THE MISSING PIECE OF OUR DEMOCRACY PUZZLE
Popular legend has it that Louis XV of France declared “après moi, le deluge”, in a possible prediction of the French Revolution and the end of the French monarchy. The remark can be translated as “after me, the flood,” or if you want things spelled out “after my reign, France will be plunged into death, destruction and chaos.”
His Holiness, of course, cannot be accused of saying anything so crassly vainglorious, but a similar pronouncement about (not by) the Dalai Lama has taken on the stature of a doomsday mantra in exile society: “kyapgon rimpoche shing la phebna tsangma tsarpa ray” or “after the precious protector passes away everything will be finished.” I am sure that many who voice this are sincere but simpleminded devotees, unaware of Tibet’s long history. But other such doomsayers are nothing but cynical courtiers and politicians trying to outdo each other in displays of abject loyalty to the Dalai Lama.
Some of these politicians have been known to use this fear mantra as a starting point for pitching the Middle Way policy and for perpetual negotiations with China. “We must get a deal with China now when His Holiness is alive, no matter how bad a deal it is. After His Holiness passes away everything will be finished and we will get nothing.” Ironically, these negativists, whether they realize it or not, are in lock-step agreement with China’s leaders who are on record as declaring that after the death of this present Dalai Lama the whole Tibet issue would be finished.
I discussed this in a piece “After the Dalai Lama”, for Newsweek in 2002, so I won’t go into it again. I brought it up this time to highlight the extreme personality basis of Tibetan politics. This predominance of personality is not just limited to matters relating to the Dalai Lama but also to secondary players on our political stage; even on the issue of the Kalon Tripa elections which are coming up in 2011. It is clearly visible in the way discussions on the subject are proceeding. They are almost exclusively about personalities. Is it going to be Gyari Rimpoche, or Lobsang Sangye or Lobsang Nyendrak, or Tempa Tsering? There is no debate on what national policies these people actually advocate, or at least favour. There has been even less talk on what the duties and responsibilities of the Kalon Tripa are, and on actually how much power he has constitutionally to initiate or influence policies.
I am not saying that personalities don’t matter in politics. I am all for finding an honest and competent person to be the prime minister of our exile government. But first of all we have to put in place that one indispensable (but missing) institution in our incomplete democratic set-up, the lack of which makes the role of our current Kalon Tripa resemble that of a chanzoe (manager) of a monastery or labrang, and not the prime minister of a democratic nation.
That missing institution is the party system. As I pointed out in my previous posting, what we have is officially described as a “partyless” system, but is in practice a backroom one-party dominance by a religious-loyalist-right wing coalition. The necessity of a party system (which could be a two-party or multi- party) in our governance is not an earth-shattering discovery on my part. Readers have already posted a number of comments on my blog and on Phayul.com calling for the introduction of political parties in exile politics. When I was in Dharamshala this summer and the conversation (inevitably) drifted to the Kalon Tripa business, a surprisingly large number of people told me the Kalon Tripa elections were pointless unless we had them in the framework of a party system.
Samdong Rimpoche was questioned on the need for political parties, in the panel discussion in Dharamshala on June 21 (organized by Gu Chu Sum, TWA and SFT) that I mentioned in my previous posting. He did not sound too enthusiastic in his reply. Rimpoche reiterated the official line about our system being a “partyless” one, and then attempted to put up a justification for that system. He informed the audience that “partyless democracy” was now being discussed everywhere (absolutely not true), and mentioned that Jayaprakash Narayan (JP) and some other Indian political leaders had declared partyless democracy to be a superior system and called for its adoption in independent India. Rimpoche is right about JP’s idealistic vision, but Rimpoche neglected to mention that when JP led the broad movement against Indira Gandhi’s emergency rule and defeated the Congress party at the polls in 1977, he did not even offer a tentative proposal to make India a partyless democracy, but instead presided over the victory of the Janata party which become the next government of India.
It might be mentioned that JP started his political life as a Marxist and took inspiration from the great Indian Communist leader M.N. Roy, who also advocated a partyless democracy. The idea of a partyless or one-party democracy (which pretty much comes to the same thing) is a logical outcome of Marxist elitist thinking, and of course leads to states like the PRC, the Soviet Union, North Korea and so on, where the privileged members of the one party or the partyless party hold unchecked power in perpetuity.
A present day Indian political thinker and electoral reform activist, (coincidently) a Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, has written of the efforts by JP and others to promote partyless democracy as “unalloyed idealism”. In a three-part essay, “Civil Society and Political Parties”, he writes, “it is unimaginable to think of a liberal democratic society without influential political parties. There is no genuine democracy in which parties do not play a dominant and decisive role in both elections and governance. The well-meaning but somewhat naive attempts of idealists to promote partyless democracy have floundered in all countries, including in India.” 
More than merely floundering, this “partyless” model has been used by autocrats and dictators to subvert democracy and the electoral system. In my previous essay I discussed Nepal’s “Partyless Panchayat” democracy, but advocates of such a system should note that they are keeping ideological company not just with royalty as King Mahendra, but with crude dictators like Pakistan’s General Ayub Khan, who launched his “partyless democracy” in 1965. In the eighties, the sinister Zia-Ul-Haq (who resembled the English comic actor Terry Thomas) maintained that a Western-style democracy was unsuitable for Pakistan, and eventually held “party-less” elections in February 1985. Even America’s great ally in the war on terror, General Musharraf, had a go at partyless elections after sending the top leadership of all major parties into exile.
Some Tibetans argue that we have so many problems within our exile political system, that the lack of political parties is only a marginal bit of trouble. For instance our election system, based exclusively on provincial and sectarian lines, contributes significantly to the disunity and conflict in our society. Then there is the dismal lack of public interest and participation in the national elections – especially by the young. According to official figures only about twenty-two percent of Tibetans in exile above the voting age of 18, voted in the last Kalon Tripa elections. There is also the contention that Tibetan society lacks people with leadership qualities and we should therefore accept whoever His Holiness appoints or approves. Another dilemma, and a sore point with educated lay people, is the matter of two votes for monks, and the un-secular nature of our government. Finally there is the very worrisome and critical matter of His Holiness’s age (he is seventy-four) and the fact that he will not be with us for very long. Isn’t it more important that we address these questions before bothering about political parties?
I feel that the introduction of political parties in our national elections for the exile parliament and the prime-minister, is the “wedge” solution to nearly all of our other political problems. By that I mean the introduction of political parties will act as the thin end of the wedge that will force open barriers that at present block not only solutions to, but even discussion of, our many political predicaments and stumbling blocks.
Under the present system none of our fundamental political problems are honestly or seriously discussed by members of parliament or officials, much less confronted and worked out. I am not saying these are dishonest or unintelligent people, but the system is such that in order for them to gain and retain their position, they have to actively resist change, prop up the status quo, and faithfully echo the official line. Merely changing the members of parliament or the Kalon Tripa in 2011 will accomplish nothing.
The much needed changes can only come from outside, through a new national party committed to bringing about the necessary reforms. Of course, this party has to gain a clear popular mandate and win the Kalon Tripa elections and a majority of the seats in parliament. This is of course the ideal scenario. We might end up with a coalition of two or three parties, which would not be as desirable an outcome. But it would still be workable, and definitely a vast and fundamental improvement on the present state of affairs.
If we look at the transformation of former authoritarian states as South Korea and Taiwan to liberal democracies, we can clearly see that the entry of a new outside political party or opposition force, into a previously exclusive and autocratic system, was the turning point for the advent of democracy in that nation.
When a capable Kalon Tripa backed by a progressive political party (with a majority in parliament) should take power, we could, without straining ourselves, envision a bill being introduced into parliament to change our present provincial and sectarian election system. Ditto for the matter of two votes for monks and the question of secular government. Perhaps a national referendum or referenda might be held on those issues, since they are fundamental constitutional questions.
My suggestion for an alternative system (which also has been put forward by others) would be a bicameral parliament with two chambers. The upper house, with representatives of the three provinces and five religious sects would be symbolic of a future independent and democratic Tibet. It would have a limited “review” and advisory role. The members of the lower house would be elected on a proportional basis from every community and center in the exile world, and through a one-person-one-vote electoral system.
The problem of voter apathy might be resolved to some extent by the political parties themselves. They will, of course, have to campaign and create interest among the electorate if there are to be competitive, much less victorious. They will, furthermore, like parties elsewhere, have to enroll and register new voters supportive of their platform. At the moment absolutely nothing is being done by the exile government; only the usual blaming and scolding by officials about how Tibetan youth have no patriotism or simshug etc.
The allegation about our society not having anyone with leadership qualities is also a pathetic canard that can easily be refuted. Perhaps people with such attributes aren’t conspicuous in the administration, because the very requirements of leadership: curiosity, initiative, boldness, courage, intellectual rigor and independent thinking are actively discouraged in such circles. But once young Tibetans escape from the confines of mainstream exile society they appear to be capable of great self-motivation and enterprise. In my travels and talks I regularly come across young Tibetans, men and especially women, who appear confident, professional, outspoken, progressive and challengingly intelligent. If you were demanding the ideal leadership resume, you could perhaps point to little little gaps here and there, but nothing, I unreservedly maintain, that a little time and experience would not fill in and smooth over nicely. Such meetings and encounters always leave me with a reassuring feeling about our future, which is not a normal experience for me in Tibetan politics.
Even the flood of new refugees (sarjor) from Tibet, some of whom though possibly traumatized in one way or the other by their experiences, are at least not burdened with the culture of subservience that the exile education system (for all its impressive achievements) has imposed on our children. The educated newcomers provide a fresh pool of potential leaders with the crucial emotional proximity to Tibet (which many of us earlier exiles have lost in some ways) and with the invaluable knowledge and (welcome) distrust of China’s leadership.
However critical I am of His Holiness’s policies, I am convinced (and I have said this before) that the institution of the Dalai Lama is absolutely necessary, not only for the continued functioning of our exile government but even more as a living symbol of our national struggle. Yet I believe that the survival of this sacred institution is dangerously uncertain, especially when we consider the decline of our religious institutions and the progressive weakening of the exile government. The only way to turn this around is through the democratization of our exile-government and the political empowering of our exile society – starting with the introduction of political parties. I wrote an article “The Jewel In The Ballot Box” for Phayul.com, quite a few years ago where I discussed these questions. I will reissue it on this website very soon.
Which leads us to the most important question of how our Rangzen Struggle relates to the democratization of our exile society. I wrote in Rangzen: The Case For Independent Tibet that: “To the oppressed people of Tibet, democracy represents not only a goal of eventual freedom from Chinese tyranny but also the best hope for a truly just and equitable government of their own choice. As such, the promise of a true democratic Tibet will be an effective repudiation of Chinese propaganda claims that Tibetan independence would mean a reversion to theocratic feudalism. Hence democracy becomes a potent weapon for the cause and its genuine and effective implementation in our exile-society an absolute necessity for the credibility of the Freedom Struggle.”
Yet, many national liberation and independence struggles have been successfully conducted by organizations and societies not necessarily democratic. A case could be made that in such struggles the priorities are discipline, focus, and obedience to a single commander rather than parliamentary debates and democracy. On the other hand, freedom struggles, even violent ones, have been waged successfully by essentially democratic movements as in the case of America, India, and Israel. These movements also avoided the subsequent chaos, internecine violence, oppression and mass murder of its citizens, which invariably followed the “liberation” of Communist China, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea and other totalitarian and authoritarian countries.
The idea of strong leadership, discipline and obedience is an attractive one to many young activists. For a time I was an enthusiastic follower of Gyalo Thondup. GT (as we called him) undeniably made a major contribution to our struggle in the fifties and sixties. Yet his capriciousness, absence of the democratic spirit, and a “my way or the highway” operating philosophy, created much of the political confusion and stagnation we are mired in now. Tibetans need to mature and look to themselves rather than strong-men (miwang), high-born lamas (kyebhu-dhampa), scions of the yabshi, or “a-man-on-a-white-horse” (as Americans might put it), to save them, or at least take care of their political problems.
Right now the Struggle is effectively emasculated since all organizations and groups worldwide, working and struggling for Tibetan freedom, lack any political power, and have absolutely no input in the decision making process of the exile-government. The Tibetan Youth Congress, Students For A Free Tibet and many other Rangzen-based groups are doing tremendous work but their operating budgets are minuscule and they find it increasingly difficult to raise support and money for their campaigns. On the other hand, a completely self-serving agency like the International Campaign For Tibet (ICT), with fancy offices (more suited to a corporation) and generous salaries for senior functionaries, essentially vacuums up whatever funds there are available for the Tibetan cause, and ensures that no one else gets even close to it.
Rangzen activists are fighting Communist China not just with one hand tied behind their backs (as the expression goes) but more precisely, with both hands and feet hog-tied behind them – and their mouths effectively gagged and taped shut.
Much of the international impact of the tremendous revolutionary events in Tibet last year was simply neutralized by the self-serving comments of China’s foreign propagandists and “barefoot” experts, and squandered away by the confusing and insanely self-destructive statements and actions originating from Dharmshala, and retailed in the west by the International Campaign for Tibet and others. Those who believe in Rangzen must reclaim the debate on Tibet so that the actual aspirations of the people inside Tibet are clearly represented to the world.
It is quite possible, the way Communist China is intensifying its repressive ethnocidal policies in Tibet, that another major, even critical, uprising could take place in Tibet in the foreseeable future. Because of this year’s conflict in East Turkestan, there is a possibility that events in Tibet could overflow into Central Asia, and perhaps even into China proper, where income gaps are ever widening, corruption is pandemic, and the once illusory hope of reform, rule of law, possibly even eventual democratization, has been irrevocably lost.
The only possibility for such a far-reaching, once-in-a lifetime strategic opportunity to be seized and acted on, not frittered away like last year, would be if a strong national party, committed to Rangzen and democracy, were to win the Kalon-Tripa and parliamentary elections and, with the blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, legitimately takes over the government-in-exile.
Jayaprakash Narayan “Civil society and Political parties” India Together Mon 28 Sep 2009. (Dr. Narayan is founder and coordinator at Lok Satta, the people’s movement for governance and electoral reforms.)
80 Replies to “Waiting for Mangtso II”
In general, since I’m not Tibetan, I wouldn’t think it was my business to intrude in a discussion among Tibetans about your political future. But the failings of the two-party system in the U.S.A. have lately become so glaring that I thought I would offer this anyway, for what little it may be worth.
In his farewell address to the nation, George Washington expressed the hope that political parties would not take hold in the U.S. Among his remarks about the “spirit of party” were the following:
“It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
“There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.”
The two-party system in the U.S. has finally culminated in a state of intractable polarization from which I don’t think the country will really recover. I see Prof. Norbu’s point about ostensible “no-party systems” really being one-party systems, but might it not still be possible to organize democratic opposition to the current policies around issues, without forming permanent parties that will be the sources of future disunity? In any case, I think the appearance of political parties among Tibetans would make it all the more important to retain the unifying influence of HH Dalai Lama’s position, just as Jamyang Norbu la has suggested. Maybe the founding of parties will be necessary, but I hope people will consider the disadvantages as well as the advantages.
I have read your earlier article on the same theme and also this one. I found these articles very serious; something that I have long been thinking. I hope these articles prove an awakening means.
Thupten K. Rikey
As long as Tibetan monks are hung from ceilings and tortured , as long as Tibetan nuns are raped and violated, as long as Tibetan children lose their fathers and mothers, as long as the CCP thrashes Tibet for simply being Tibetan and not chinese, no one should ever dream that, through talking or wishing or dreamimg,anything will change.
60 years of talking, waiting, hoping and suffering for the people of Tibet.
The true tragedy is that western politicians, companies and consumers have not only allowed this to happen but have financed it and continue to do so.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has a universal message. He cannot carry this burden and should not be depended upon to FREE TIBET !
His Holiness is here for mankind´s sake and not solely for Tibetans and their Cause.
What complicates things is that Tibetan Buddhism is number one on HH´s list.
As Tibetans are dying in Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism is being watered down to suit Westerners and their search for something that we lost whilst destroying any culture that got in our way as we conquered the world.
Maybe we never had it in the first place.
The USA is built on the bones of “native Americans ” so I wouldn´t expect any help from them either.
The sooner Tibetans take their matters into their own hands ( His Holiness wants a democratic society ) the better.
To be for Tibetan independence is not to be against His Holiness and if Tibet is not freed, both the people and the religion of Tibet will be lost.
Point taken about the failure of the two-party system in the USA. I live in the rural South so I personally experience the limitations of American democracy. Still, because you have the two-party system you at least get a welcome change with Obama. If you had a one party or partyless system the odds are we would end up with George Bush types forever.
It is the business of friends who care about Tibet to offer suggestions, criticism, ideas and also support. We welcome them.
Few weeks back, I watched the VOA’s Kunling program. That was a discussion with Mr. Gyari Lodoe Gyaltsen on the topic of the trip of His Holiness to USA. On that discussion, he said that he had a bigger hope and belief that the Mr. Obama’s government would do much more than what the Mr. Goege W. Bush’s government did. He was proving his standpoint with given some illustrations like by explaining that there are more people in Mr. Obama’s government than the Mr. Geoge W. Bush’s government who are aware of Tibet issue, especially he mentioned that the general Secretary Hillary Clinton is a long time admirer of Tibet and His Holiness, and said that during the era of Mr. Geoge W.Bush, the president himself was taking a big responsibility to the Tibet issue, but his cabinets were not involving in it actively. He also does believe that the Mr. Obama’s government sent a special delegation to Dharamsala on last month was a tremendous progressive approach to the Tibet issue ever. He strongly believes it would be the sowing seed of the future political support.
I personally feel that his perception and hope on current USA government is little irrational and baseless through on the political and economical perspectives. Because, as we know that the situation of USA is completely different from the era of prior to the Mr. Obama has taken the government over. USA right now has been sung in the deep economic crisis, and it was the triple of the economic depression in 1930, some of the economic expert is claiming that it needs almost 30 years for USA to get back to the track in 2007. Just because of his crisis, almost whole the European countries got affected and they were also falling in deep depressions which they had never experienced ever. Whereas, China did not get much affected, although, many of their quantum of exports and foreign investments have has been vastly declined, but still they can maintain in normal by applying the policy of domestic consumptions. Hence, their pocket is still full of money. Therefore, USA does not have any other option that they can get back to the track without the cooperation of China. The Mr. Obama’s government is being forced to act a so called “pussycat” before the Chinese government. This is the merely reason that the USA president Mr. Obama has been accused of bowing to Chinese pressure and snubbing the His Holiness as he prepares for a Sino-US summit in Bejing in November. This is the first time that His Holiness will not be received at the white house since 1991. Mr Obama government said it was not because of the pressure has been imposed by the Chinese government but it is somehow because of the mutual benefit of both USA and Tibet. If it is so, I would like to raise some of my doubts that they are:
Why they do not meet His Holiness before Mr. Obama is going to Bejing?
If it is benefit to Tibet, then why they do not listen some of our views before he is going to raise the Tibet issue in Bejing?
Why the president has chosen not to meet His Holiness till the time he finish his trip to China?
Dear friends: do you think it was really a reason to say that not to meet His Holiness in the white house is some thing good to Tibet also? Do you really think that they still would stand on the point that they are holding as saying that they are not being pressurized by the Chinese government? For me, I really can not find any reason that can show me that what is the USA doing could be correct in the sense that they are doing it on some wider issues. There was no reason rather than the reasons of the pressurizations of the Chinese government in particular in this time.
Mr. Gyari Lodoe Gyaltsen still strongly clarified that this time His Holiness was not going to meet with the President was decided by both the Tibetan & USA delegations through long time of discussions. He said that meeting president and higher officers of any concern country should based on a proper and appropriate time and situation, thus, he meant that this time was not a proper and appropriate time for His Holiness to meet the President. Especially this time they were more concern on science and educational interaction rather than to proclaim or raise the political issue. He was somehow looks very understandable on this issue, But I was shocked when I saw the programs of the His Holiness in USA, because many of the programs were directly related to political only, for instance, press conference etc. therefore, it shows that Mr. Gyari Lodoe Gyaltsen’s statement somewhere is getting contradict. Be honestly, I think that actually they is no point the His Holiness not to meet the President this time. This was just a excuse that he wanted it just being provoked in a level that our people can think the way which the USA is saying. Therefore, I feel that Mr.Gyari Lodoe Gyaltsen is really in an over trust on USA and he himself I think is keeping in a very beautiful dream yet. I think as being a special representative of His Holiness, he should not hide the real thing and then explaining in a very irrational and illogic way.
Well,OBama won the nobel peace prize today for doing nothing but showing ‘potential’ for the world and right after he had snubbed meeting a noble peace prize winner in H.H. If that is not irony, then I don’t know what is. Are they going to start giving noble prizes to babies in the future based on their genes for ‘potentiality’ too? I am not saying he will not be a person who is worthy of that award but to honor somebody before the deeds is like counting your eggs before the game is done. As Kenny Rogers sang in ‘the gambler’, you don’t count your money while siting at the table. In any case, back to the topic at hand.
I do like the idea of two party system much more than any other system (max three) as I have observed what a parliamentary system can do to a country in Canada and India. And we all know what one party system can do for a country. Sure, two party system has its flaws but I believe it is very effective in maintaining consistency and keep the disruption to the minimum unlike the parliamentary system with minor parties shifting position before the term and creating situations for early elections – repeatedly. One party must have a clear majority to at least push their ideas to the forefront for the term and if the people don’t like it, they will be voted out the next term. Democracy by its very nature is a reflection of humanity, it takes into account that we are flawed and thus seeks to create counter measures and checks and balances as a preemptive measure to create the least amount of damage to society (The reason why the term limit is two!!). It doesn’t pretend to seek a utopian society which has consistently crumbled without fail time and again.
One Vote – One person is so rudimentary for a democratic society that I even feel ashamed that I have to keep fighting for it. It is so simple and a basic necessity for a functioning democracy that if you are seriously making excuses for it, you don’t deserve to ever utter the word ‘democracy’ after that.
Liberation of Tibet should be the first agenda of HHDL not grooming the global morality or inter religious harmony.
He should strive for first objective of freeing 6 million Tibetans which is smaller and more achievable goal that targeting for 6 billions souls.
‘Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others’ and our version of democracy has its many flaws. But it is infinitely better than the tyranny that our compatriots in our homeland live under. For the sake of legitimacy of our Exile Government I urge all eligible Tibetans to participate actively, study the issues and candidates and vote. Personally I would vote for a candidate who stands for all the changes, so eloquently articulated above, and he/she may not be elected, but that’s democracy.
On another note, I am not going to vote for Obama again, for snubbing His Holiness. He will have to make major amends to earn my vote this time.
Thank you Gen Jamyang Norbu lak.
I think you have brought an essential part of where Tibetan nation is heading in the coming futures, for that I am deeply joyful for you and many other Tibetans who are always putting different levels of input for the future of our nation’s spirit.
It be said, I would like every one of us to use creative ideas that are based upon our Tibetan people’s ancient wisdom and history, trying to create long term (for Generations) stable intellectual debate and opinion sharing habit within our community.
For example. a weekly community sharing with people in circle can exchange ideas on how to maintain and prosper Tibetan Spirit, together with the encouragement for musics and talent of different kinds to also share and learn. Such community in our time can be attained long tern as well.
No matter what we should try to close the distance gap that we have within Tibetan diaspora by preparing new ways of communication
for my last point, “Cyber War” has been launched on key issues of what Tibet is. The Chinese government is paying its people in secrecy, making video all over the youtube and other site, to trying the bring the government version of Liberation of Tibet…..
I think We Tibetans Should come on this Golden Opportunity to Attack back with evidence, with real stories, people, and the history books, to make is clear, that CCP have been washing the brains of chinese ethnic race with lies……………… Internet War is a legitimate war that we all Tibetans should come together…….. This can make a billion difference….
Your stuff is high level and very good.
Now what should we public exactly do to achieve this multi-party democracy? Should we petition/signature campaign the parliament, kashag, HH? Should we if necessary stage protests and demonstrations and hunger strikes to pressure our govt to deliver the transformation of our system? And what else?
Or give a speech or write an article once in a while about the importance of multi-party democracy and then sit back and hope things will change on its own?
Let me know soon.
Thank you as always
I’ve been very much appreciating your writing going steadily further into questioning all of the nitty-gritty of what electoral systems are appearing to achieve well functioning ‘democratic’ governance, and that you have formed an opinion, apparently favoring a ‘2 to max. of 3 party system’. I just can’t agree with that though, simply because it appears to me that multi-party electoral systems, and with proportional representation(key), has so far come closest to instituting truly democratic governance. It is said that democratic governance is meant to be a messy affair, and so the more difficult it is for anyone/party to form a government, the better, since it forces each to take into consideration the views of the others, therefore being more likely to lead toward government policies that come closest to the centre of what the populace wants collectively.
You mentioned about Canada’s Parliamentary system (haha), just to add for commentary since I do not participate in Canadian politics, is that, they basically are just in need of proportional representation to become modern, this is the sticking point in Canadian politics right now. At the same time, and what I find amusing and more interesting to be observing, is how Canadians are so so weary of the realities of the political scene. This basically is showing that Canadians would rather not have to be political! As far as I can tell, this is because they are basically a society very close to the Americans, though yes a little different too, and are fed essentially the same cultural baby pablum daily as are Americans, the result being that the majority are essentially close to brain dead if you were to ask them any kind of serious political question on anything! So that is what you really have to be careful about, is to make sure that your democratic institutions will function to REQUIRE engagement of the electorate, so that every citizen lives their life with a genuine awareness of their individual political responsibility in society.
Still, I think ‘democratic societies’ can do a lot better. I like Ngawang Losel’s thoughts on how to invoke Tibet’s cultural traditions to ensure long-term stability and community exchange to maintain proper Tibetan spirit. I feel this is important, and, going beyond the questions of how government may be formed and may function, is that it fully understands and institutionalizes freedom, a basic human right that can hardly be said to exist anywhere in the world today, certainly I am not aware of anyone around me who is free, as they are almost all the personal property of the British Monarch, and basically lead subservient lives, the so called rat race.
So, just to share a couple of ‘ideas’ coming from my nation’s league’s governing institution as cultural institution:
1) Each official gathering of national representatives only takes place after a meticulous lead up of an elaborate international communications protocol has taken place. The beginning of a Grand Council assembly is begun with the oration of collective traditions, to offer thanksgiving, and to clear the minds of all present to become unified in focus of the purpose at hand. The debating protocol is fully circumscribed by cultural dimensions/meaning, and assures purposeful deliberations and a fully transparent process of checks and balances wherein all representatives views have equal weight.
Anyway, that is a cursory mentioning of some of the essence, and I’m just thinking that this beautiful poetic quotation you have at the start of your blog might perhaps be the kind of element from Tibetan cultural understanding that perhaps would find regular invocation for your society’s governing institutions/protocols?
2) Is that our governing ‘institution’ at the community level, in the sense of the actual physical location, is the extended family home. Various councils can take place at various times & for various occasions. One thing that is, I believe, of very exceptional importance to my society’s ability to maintain what I observe to be an incomparable level of societal peace, harmony and regular/natural advancement, is that children are always welcomed as a part of whatever is taking place, their natural growing curiosities are appreciated & respected in equal measure to everyone else’s, and in fact certain elements of our most key/sacred cyclical festivals which reinforce our cultural traditions are initiated by the children in their natural process of discovering the natural world around them. This is beautiful! Are there any other governments in the world that function with such wholistic understanding and consideration of each member of society?
Billy, would you please repeat it one more time please? I felt like I walked into a thick fog of sentences.
What is all the discussion about? Change of leadership? This debate platform is mainly for Pro-democracy to pour their illogical reasons for sidelining Kundon. (The comment posted against are deleted.) Just imagine the likes of JN (or those backed by likes of JN) taking the reign of exile government. It would be most disastrous moment in our history. Who is going to give value to their leadership? It will be like Nepali politicians who are important players (king makers) but earns no respect of the society. If you want strategies changed, come with the clear policy and challenge the candidates in the upcoming election of Katri and ATPD. You do have platform to prove your worth with regard to any Issues. Just referring to change is not enough.
We need the leadership who is trusted and revered by majority, if not all, not the one who has partial fans (who create divisions or faction in the society in the name of democracy). Otherwise, we would use up whole time debating for and against the candidate or his policy and other crucial issues will be sidelined. Nepal is also facing the same situation as who will lead the government. There is no concensus to one party or leadership. Therefore, though we (Nepal) have government, it is toothless to implement the policies and mandate given by the people. If the state of affaires continues like this, there will be time when the country will totally come to stand still or collapse. So, think hard before jumping to any conclusion.
Dave is right (ref. comment No. 1). To bring change in the political set up of exile government at this stage can be suicidal as it will polorized rather than unite our people. May be later! Educate the readers of the disadvantages and consequences (of the change)along with advantages. I think the disadvantages will out do the advantage (multiparty system).
Thanks Jamie for at least admitting that we don’t have a democracy (you called us Pro-democracy). If you think having democracy is illogical, then you are clearly out of topic. The rest of your banter has no meaning since this article is about changes within our ‘democratic’ structure.
In reference to comment #14, thank you for your support, Jamie, but I wasn’t really saying no change is necessary,just that there could be disadvantages to organizing around political parties rather than around specific issues. I’m a great admirer of both HH Dalai Lama and Jamyang Norbu la, who have both devoted their lives to the cause of Tibet. His Holiness wants democratic rule for Tibetans, and the function of democracy is to resolve disagreements fairly. If there were no disagreements, there would be no need for democracy.
Hi Jamyang Norbu la,
You are very popular so I would like to know your
opinion on BEP-Basic Education Policy (Pros/Cons)
I am totally against it. It is not appropriate for the Indian born Tibetans. I have ask questions on BEP to most of the educated Tibetan
activists but so far no one wants to touch on it. I hope you will response here or write an article on Tibetan Review. Thank you and hopefully, hear from you. Bod Gyalo.
I there is any hope to hear a response, JN is your best bet.
The reason for the silence, in my assumption is that there isn’t a BEP. A BEP that would involve critical thinking. It is better to let an outsider to lead us than to have our own people.
On the other hand I saw this article on Phayul, few days ago but i am unable to find it.
One of the very first thing HHDL did on arrival at Dharamsala was to draft the Charter of Tibetan democracy.
I believe it was sincere effort. Over the years, he could not improve upon it due to bickerings among the constuents, based on Cholkas and Cholugs. We now realize that contituents based on traditinal rergions was a bad mistake. On realization of this weakeness HHDL supported a 1983 TYC petition to ammend the Charter. This too was a sincere effort.Unfortunately the ammendment could not be effect due to fierce opposition from certain traditional leaders. From then on, the Tibetan saying” the cow may die, but the disease will not yield” commenced. The cow is still alive- sick and frail.
JN’s writings failto be recieved from a right perspective and thus being percieved and anti-Dalai.
To Jamyang Norbu, I am a UK citizen born and bred and a long -time supporter of Tibetans in exile and the preservation of the sacred Tibetan Buddhist teachings and texts. I am an academic Philosopher (with a traditional western education) and also a translator.
Its tiring to read so called educated modern Tibetans overtly criticise the Dalai Lama and his administration. The ONLY reason people from other countries have any interest in Tibet is because of the Dalai Lama and the rich spiritual heritage of Tibetan Buddhism…Anyone thinking other than that is just kidding themselves. They are not interested in Tibet because of people like Jamyang Norbu. The Tibetans are one of the luckiest group of people in the world to have such a leaders as the Dalai Lama and Samdhong Rinpoce with integrity and wisdom. Everyone needs to keep their eye on the bigger picture here….I trully hope Tibetans don’t hand over their power and heritage to a ‘westernised’ Tibetan intent on making ‘Tibet’ like a western democracy with all its flaws and focus on material progress and consumption….they would lose so much.
In fact, the main reason Tibetans were able to live in India and were given visas from western countries such as the US, UK and Canada was a result of the tireless efforts of the Dalai Lama and his administration. Ingratitude in the face of such kindness is pretty ugly. Of course criticism should be encouraged but balanced with wisdom and knowledge about the actual situation as well. I dread to think how life for Tibetans in exile would have developed under the leadership of westernised Tibetans like yourself, who cite your influences as Orwell and Leys. I would have liked to have seen you do half the things the Dalai Lama has done.
One of the most awful observations in your book of essays Shadow Tibet, at least for the spiritual seekers who flocked to Dharamshala in the 70s and 80s, is that by re-empowering the religious establishment they stifled more modern and healthy secular interests among Tibetans in favor of a return to everything that was magical and mystical about Tibet. As Norbu … Read morewrites, “Through their constant disdain of Western rationalism, democracy and science, Western travelers effectively discouraged Tibetan curiosity about the West, and encouraged Tibetans to revert to their old and fatal way of dealing with reality by burying their heads in the sands of magic, ritual and superstition.” Things went downhill for Tibetan democracy after that, beginning with a period of an unrealistic interest in Communism, with the Dalai Lama himself leading the way with his statements about the similarities between Buddhism and Communism.’
This is shocking writing and very misleading. To blame westerners for Tibetan people’s woes is very ugly when one considers the great kindness western countries have shown Tibetans in terms of offering visas and financial support. It also completely ignores the centuries old history of TIBETAN magic, ritual and supersition. One can’t erase or discourage that in a couple of decades!! A few thousand Dharma bums are not enough to make Tibetans less rational and more religious. The way you portray Tibetans as further victims here of western romanticism is patronising and false. It also defies rationality and common sense, the very thing you seem so intent on encouraging Tibetans to have!
We’ve all seen what happens when we try and impose western values and culture on alien cultures….look at India, it’s a democracy now but most of the people are still dirt poor and uneducated! Having a democracy is meaningless unless it is accompanied with cultural change as well such as education, human rights, equality for all people regardless of colour or gender. Asian countries in particular seem to suffer from a peculiar brand of racism where anyone with brown or black skin is viewed as inferior. This has to change too doesn’t it?
I completely agree with Jamie’s comments on this issue: expressed like a true western rationalist and very accurate and intelligent. The kind of insight that JN admires so why would he delete comments against his view of Pro-Democracy? Surely thats not democratic or free either is it? Tibetans and westerners that don’t agree with JN’s views with good reasons should be heard and allowed into the debate. Not censored at the first opportunity. Otherwise it will look like Tibetans have learned more from China than they thought and are just using the word ‘democracy’ without any substance. Democracy has to operate with free expression and free media.
My point essentially is this: the desire to impose on Tibetan people a ‘western-style’ democracy led by a few newly ‘westernised’ Tibetans is bound to fail when the vast majority of Tibetans are a) deeply religious b) devoted to the Dalai Lama c) have very different values and belief to westerners and d) lacking in basic human rights, needs, education and so on. You’re talking about trying to turn back centuries of history and culture by having a political structure called ‘democracy’ in place. Have you not learned anything from what has happened in India? Educating people and basic human rights is way more important than having a democracy…without a minimum level of education then democracy cannot function well at all.
The Dalai Lama and his administration have consistently emphasised the importance of education over political change, perhaps because in their great wisdom they realise this as well. That’s why they have set up TCV schools in India, where still the majority of Indian children do not have access to a school education. The Dalai Lama should be congratulated for trying to educate Tibetan children in India.
JN takes another swipe at the Dalai Lama administration here:
Perhaps people with such attributes aren’t conspicuous in the administration, because the very requirements of leadership: curiosity, initiative, boldness, courage, intellectual rigor and independent thinking are actively discouraged in such circles. But once young Tibetans escape from the confines of mainstream exile society they appear to be capable of great self-motivation and enterprise. In my travels and talks I regularly come across young Tibetans, men and especially women, who appear confident, professional, outspoken, progressive and challengingly intelligent.
Lets face it, JN wants Tibetans to be like Westerners. How sad for Tibetans that they think like this. Have they not seen any of the huge social problems facing westerners today? Does JN not see any merit at all in humility, patience and having less opinions? Since when did being outspoken become so great? It seems as if JN has ‘fallen completely in love’ with Western culture and forgottedn the deep, profound wisdom of Tibetan culture, embodied by people like the Dalai Lama and Samdhong Rinpoche, the view of impermanence, selflessness. Oh how I wish the UK had politicians of this calibre in our government! Instead we have ego-driven personalities intent on personal gain and fame. Do Tibetan people really want to replace people like the Dalai Lama with Tibetan lay people with only a western education and no real inner wisdom?
No offence but JN’s views come across as not only “the wings of a fly beating against a boulder” but also as ‘ a fly trying to fly higher and faster than an eagle’.
The eagle being the Dalai Lama and Samdong Rinpoche.
Although this is a bit off topic, as I said in a previous post, I also have a huge problem with JN’s sloppy accusation in Shadow Tibet that western travellers to Dharamsala in the 70’s and 80’s: ‘Through their constant disdain of Western rationalism, democracy and science, Western travelers effectively discouraged Tibetan curiosity about the West’
Absolutely no proof whatsoever for such a blanket claim. In fact, those western travellers were often the most highly educated westerners who had seen through the futility of progress, technology and science if it is not tempered by compassion and wisdom. Those westerners had realised that science does not have all the answers. Those westerners opened the door and encouraged Tibetans to learn english (many of them offering their time for free to teach english to Tibetan refugees), to discuss western ideas of freedom and democracy. Those westerners were the people who got Tibetans interested in western culture and ideas. With their free-thinking, free dress code. western music and so on. They didn’t get interested in western culture by reading Jamyang Norbu. MTV and backpackers has had far more to do with young Tibetans’ interest in the West than anything he or his contemporaries have written. Its hard to take JN seriously after reading such sloppy thinking and writing.
To target the West as the culprit for Tibetan’s lack of interest in democracy etc. misses the point completely and ignores hundreds of years of Tibetan culture and history. Has JN ever considered that the vast majority of Tibetans might not be interested in democracy because they a) have total devotion to the Dalai Lama (despite much contact with western culture via TV), b) they are for the most part devout Buddhists, c) they have huge distrust of politicians and the so -called political process, d) they are living under brute force and intimidation in Tibet governed by a country that has a written constitution that is not respected. Do you seriously think having some semblance of democracy with the Tibetan government in exile can restore Tibet to Tibetans? Do you not think there are far more pressing issues than establishing democratic parties? Are you seriously saying that you and your supporters could have done a better job than the Dalai Lama at helping Tibetans in exile? Such naivety can only harm Tibet and Tibetans. Even if what you say were correct, by undermining the Dalai Lama and his administration you play right into the hands of the Chinese communists.
Okay, post #24 should have been the first since it is evident that it is what pained you most. We are grateful for all the western and Indian benefactors. We need no reminding of that. I think you shouldn’t take JN’s writings too personally though. JN has lot more western friends of every stripe from the 70’s and 80’s than any other Tibetan and he likes them very much.
On the other hand he is frustrated by the castrating influence of those western travellers(with rich parents lot of times)on the Tibetan youth. These westerners go back after a time and go on with their normal lives such as running their parents business or whatever, but the Tibetan youths are stuck in Dharamsala and other little Indian towns with no prospect of owning even a small strip of land no matter what. Their survival is dependent upon being realistic. So the goal of those two different group of people are completely different.
My point is: At this point western democracy is the fairest form of governing people. No matter how deep and vast Tibetan Buddhism may be, and how wonderful and kind the practioners of it are, majority of the Tibetans have to live in the real world. We need not to lose our goal of one day going back to hour homeland. If our people lose their focus we are giving up not only our nation but the lives of many of our people inside Tibet. There are few hundred thousand Tibetans in India who have more power to influence the western world than the those inside Tibet. Let’s face it no matter what anyone say UN is a western concept and no matter how corrupt and selfish it is it is the one that decides the fate of little nations.
I admire His Holiness and other religious figures but when they give up Tibetan independence it is bewildering. It is a cause for which thousands and thousands of Tibetans have given up their lives. And They are still dying in Tibet for it. No matter how many people dislike JN for whatever reason, for many of us he is the only person who had been consistent in the fight for Tibetan independence. Now some people might say “why doesn’t he go and fight phyisically in Tibet?” He can fight more effectively by writing about our cause.
I hope the only reason westeners are interested in Tibet is becuase of Tibetan Buddhism and His Holiness. That will be so depressing that I won’t be able to sleep. Just kidding. I am sure we will survive.
Correction: Bloody hell,(Yeah Tibet too has swearers)I made a mistake in my second last sentence. It should go on like this: I hope the only reasons westerners are interested in Tibet are not Tibetan Buddhism and His Holiness. I hope some of them are interested also because of the Tibetan culture and the genuine struggle of the Tibetan people.
It’s odd that you conclude your arguments against Prof. Norbu thus:
“Having a democracy is meaningless unless it is accompanied with cultural change as well such as education, human rights, equality for all people…”
This, of course, is an important part of what JN has been saying all along. And, along with the TCV schools and so on, the democratic polity among exile Tibetans was the creation of HH Dalai Lama, not Jamyang Norbu. So if you oppose its functioning as intended, I’m afraid it is you who “undermine the Dalai Lama.”
But finally, if you are a dharma person as you seem to imply, how do you justify the anger and spite you direct at a sincere person who is only trying his best to save the cradle of Vajrayana Dharma from destruction? It may be too early to tell who is “playing into the hands of the Chinese” (I’m thinking more likely you than Jamyang Norbu.) But in the meantime, all sides should be heard respectfully.
(And you’ll notice that your posts and others that disagree with JN have not been removed; in fact, he has imported dissenting comments from the Phayul website for consideration here.)
You say:’I admire His Holiness and other religious figures but when they give up Tibetan independence it is bewildering. It is a cause for which thousands and thousands of Tibetans have given up their lives. And They are still dying in Tibet for it.’
Is it really that bewildering?? Sorry but how would you deal with the question of getting at least some basic human rights for people still living in Tibet? All out war with China? Sanctions? Terrorism? Peaceful protest? Democracy? None of thos options would make any difference I’m afraid. It is you that needs to be realistic here and listen to the vast wisdom of your leader the Dalai Lama who the whole world respects and listens to (even Chinese dissidents respect him).It is the Dalai Lama who is being realistic. And how on earth would you implement such policies if you did manage to kick out the Chinese soldiers? Force all Chinese to leave Lhasa? I would hope that Tibetans might see that might be difficult. What is it exactly that you find so ‘bewildering’ about the Dalai Lama’s approach? Most people (including those westerners you and JN admire so much, think his policy is the wisest one possible in the circumstances). With human rights and autonomy freedom is possible. Demanding freedom when most Han Chinese don’t have that is asking rather too much. It is your approach which is trully bewildering.
Dave: This is a free world and I’m entitled to my opinions, i.e I totally support the Dalai Lama and his administration’s stance on Tibet and completely support his efforts to set up the TCV schools in India (I think you must have misunderstood what I wrote there). I was saying how admirable it was that the government in exile did all that, despite the fact that most children in India do not have a free education. Many Tibetan children at those schools are sponsored by westerners though, another reason why JN’s baseless attack on western travellers is deeply offensive. I know so many westerners, including myself that have offered their time and money to tibetan refugees in nepal and India.
In terms of spite, have you read some of JN’s swipes at the Dalai Lama administration in his post above? He talks of ‘simple-minded devotees’ or cynical hacks. Hardly nice stuff is it? Guess what goes around comes around. Its time for some real intelligent debate and analysis of JN’s writings and opinions which from what I’ve seen so far do not stand up to much logical or factual scrutiny.
Sorry to burst your Tibetan Freedom bubble but I think your post sums up the main problem with some young Tibetans today and that is their total naivety when it comes to understanding the politics and culture of the West.
I can assure you of this. The MAIN reason that most westerners are interested in Tibet is because of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism. What else has Tibet done which would be of any interest or renown to the rest of the world? I live in the UK and if I ask people if they have heard of Tibet 90% say no or where is that. If I say have you heard of the Dalai Lama they say ‘ah yes’ now I know where you mean. Most of the people I know who sponsor Tibetans or monks or visit Dharamsala or Nepal do it because they are interested in Tibetan Buddhism or the Dalai Lama. Organisations such as Free Tibet in the Uk are struggling to raise funds and members but when the Dalai Lama comes to give a talk its always sold out. Thos are the hard facts my friend.
There are many occupied countries and dictatorships in the world today that don’t get half the money or attention of Tibet. Why because they don’t have the Dalai Lama or the amazing heritage and scholarship of Tibetan Buddhism.
Even the Dalai Lama stated this recently, in a teaching he gave to TCV students in India. Tibetans are no great shakes in terms of looks, fashion, music or food. Tibetan Buddhism and the Tibetan language are the main things Tibetans can feel genuinely proud about.
Wow wow lady I am not contesting here for looks or popularity. Come to think of it I don’t think you are from the UK unless you did home schooling. “Demanding freedom when most Han Chinese don’t have that is asking rather too much.” What has Han Chinese, or mother of all Chinese-Chinese not having freedom anything to do with our rightful quest for independence?
Do you mean we Tibetans are sub humans who have to wait for our rights until all the Chinese are freed by their own people and sated?
“Tibetans are no great shakes in terms of looks, fashion, music or food.” That all depends on the eyes of the beholder. Same can be said of the British. As my friend from Berkely often says, “Everyone sniffs his own fart.”
The Chinese haven’t managed to burst what you call my “Freedom bubble” and you can’t either.
It is nice when churches and humanitirans helped Tibetans or any other refugees but when you let fly it in our eyes too much it suggests lack of taste. I met many British and you don’t sound like one.
“All out war with China? Sanctions? Terrorism? Peaceful protest? Democracy?” Why not? What has fifty years of kissing up to the Chinese by our leaders done for us? Just creates false hope for Tibetans in Tibet and they get killed. The problem with our Tibetan leaders most of them didn’t have family members suffer under the Chinese. The only contact they have are Chinese dissidents.
“Dalai Lama who the whole world respects and listens to (even Chinese dissidents respect him)” For you the Chinese dissidents may be the biggest deal that dropped on earth after Adam and Eve. I don’t share that sentiment with you. If they are for forcibly keeping Tibet as part of their country I could care less who they are.
with your words you appear to criticise your own leader the great Dalai Lama. It was he who recently said in a teaching he gave to Tibetan students in Dharamsala that Tibetans have nothing to feel proud about in terms of looks, clothes, food and so on. That the only thing they can justifiably feel proud of is their spiritual heritage.I was just repeating his words. So you criticise me you criticise him….
I do happen to agree with him though. Can you name something else the Tibetan culture has given the world that they are world famous for? The Tibetans are well-known throughout the world for the Dalai Lama and Buddhism. Thats it. You’re only kidding yourself if you think there is anything else.
As for my being British yes I am. Have I helped Tibetan refugees for zero cost yes I have. Have I tried to help preserve Tibetan Buddhist texts and translations for zero cost? yes I have. Do I support wholeheartedly the Dalai Lama and his administration? yes I do. Do I find JN’s portrayal of western travellers and the impact they’ve had on Tibetans offensive and false? yes I do.
You should be concerned about the vast human rights abuses in China and Tibet and for that matter in the whole world. Otherwise your interests seem very narrow and self-centred. Why should Tibetan human rights matter more than Chinese human rights? Chinese dissidents are incredibly brave for standing up for Chinese people in the face of so much oppression. Why can you not see that and support them? Are Chinese people lower than Tibetans in that respect?
You have not yet answered seriously my questions about what policies you would propose to adopt should JN and his colleagues get their democracy. WHat would you do differently to the Dalai Lama’s government? Demand independence? And then what? Please be realistic. Without leaders such as the Dalai Lama, Samdong Rinpoche, the 17th Karmapa the Tibetans lose all their power and uniqueness. I am genuinely horrified that young Tibetans could be so naive and ill-informed on these matters.
Your ingratitude to your leaders and to the westerners that have helped so many Tibetans in exile with visas, sponsorship, money and so on, is ugly.
Who the hell are you compared to great masters and scholars such as the Dalai Lama and Samdong Rinpoche? How dare you speak as if you are on a level with them. What arrogance.
You say your leaders have been ‘kissing up’ to the Chinese government and have not experienced any suffering under Chinese rule in Tibet. My goodness you really do need to get your facts straight. Many, many people in the Dalai Lama administration have lost family members, close teachers or close friends during the Chinese occupation. They have heard and witnessed first-hand the many accounts of Tibetans who come into exile from Tibet.
What have you or JN done for Tibetan people that has real substance to it? All I can hear from you is shouts of independence. empty words without actions or results. The Dalai Lama administration has achieved an incredible amount for Tibetan people in such difficult circumstances, more than you could imagine.
As for your ingratitude towards westerners who’ve helped Tibetans…there’s nothing worse than a spoilt brat who doesn’t appreciate other people’s kindness. Again, you show a total naivety to the reality of the politics, the source of the finance and the support for Tibetans.
“Your ingratitude to your leaders and to the westerners that have helped so many Tibetans in exile with visas, sponsorship, money and so on, is ugly.” Now you sound so much like the Chinese. They too think we Tibetans have to be grateful to them for all that Chairman Mao has done for us Tibetans.
You are the one who suggested rights of Tibetans are second to rights of Chinese people. So don’t go around twisting my words. Chinese people may be great as you tell me again and again. My beef with them is for taking away my country. You are assuminng too much about me. I am not naive. And don’t keep on stuffing Budhism down my throat. If you need Buddhism for your wellbeing and worked free of cost on its behalf that’s fine. Don’t expect me to thank you for it because it doesn’t add anything to my life. I am for free Tibet. What did you and the so called leaders of Exile government bring about so far? Food and shelter? That is not so hard to get.
From whereever you immigrated to UK you could do so of your free will. We Tibetans were forced out of our homes. Goal of the Tibetan people is to get our country back. You ask my what I am doing for that? I am doing my part by keeping our cause alive on the face of downers like you. Our spineless leaders don’t want free Tibet for whatever selfish reason. Unlike you who must have immigrated from the Swiss Alps or may be Italy? Anyway Wheverever you immigrated from you did it of your free will. We are not so lucky.
Before being Buddhist or Bonp or Christians we are Tibetans. Don’t try to shake that for your own need.
You talk as though our cause is some kind of populairty contest.
“Organisations such as Free Tibet in the Uk are struggling to raise funds and members but when the Dalai Lama comes to give a talk its always sold out. Thos are the hard facts my friend.” Oh, so now it’s about fund raising contest!
“Who the hell are you compared to great masters and scholars such as the Dalai Lama and Samdong Rinpoche? How dare you speak as if you are on a level with them. What arrogance.”
You claim to be from UK but you forget John Locke. I am myself with my basic rights. Just because some people took it away from my hands does not mean that I have to be grateful for somebody else for it being returned to me. It’s not even returned to me yet. Instead people are selling it for me. For what? For populairty perhaps.
“What else has Tibet done which would be of any interest or renown to the rest of the world?”
I am quite proud of Tibetan culture. Our music is great and the clothes are beautiful. Architecture is not lacking. Your assumption that TIbetans are nothing if there is no Buddhism is insulting. How would you feel if I say without the anglican church Britain and it’s people are not worth anything?
Don’t throw that “kindness” word around because it is unbecoming coming from a person like you who lack in that department. Your constant reminder of few hours of probono makes you expert on Tibet now. And you don’t even respect the basic rights of our people. You are arrogant. Or perhaps you are one of those lost people who go to find themselves and find themselves in Dharamsala. Well and good but don’t play with our fight for Independence.
“There are many occupied countries and dictatorships in the world today that don’t get half the money or attention of Tibet. Why because they don’t have the Dalai Lama or the amazing heritage and scholarship of Tibetan Buddhism.”
Ever heard of East Timor?
The long and short of it: Fund rasing ain’t everything baby.
It’s hard to follow you since your statements seem to consist mostly of emotion rather than argumentation, but it does not seem to me that Jamyang Norbu has denied the fact the His Holiness’s exemplary qualities have raised the profile of the Tibetan cause dramatically. In fact, in this very article, JN wrote: “However critical I am of His Holiness’s policies, I am convinced (and I have said this before) that the institution of the Dalai Lama is absolutely necessary.” Since that seems to be your starting point, everything that follows is based on a straw man. As a Western Buddhist myself, practicing in a Tibetan tradition, I can attest from personal experience that many Westerners in Tibetan Buddhism are attracted to magical & superstitious thinking and, at worst, just flat-out crazy (schizophrenic, bipolar, etc.). I do not know about JN’s assertions about the role of Westerners in strengthening an irrationalist element in Tibetan religious institutions, but it does not seem too out there; inji nyonpa du, and that goes double for those involved in Tibetan Buddhism. Clearly that is what has struck a nerve with you. In my opinion, at its best, Tibetan Buddhism can be rigorously rational. Thus your railing against “westernized” Tibetans infatuated with “rationalism” (who, really, only want a just democratic system) is symptomatic of your apparent belief in an essentialized dichotomy between East (broadly conceived) and West. Is there any room for such outmoded, even Orientalist, notions in today’s world?
Calm down! You are jarring our ears with all those empty noises. You can try to make your point but don’t you go to the other extreme(!) given that fact that you are a fully ordained middle way bikshu! There is just nothing wrong in revealing your true Tibetan identity than acting British! That’s not making your points any stronger.
Look, JN is not imposing anything on us Tibetans, he is simply exercising what you call “free expression” to better our system. By supporting full fledged democracy in exile we do not entertain any idea about banishing HH or even Samdong lama into another exile! Your fears are hopelessly baseless. It’s not about “I better, you worse” argument. It’s about transforming our system to serve our people better now and in the future. We had some good people like Lhukhangwa and Tsarong in pre 59 govt but because our system was screwed down right, those few good men were powerless to do anything and hence the bad guys drunk with sectarian power openly went against the wishes of the 13th Dalai Lama for change and modernization and despite his advices, and warnings of dangers coming from the east paved the way for uncle Mao and his army. Too bad. Too sad. Too late.
Western democracy not perfect
Tibetan Buddhism not perfect
Western politicians not perfect
Tibetan lamas not perfect
Science not perfect
Religion not perfect
But east or west
Western democracy is the best
To replace our factionalistic system
That is replete with internal bloodshed
Is this option “We are only asking for genuine autonomy, not full fledged independence” making the greatest sense to you? If yes then why are we still repeating these same old mantras for the past 22 years now. Infact this mantra was started in 1950 when Mao and his army invaded from Amdo in late 1949. And see where we are today.
If you are an Inji and have helped us in some ways that is highly appreciated and it looks like you too got something from us in return…Necter of Tibetan Buddhism”. You can very well practice it in England or in your PRIVATE LIFE but if you expect us (because you helped us)to stick to our theocratic regime then you are simply being wrong! You are being manipulative! Buddhism or not, Dalai Lama or not, Western support or not, we shall move on..even more vigorously(reducing our dependency on freaking yous, go help africa) in our attempts to determine the life of our country and our people.
All those 10 anti-democracy postings of yours that is supposed to be supportive of Dalai Lama goes against the very wishes and command of HH. go to http://www.kalontripa.org and watch and listen to his holinesss speech on democracy.
I do not agree with every aspect of his views but nonetheless he is at this stage a rare gem in exile-a political guru for our youth and it is no exaggeration if I say he is perhaps the only consistent watchdog! Pen warrior for 37 long years!
A one-man opposition party watching and pointing where our theocratic govt is erring.
Religion must go separate ways from politics. Never should the two meet. Buddhism is not the only religion in Tibet. We have Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Bonpos.
Yes, if you want you can lead a life of dialectics in Sera or go to cave in Tso Pema for life long meditation. But please don’t bring here this ‘tsenyi” without having studied how a democratic govt works in the world. As mush as you wish, monastic philosophy is not applicable to every aspect of life esp political world because there are very many different concepts one needs to be familiar with first.
To quote HH “Union of Religion and Politics govt is outdated. Although democratic govt is not perfect but nevertheless it is the best form govt in the world. We must move on harmoniously with the majority”
Yes I believe…
1.Separation of religion from politics at the parliamentary/govt level will hugely reduce the destructive sectarian tendencies/persecution that has been witnessed in Tibet since 7th century. Those who vowed to lead a life of spiritual illumination need not worry about things mundane.You will worry about attaining enlightenment for yourself first so later on you can spiritually help all the 6 kinds of sentient beings toward Buddhahood.
2.Multi-party system will have people from all regions/provinces/religions/sects therefore the destructive regional/sectarian tendencies will be greatly reduced.There can be disagreement or even some clashes on current issues and policies but it cannot spread like wildfire.
3.Population/locality based voting system will minimize those two tendencies that has been largely responsible for all the internal fights that ultimately led to the death of our nation.
Late prof. Dawa Norbu said in his book “Red Star over Tibet” that Tibetans are a very materialistic people and that an average Tibetan family in India has accumulated more materialistic belongings in a decade than an average Indian farmer has his entire life”.
The competition among monasteries over whose prayer hall is bigger and grandier than the others is obvious and they have all the excuses to have the best houses, watch, shoes, food, comfort etc
If you renounce the world this is not the way to go..go Milarepa way! Genuine practitioner! whose heart was not half ass in dharma and half ass in mundane life. That’s what we called total renunciation. There is no looking back. If comfort is so important for enlightenment seekers then circumambulate the mount kailash on motorbikes and helicopters! Why walk?
Advice from foreigners who come to east and tell us independence is not necessary, every where is home to be(!) is superficial. In 6 months when they are bored in India, they have a country to go back to with a passport in their wallet. With good balance in their account and total financial support from family back home in the west it’s not hard for these hippies to lead a cheap cool carefree life in India or Nepal for 6 months or so given their exchange rate is much stronger than the local currency.
What we have is shelter, not home. Home is where you belong and we don’t belong here. We have no rights here.
To quote you “Asian countries in particular seem to suffer from a peculiar brand of racism where anyone with brown or black skin is viewed as inferior” That’s primarily a whiteman perception! I am dark brown and have no problems in Asian countries because of the color of my skin. Only in England do I feel nervous! very nervous!
On further review, it seems like you have some authority issues. Authentic evotion to HHDL in his capacity as tantric guru or spiritual leader need not entail a slavish political subservience. In fact, HHDL has encouraged Tibetans to participate in democracy and discuss his Middle Way approach. You seem to think it is an act of treason towards HHDL to disagree with the Middle Way approach, while he himself tries in vain to encourage a more independent, curious mentality. JN rightly criticizes those gatekeepers who surround him and cynically use their very public devotion for demagoguery, shutting the doors of the halls of power to those with differing views.
I am great believer of true democracy allows every individual to express and exercise his/her will and thought. The very foundation of true democracy comes from the individual level. The education is the most important factor that determines the fate of democracy. Also there are many social factors too. Without illusion, we have think our current situation very carefully and rationally. We have to question ourselves about level and standard of our education. According to statistic, the literate percentage of people age 7-18 in our exile community is above 95$. That is great success, but mere solving the problem of illiteracy is not enough to build a strong and potential democratic nation. My argument is that, I welcome your concern about true Mangtso, at the same time don’t forget the root of true Mantso. I wish to hear more debates on grass roots activism, rather than bolstering ideological tension. Freedom come from unity; consciousness unity comes from grass roots development. Sometimes, words of intellectuals have negative impact on society, if intellectuals failed to understand the reality of society. We have to be careful about the impacts of our words and actions on larger society. Meanwhile, I would remind that we should not ignore our ancient wisdom and cultural heritage. In one way, its seems that old traditions are irrelevant to today world. Looking from a different angle, it also true that our world is desperately missing the old wisdom. To achieve a Western style democracy is not our first goal. Our first and most important goal to get our land back from communist regime. We can debate about multiparty democratic system once we get back our land. Finally, I would like to urge all readers that what we need today is unity and education. We must able to make our freedom march on the same track with single voice of demand. Bod Gyalo
You say: ‘Our spineless leaders don’t want free Tibet for whatever selfish reason. Unlike you who must have immigrated from the Swiss Alps or may be Italy?’
Charming. I now clearly understand why the vast majority of Tibetans do not want to see people like you deciding the Tibetan people’s fate. Your leaders (like Dalai Lama and Samdong Rinpoche) are great selfless scholars and masters who could easily retire to a western country and put their feet up. They don;t though, they continue to pursue the sanest, most realistic path for Tibetans in Tibet and to help those Tibetans in exile in India.
It is your post that is overly emotional. You say I must have immigrated to the UK. Why do you say that? Thats a massive assumption and/or projection on your part. I was BORN in the UK and had the best western education going. The type JN idolises and wants Tibetan people to have…..
I completely agree with you on this. Education is FAR more important than getting multi-party democracy. ESPECIALLY for the Tibetans left in Tibet.
I said this in an earlier post too , before Dawa’s emotional attacks on me personally. Look at India as a great lesson in what happens if you have a democracy with the vast majority of the people still uneducated and without basic needs and human rights being respected. It doesn’t function and makes a mockery of the word democracy.
I am an english woman born and bred. My parents are both english. I am not hiding my Tibetan identity. Why would I do that? What a strange and curious thing to say? Seems like some of you Tibetans have some really deep issues and self-loathing here.
I have studied the Tibetan Language and Buddhist Philosophy intensively in india and Nepal. I am a published academic philosopher. Do I need to explain my personal background more to you and Dawa? How is it relevant to my disagreeing with JN?
It is shocking that many Tibetans in exile don’t want to learn Tibetan or study Buddhism. Even in the UK I have met Tibetans who won’t even speak Tibetan to other Tibetans here and would rather speak english. Seems like you, JN and most of the anti-Middle Way people have fallen completely in love with everythign western. Like educated Indians who have also abandoned their own language and culture though your naivety about western culture and politics is alarming.
With the exception of Jamie and Norbu, do you not realise or see how your shouts of independence and cries for multi-party politics undermine Tibetan unity and undermine the Dalai Lama (the main reason why most people are even interested in Tibet in the first place)? You play right into the hands of the Chinese government.
The chinese government do not fear people like Jamyang Norbu or Students for a Free Tibet. They know they are really small fry. They totally fear the Dalai Lama because he has total support and devotion from the Tibetan people (with the exception of a few like yourselves) and the support of powerful western countries due toe their interest and respect for Tibetan Buddhism and the path of non-violence.
If you replace the Dalai Lama and Samdong Rinpoche with a multi-party system you will lose everything that makes Tibet unique and powerful. You will make it easier for the Chinese government to undermine Tibetan unity even more, which is exactly what they want. I pray for you all I really do.
Where do you live in Asia? India? You say: ‘I am dark brown and have no problems in Asian countries because of the color of my skin. Only in England do I feel nervous! very nervous!’
Really? That’s not what I’ve heard from Indians, black people and Tibetans living in London, UK. In fact its the exact opposite. I have visited many countries in Asia and have yet to see a black face. I have worked in Universities where they will not hire a black professor. I have worked in India where the caste system regularly discriminates against people of lower caste and darker skin. where Bollywood promotes light skinned beauty. I have spoken to Tibetans who say they are regularly discriminated against in India because of their race. They love the UK compared to India.
Having said all that, I thought you wanted to emulate countries such as the UK and the US in terms of our rationalism, democracy, freedom and human rights? Sounds like you think we don’t really have those things though. Make up your mind! You sound like you’re saying one thing then meaning another. Try and be consistent.
Many TCV students are sponsored by westerners. I object to your and JN’s portrayal of western supporters of Tibetans and HH the Dalai Lama as all being like Dharma bums. You need to do some more research on these matters I think.
You say you don’t need western help or support. Fine. Then you don’t need President Obama’s support or funding from wealthy western sponsors?
The only reason the Chinese government are remotely concerned about Tibet is because of the Dalai Lama’s support within Tibet and the support he has in powerful western countries.
You say go help Africa. Some of us already do and will. How about some Tibetans showing some support and solidarity with other refugees or people in repressive regimes around the world today as well? Instead of just Tibet Tibet, you alienate so many people with your naive and self-serving approach.
I NEVER said I was anti-democracy, You have projected that onto my posts. I said that it was stupid and naive to talk about democracry when the vast majority of Tibetans do not have basic education nor basic human rights. These are more important to establish before a democracy. Look at India, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries which have tried to force a western-style democracy on an alien culture and land. Failure. Disappointment. Resentment and anger towards the West. Can you not learn anything from history?
You wrote: “I said that it was stupid and naive to talk about democracry when the vast majority of Tibetans do not have basic education nor basic human rights.”
Do you know that the first advocate of Tibetan democracy is the Dalai Lama? No one but him decided to label the Tibetan Government in exile a “democratic” institution… Shall I conclude that he’s stupid and naive?
It is quite obvious to me you are not a British British so I assumed you immigrated from some Europeon country. You don’t sound French, German, Danish etc that I know. The only people I am not familiar with are Swiss and Italians so I made that assumption. Surely you don’t think those people are beneath you that you feel indignant for my mistaking your being one of them.
It is apparent you didn’t receive British school education because people who graduated from those institutions are usually rational. You might have gone there for two or three years diploma course. And that doesn’t count.
As for my saying “our spineless leaders” what makes you think I am talking about HH? I told you before that I admire religious figures like HH. And Christ and Mohamad and Buddha too. (Although I am not hot on the part about the flock and the shepherd. I can’t imagine being herded.) It looks like you are itching to provoke us to say something negative about HH himself. Perhaps that makes you …ummm…spin?
The point I am making is Buddhism is just a faith. When we didn’t have it in Tibet, before it’s introduction in the 7th century, we were doing fine. And when it was introduced it shed it’s own share of blood of our Bonpo ancestors while in the process of proselytizig them.
You badly need to read John Locke.
You said my posts are overly emotional. Of course I get emotional when superficial people like you try to dictate to us how we should run our lives.
My posts are overly emotional. Your posts are shrill and devoid of reason. Like someone suggested you seem to love the idea of being dominated. You will fit snugly in the land of Chicoms.
Jamyang Norbu la,
I think enough is said and written about Middle
Way Path, Independence, Human Rights inside Tibet. These are all theories and legal arguments
that we can’t do too much because no country on this earth has recognized Tibet as an indepenednt
country so far.
In the meantime, we should be practical and
do something to improve our Tibetan education and economy of exiles in India. This is something
that CTA has power to change. This is not a theory. I urge all the educated Tibetans to send
suggestions to the CTA even though they are pretty stubborn. Thank you.
I wish and hope all readers use Jamyang’s blog as an intellectual platform to discuss various issues with sense of honesty rather than making personal attacks. It is natural to have different opinions and we don’t need to agree to each others’ point of view all the time. Having different opinion is the first step to true Mangtso and I respect every one’s voice regardless whether i agree or not. I am little bit concern about the emotional upheaval rising out of this discussion among the readers. Emotion is very part of our life and it is also a quality of being a human. So, let not our emotion dominate our rationality and sense of logic. Good intellectual discussion is based on rationality and logic, denounce the bias and emotional attachment. Great discussion and keep it guys.
In two of your numerous posts you accused us of deleting dissenting comments. As webmaster, I can assure you that no comments are deleted from Jamyang Norbu’s blog, except for some rare writings unrelated to the general discussion and for some personal attacks (directed towards other commentators).
What we do, however, is to refrain annoying commentators from future postings. This includes people like you who tend to spam blogs by their uninterrupted flow of shoddy arguments (more than one third of all postings).
You said ” it was stupid and naive to talk about democracry when the vast majority of Tibetans do not have basic education nor basic human rights. These are more important to establish before a democracy”.
How irrational you can get! Were the vast majority of British educated when democracy was first introduced in England? Did Americans sit back and say they were not ready for independence(because of some crazy conditions like yours) when you British were screwing them left and right?
Practicing democracy in exile(bound by the law of the host country, there is no fear of coup) will pave way for a full fledged walking democracy in a free Tibet and I believe that’s one of the main reasons why HH lays a great deal of emphasis on democracy despite its shortcomings.
To quote HH “For the Tibetans to survive as a people, it is imperative that the population transfer is stopped and Chinese settlers return to China”.
How is this more realistic than Independence?
Another quote from HH “While Tibetans in exile exercise their democratic rights under a constitution promulgated by me in 1963_thousands of our countrymen suffer in prisons and labour camps in Tibet for their religious or political convictions”.
Where did HH say “Wait! Get the Tibetans out of prisons and labor camps first, and then introduce democracy”?
You say “Look at India, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries which have tried to force a western-style democracy on an alien culture and land. Failure. Disappointment. Resentment and anger towards the West. Can you not learn anything from history?”
Western democracy is far from being perfect. It has its own flaws. However, it’s also one that has been tested, experimented and evolved over several centuries. The pros outweigh the cons. What kind of political system can you imagine in India other than democracy? Monarchy? Maoist? Mujaheddin or Taliban?
No matter what you say I can tell from the flow of your thoughts, you are a Tibetan(with a political position in exile govt)hell bent on maintaining the status quo.
Your agenda will be destroyed. Your conspiracy will be exposed. Your cult like mission will fail.
Are you s/m?
When you write stuff like:
“I was just repeating his words. So you criticise me you criticise him…[His Holiness].”
And your accusation that I am comparing myself to HH just because I disgree with TGIE’s stand on Rangzen. And you telling Tibetan refugees that without Buddhism they are not worth anything etc puzzles me. YOu just don’t sound like who you claim to be. I am not the only one. Mila thought you might be a Tibetan monk. It’s not because Mila or we other Tibetans have any issue of self-loathing as you suggest. we Tibetans sometimes use expressions like “you ungrateful girl” to our young ones and it is taken lightly. Remember you called me “ungrateful brat” for not agreeing with you. It does not have the same weight as when a native English speaker uses it. You don’t sound like the regular British women friends of Tibet. Please don’t take it as a compliment. The British I am used to are contained, subtle, unassuming and very intelligent and rational. On few occassions sounded English, the kind one finds in Dicken’s novels. Tormenting helpless little boys.
Tenzin: Thanks but the last several posts I’ve written have been censored or taken off this blog. Its like communist China all over again! Looks like Jamyang Norbu and his ‘fans’ are emulating Orwell in more ways than one!
* * *
Monologues have no place here. You’re thanking a Tenzin whose apologetic comments — sent from the same IP as yours and probably by yourself — wasn’t even published. Don’t fool yourself, you look really bad…
Golok Ambum, Webmaster
On few occassions YOU sounded English, the kind one finds in Dicken’s novels. Tormenting helpless little boys.
Right on, Mila. Keep the flame for Rangzen burning.
The only good thing about coming across people like her/him once in a while is that it helps in improving my debating skills which require a lot of patience, effort and intelligence. Other than that I am not into nuts!
His Holiness shows us the way, in his 1996 March 10 statement he said — “[It is] my conviction that democracy is the best guarantee for the survival and future of the Tibetan people. Democracy entails responsibilities as well as rights. The success of our struggle for freedom will therefore depend directly on our ability to shoulder these collectively.”
To quote Tenzin Tsundue “Our History shows that for the past 600 years of the Dalai lama, there were political crises every time a Dalai Lama passes away, the country moved into chaos, anarchy marked by internal feuds, and even civil war. Can’t we now learn from history and strengthen our community, while there is still daylight? How insecure we feel about even thinking of a time without the present Dalai Lama?
Democracy is sharing responsibility, and for us it’s all about taking back our responsibility from the shoulders of one man, who has worked enough for us, who we have taken for granted, while we were busy building our houses, and heating our hearth”.
If this doesn’t help, nothing helps!
I guess the academic published philosopher’s language might have gotten little unfit for public consumption today? boohahha.
Personally if her personal attacks are against me its not going to kill me. There are scarier things in life than a “inji zuma” raging.
Bring it on lady Adelus.
Adele: You wrote, “Even in the UK I have met Tibetans who won’t even speak Tibetan to other Tibetans here and would rather speak english. Seems like you, JN and most of the anti-Middle Way people have fallen completely in love with everythign western.” I’m confused by the logical leap between (1) Some Tibetans don’t care about their ethnic/national identity to (2) JN & co have “fallen completely in love with everything western.” Apparently you see a connection between (1) and (2). Perhaps you think JN is one of the apathetic Tibetans in (1), but you have given no reason to support this contention, and he appears to be anything but apathetic. I imagine that, as a trained philosopher, you will be able to fill in the gaps in this apparent non sequitur.
You still push the assertion that JN is somehow anti-Dalai Lama by being for a multiparty system. This appears to be another kind of logical fallacy, a false dichotomy, since being pro-Dalai Lama and pro-multiparty system are not mutually exclusive positions. In fact, JN has said that he thinks the institution of the Dalai Lama is necessary for Tibet. So I hope you may also clarify why you think the one excludes the other. Or maybe, as an avowed anti-rationalist, you do not think you need to provide logical explanations for your assertions.
You haven’t read properly my post: “What we do, however, is to refrain annoying commentators from future postings. This includes people like you who tend to spam blogs by their uninterrupted flow of shoddy arguments (more than one third of all postings).”
Keep you post to the point, don’t spam this blog (you’ve sent 14 unpublished comments in less than 12 hours) and your comments will appear again…
Golok Ambum, Webmaster
JB said what I was trying to say. You contradict yourself.
You said we Tibetans prefer to read and speak in English. Not true. Due to circumstances of our exile the books kids got to read for entertainment were in English. You can’t expect one to jump from reading “Look! Jane look!” to “Life of Milarepa.” Contrary to what you say most Tibetans I know tend to speak to each other in Tibetan. I am talking about Tibetans who grew up in India because that’s the world I am most familiar with.
Also, I am not putting down Italians and Swiss. I bet that’s the line you will harp on. I thought you might have immigrated from some non English speaking country. Often a person who tries to speak or write in a foreign language tends to come across younger than they would in their native language.
We don’t need to know your identity such as real name. We all need our privacy. But it is not fair to other debaters if you claim to be a British woman and you are not.
About my referring to “spineless leaders” I meant those people who can influence the direction of the fight for Rangzen but whose main goal is personal financial gain. I don’t want to get into details until I know more. But I am talking about TIbetan ministers and ex ministers who go Tibet and China to start family business after telling the world Tibet belongs to China. That would be more than conflict of interest.
By the way, JN fought in Mustang when he was a teenager. He worked for the Tibetan government too and started important institution like the Amnye Machen which translates important works for the Tibetan readers. He writes about our situation like no one. He is a “Genla” to thousands of us. In our culture (which you think is nothing without Buddhism) we respect our teachers.
Its OK, I don’t mind the censorship really. Its quite funny and ironic actually that a blog that claims to be about freedom and democracy would do such a thing.
I obviously hit some raw points here that you would rather hide than leave for open discussion. Thats not very brave or open of you though. Thanks though, I’ve now decided to start my own webpage in any case. It will target the dubious writing and politics of the pro-democracy movement within India and the Tibetans in exile and analyse and debate JN’s writings for what they really are.
It will be a website for Tibetans and free-thinking people round the world, which will not be so heavily censored.
Mila Rangzen, Dawa and JB,
Forget about Adele, it’s getting personal and doesn’t bring us anywhere. I’m sure that’s not the kind of arguments Jamyang Norbu was expecting on his blog…
As someone puts it on Phayul’s forum, probably she is “just another Tibetan Groupie on the way to ‘biting the dust’…”
I don’t think there is anything to do here with censorship. If you are refrained from commenting, there’s a good reason… Frankly, except on YouTube, I’ve never seen someone posting so many comments in a row. As a “Philosopher” (I can’t understand people using an uppercase for themselves), it seems you’ve really got problem in expressing yourself.
By the way, if you’re really interested about censorship, ask the LTWA about K. Dhondup’s book “The Water Bird and Other Years”…
I back Adele’s post 100%. I wish I could read them all.
Is JN and his like minded buddies building castle in the air? Don’t they don’t see the ground reality inside Tibet? What HH and our govt. doing is to save Tibet from further exploitation and further Chinesization of Tibet by Chinese. But JN wants to make them a scapegoat. How far we can go taking violence as tool. It’s easy to say Rangtsen in exile but they fail to realize what it cost when same is expressed by the public in Tibet. We have seen the incident of March 2008. JN wants HH to get disheartened and demoralized to the extend that He gives up. It is the luck and Karma of six million Tibetans that it will not happen because HIS Wisdom will continue to prevail. This would have served China’s interest best. Like JN, it is also China is desperate to render exile Tibetans without a head. JN wants to break Tibetan community into pieces so that Tibetans go on engaging in pity and trivial arguments and forget the crucial issue of Tibet. Well JN la! Whatever your argument for democracy is, it is ill timing. We are exersizing democracy. It is time we get united to fight PRC before it is too late. Otherwise, what will be left to fight when China fully succeed in Chinasizing Tibet, like Nang Sog? You are saying MWA has failed or is failing. It is failing because of the clash in approaches of exile Tibetans. Because we are divided and don’t have unified message for Chinese. Otherwise, why would our government have to strain so hard to convince PRC that we are honest and our approach is genuine? Your or MIlA’s claim that Tibetans inside Tibet are calling for Rangtsen. Contrary, we find that Tibetans in Tibet are calling for return of HH. They believe that His return would make difference in their lives and Tibet’s survival. Bog Gyal Lo and Gya Pham Shog!
Correct me if my 2 cent straight opinion is wrong…
It is unfortunate that many chitues failed to debate on the issue at hand. Instead they took it so personal…resorting to sarcasm, rudeness, threats and regionalism..using(or abusing?) this platform to show off their “fake bravery” and family name and linage and so on. Cheap politics.
Listen up, we are not interested in your family history. Your personal history matters and even more important than that is your decision “fair or not fair” on the issue and your supporting reasons. That’s it.
This screaming for “combat” between chitues from Doetoe(mainly monks) on one side and Utsang/Amdo chitues(mainly Utsang) on the other side spells darkness and internal bloodshed in the future unless something is done now while HH is alive to prevent large scale national tragedies..
The only cure for this cancer is by putting HH wishes into practice now so there are no regrets later.
1. Multi-party or bi-party democracy
2. Separation of religion from politics(mixing religion with poltics causes sectarianism)
3. One person one vote system(I know monks/nuns get to vote 2 times, one for sect and one for province for chithue election but do they even get to vote 2 times for kalon tripa election?
4. Opposition party(to correct when ruling party errs. Power check and balance.)
5. Lower house(Population/locality based MP representation)
6.and upper house(equal provincial representation here if this helps middle way team)
7. Prime minister and deputy prime minister
8. Or president and vice president
9.NO TO REGIONAL AND SECTARIAN REPRESENTATION in the lower house!
What obstacles can we expect in trying to achieve genuine democracy and how can we over come them?
The greatest obstruction comes from the chithues themselves!
We can introduce those beautiful goodies of democracy only when exile-charter is transformed on this issue. But who has the power to change the charter? Chithues!
Will they change the charter?
Because 1. They will not be where they are! Chitues! Fear of losing seats! Once party system comes up based on ideology, the political parties will choose their most educated/capable candidates for election and seats. Majority of the current chithues are school dropouts and have next to no modern political education.
2. Fears from both Doetoe and Domey that there will be less Amdo/Khampa chithues. since majority in exile are Utsangs. Equal regional representation can be made possible in the upper house with limited power. This helps the middleway team in asking for autonomy. But in the lower house only locality/population based representation which is how it works in US, England and India and democracies around the world. Samdong Lama who happens to be a Khampa is Kalontripa mainly because of Utsang votes as much as Obama is the president because of votes from white majority. So such fears that you will lose elections because you are not Utsang are baseless and undemocratic.
3. Fears from sects that they will lose their traditional power. Fears from Dhotoe chithues that they will lose this “important Khampa power base” where majority of the monks and nuns are Khampas. Atleast 9 out of 10 sect chithues are Khampas. Add this number to another 10 (province) plus 1 theko. Roughly 20 strong seats out of 43 or 46(23 or 26 seats divided between Utsang and Amdo) is hard for them to let go.
We urgently need to bring about a dramatic change in the “democracy” system we have now and time is now in exile(so in a free Tibet we will have a walking/running democracy!) however long it takes and whatever the price is! But we must ask first! Talk to the Chithues and put sense in their head. Awaken the people! Petition the kashag and parliament.
There sure must be many more hurdles but statelessness can not be made an excuse not to implement it. In fact, it should be a reason to get it done so future generations will not be where we are today!
To quote HH “Union of Religion and Politics govt is outdated. Although democratic govt is not perfect but nevertheless it is the best form govt in the world. We must move on harmoniously with the majority”
Yes I believe…
1.Separation of religion from politics at the parliamentary/govt level will hugely reduce the destructive sectarian tendencies/persecution that has been witnessed in Tibet since 7th century. Those who vowed to lead a life of spiritual illumination need not worry about things mundane.You will worry about attaining enlightenment for yourself first so later on you can spiritually help all the 6 kinds of sentient beings toward Buddhahood.
2.Multi-party OR BI-PARTY system will have people from all regions/provinces/religions/sects therefore the destructive regional/sectarian tendencies will be greatly reduced.There can be disagreement or even some clashes on current issues and policies but it cannot spread like wildfire.
3.Population/locality based voting system will minimize those two tendencies that has been largely responsible for all the internal fights that ultimately led to the death of our nation.
Can there be a resurrection?
Dear Gen JN lak,
I am really sorry that i am helpless, but have to post this comment. Your articles WAITING FOR MANGTSO are penned down with the purest Tibetanism. This is for sure. But you got to check this article titled “Tibetan Separatist Exposes Dalai Lama’s ‘Democracy Myth'” on http://www.chinatibet.people.com.cn published on Oct 21, 2009 at 08:27.
I, as a Tibetan, love you and respect you alot. But after reading your two articles i somehow felt that you are holding a grudge for some mistreatments that you had to endure in the exile community or your friends had to endure. The first article of your twin articles, you had based it mostly on rumours that you had heard while you were at Dharamshala. Actually intellectuals of your stature should not be writing on the basis of street talks.
Actually i am nobody, in any capacity, to criticize you. But i am very much pained that the Chinese are denouncing the Dalai Lama on the basis of the articles you have written. Though all knowledgeable people in the world know that there is no credibility in Chinese accusations; but they have a different effect and sensitivity when they base them on one our own people’s (actually your) writings.
I am very pained to read the paragarph in the Chinese article: “Such deception can also be seen in the repression of opinions and thoughts. Norbu reviewed the voilece and bloodshed seen in the Dalai Lama and his followers’ treatment of dissidents.” They are virtually saying that the Dalai Lama carried out violent and bloody means to terminate dissidents, on the basis of your articles. Difference of opinion is a sign of democracy. And i respect your opinion of complete freedom for Tibet. But our common enemy is CCP.
With a lot of respect
S.P. I endorse some of the comments posted by Adele.
Jamyang la, I always been a great admirer of you, what you have done in the past and present as well. You been and you are the inspiration for the young generation. However, sometime I do feel that you are too critical and try to show yourself as if only you know everything and others don’t.
Here is the outcome of your recent article on “Waiting for Mangtso I-II”. I think you should have thorough response to it as soonest possible to the world. Although there are many things that they have wrongly quoted as they usually do but still you should have to clarify it. Of course I am RANGZEN supporter….confusion cleared……..
Read this out:
JN writes: “The allegation about our society not having anyone with leadership qualities is also a pathetic canard that can easily be refuted. Perhaps people with such attributes aren’t conspicuous in the administration, because the very requirements of leadership: curiosity, initiative, boldness, courage, intellectual rigor and independent thinking are actively discouraged in such circles.”
There you are wrong: a leader, who has a vision that resonates with the people and has the guts to put that vision into motion, would not be discouraged by the system. A real leader knows what needs to be done and will find a way to get it done. Great leaders sometimes have to break conventions or skirt rules — whatever it takes to get things done. Take your party politics idea: despite restrictions imposed by the current “party-less” system, why couldn’t a driven leader form an association outside of parliament whose members share a common vision for the future of Tibet and of Tibetans worldwide? Why couldn’t that leader and members of the association run in the elections? If the message of the leader and his co-candidates resonates with the people, he and they will get elected no matter what the rules are. From there an overhaul of the rules becomes possible. If instead you hope for rule changes before the leaders show up you will have a long wait for mangtso.
Leadership IS the key. Unfortunately, the near total devotion to the Dalai Lama has had the effect of stunting leadership. Questioning the DL’s policies — as you yourself have witnessed — has been met by swift censure in the community. But now even the Dalai Lama himself is questioning his policies and his office, so it seems to me that now is the time for others to step forward and make things happen.
Prime Minister or Poodle Minister?
These people would make the same caliber Prime Ministers: One of the Dalai Lama’s nephew/niece or poodle or Dr. Lobsang Sangay or Lodi Gyari.
Dear JN la and all the Commentar, here is my question. Is our fate depend on this little girl from south India who looks like, Chuya in a Dipa Matha’s Movie Water. Please visit youtube and serch for title, ‘HHDL Prediction part 1 and 2’. it has been broadcast on french tv call French24. This cute little girl says Tibet will be free in year 2012 and Dhasa Shung seems to be excited. My privious comment seems to be deleted and I can understand. But if you visit this site and hopefully you can understand my rage.
Hi! All the reader!
This is a fine plateform to discuss the matter related to the Tibet’s major issue like Rangzen versus Middle path. democracy verses psedue- democrac and so on.
But reality will not change because of following factor.
1 There will never be better excutive govt, than existing gov in excile, because HH Dalia Lama and Professor S Rinpoche combine administration of CTA has
innovated in unprecedented way. their vision and long term strategy has block the many many self-serving corner.
2 Once the their tenure of leadership over, another historic power struggle hic-cup will occur and exile Tibetan would be likely to fall in internal turmoil, which will pave way to unexpected internatinal defamation.
3 In comming two or three decade tibetan cultural will degenerate in so alarming way, as Excile goal -post of common people has no longer Tibet the land of snow but it is either europe or USA. current generation of Tibetans in abroad are living on the edge of its own culture and frankly speaking parents love to see their children like American kids.
Even adult people they try to adopt American thinking like Charging rent for relative and they will cheat the newly arrived relative by means of undesirable way.
These kind of refelection tell us the future tibetan mentality. so do nto go for extreme there is no point.
be good where you are! that the best thing we can do for time being.
I certainly agree with Dave’s opening warning about political parties–from the American perspective. Not only did they bother Washington, but Adams also feared them. And again, we see what these parties evolved into here in America. It’s not currently a pretty sight.
That said, many of the conversations that I’ve had with all sorts of Tibetans, from the younger generation in Dharamsala and America, to the elderly communities in Karnataka around Mondgod, including the monks of Drepung Loseling as well, would seem already as if they belonged to political parties. Their ideas are often–not always–clear and forcefully held. And radically different from one another. So maybe political parties would solidify a kind of identity politics that would, in turn, clarify the issues. That’s good, right?
But finally the Tibetan people will determine their own form of government, their own future. Which is how it should be. And that’s the end of it, from this American’s perspective.
Somehow in the same vein as Louis XV declaration (“après moi, le déluge”), His Holiness actually affirmed two days ago that Tibetan cause would undoubtedly face ‘setback’ when he dies… Read original article.
Hi JN la
Thank helped us to talk about what we so called Tibetan Democracy. After read all these I have still confused how our dmocracy is going to be in the future.
I Joint exile communities since 2000 from a communist back ground home land Tibet. I was so excited to hear that Tibetans are move one step further for free society but unfortunately the democracy in hand right now disppointed me and I think we still have long way to go.
However I want thank you keep write on issues that our time face and what direction our generation needs to stand for.
Choni Tsultrim Gyatso
i think two party system or multiple party whatever is not so difficult to establish in a free country.our govt. in exile is okay with one party consisting of moral my country before myself.unfortunately, those generation is replaced by new and it has members of parliament (few)who forgot that we live in exile and their prioty is six million people.so they limit their rich talent and experiece in segregation among handful of exile tibetans based on provinces or religion to gain vote for themselves.so i feel really sad that their energy is wasted in petty matters.pray that these type of people should not voted in the first place and if they are then they should search their souls for karma and duty .
Jn la thank you for sharing your sharing your intellectual research with us.now a days children in tibetan schools do not take interest in studing as before.there is downward trend may be becaouse it is very easy to pass the exam through fair or otherwise.so please advice or motivate them to study hard.