλη επιμονή - εγινε από τον Σλοβένο αλπινιστή Pavle Kozjek (1959-2008) και από το mounteverest.net ανάγκασαν την Κίνα να παραδεχτεί το γεγονός.

"On September 30, 2006, 75 Tibetans, among them many children, and their two guides were leaving Tibet to join the Dalai Lama in exile (living in Dharamsala, India). Chinese border guards of the People's Armed Police (PAP) opened fire on the group and killed Kelsang Namtso, a 17-year-old nun. Kunsang Namgyal, a 23-year-old man, was hit in the leg twice, then taken away by the Chinese border police. Although the group was not armed, the Chinese initially claimed that their soldiers fired in self-defense.

"Hi, my name is Pavle Kozjek, from Slovenia, and I just returned from Cho Oyu. I have some photos from 30.9.," reported an email to ExplorersWeb on Nov. 2, 2006. The sender's images showed a nun shot dead by Chinese border officers when she tried to reach Nepal across the Nangpa La col, together with about 50 other defenseless refugees, many of them children. The events took place before more than a hundred foreign climbers.

Most of them, save a number of east Europeans, were reluctant to speak up about a murder taking place right before their eyes. Some climbers said that expedition leaders advised them against talking, and after the shootings became known, an unsigned email, circulated by a UK journalist and reportedly written by a veteran commercial expedition leader, stated that the refugees were human traffickers and prostitutes.

An American climbing guide's first report to ExplorersWeb was initially denied by the Chinese. Pavle's images forced China to admit the event. Alex Gavan's video turned back China's later claim that the attack had been in self-defence.

Foreign Tibetan organizations met with the refugees in Nepal and escorted them to safe houses in India. They reported that the shot woman was a Tibetan nun leading children to religious freedom in India together with fellow monks. At least 20 of the kids were captured by the army guards and later tortured in jail."

In August 2008, Pavle Kozjek has been reported missing on the striking and seldom-climbed Muztagh Tower in Pakistan's Karakoram range.