By Tenzin Yeshi
University of Wyoming, U.S.A.
My roommate set the alarm clock, it rang in the early morning, he silenced it, and then, he went back to sleep. However, it woke me up completely even though I am not an early morning person. I never understood the meaning of, "Early to bed, early to rise". May be this saying was valid when there was a time when nothing can be done in the evening. Now, with the overwhelming influence and extraordinary growth of technology, we are glued to this small screen 24x7 where anyone can take a peek at the world by just laying down on your cozy couch. The note I am sharing now is the result of this technology.
Yesterday, on my facebook, I punched this statement as my status, "An act of activism is meaningful only when it helps to provide a significant difference in finding a long-term solution to the struggle of Tibet and its people" - A stateless DY. There were few likes and comments. However, after being pushed to wake up early this morning, I was just reflecting on this statement while still cuddling with my comforter to get back to sleep. Sleep never came by. However, my reflection immediately whispered to my ears to write this short note of elaboration on the statement. I jumped out of my bed, threw my comforter aside, came out to my living room, and started tapping my fingers with the laptop on my lap and the back resting on my cozy couch.
When I look at this entire act of activism, I always ask the question, "SO WHAT"? President Hu arrived; Tibetan organized a protest; Media loves the hype; Tibetan shouted and performed an impressive Skeleton in the Hu's Closet; Press and media flashed the protest on their page, shared video clips, political analyst did the analysis, and the general public read, heard, and enjoyed. At the end of the Hu's visit, Tibetans are back and busy in their work or study; press and media moves to other hypes; and general public are back on reading and listening something else. At the end, I think it is important to ask ourselves, "SO WHAT" of this act of activism? Here is my take on it by looking at this question as the driving framework.
The first and immediate question that always comes to my mind is the impact of an act of activism. Tibetans have been protesting long time back and we are getting better in making our voices heard. We hardly missed to protest against any of the visiting Chinese politburo members. However, the question that matters the most to me is - does an act of activism contributes towards the long-term resolution of Tibet and its struggle?
Okay. Now let me take a glance at the global perspective of Tibet as a nation. World, including super powers and our immediate neighbors, firmly stood by the One China policy where Tibet is considered as a part of China. Forget about recognizing Tibet as an independent country. These countries are not even recognizing Tibet as a disputed land. The United Nation is not an exception here. I am not a fan of this organization. So, the question now comes is - what does this have to do with an act of activism?
This global perspective of Tibet has a huge role to play. When Tibet is considered as a part of China, no country will be directly involved in resolving any kind of issues or problems related to Tibet. As China has been saying, Tibet is an internal matter. You can compare this with the situation in India's Kashmir. Even though Kashmir is considered as a disputed land, India never welcomes a third party (or country) involvement. This is more so true with China when it comes to Tibet. So What? Does it matters? It does matter a lot.
No matter how press and media helps us to spread the words and no matter how the general public takes a look at the Tibet issue, the final ball of Tibet will always fall in the court of China and ONLY China (Having said that, I am not disregarding the role of Tibetan in this entire struggle). As said, Tibet is an internal matter. So, for me, what matters most is China and not the media/press or the general public. If we need to find a solution to any issues concerning Tibet, it is only China that can help or bring the needed change. So, I believe we need to respect more of this global perspective of or on Tibet. Many of us believe that press and media matters a lot to us. It does in someway to spread the words out. It is same with an act of activism. It has its own advantage. However, as you know by now, the question I am raising is on the long-term impact.
Some of the recent slogans were very direct and personal to President Hu and obviously will be the same to many Chinese fellows. How do we react when someone says anything against His Holiness the Dalai Lama? The level of the feeling between Tibetan and Chinese may not be the same but there is definitely a feeling of anger and hatred for such personally directed protests, slogans, or statements. I consider President Hu as a person who can resolve the problem of Tibet if he wishes to. However, are we not enraging him with these personally directed slogans? As a person, how would you react when someone shouts against you by disrespecting your name and position? Will you work with that person? Will you help to resolve the problem by negotiating with that person or a group of person? Will you care? The list of questions goes on....
The point I want to make here is that China and Chinese people matters the most to us. There is no way we can beat them. So, why not join them? Lets respect them as a Chinese fellow and if the need be, protest against the CCP or its policies. Lets don't enrage them. Lets ENGAGE them.
The final point I want to make is - If ever CCP breaks down (I think it will sooner or later) and if we ask for independence at that particular moment, what matters the most is the will and support of the Chinese people. If they agree, no one can deny independence to Tibet. Are you hearing me?
Finally, this note is in no way to disrespect my fellow Tibetans who are very involved and dedicated in this entire act of activism. However, I hope, as my writing always does, this note will make you THINK and DISCUSS.
To conclude, I dedicate this note to my roommate and his alarm clock without which this note would have never existed. :-)