MAKE IT A BURNING ISSUE

 

Seventy Tibetans have, one after the other, in relentless and purposeful succession, set themselves on fire for the cause of their people’s freedom. If anything so heroic, selfless, spontaneous, non-instigated, and entirely non-violent* had happened anywhere else in the world, especially in the West or in places important to Western interests, like the Middle East or North Africa, these self-immolations would not only have become headline news but would have been discussed to death (if you will forgive the expression) in TV news-shows, chat-rooms, newspaper op-eds, editorials, blog-rooms, think-tank forums and so on. The issue could even have come up in the American presidential elections, and Tibetan TV viewers watching the foreign policy debate might have been amused by the vision of Mitt Romney scolding president Obama for ignoring the immolations in Tibet and “apologizing” to China – or its equivalent in this alternate reality.

But, of course, nothing of the kind has happened in our space-time continuum. Far from being the subject of international discussion the world media has given the Tibetan immolations the absolutely minimum attention it is possible to give to a major news story, without actually opening itself to the charge of deliberately and cynically ignoring the issue altogether.

Tenzin Khedup and Ngawang Norphel immolating themsleves in Kham Dzatoe, June 20th, 2012.

All I’ve seen in the last couple of years in the New York Times, America’s proclaimed “newspaper of record” are a few bare-bones reports and the mandatory two-sentence synopses in its international news briefs. Recently a longer story appeared on Kirti monastery, with passing mention of the immolations, but one got the impression that the story was written largely because American ambassador Gary Locke paid a visit there. Tibetans everywhere are angry and frustrated, but not, I think, completely puzzled by this craven attitude of the world media and world political leadership. It doesn’t require great political sophistication to realize that China’s economic power has compromised many individuals, institutions, even nations in the free world. At the same time I am not sure that everyone is aware of how deeply the rot has set in.

For about a year now, every once a month or so, in the center of it front section, the New York Times has published a full double-page spread from the China Daily, the state-owned English-language newspaper of China, called “China Watch.” One issue of this was devoted to the Diaoyu/Senkaku dispute, featuring possibly the largest ever photograph of these tiny Islands ever published. Of course the coverage was straight-up Beijing propaganda. It should be noted that the Times does, once in a while, publish full-page issue-based statements from individuals and organizations, but these, are clearly paid-for advertisements and are indicated as such, and also evident in their lay-outs.

But for America’s “newspaper of record” to near regularly reprint a center-fold color spread from the official Chinese Communist propaganda organ, was bizarre enough that the New York Observer came out with a report on this oddity on August 26 last year,  where it remarked on the misleading lay-out of China Watch in the New York Times. “It is marked as an advertisement (the gray blur in upper right and left corners), but otherwise resembles a newspaper layout.” The Observer also noted that “It even has an ad-within-the-ad that says that China Daily is launching a US weekly September 2.”

But of course no matter how craven (or money-grubbing) one feels the New York Times is being here,  it is still, of course, not the People’s Daily or the old Pravda. The Times just came out with a major story on corruption within Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s family, though I wondered why they did it just a month before Wen would be out of power, and not earlier? Wen Jiabao had been in office since 2003 and the stories of corruption in his family were not really new. But perhaps I am nitpicking.

I must make it clear that I am not saying that the New York Times, the BBC or CNN have not reported the immolations. Clearly they  have all done so, though only to the minimally acceptable extent – CNN being the worst offender. Even the tone of the published reports have been uniformly clinical and impersonal as weather reports. But the big evasion in these reports is the lack of discussion on the fundamental cause for which these Tibetans burnt themselves.

And on this matter we cannot just assign blame on the international press and political leadership. The entire Tibetan exile leadership and many individual exiles and groups are also complicit in this knee jerk prevarication – this beating around the bush, whenever another immolation is reported. Of course, the Dharamshala administration through the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD)  has regularly distributed reports on the immolations, and everyone down the line has made the appropriate remarks on how deplorable it all is. Prayer services, candle-light vigils and demonstrations are held. The Tibetan Parliament launched a major project, the “Flame of Truth” relay, modeled after the Olympic torch relay, to draw public attention to the immolations. The torch is, incidentally, a traditional butter-lamp (choe-gung) with a metal handle stuck at the bottom and a fake plastic flame rising from the top.

But on the issue of why people in Tibet are burning themselves everyone in Dharamshala invariably and skillfully skirts the issue with non specifics. In one instance the immolations were described as “… acts of protest against China’s policies in Tibet”. Which is so incredibly vague as to be ultimately meaningless.

What the Tibetan immolators have been calling for is the freedom and independence of Tibet, a message that was clearly put forward in the very recent immolations of two cousins Tsepo and Tenzin, in front of a government building in their village in Biru county north of Lhasa.  All reports noted that they  “called for independence for Tibet as they set themselves ablaze”.  The call for Tibetan independence has also been made on other occasions in earlier immolation though more general calls for freedom (rangwang) have also been made. But most of the calls made have been for “The return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.” This last slogan has allowed the immolations to be interpreted as essentially an issue of religious freedom which could be settled if China conducted negotiations with the Dalai Lama and allowed him to return.

In fact during a lecture I gave at McLeod Ganj this summer, a young monk in the audience, a Middle Way supporter, politely  asked me this question: that since many of the immolators in Tibet had called for “the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet”, wasn’t it more important for Tibetans to seek a way for the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet, than to keep up the struggle for Rangzen? It was a legitimate question. I had been thinking on this issue for quite sometime and I was glad for that opportunity to voice my conclusions in public.

All the immolators, indeed all Tibetans everywhere, absolutely want His Holiness to return to Tibet. But right now? With unprecedented security and military clampdowns throughout Tibet – and with troop strength, organizational capability, resources and technology many hundreds even thousands of time more than the PLA ever had in 1959, what would happen if the Dalai Lama returned to Lhasa and something went wrong. His chances of escaping would be absolutely nil. Furthermore there would be no armed resistance force like the 4 Rivers 6 Ranges that we had in ’59, nor the remnant of the old Tibetan army that spearheaded the Lhasa uprising and kept the Chinese forces in Lhasa pinned down for the few crucial days that allowed the Dalai Lama to escape. World opinion? What about international support for the Dalai Lama? Don’t count on it. Remember the obscene haste with which everyone rushed back to do business with China after the Tienanmen massacre.

No. I have too much respect for the intelligence and integrity of the immolators to think they were actually asking that the Dalai Lama return to Tibet right now. I think these people are using a kind of religio-historical metaphor, to personalize a broad political ideal and make it more immediate and meaningful to the common Tibetan. We should remember that Andrugtsang Gompo Tashi successfully used his project of building a golden throne for the Dalai Lama as a means of uniting various groups of Tibetans to ultimately form a resistance movement to fight for Tibet’s independence.

Political movements often use symbols and symbolic language . A relevant example from recent history would be the resounding slogan of the anti-apartheid movement in the eighties and nineties – “Free Nelson Mandela!” Nearly all the dramatic posters of that period had the graphic “Free Nelson Mandela, with a secondary message “Abolish Apartheid. or “Free South Africa”. A number of famous African signers and songwriters Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela, Brenda Fassie, Majek Fashek  came out with songs with this message “Bring Him Back Home” and “Free Mandela” etc. The British musician and songwriter Jerry Dammers wrote “Free Nelson Mandela” which reaching No.9 in the British charts and became very popular in Africa.

Of course the ANC and the leaders of the anti-apartheid Movement were not saying that if Nelson Mandela were released then the problem of South African freedom was solved. What they were doing with the slogan “Free Mandela” was taking one of all too many political (and humanitarian) causes in Africa and the world, and giving it a unique and accessible brand; providing a distinctive human face, the face of a charismatic leader whose incarceration could symbolize the injustice and brutality that millions of blacks in South Africa were suffering under white rule.

It is vital for all Tibetans, supporters and the exile administration to appreciate the slogan “the Dalai Lama must return to Tibet” in this larger visionary spirit, and let the world know that Tibetans in Tibet are calling for a nothing less than the return of their sovereign ruler to his independent homeland. And that call is clearly not just a rhetorical one. The unbelievable courage, resolve and selfless sacrifice of the seventy self-immolators have so fundamentally changed the political dynamics in Tibet and so exponentially altered the revolutionary climate, that although His Holiness is now quite old at seventy-seven and has retired from office, it might be a good idea for his official biographer to hold off writing the final chapter on the Dalai Lama’s political legacy, at least least for the next five years.

________________

* Gandhi told his American biographer, Louis Fischer, that German Jews ought to commit collective suicide, which “would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to Hitler’s violence.” After the war he justified himself: the Jews had been killed anyway, and might as well have died significantly. In 1942, he urged non-violent resistance against a Japanese invasion, he was ready to admit that it might cost several million deaths. We also know that Mahatma Gandhi was absolutely prepared to die when he undertook his hunger strikes.

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Comments

  1. Maura | November 5th, 2012 | 11:18 pm

    BRAVO JAMYANG – yes, the obscene haste to cut deals with the Chinese Communist Party continues unabated as so nakedly exposed by those full page ads for “China Daily” in the New York Times. I do not recall ever seeing ads for Pravda in any US newspaper during the Cold War, which was presumably fought to rid the world of the scourge of Communism. Last week I stared at the XINHUA lights flashing on the tallest media tower in Times Square and I felt tremors of horror and disgust. Mao got away with it, didn’t he…

  2. tsering topgyal | November 6th, 2012 | 1:08 am

    What do we say of our leaders who try to twist the last words of our brave freedom fighters,what does it say of those that continue to defend these leaders,what does it say of us when we allow this to happen.
    In these times I say we need a little of Joe Hamilton in our souls,words always unvarnished.

  3. Jampa | November 6th, 2012 | 9:30 am

    Thanks for your writing so implicately. I miss your writing as it has been long since the last article. keep posting!

  4. longsho | November 6th, 2012 | 2:44 pm

    Patience is virtue. This time I must thank you for this excellent write-up. It is hard to see such writings authored by a Tibetan. Keep it coming, slowly n steadily.

  5. Ngawang losel | November 6th, 2012 | 9:42 pm

    Dear Gen Jamyang Norbu lak.
    Thank you so much for the gift of sharing your insightful notions over such an incredibly sensitive issue of Self-Immolation in TIbet.
    Obviously the Fire within Every Tibetan is Burning and its going to burn more Stronger. What I think is that we the TIbetans needs more organized and strategized methods to reach out to all the Major News Outlets.

    Do we have a planed body of people working to reach out to all the major world news out lets?

    Kind of like lobbying, the lobbyist targets all the key policy makers in order to drive the laws toward their interest.
    What do you think we can do Gen Jamyang Lak

  6. tsering topgyal | November 7th, 2012 | 1:24 pm

    I write this note with great sadness,three of our brave today have lit their bodies for their country and their desire that His Holiness returns to Tibet,and yet our people in exile led by an impotent Syikong ponder on the exact definitions of the demands of these brave souls.
    As Jamyang la has correctly pointed out ‘ It is vital for all Tibetans, supporters and the exile administration to appreciate the slogan “the Dalai Lama must return to Tibet” in this larger visionary spirit, and let the world know that Tibetans in Tibet are calling for a nothing less than the return of their sovereign ruler to his independent homeland’.
    I do not fault His Holiness for the ‘Middle Way Policy’ this policy is a result of our inaction,our Kundun would never have supported giving up our independence if he thought that he had a population of patriots willing to fight for their country.
    History will judge us,history will tell our children that when our brothers and sisters lit their bodies in flame,we in exile closed our eyes in shame.
    We still have time,we can still prove to His Holiness that we will all fight for our country,that truth is on our side and that sacrifices of our brave souls will not be in vain.

  7. NewgenerationTB | November 7th, 2012 | 4:16 pm

    We have “Truth”, but “Truth” can become invalid if societal change is not in favor of “Truth”. So I am tired of repeating “We have Truth”.

    My perspective on success of or failure of “Struggle for Truth” depends on:

    1. Population
    2. Language
    3. Culture
    4. Connection to the land
    5. Education
    6. Vision
    7. Willing to Sacrifice

    In modern times, it is hard for displaced people to retain their culture, because small communities try to survive in larger communities, gradual assimilation is bound to happen. These are the harsh realities that Tibetan communities in diaspora face. As far as I can see, Tibetans are very short-sighted, they only view the Tibetan survival through political although they dont have control over or affect political changes. If China’s political mechanism suddenly fails and dysfunctional, maybe there is a ray of hope, this is a hope of almost all Tibetans who have some concern over the issue. However, it is unlikely such thing will happen in the foreseeable future. If China takes its own time to adapt to new political climate, by that time, Tibetan diasporas will be irrelevant due to, lack of legitimacy being a Tibetan because of population assimilation and shrinkage, loss of language and culture, and remotely connected to the place called Tibet. So far neither Tibetan scholars academically addressed these issues nor leaders addressed these issues seriously. As I mentioned earlier, Tibetan diasporas are tryin to survive from submerging into larger population, culture, and verious competing political and cultural ideologies. Many noble ideas if mentioned for the survial of Tibet in the long run, do not sit well with people who are fully brainwashed with other ideologies. One faces the brunt of being accused of “racist, sexist, isolationist, pervert, backward, uneducated, and so forth”. However, if these accussations are observed under the microscope, those who accuse falls in the same category of “racist, sexist, isolationist, pervert, backward, uneducated….”, because these same people who use the same label to describe Chinese due to their occupation find thelmseves in defending their own lifestyle in foreign land which is actively encouraged by Chinese government. This is what I find amusing and double-stand, ultimate failure of noble cause. The cause of Tibet can only be changed, if one sees anything China’s occupation of Tibet is wrong, one need to pay heed to one’s own day to day life and status in life. Otherwise, it is a willing collaboration with Chinese policy. Because the end result is same, destruction of Tibetan population, language, custom, culture, and eradication of Tibetan history and integration into a greater communities.

  8. tupten | November 7th, 2012 | 4:26 pm

    I get more enthusiactic in seeing the ever growing strong active resistence than delusion of not seeing support of western countries. Most of all the biggest delusion is that the drastic cry and affermation for Tibetsindependence by self immolating tibetans doess not even get support from our own tibetan govt in exile. prayers are not sufficient and will not change the direction of our struggle.Its High time that Tibetan govt must stand up now for Tibets independence because Tibetans in Tibet demand it.

  9. fuck chinese governement | November 7th, 2012 | 10:44 pm

    I question myself the concept of non-violent approach to reach any goal now and my conclusion is none what so ever.
    Please explain if my conclusion is wrong.

    I have not heard anything about the family member of our Martyrs except some names. We as a Tibetan at least create some channel to reach them and support whatever they wish. they will not come to us for any support except for our cause.

  10. Sangay | November 8th, 2012 | 7:02 pm

    There’s nothing a man could possibly do more than what Tibetans in Tibet are doing currently for love and freedom of his country, and if you think that we in free world are unable to do anything to reach their cry for freedom to every corner and fail to make their sacrifice a ‘burning issue’, guess what Lobsang Sangay supporters, blame yourselves for electing a guy who’s more into strengthening his “résumé” and contacts for his post Kalontripa career than speaking out and fighting for people who are giving up family, life, everything in Tibet for the sake of our country. If you think I’m plucking words from thin air just follow him and watch him closely when he makes overseas tour especially US and Europe, who who meets and where he meets them and what he says. I know it may be too much. Ok I will make it short and easy. Did you ever notice when His Holiness visits US he mostly follows him? And yes, just last month I went up to Boston to hear and get audience of His Holiness there. He was there again following His Holiness and at a talk hosted by local Buddhist center and the Tibetancommunity by His Holiness, our Syikyong who wasn’t originally scheduled to speak there, put himself on podium just before HisHoliness was to speak. In the audience were among many Americans the mayor of the city of Medford, the city where LS lives. Lobsang Sangay talked for almost half hour telling about his exalted position as the supreme political leader of Tibetans which at one point sounded like he was asking for Secret Service protection from The US govt now that His Holiness was mere a Spritual leader! And then he talked about problems in Tibet, how he’s trying hard to solve it including fulfilling the wishes of People of Tibet who want HisHoliness to return back. To my utter surprise he didn’t mention even once that that cause of all these are the Chinese govt’s repressive policies and occupation of Tibet! He just concluded that ‘nothing has so far been unable to happen….’ I’m sure many nonTibetan audience that day left scratching their head not knowing who and what caused all those problems in Tibet! Harvard is just a few mins drive from there and all those powerful people with ‘long reach’ who may hold key to his career after Kalontripa tripa stint……poor LS, he must have felt their palm closing in on his throat if he didn’t watch what he said there.

  11. Morgana MacLeod | November 9th, 2012 | 1:22 pm

    Thank you for this thoughtful interpretation of the immolations.

    Free Tibet!

  12. TSUNDDRU | November 9th, 2012 | 5:06 pm

    The burning issue = Tibet’s Independence & Sovereignty.
    Don’t leave it on the back burner no more.

  13. Greg Krystyan | November 10th, 2012 | 6:59 pm

    I respect your words…I will continue reading and bringing this issue to my friends and family. Please continue your good works. Sincerely…greg

  14. Ana Teresa dos Santos Pereira | November 11th, 2012 | 2:39 pm

    WE WANT SOME ACTION ON TIBET.WE SPEAK FOR THE VOICELESS TIBETANS IN TIBET. SHAME ON WHO STAND SILENT. Tutché

  15. Jamyang Tashi | November 12th, 2012 | 10:41 am

    Fellow Tibetans,

    Living in a Democratic society, we have this mentally that somehow, in some odd ways we have to disagree with the governing body to showcase that we are implementing our full Democratic rights. At such a critical time in our history, I don’t think we have any room to disagree; rather we should unite behind our DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED leaders Lobsang Sangay and strive for what our administration stands for.

    Can we stop conjecturing what those selfless brave self-immolators wanted? It is apparent that they are flaming their own bodies because of the grime situation in Tibet such as:
    1) China’s effort to minimize the usage of our language.
    2) Restrictions on religion
    3) Militaristic control of daily lives
    The Tibetan administration understand that, and they also know the “Middle path” is the only feasible short-term solution to end this.

    At the height of British Empire, one of the cruelest strategies they used to control over such a vast territory is known as “Divide and Rule”. They used that to perfection, turning Muslims against Hindus, Christians against Buddhists, and in the end these groups all sought the Empire to step in.

    It is not the Chinese government that is using this strategy on us, because it will never work. But some stubborn/ignorant members of our society are intentionally or unintentionally using this in our societies. Purporting rumors, pointing fingers (they are really good at it), and just whining like a baby whose candy had been taken away, of course the baby didn’t know eating too much candy would decay teeth.

    One of the most hysterical things I have heard from one of them is a plot called “Mosquito attack”, which involves poisoning drinking water in China and just be an irritation to the Chinese government through various virtually impossible means. I laughed till stomach hurt when I heard this kind of senseless solutions from some of these self-known “Reformers/Revolutionary” come up with.

    It is really stupid/naive to say that if something went wrong, Dalai Lama will never get out Tibet because there is no Chu Shi Gang Druk to protect him. Really? Is this the best you can think of? If it were this simple to confine Dalai Lama, China would have invited Dalai Lama ages earlier.

    Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet would bring changes that had never seen before, uniting people of all provinces and religious schools, worst comes worst, Tibetans would lay their lives to protect the Dalai Lama. Tibetan people inside Tibet would never or had never questioned Dalai Lama’s decisions. Remember 2006, after Dalai Lama briefly denounced using animal skins in Tibet, What happened? People came out with thousands of dollar worth of things they valued and burnt them the next day. So we know Dalai Lama’s aspirations are also Tibetan people inside Tibet’s aspiration.

  16. 译者 | 嘉央諾布:用更廣闊的視野看待自焚 - 中国数字时代 | November 12th, 2012 | 12:30 pm

    [...]  探討自焚的原因。原文: MAKE IT A BURNING ISSUE作者:嘉央諾布(Jamyang [...]

  17. Samdup | November 13th, 2012 | 1:12 am

    There is no substance in your writing.Grow up old man! Stop misleading public!

  18. daveno | November 13th, 2012 | 9:22 am

    Its easy to interpret an event to your own taste with call for His Holiness as symbolism of some sort or from syikyong as fulfilling HH wishes.
    Keep your inner thoughts & opinion to yourself,they dont need those shit.

    They are not happy with the current circumstances under chinese rule. Lets face it and do our best to fix it rather than running away from it with the byproduct of these sacrifices.

  19. Ugen | November 13th, 2012 | 12:43 pm

    As usual, just big talks but no solutions. What should we do? After making all these things whatever we want to make, then what should we do? Come on, solutions, solutions and solutions? where are they?

  20. Agu_Tonpa | November 13th, 2012 | 9:18 pm

    As usual, lame criticism to the writer of immense intellect and person of great Patriotism.

    One Wise man( I swear not me) Questioned: Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark, or the man afraid of the light?

    The difference between Jamyang Norbu and the gang v/s cynics(like Ugen,Daveno, J. Tashi, NewGenTB) can be summarise this way:
    Wise people talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.

    Finally, i have to lend this Spanish Proverb: What a fool does in the end, the wise do in the beginning.

    Always,
    Agu

  21. Agu_Tonpa | November 13th, 2012 | 9:27 pm

    Ugen # 18,
    Identifying and Recognising the mistakes or wrong doings comes before the solutions. Sometimes, just undoing the mistakes is a solution.

    I am not sure if you will understand. Nonetheless, Agu is on a mission to enlighten fools like you, as such this attempt.

    Yours loving Agu.

  22. chris | November 14th, 2012 | 3:05 pm

    such great language used in describing the situation, journalism and art, thankyou for taking the care to always choose your words.

  23. གངས་ཅན་པ། | November 15th, 2012 | 12:20 am

    dear sir
    thank you so much for sharing ur thoughts.. i highly appreciate it.
    since someone is asking for a solution.. i think the only thing we can do now is keep the issue alive.. like TALKING about it and WRITING about it..like gen jamyang norbu is doing! and that is what CTA is doing( talking about it..) and let the world THINK about the situation.. the world cannot just react immediately.and i mean it is diplomatic and complicated..
    it is not a maths problem or puzzle that can be solved immediately!! non sense..

  24. DORJI | November 15th, 2012 | 3:48 pm

    a 14 year old boy today. Speechless. wordless. Just want to go there. resist with them. be a nomad. 1000 yaks and sheeps. what else.

  25. NewgenerationTB | November 15th, 2012 | 11:01 pm

    Agu, Jamyang’s patriotism will end with himself. You are already in the process of assimilation too. So, who is wise? Rangzen or middle-way is not just few empty words, it boils down to fact, continuity of generation, continuity of language (not your types of half-baked Tibetan speaker) and so forth. I think Chinese are glad to see you are destroying yourselves slowly while making an ineffective empty slogans from save haven. Good luck your effort to prove yourself right. Tibetans in the so called free world are ever closer to a natural death, than fighting for a free Tibet. Just do an introspection and also observe around your areas. Dont be damning angry, face the reality, the sooner the reality you accept, better it will be for your conscience.

    NG

  26. Sherap | November 16th, 2012 | 4:54 am

    JN take on international medias evading or rather underplaying “Self Immolation” is really impressive but of course he being the Independence Hero, couldn’t contain himself and touched down Independence vs Middle Path. Couldn’t we be unanimous on our opinion ever?

  27. Tenam | November 16th, 2012 | 3:54 pm

    @ 24, so people who speak perfect tibetan language is first class tibetan? is that you’re saying? and what abt some people who speak the “perfect tibetan” but dont speak or even understand thier own dialect whether it be keyrong, amdo, nyarong or jeyrong kay? that is also sad isn’t it? in their pursuit of “assimilation” they too abandoned their own dialect.sorry, i didnt bring this up.

  28. Tenam | November 16th, 2012 | 4:10 pm

    sorry, it should be @25 to NG not @24

  29. Darig Thokmay | November 16th, 2012 | 8:55 pm

    This is really good issue that we must have to raise as much as possible.But, the issue has to be observed from all different aspects, related Tibetan situation !

  30. NewGenerationTB | November 17th, 2012 | 2:50 pm

    Tenam: Whether perfect Tibetan speaker or half-perfect speaker, is a good for intellectual discussion. But the trend is rather worrying in Tibetan community. Think these trends in larger context of national struggle if you think it has to continue for generations. If you think just your own life and next few days, these discussions are becoming meaningless and unnecesary, even sound bit “racist” if you will. Anyway, I am not just raising a point about speaking only, I am raising the “language”, the survival of Tibetan language that we are talking when accusing Chinese for “Cultural genocide”. You can speak any dialects, but the language is the same. I am bit disturbed about the trend of our policy, state of our youths, state of our families, state of our political statements. These is a huge contradiction between saying and act actions. We have the same accussations back in the days until now how China is destroying Tibetan nation through “forced inter-marriage”, “forced sterilization”, and “state sponsored migration of Han Chinese into Tibet”. Back in days, it was just bluntly thrown into political vocabularies everywhere. In recent years, Tibetan leadership issuing more polished accussations. “cultural assimilation” by Sikyong and “cultural genocide” by HHDL are the best vocabularies from our political lexicon. The problem is, today Tibetans are in freedom, willingly commit cultural assimilation and cultural genocide under various pretext including “freedom”. Only difference is, China uses a forceful method to integrate Tibet into CHina’s fold, on the other hand, Tibetans are willingly and out of choice integrate with others. Therefore, I am not propagating a petty political reality, but I am trying to expose a worst trend of our time that will have far damaging impact on Tibetan political struggle in the long run because of own actions rather than Chinese policy. As far as I can see, Tibetan struggle will take a long time to go before a resolution. I dont see any solution in the next few years or decades. Therefore, it is better we should be aware of trend in our communities, so concerned parents, leaders, and activist, should take responsible action before there is no more Tibetan communities left.

    NG

  31. Tenam | November 18th, 2012 | 1:09 am

    New Gen, if you’re content with the status quo, please say so. no need to go into this long rant. Jamyang Norbu is talking about a very burning issue- people self immolating in Tibet,70 in total! and you bring up the issue about Independence and Middle Way and issue of assimilation happening in Exile and so on. i just don’t get it. we’re talking about people’s lives here not about who can or cannot speak perfect tibetan. as for Independence or Middle Way, i want to ask, why cant we seek Independence? if in the bargain we were to get “Middle Way” we can take it. but if tomorrow we were to get Independence, would you still insist only on the Middle way? and your so called “assimilation” in exile that you are so concerned about, in my opinion only education, real education will provide the strongest foundation for such survival that you’re talking about. for now, the issue is about the real self immolations happening in Tibet.

  32. Choephel | November 18th, 2012 | 7:39 pm

    As always, I find your article very insightful. What confounds me, like many other who share similar feeling, is that why our leadership is in such a haste to dismantle every symbol of independant Tibet. The middle way is not only misleading as this not exactly the same like Gandhi’s Satya Graha movement. His was a non-voilent movement. Gandhi made no compromise when it came to standing up for truth. On ther other hand, our leadership is doing a great favor to our enemy. we are dismantling the last symbols of Tibetan independence. I feel proud as a Tibetan I see Lobsang Sangay, Prime Minister, Tibetan Government in Exile, displayed as a caption by Media. Now, gradually, he will be referred as Political Leader, Central Tibetan Administration. I know this is a common feeling shared by many Tibetans. We have done a huge favor to the Chinese by giving up our independence, at least officially. Now what we do is a human rights issue and an internal affairs of PRC. This is largely so because of the credulity of our leadership. My only hope now is for the CTA not to plant a Chinese flag in Gangchen Kishong. I won’t be surprised if it tries.

  33. tashi | November 19th, 2012 | 5:20 am

    we need to unite and make a group to fight .for that we need a assassination training to some sharp guys..use mao’s proverb …”enemy’s enemy is our friend”

  34. Ben | November 19th, 2012 | 7:34 pm

    You made a very perceptive comment about Nelson Mandela that freeing him was not necessarily the solution to South Africa’s problems. Indeed Mandela’s political career before 1961 badly damaged and even split the liberation movement .Since 1994 the South African class divide has worsened. Mandela would also have been far more useful as an exiled leader than an easily recognisable internal guerrilla allied to exceedingly dubious European and Indian upper class activists, who betrayed him in 1962 for challenging their control of the ANC. With Mandela’s release and also that of Aung San Suu Kyi, serious issues were glossed over so foreign interests could gain entry to lucrative markets, and strategic advantages and criminal politicians, police and technocrats could remained unharmed. As you have so clearly argued elsewhere Tibet, is associated but not synonymous with religion and the Dalai Lama. The Chinese regime has already positioned itself to reduce the suppression of Tibet to an issue of who will be the rightful 15th Dalai Lama when its puppet bogus Panchen Lama “recognises” some pampered brat belonging to a politburo member.

    The Tibetan resistance obviously has to take a more militant stance and, like other transnational liberation struggles as the former Eritrean-Ethiopian guerrilla alliance against the Dergue, work in tandem with militant groups opposing the present brutal corrupt dictatorial Chinese regime.

  35. A Salar | November 21st, 2012 | 2:47 am

    In my home town, Xunhua Salar Autonomous County (Tib: Yatse?), a young Tibetan farmer self-immolated just two days ago–the first of such action in Xunhua. Meanwhile, our Palestine brothers are engaged in another round of armed struggle against the Israeli occupiers. It truly saddens me that your Tibetans only know how to “fight” in empty words–none of you dare to blow up a Chinese diplomatic facility. Oh, no, don’t tell me that armed struggle against the Chinese is “suicidal” when your brothers and sisters are killing themselves almost on daily basis. However, don’t take those Westerners seriously when they advocate more “militant” acts. They are mere arm-chair revolutionaries and would be the first ones to chicken out.

  36. 78 today « Dharamshala International Artists' Workshop 2012 | November 21st, 2012 | 12:54 pm

    [...] On the 5th of November, Jamyang Norbu wrote that there had been 70 self immolations in Tibet. (http://www.jamyangnorbu.com/blog/2012/11/05/make-it-a-burning-issue/)  Until today, at least 78 men and women have doused themselves with inflammable liquid, pouring [...]

  37. tenzin choejor zongpa | November 23rd, 2012 | 9:30 am

    jamyang la i was waiting eagerly for your new writings. specially on the self immolations in tibet. nice to finally hear from you. and it was very good as it used to be. thank you.

  38. Tenam | November 26th, 2012 | 4:57 pm

    A salar @35, do not equate us with your Palestinian brothers. Tibetans would NEVER kill innocent people.

  39. Banlaski | November 26th, 2012 | 6:22 pm

    “Tibetans would NEVER kill innocent people”

    What a naked lies. The number of innocent people being killed by the Tibetan rioters backed by exile Tibetan Terrorist group exceeded even the number of Tibetans that self-immolated until now. What a brutal way to justify a lost cause.

  40. Tsering Dorjee | November 27th, 2012 | 2:01 am

    Is that same accounting firm that calculated the Tianamen Square massacre, Mr.Bullaski?

  41. Tenam | November 27th, 2012 | 1:43 pm

    chinese immigrated to Tibet for livelihood, for better future. when in Tibet you respect the host country’s customs, culture and sentiments. and not to disrespect and exploit the host country.especially given that the Tibetans have suffered so much at the hands of the ccp china govt.so the chinese people who lost their lives appear not so innocent after all.

  42. DORJI | November 27th, 2012 | 1:55 pm

    @Balanski
    poor colonialists!!
    poor germans who colonized occupied countries by Nazies, poor poor them. Now please back up your claims, which even if you could do, would not prove your point. “Naive” colonialists chose to go in a war zone. Balanski my ass. Polish know too well the price of colization. Sign with your daddy and mommy name, in chinese characters

  43. Agu Tonpa | November 27th, 2012 | 4:25 pm

    @ NewGenTib #25
    To call Agu a “half-baked Tibetan is like calling Samdhong lama not full-fledge politician.

    Agu is never a half-baked Tibetan speaker, at least in this life because his fluency/command over the language is decent if not excellent.

    I can tell you that you are a shallow guy not worth wasting my time- but my mission is to enlighten people like… so this attempt-

    How can Chinese be happy if we are asking for complete independence? and how are we “destroying” ourselves with this kind of debate? Debate strengthen our democracy but people like you in Dharmsala are acting like communist–in the name of unity trying to curb the freedom of speech which is despicable.

    Remember that JN and other Rangzenwalas are not enemy of Tibetan. We believe that
    1. We have the full right to claim our independence.
    2. Chinese doesn’t deserve to respected with the arrangement of Middle way approach.
    3. Chinese will never entertain our proposal ( at least until now).

    After over 20 years of our efforts to pacify chinese govt. which is really great beyond the imagination of common people like us who even cannot agree to abolish our regional base election because some of us cannot envision ruling by other clan– We are as bad as Afgan warlords in our internal dealings among Utsang Khampas, and Amdos and Geluk, Nyingma, Kague, Bon, Sakya. We were and are barbarian or at least good or bad as any other religious followers of other traditions.
    What i am trying to say here is WE ARE NOT SPECIAL. We are believing too much to the CHinese while hating JN and Rangzenwalas as if they are the one who killed those 1.2 million Tibetan and currently committing “cultural Genocide.”
    I don’t know where and what is THE REALITY that you are talking so much. WHAT IS THE REALITY?- Jamyang Norbu’s writings answers that.
    YOurs Agu

  44. Sangay | November 27th, 2012 | 11:32 pm

    Salar, are you back again with another masqueraded attempt at vilifying our rightful freedom struggle?

    I know you and your boss in Beijing are so impatient to label us as ‘terrorists’ so you guys could roll tanks into Tibet and massacre us like the Tainnamen style.

    Sorry Panda-hugger, our courage & determination to free Tibet and our commitment to non-violence has been proven beyond the shadow of doubt and the world knows about this. Don’t tell me you are dumb! Do I even need to tell you that a man who’s not afraid to self-immolate and die could do ANYTHING??? Nice try though but your bait wont work, as always!

    Tibet belongs to Tibetans and we will free Tibet from Chinas illegal occupation and we will do it in our non-violent Buddhist way! Report this to your boss in zhongnanhai.

  45. A Salar | November 30th, 2012 | 1:44 am

    SANGAY,

    Yes, I’m back because I can’t help telling you how much I despise people like you outside Tibet when your countrymen in Tibet are killing themselves one after another. No, I don’t advocate Tibetans inside Tibet take up arms. Rather, I specifically challenged you guys outside Tibet to blow up Chinese diplomatic facilities–and you can justify that these Chinese diplomats (and spies among them) are not “innocent” people. But dare you?

  46. 唯色 | 王力雄有关藏人自焚文章之英文译文 - 中国数字时代 | December 29th, 2012 | 9:15 am

    [...] all those who demanded for return of the Dalai Lama with demand for Tibet’s independence (see MAKE IT A BURNING ISSUE), the analogy is far-fetched. ·         Self-immolations as actions 14 self-immolators [...]

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