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A Response to Denzi Yishey's Letter of March 28, 2012

posted Jun 2, 2012, 11:44 AM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Sandu Namkha, Germany

This is in response to Denzi Yishey’s letter to the editors of March 28, 2012. I mulled over my decision to write this piece for a long time because there is a risk of misinterpretation and misunderstanding. However, I decided to submit this paper to the journal for the greater good.

When one is ready to present her/his arguments on any given issues, the same person should be willing to hear any counterarguments without any sense of insecurity. It is sad when people look at point of views of others that are not consistent with theirs as personal attacks and/or potshots. Failure to defend the points one makes and substantively nullify the counterarguments of others should not lead one to resorting to a strategy of insinuating such counterarguments as personal attacks and/or potshots. Doing so will defeat the very purpose of the writings that Denzi very much encourages. It is normally difficult to have serious, yet friendly dialogue with overly sensitive people.

I have already appreciated the good work Denzi is doing in terms of making meaningful contribution to this journal in my first article. Therefore, it would be redundant for me to do the same again. In my first article, I have also said that my goal is to bring our intellectual discussions one notch higher. This can be done by probing the author further and pointing out flaws in their arguments, among others. And this is one of my goals of writing to this journal. If we look at Denzi’s writings, he often leaves many points that he was trying to make unexplained. I do not believe that that is reflective of his intellectual ability or lack thereof. That is why I asked him in my first article, for instance, to provide more detail on how his appeasement policy is different from that of the CTA’s and how it is likely to give us desired results. It is important for one to complete ones thoughts if one should be understood in the way one expects.

Moreover, in his article, “UN Support for Tibet: Are Tibetans Unrealistically Optimistic?” he writes, “China is an economic savior for many developed countries.” This is too strong a statement for me. It is like saying that there is only one side to the coin and that the principle of interdependency does not apply to the Chinese. I would encourage Denzi and those who think that China is infallible to read books and writings of authors like that of Gordon Chang (, especially the book titled, The Coming Collapse of China.

I would like to offer some comments on Denzi’s letter, but my final point, specifically the last three paragraphs of this article are not directly related to his letter. This paper should not be seen as a rebuttal to his letter. I am only contributing to the discussion he has initiated. It would be unfortunate if it is seen in any other light.

First, in the second paragraph of Denzi’s letter, he states that the letter was intended for those who think that inaction is a deed of submission. I expected him to explain in the letter how it is not so. Unfortunately, he did not substantiate that point.

Second, Denzi writes that he is all for pro-discussion. I do believe he is all for pro-discussion. However, he runs the risk of proving himself wrong when he writes letters to the editors like that of March 28, 2012, which is the subject of this discussion. Instead, a rejoinder to my article in the form of an article where he offers further clarification on the points he was making in his previous articles and how my arguments were misplaced would have strengthened his claim for being pro-discussion.

Third, in terms of discussion, the key question was, who hid the discussion on how well the U.N. will respond to the demands of the hunger strikers? It would look very odd to blame the TYC for the public’s failure and/or lack of interest to discuss the relevance of the U.N in our struggle. The TYC should, however, be blamed if they prevent any discussion on the usefulness of approaching the U.N. to find resolution for our political issue. It should, however, be hard for anyone to argue that the U.N. will not have any role in resolving the Sino-Tibetan political issue. We should also understand and learn to take responsibility for our own failures. What I mean is that as much as the U.N. failed us, our leaders have not been successful and effective in moving the U.N. thus far.

Fourth, Denzi is a very considerate writer because he understands the importance of striking a right balance between content, time, and space. However, it is not a good idea to compromise on substance. Don’t make any points that you are not going to elaborate.

Finally, the Tibetan Political Review (TPR) provides us with this important platform to exchange our views and counterviews. The writers should exercise utmost restraints in writing letters and articles that are not consistent with the journal’s principles and do not meet the journal’s standards. It is important for everyone to ensure that we do not lose this important platform that the TPR provides us with, especially in light of the demise of Phayul’s discussion forum. Let me know if the TPR and Denzi find my writings offensive and lacking substance so that I could refrain from submitting any more papers to this journal.

Phayul’s interactive discussion forum has been down for a long time. I don’t know if they have any intention to restore it. We all know the popularity of this website in our community. If they do not fix the interactive discussion forum soon enough, it might look like owners of Phayul are driven only by advertising revenue, even though I do not believe it is really the case. I believe the demise of the discussion forum was a result of cyber-attacks, possibly by Chinese. Therefore, resurrection of the discussion forum will show our resiliency and that we will not accept any defeat from China. We should show them that every time they push us down on the ground, we will stand up stronger each time until they stop touching us. I believe this will be the most befitting reply to Chinese cyber-attacks and other bullies rather than closing down the discussion forum altogether.

I would conclude by urging any individual Tibetan and/or a group of Tibetans with interest and expertise in internet and computer technology to provide a platform to the Tibetans to discuss hot button issues on a real time basis, preferably an interactive discussion forum. We have seen that an interactive discussion forum encourages active and robust discussion on a range of issues hurting the Tibetans in exile as well as in Tibet. Active participation from the Tibetan public in the Tibetan affairs is one good way of holding the elected leaders accountable. It would be hard to call a system democratic where decisions on issues affecting six million Tibetans are made by few leaders and where public opinion means nothing to those in power.

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