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A Response to “UN Support for Tibet: Are Tibetans Unrealistically Optimistic?”

posted Mar 16, 2012, 3:37 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Mar 17, 2012, 4:49 PM ]
By Sandu Namkha

The author, Denzi Yishey, wrote a whole piece that revolved around an imaginary question. The question he analyzed was, “How well the UN will respond to these appeals?” Further, he felt that this question was hidden from discussion. Who hid it? 

It is a cardinal sin for any researcher and writer to miss the fact that his or her imaginary question was hidden and that it was not duly considered, for instance, before the hunger strike was launched, especially when the very question was addressed in a public forum.

Therefore, I encourage Denzi to see the speech, Mr. Tsewang Rigzin, president of the TYC made on the first day of their indefinite hunger strike. Here is the link to the video: Mr. Rigzin addressed the very question Denzi thought was hidden. Mr. Rigzin had a very reasonable answer to that question. In short, he said that inaction is not our option. It surely is not. 


YouTube Video

It is not desirable to lump together tangential topics in one’s discussion. In Denzi’s article, he lumped together the discussion of the TYC’s current initiative of the indefinite hunger strike in New York with the rise of China, the historical background, and most importantly, our failures to obtain further resolutions in the U.N. after 1965.

Who is responsible for our failures to obtain further resolutions in the U.N? The TYC? It is not only counterproductive, but also unacceptable to make the TYC scapegoat for the Tibetan leader’s failures to bring resolution to our issue in the last 50 odd years.

What answer can be expected if we ask this question to Tibetans: what is one of the main purposes of His Holiness’ constant and tireless travel to the West and around the world? The majority of the Tibetans see His Holiness’ globetrotting as efforts to gain support for our cause. Next, why do we have Offices of Tibet (OoTs) around the world?

I know that how the U.N. reacts to our issue is beyond our leader’s control for the most part. I am, therefore, not blaming anyone here including our leaders for their failures to seek further resolutions in the U.N. However, Denzi should have included in his discussion all the key stakeholders, most notably, His Holiness and the CTA in this failure in order to put things in proper context.

The author should do a thorough research on efforts Tibetans made under the leadership of His Holiness in the last 50 odd years to move the U.N. I am not Denzi’s coach. This is not what I am trying to do. However, I would encourage him to do some such research and include his findings and some of the historical facts relating to the Tibetan leader’s efforts in his Historical Background section. Without information on why, where, and how we failed to move the U.N., we will not gain much from engaging in activities of rethinking our future course of actions. There are of course other factors that we should be cognizant of, but I will not discuss them here because they are irrelevant to the purposes of my response to Denzi's article.

The author’s analyses concerning the Rise of China desires much to be said. However, they are moot to what prompted me to write a response to his article. I would, however, like to comment on the point he made about the U.N. as not being a world organization. The U.N. is a world organization. This is an indisputable fact. There is nothing naivety about it to think it as a world organization. However, is the U.N a toothless tiger? This is a valid question and can be debated, including how it is fraught with politics and a broken system.

If Denzi’s research did not fail in locating the video of Mr. Rigzin’s speech before he wrote that article, his discussion and conclusion section might have looked different. And it should. One of the things that caught my attention in that section is where he said, “Hoping for the U.N. resolution on Tibet may not only be unrealistic but optimism at its worst.”

The optimism at its worst is better than the pessimism at its best. I would at any time prefer to err on the side of optimism rather than on the side of pessimism, hands down. We should not allow any room for pessimism and inaction in our struggle until our goals are achieved. We should strengthen our struggle and build it further on the sacrifices patriot Tibetans in Tibet are making and patriot Tibetans in front of the U.N. headquarters in New York are making and patriot Tibetans in the past have made. We should not let this momentum dissipate least we may not succeed in enthroning His Holiness back in Potala Palace.

There are a few things Denzi need not have said in that section. For instance, he insinuated that the Tibetans in exile should ignore the act of self-immolations by patriot Tibetans. I wish he had put this in a better way if he didn’t mean what he said. We cannot and should not dictate what tactics they choose to use to convey their message of undying desire for freedom. We should, however, never fail to fulfill our moral obligations towards them under any circumstances. It is a mortal sin exiled Tibetans can commit to look the other way to brave Tibetans’ resistance to the Chinese rule at the cost of their precious lives.

Can we look at the recent spate of self-immolations in Tibet, by the way, as one of their frustrations; frustrations against the Tibetans living in free world not doing enough for the cause and not doing the right thing? This would become a saddest moment in our history if we learn of a disconnect between the true aspirations of our brethren in Tibet who self-immolate and what we stand for and strive for in the exiled community. Therefore, it is extremely important that we pay close attention to all their calls so exiled Tibetans do not end up looking like treacherous.

Finally, Denzi should understand that the TYC is not in charge of representing the interests of six million Tibetans. Rather, the CTA is. It is problematic when one perpetually fails to see the forest for trees.

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