On October 19, environmentalist, feminist, and Tibet activist Petra Kelly who was best known as the founder of the Green Party in Germany, was discovered dead along with her longtime companion Gert Bastion in their home in a suburb of Bonn. Both were former members of Parliament. At the time of death Kelly was forty-four and Bastion sixty-nine. The cause of death is still uncertain.
Kelly and Bastion, along with Pat Aiello, edited The Anguish of Tibet (Parallax Press), a collection of essays that challenged Chinese policies on Tibet and indicted countries like the United States and Germany for erecting, as Kelly put it, the “great brick wall around the Tibet issue” in order to protect Chinese interests.
Her determination to make human rights issues in Tibet an international cause created dissention in the Green Party. Initially, the Leftists refused to criticize China and endorsed the Chinese view of the Dalai Lama as a deposed monarch who fell victim to a populist uprising. But Kelly prevailed, providing irrefutable evidence of Chinese genocide in Tibet and then arguing that ideological sympathies could not be used as blinders to injustice and torture. She was instumental in convincing the then president of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel, to receive the Dalai Lama, and Havel, became the first head of state to risk offending the Chinese in this way.
Ms. Kelly was born in the Bavarian town of Gunzburg. When she was twelve years old, her American stepfather moved the family to the United States, where she continued her education. At the time of her death, she was a foster parent to a Tibetan child.
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