In mid-December last year, Mohamed Bouazizi, a humble Tunisian street-vendor of fruits and vegetables, set himself on fire to protest the confiscation of his produce and the daily harassment and humiliation inflicted on him by police and local officials. His act set of demonstrations and riots throughout Tunisia which intensified following Bouazizi’s death on January 4, leading the authoritarian regime and its leader to flee the country after 23 years of repressive and corrupt rule.
This and the events that followed, called the “Jasmine Revolution” or the “Arab Spring”, resulted in a peaceful revolution in Egypt, an armed uprising in Libya (resulting in the fall of its dictator), civil uprisings in Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen, and protests in Israel, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Oman and elsewhere, that have yet to run their courses.
Just this year, in Tibet, starting twelve days after the death of Mohamed Bouazizi, we have had eight self-immolations – so far. And there are unsettling rumors of more to come. The latest happened after I had actually finished writing this post and late last night was doing some rewrites before forwarding it to other blog-sites and web-journals. This gave me the opportunity to put in the necessary addition – but the immediacy of it was unsettling. On October 15, 11.50 local time, a former monk of Kirti monastery Norbu Damdul set himself on fire in the central town of Ngaba. “Engulfed in flames, Norbu Damdul raised slogans demanding ‘Complete Independence for Tibet’ and ‘Return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet’”.
Two self-immolations took place a week ago, on October 7th “At around 11.30 am Tibet time today, Choephel age 19 and Khayang 18, monks of Kirti monastery, set themselves ablaze in the central town of Ngaba district”. “Eyewitnesses have told sources in exile that as they were engulfed in flames they called for Tibetans to unite and rise up against the Chinese regime and raised slogans for Tibet’s freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.”
Three days before that, on October 3 at around 2 pm local time, a very young novice monk “Kesang Wangchuk walked out onto the main street of Ngaba town holding a photo of the Dalai Lama and shouting slogans protesting Chinese rule over Tibet. He then set himself ablaze.”
Last month, on September 26, two teenage monks of Kirti Monastery, Lobsang Kalsang, and Lobsang Kunchok, both around 18 years of age “set themselves on fire in an anti-China protest in the central town of Ngaba. Their whereabouts and condition are not yet known.”
The month before, on August 18, in A Tibetan monk, 29-year old Tsewang Norbu, a monk from Nyitso monastery in Tawu, died after setting fire to himself and calling for “freedom of worship, freedom and independence for Tibet, and the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet”.
At the beginning of this year on March 16, afternoon, Phuntsog, a 16-year-old monk at Kirti monastery set himself on fire.
Readers should be reminded that two years earlier in February 27, 2009, A Kirti monk called Tapey was shot by police when he set himself on fire on. The police immediately took him away. He is said to have survived but his whereabouts are unknown.
All reports and comments in the exile Tibetan world have stressed the “tragic”, “terrible” “heartbreaking” and “desperate” aspects of these actions. Calls for international condemnation and UN intervention have been made by various political and activist organizations as well as foreign support groups. A number of demonstrations, vigils and hunger-strikes have taken place. Some concerns have been expressed that more self-immolations could happen and that a way to prevent or at least discourage such actions should be sought.
All these statements and acts of concern and support have been tremendous, and in fact such responses are crucial to make the world take notice of what is happening in Tibet. They only become somewhat misguided, even unconsciously condescending, if supporters fail to overcome their first natural reaction of dismay and horror, and are unable to view the sacrifices of the monks in the way that those young men wanted them to be seen: as calls to action for the cause of a free and independent Tibet. It is also counterproductive if the actions of these young men are misinterpreted as merely a call for human rights, religious freedom or even “autonomy” within the PRC as has been most bizarrely reported in the British paper, The Independent.
There can be no doubt that the men acted not out of despair, not because they could not go on living any longer, and not because they thought it was all over for the Tibetan freedom struggle. The reports on the immolations have been sketchy but what is clear is that they are all clear acts of political protest against Chinese rule in Tibet, with slogans calling for “Tibetan freedom and independence” (bhod rawang-rangzen) for Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. The last demand must also be understood in its proper historical and political context, since the Dalai Lama has always been regarded, first and foremost, as the sovereign ruler of independent Tibet, not only by those who acknowledge him as their spiritual leader, but by Tibetans from other Buddhist sects, by Bonpos, Tibetan Muslims and Christians who have their own distinct spiritual leaders.
It is more than likely that the young men were inspired, as were nearly everyone in the Tibetan world then, by the sacrifice of Thupten Ngodup, former paratrooper and one of the liberators of Bangladesh, who set himself on fire in April 1998. He did it stone cold. He was fit and healthy, of cheerful disposition, with no money problems, and living in a free country, in a small meditation hut surrounded by flowers. But he did it for bhod rawang-rangzen, for Tibetan freedom and independence.
The eight young men must also have heard or read of Mohammed Buazizi, especially after Chinese bloggers and activists, at the beginning of this year, spread the news of the Arab Spring throughout the PRC and began calling on the Chinese people to start their own Jasmine Revolution. Fifteen foreign journalists were arrested on 6th March, in “the biggest showdown between Chinese authorities and foreign media in more than two decades.” This call for revolution spread to about thirteen cities (as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan) and definitely alarmed China’s leaders. The Atlantic quoted Hilary Clinton: “They’re worried, and they are trying to stop history, which is a fool’s errand. They cannot do it. But they’re going to hold it off as long as possible.” The New York Times reported that Beijing police had banned the sale of jasmine flowers at various flower markets, causing wholesale prices to collapse. Subsequently thirty-five prominent human rights activists were arrested, the highest-profile arrest being that of the courageous and protean artist Ai Weiwei.
The self-immolations of the eight young monks were revolutionary acts of ultimate sacrifice to rouse the Tibetan people to action, in much the way as Mohammed Buazizi’s self-immolation, woke up the oppressed people of the Middle East from many many decades of fear, apathy, cynicism and weariness – and goaded them to overthrow their dictators, supreme leaders and presidents-for-life.
A New Leadership
These revolutionary acts taking place in Tibet this year, and from 2008 onwards, seem to indicate that the direction of the Tibetan struggle is now definitely coming from inside Tibet. I mean the “direction” of the freedom struggle, not the leadership of the refugee community for which there is now a non-governmental administration to replace the earlier Tibetan government in exile – probably the longest running-exile government of the Cold War period, in a manner of speaking, while it existed.
Exile governments in the Cold War era have had a fairly dismal record of returning to liberate the countries they had earlier been forced to flee, even when most of these governments were recognized and supported by such great powers as USA and Britain. Poland maintained an exile government in London during World War II and later the Soviet occupation, but it was only the long civil resistance movement of Solidarność (Solidarity), the independent trade-union movement within Poland that freed the country from the Soviet yoke in 1990.
The Czechs also had an exile government in London during the war, which returned to Czechoslovakia in 1945, but the country was effectively absorbed into the Soviet block, especially after ‘68 when Russian tanks rolled into Prague. Czechoslovakia only became free in December 1989, entirely through the efforts and sacrifice of the Czech people in Czechoslovakia through the “Velvet Revolution” (sametová revoluce).
Even under Soviet occupation the Baltic States managed to retain a few independent diplomatic representatives in Europe. Lithuania had consulates in Chicago and Rome, while the Latvian Diplomatic Service maintained representation for independent Latvia in their offices in New York and London. Only Estonia had an exile government in Sweden from 1953 to 1992 (and a consulate in New York). But freedom came to the Baltic states entirely through indigenous campaigns of civil resistance in the late 1980s, one being “The Singing Revolution.” A documentary film (now on DVD) with that title was released in 2007 and is required viewing for all Tibetan activists. The most spectacular (literally) and best-known of these campaigns was the “Baltic Chain” (or the Chain of Freedom) a peaceful political demonstration that occurred on August 23, 1989. Approximately two million people joined hands to form a human chain spanning over 600 kilometers across the three Baltic states. Such symbolic yet powerful actions not only brought about the freedom of these ancient nations but directly contributed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
What is striking about all these successful revolutions is that exile governments in no way brought about, or even seem to have contributed to, the civil uprisings that eventually liberated these countries. Freedom came to the people of these occupied nations through their own effort, courage and sacrifice. Of course, these struggles benefited from the major geopolitical shifts that occurred throughout the world in the eighties and nineties.
I’m dredging up these accounts of freedom struggles and exile governments, since our own Tibetan government-in-exile pulled the plug on itself this summer. Many acquaintances of mine, former officials and Rangzen activists were deeply shocked and troubled by the Dalai Lama’s decision to end the exile government and substitute it with a kind of NGO. There was even concern and alarm that the Tibetan issue, the cause of Tibetan freedom itself, might have been fatally harmed, because of the crisis in Dharamshala.
Of course in the first decade or so of our exile the exile government was truly indispensable, not just for the freedom struggle or the preservation of Tibetan culture, but for us to just hang on to a bare-bones identity. In spite of the internal wrangling, that I have written about before, there can be no doubt that the exile government did an amazing job in the first couple of decades after March 1959. I started working full-time for the exile government in 1968, though I worked as a volunteer teacher a few years earlier, during my school winter vacations. I was really surprised and impressed by the organization of the exile government and the dedication of its officials. I hope one day to put together as full an account of how the first Tibetan refugees overcame so many formidable obstacles to set up the exile government, and – why (over time) this government gave up its core mission, and became an organization whose sole apparent purpose appears to be to perpetuate itself, in regressively more ignominious and farcical ways.
In the last piece I wrote in this blog, Ending to Begin, I argued for the Dalai Lama retaining a symbolic role as head of state of the Tibetan nation, and condemned the downgrading of the exile government to the role of an NGO. I did not clearly see then that not only had the political life-span of the exile government run its natural course, but that the perhaps the resignation of the Dalai Lama and the ending of the government-in-exile was a timely event.
If we cast our minds back to the revolutionary events of 2008, the year when Lhasa was in flames, I am sure we can recall the thousands of Tibetans throughout the plateau rushing out of their monasteries, homes and tents, riding their horses down the mountainsides, all waving the national flag and all calling for Tibetan freedom and independence. We also surely remember the five major exile organization that united to create the People’s Uprising Movement and launched the peace march to Tibet. Exile Tibetans (and friends) the world-over staged enormous adrenalin charged protests and “creative action campaigns” supporting the Tibet uprisings and opposing the Beijing Olympics and the Torch Relay.
What we may have subliminally blocked out of our memory is the Dalai Lama’s statement that he would resign because Tibetans in Lhasa had rioted. We might have also forgotten the Dalai Lama ordering the five organizations to halt their march to Tibet, and prime-minister Samdong Rimpoche creating “Solidarity Committees” so as to take over the protest organizations to emasculate them and stop demonstrators from burning Chinese flags or shouting such slogans as “Free Tibet” or “China Out of Tibet.” A few years earlier Samdong Rinpoche had forbidden Tibetans from demonstrating against Chinese leaders visiting the USA. Could all the events of 2008 have led to something bigger? I clearly remember they were extraordinary in their sweep and energy. There was a definite feel of new beginnings and radical possibilities. But we will never know now, will we? Dharamshala, exercising the usual spiritual and emotional blackmail, gradually let the air out of everyone’s hopes and high-spirits, and concluded that year with an orgy of collective hypocrisy and sycophancy that was also called the November Special Meeting.
My biggest fear, my secret nightmare, is also rooted in my one lifelong dream. My dream is that in the not too distant future during an economic downturn in China, concurrently with some major internal conflict (even a revolution), rangzen uprisings will break out all over Tibet (and possibly Turkestan or Mongolia) and a real opportunity to seize Tibetan independence will finally come our way. This scenario is not as fanciful as it appears. It has happened before, in its entirety, in 1912.
But then my nightmare takes over. In the not too distant future, when the revolution happens, the Tibetan leadership, “persuaded” by its sponsors in the West who want to keep the Chinese economy afloat so their investment portfolios don’t take a hit, declare that Tibet is a part of the PRC and that Tibetans have no other aspiration except to be loyal citizens of the PRC. Pretty much what they are saying right now. A desperate China might even throw Dharamshala a bone and allow another delegation (the 23rd ?) to visit Beijing or even allow the Dalai Lama a visit to Mt. Wutaishan (riwo-tsenga). But it would kill the revolution stone-dead.
This time around the Dalai Lama has not made any direct statement about the self-immolations, and the exile-administration has not called for it to be stopped. I am grateful for this reprieve, but I’m not holding my breath. Yet perhaps, finally, the leadership of the struggle has truly passed on to those willing to die for it.
The Way Forward
The way forward for those of us in exile who believe in Rangzen is to connect with our brothers and sisters in Tibet, and find a way to contribute to the coming revolution. And we have a definite role to play, the same way that many young Arabs who had lived or had studied in the USA or Europe joined the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and provided the communication, medical, media and other skills that enabled the success of the Arab Spring.
We cannot go into all that now. It will have to be deliberated thoroughly in a forum of those committed to rangzen. I am confident this will happen soon. That said, there is some outstanding business that must be taken care of right now, here in this post. Our first task is to send a message to the people in Tibet. They have definitely heard of the resignation of the Dalai Lama and the closure of the exile government. Many must be confused and some have no doubt concluded that exiles have given up the cause. So we must send them a message, very clearly and very loudly, that whatever the mixed messages from Dharamshala, the rangzen struggle goes on, world over, and that it has become profoundly inspired and energized by the courage, commitment and sacrifice of so many inside Tibet. A most fitting moment and occasion to send this message would be the 10th March commemoration in 2012. This coming March will be particularly significant as it marks exactly 100 years when we rose up against the Chinese empire and created a free and independent Tibet.
On October 1911 revolution broke out in China. Chinese troops in Tibet went on a looting spree and terrorized the population of Lhasa city. The great historian Shakabpa tell us that the 13th Dalai Lama, in exile in Darjeeling, sent two of his officials Jampa Tendar and Trimon Norbu Wangyal, to Lhasa to take charge of the resistance. On the 26th of March 2012 they declared war on the Chinese and Manchu troops stationed there and fierce fighting broke out throughout the city. After nearly a year of hard and brutal fighting, the Chinese surrendered and were deported to China, via India. The 13th Dalai Lama entered a free Tibet the next year.
This coming March 10th, 2012, all Tibetans and friends should gather together in super demonstration/commemoration/festival events, like we have never had before. These gatherings should be so enormous, expressive, innovative, and attention-getting, that the world, but far more importantly, our brothers and sisters in Tibet will hear our collective refrain (ramgyo) to the message of revolution, freedom and independence they have sent us from over the high mountains and grasslands of Tibet. The message they have sent us all these years through their songs, poems, writings, demonstrations and flag-raisings; and also through their tears, their pain, their devastated lives and fiery sacrifices. The fires that were lit in Delhi, Kirti and Kanze have died down now, but to paraphrase His Holiness “…the flame of truth will never be fully extinguished”, and it is for us to guard and nurture these precious burning embers of truth, freedom and independence till the moment comes, and soon, when we can re-ignite them brightly in the hearts of all our people throughout the entire Tibetan plateau.
*Tibetan historians use the expression “nurturing the embers of the dharma” (tempae mero solwa) to describe the lonely but heroic struggle of a few dedicated scholars and teachers who kept the Buddha dharma alive in Tibet after the breakup of the Tibetan Empire, and eventually brought about the second or “later transmission” (tempa chidhar) of Buddhism to Tibet.
83 Replies to “Igniting the Embers of Independence”
The time has indeed come to unequivocally and vociferously respond to these calls for actions so painfully expressed by Tibetans living under China’s occupation. Now that the Tibetan government is dead, let’s make sure that the voices of freedom coming out of Tibet are not expressed in vain, nor will be the subsequent tortures and hardship inflicted on these true patriots.
A massive March 10th next year is the minimum we can do and we should all participate in a way or another to make it big. But we should also all work, on a daily basis, to spread the real purpose of these self-immolations: let’s talk around us, let’s make noise and let’s make sure that no one believe that these people died “in struggle for autonomy” as The Independent newspaper put it. We ought at least to be the spokespersons of theses voices, and not the proxies of some jerky community leaders who prevent us from wearing “Free Tibet” t-shirts or from getting too close to Chinese embassies: let’s raise our fists and express our support, in the streets and online.
The Dalai Lama resignation may well take a larger turn than expected. With a government reduced to the size of a refugee organization, it is time to consider new avenues and I agree with Jamyang Norbu that Tibetans should look for a new leadership. His remarks on exiled governments is particularly striking…
As for Rangzen embers, here are a few lines from Peter Gabriel’s “Steven Biko” song:
You can blow out a candle
But you can’t blow out a fire
Once the flames begin to catch
The wind will blow it higher
— Peter Gabriel, “Steven Biko”, 1980
Peter Gabriel at Skoll 2011, singing for Archbishop Desmond Tutu
A much earlier version of “Biko”, released for the film “Cry Freedom”
Hell yeahs. Lets make this march 10th the biggest
demonstration. Lets call all supporters, even
monks out of their meditation cushions. Online
presence is a big issue that must be taken seriously
and fought vigorously. It is not trivial as some
yea….those self-immolated monks of amdo immolated in meditation hut and on meditation cushion…….
Strawman logic anyone? U know very well i
Am talking about some of the western monks.
But wat can i expect out of a deranged forthy
before we awake the people of world to let them extend their helping hands, what i feel is that it is important to awake the sleeping tibetans at the moment. the fact is some tibetans always jump at the front but rest being the side- spectators.without collective force of tibetan people, we can never kick out the chinese from tibet. freedom is not free and no one will gift us freedom. so pray not but act now.
gen jamyang la….if i am not mistaken here ,i think tsewang norbu did self immolation 15th august of this year–on india’s independence day.
While I am not encouraging other people’s children to sacrifice their lives for any thing, I want to show my admiration for the monks from eastern Tibet who gave up their lives for Tibet.
I regret to see some individuals criticizing their acts as “unbuddhist.” What is more selfless than giving up one’s life for the welfare of millions of others? In my view it is the ultimate act of altruism.
In a world filled with apathetic dazed humanoids, bellies stuffed with marshmallows and surrounded by stuffed panda toys what else can one do to bring attention to what’s happening to the Tibetans inside Tibet?
lol….those people who family Tibet, call them and loose their lives and satisfy the ego of JN and his bands, while you are planning a March 10th demo which is 4 and 1/2 months aways, even on that day, you will be holding a cup of coffee and show your fake sincerity and advance more of your personal advancement through second wave of refuge from India and Nepal to US and Canada,……lol…such a low logic regarding the way forward of JN. If you want to take yourselves serious, Tsering Dolker burn urself March 10th, if not entire body, at least dip one of your feeet in kerosene and light it….JN should take your internet warriors and start a group from Mustang….otherwise, burning with rage and passion in the west, is nothing more than furt!
Although this is no moment for joy…this must be what a fucking killjoy sounds like.
Why are high Tibetans lamas not vocal about Tibet’s issue?
Newgeneration, u are a Perfect example of a mentally
unstable person and most probably a social skunk
who thinks the world revolves around him. So, u don’t
want people to plan and organize such a huge
undertaking, when u yourself accused people of
not showing up demonstration? So, now it is not
even Ok to drink coffee during demonstration either?
How about wearing clothes or hat? Too unrevolutionary
for our midget brained dictator Newgenetation?
And dont laugh like a little girl when we are
discussing serious stuff. U think self-immolation is
funny? Maybe u are getting too used to the
western life, buddy. Get off ur high horse, ur purpose here
is only to indulge in ur own delusion that u have some sort of rivalry
with jamyang la. Please!!!! It is laughable if it wasnt so pathetic.
@the other dawa: i agree it is too arrogant of us to claim their
great sacrifice as unbuddhist or whatever. The fact is they have made
the greatest sacrifices, the least we can do is stop judging it. We dont
have the right.
I meant u only talk and organize a tiny demo in ur comfort zone…..no one gonna come after u…..first JN and you call your friends and families in Tibet and incite them to burn themselves and satisfy your ego. I will then say, these guys are truly live upto what they think and write….until then, chill dude….dont take innocen lives by your mounth. Just give value other people’s precious lives as you attach to yours.
This does not mean I am condenming them and their act of sacrifice, because I do know more about them then you and JN who do a research on online and produce your pseudo article online as if great method……Anyway, JN even forgot to add the OCCUPY WALLSTREET, the revolution of America, that sprung across the globeagainst greedy bankers and politicians.
All kudras and high lamas need to come out onto street and burn themselves…..where are our blood sucker kudras? Sleeping in America or Dorjee Ling? Or where? Dont manipulate innocent folks, especially of those who live in Tibet…pathetic quasi-Tibetans!
JN..your examples of Poland and the Baltic states serve as a spiritous example of what can be done in the name of liberation. The difference I see is the grub like digging in of the chinese to make that liberation more difficult. The Poles and Baltic states did not face massive populations of Soviets implanted to control and create an economy and out number the native populations. It seems that a complete revolution on the part of the chinese could change this but who says that a chinese revolution will go in Tibet’s favor? Your article has changed my view, in some respects, to the self immolations.
if you have drank your mothers milk….then forget about 10th march shit…form a group of 5 and start biological war against the fuccking china.Thats the weapon you can carry anywhere and fuckingg kill them motherfockers!
Dont tell indirectly others to burn themselves..if you can do it ..do it..if not …shut up!
March 10, 2012 will be a day to remember.
It will signal the start of a hopefully short march to RANGZEN.
The cruel and evil dictators are on the ropes, hiding from the reality that it will all come crashing down very soon.
As our mutual friend used to say,
“See you in Lhasa”
@Daveno, I can understand your anger when Tibetans are self immolating inside Tibet nowadays. Waging biological warfare or engaging in any form of violence is what China is waiting for when the whole world condemn terrorism. Do you want our movement a terrorist movt? Definitely not.
@NewgenerationNB, for your kind information Jamyang Norbu was willing to sacrifice his life for Tibet. In fact he was one of the chushi gangdruk warriors in Mustang. Writing boldly about century old political, religious as well as social norm itself is a bold measure. Who else has the ball to write something critical about the Dalai Lama in our community? Look at yourself, you’re also commenting under ‘Newgeneration cover’. Why don’t you comment with your real name and address if you’ve the ball?
NewgenerationTB: What are you trying to imply by “don’t manipulate innocent folks”? Do you mean that protesters in Tibet cannot make their own mind and that it is JN who asked them to commit self-immolation? Does it mean that you believe that these monks, in protesting for independence and in sacrificing themselves, are more influenced by JN’s writings than by HHDL’s middle way? This is quite an interesting reasoning…
Hello Dear writer!
Here, you expressed all your English dictionary which you learn for last for 4-50 years live in exile. I was born in Tibet and came to exile recently compared your life being in exile. perhaps, your acknowledgement or understanding of your people and political situation inside your motherland was the place where widely open the door for the on driving information that you could read on your desk at your home as where you are now. The fact and the reality where your brothers and sisters are in Tibet completely different where nothing access the information outside, which means the Immolation of the “Mohamed Bouazizi” in your article has the nothing connection with those Tibetan people immolation and sacrifice inside Tibet ethnically. as you said those young Tibetan monks self immolation has taken place following the influenced by the “Mohamed Bouazizi” self immolation outside. Here i would like to tell you that the reality inside Tibet has nothing more sources for the information politically from outside, particularly the revolution of other countries around world, in other hand, Tibetan people inside Tibet also are more creative to deal with issues in their land, not necessary to copy from the others both politically and socially. But of course “Dog” like to follow the people, and monkey like to pretend the other legendarily, but Tibetan inside Tibet will never pay such high price to struggle what they wanted following the strategies what others are maintaining.
What the self-immolation of those young Tibetans recently inside Tibet are entirely present the repressive deteriorating situations where they are under the Chinese rule politically, economically, educationally, and spiritually.
And their voices driving nothing with the title of freedom and independence, but the practical freedom for the 6 millions, as well as their voice is nothing calling for some ironic articles from people toward high sacrifice that those young people has been paying for the peaceful solution of Tibet issue.
It would be really appreciate that you will be back in Tibet and then you will see the reality that how far you are to the outsider information. of course, it is fully understandable that your are convenience to access the outside information in your bed, but please move forward to understand that your brothers and sisters in Tibet not really convenience to update the information outside, because Tibetan people inside Tibet are shady figures and they are looking for some sunny place…
Given below is the correct sentence…sorry the dispersed of the negative in the sentence above….
perhaps, your acknowledgement or understanding of your people and political situation inside your motherland is not the place where widely opened door for the on driving information that you be able read on your desk at your home as where you are now.
Pema Kadag la,
Many nations in Eastern Europe face enormous problems of Russian population transfer especially the Baltic States. So experts then thought that it was all over for those countries, but as I mentioned in my Rangzen Charter:
“But after the collapse of the Soviet Union these three small nations became independent. Though these states still have considerable Russian populations, they are not the absolute threats to the survival or integrity of these nations as it was once thought they would be. The thing to bear in mind is that these small nations, once believed to be completely eradicated by Soviet totalitarianism and Russian immigration, are now free countries — flying their ancient flags, speaking their own languages, and living in freedom.
So, are u saying we shouldn’t even demonstrate?
Make up ur mind. First u complain people dont show
up for demonstration, implying u do. Now when someone
as influential as Jamyang la calls for a massive one
U have a problem with it? Why? Is it because he is doing
exactly what u accuse people of not doing. Guy, news flash!
This is not about you or your fanciful world where things happen
like u want.
Did u just accuse us of taking their lives? Wat kind of
deranged asshole are u? Pathetic sick little midget! Ur mother
should have choked at birth to spare us ur lunacy.
Of course you are condemning their sacrifice when
all u are doing is blaming other Tibetans as the cause.
U think u alone know how they should act and behave. Don’t be
patronizing. People in Tibet i am sure are far more intelligent and cognizant
of their predicament than either u or me. They don’t need elitist
self-absorbed people to tarnish their sacrifice. Dont use them to
take out ur personal delusional vendettas. That is making a mockery
of their deeds. Yeah chill, girlfriend, u are not fooling anyone.
Daveno: don’t care about self- proclaimed
chinese opinions. Maybe u would like to join in
and beat them while they burn. Maybe u will like that.
do not waste today for tomorrow…it is not the time that you are finishing your rest of life for the history…plus you can not change the history but probably your tomorrow. Honestly, If you are positive, there is good enough you can do for today on the ground of your motherland…please…
JN…Though you may be correct that Russians were living there,,,I do not believe that was at the extent that Tibet faces with the chinese. China as it is now could never give in at the expense of all the transplanted chinese losing their business and more importantly their industrial raping of Tibet’s natural resources and their hunger to control India. Your Soviet example is a good one but personally I am afraid that the Chinese “Empire” gains too much to give up from Tibet. I pray that the chinese commoner and those in conscience change China from within.
Tsering dolkar, Is that how Kudrak ruled the commons…never thought of what you just said!
ke he he!
Tashi la, How long we should care about what OTHERS think about our action…..Have the OTHERS did anything when FATHERLAND was fuccked up by China.
Who cares…you need bread, you get the bread..thats phochokha!
@ Padma Kadag, anything is possible here. As soon as a a major revolution breaks out in China, the whole CCP system will collapse. In between we’ll have a momentary avenue to rise and grab the power which is possible only we remain united and politically active. My experience tells that Chinese people normally lacks moral responsibility when it comes to nation and society. I’m sure majority of them will run after looting spree while we could rise and grab the power. It may be a fancy idea, but not impractical as well. Now the question is what should we do at this point of time? My answer is be positive, do not loose hope and stay united to grab the moment that could unfold anytime.
Hi and Tashi Delek to all !!
Its a situation where i jus cant simply sit idle about it.Being a college student and others like me in exile india what i notice is the media attention about the self immolations in tibet and let the local people know about the true picture of whats happening in Tibet. But But what I feel is that “is this enough”?
What we should bring forward as being youth of tibet? Self immolation I personally feel will not be the right option for the students . Than what is needed by the tibetan youth to join in this movement? Lhakar on wednesday,presentation and candle light vigil is what we do But is this enough ???
I urge to all the repected senior tibetan activist to throw some points on this issue about the actual role of tibetan students in the movement?????
Ill be glad to receive the maximum views n suggestions about my above questions and will take note in positive way !!!
Daveno, is that why u led the chinese into Tibet?
To liberate us? Thanks for ur input.
TseringDolkar, Dont thank me, Thank your uncle kudrak for being sold for dhanyang!
Jamyang la, I feel Tsering Tashi la (5) has raised a very important point: how do we get commitment and not the usual situation where families just send only one member to shout etc.?
There needs to be a very stark symbol of commitment to the cause – something more permanent than a bandana or arm band. Why not encourage all Tibetans to shave their heads in solidarity – if those in exile are not prepared to do this then they are not prepared to do anything. Who knows, it may spread to Tibet, like the burning of furs.
Yea Daveno…..Dawa Norbu has proved how willing kudras collected dayang from Chinese and sold their mind while ordinary people remained suspicious, Jamyang Norbu and his kith and kins are one of those elitist group, who first sold the land for dayang, then transported all precious gems into exile and spend on their own children’s future and their confortable life in exile while others worked like donkeys for Indian government to build the military road for Indian military in along the southern side of Himalaya. Some joined Mustang, but just held a gun without shouting. Then slowly moved to WEST and made a comfortable life, then again trying to prove they are the conscience keeper of Tibet. What a contradictory? These contradition will be undercut only they self-immolating themselves in the west, in front of Chinese embassy or UN, rather than expecting more immolation from Tibet and even encouraging them to do so.
Red Star Over Tibet by Dawa Norbu! His part autobiography part political essays, proved reckless and greedy nature of Kudras.
“TIBETAN” — I have no idea what you are trying to say. Something is lost in your computer’s automatic translator. Are you saying that the Tibetans in Tibet do not understand the world affairs and that they do not know what they are protesting?
“DAVENO” — You have never made any sense.
“New Generation” — you are far from it. Get over it. You will be better off quoting Xinhua as your source.
Jamyang la, If the intend is to mobilise the force against our common enemy, your constant criticism of Dharamsala and the Dalai Lama prevent your message to be heard by more people. I acknowledge there are lot of problems emanating from Dharamsala and we have to bring reform there. The electorate felt election of Katri will bring about those changes. Let us give him the time. In the meantime, let us recalibrate our weapons and target them all in the same direction — towards Beijing.
JN forgot this piece of great revolution.
Jamyang-la is right. The 14th Dalai Lama is the hope and symbol of Tibet’s Independence for the Tibetans inside Tibet. But the 14th Dalai Lama is not ‘seeking independence, he has given it up.’
This contradiction needs to be resolved. And it can be resolved only by the emergence of new leadership within occupied Tibet, as jamyang-la has noticed.
Why kudras cannot tolerate criticism of their cynical and manipulative behaviors in society? Is it taboo or against democracy? If not, Luktse…get over your own “belief of history”, start doing some “fact” check….dont throw me on the side of “Chinese”. JN’s intention of Self-immolation in Tibet was a copy cat from what he called from the Middle-East is an insult those who sacrificed their lives, although I would not encourage others to follow and destroy their own lives at such a prime state. I would rather hope they just make good use of their life and enjoy it, at the same time be a Tibetan who lives it, not just pseudo-quasi Tibetans in diaspora who neither speak proper Tibetan, nor read properly, who neither knows cultural norms nor perfect in dream pursuit of western yoyo culture in order to prove one is more modern….haha…
I don’t think Jamyang la is inciting Tibetans inside Tibet to self-immolate themselves. Such an argument implies that Tibetans inside Tibet are not living a nightmare of Chinese oppression.
Tibetan leadership (kudraks) did fail in the past, as you rightly pointed out in your response, and this failure is condemned by Dawa Norbu, Jamyang Norbu and every ordinary Tibetan.
But what do you think of the present leadership (Kudraks)? Are they living up to the aspirations of Tibetans inside Tibet? Don’t you think the Tibetans inside Tibet or the immolating monks are seeking independence for Tibet, for the Chinese military occupation to end? Do not you agree that this aspiration is denied by the present leadership/kudraks led by the Dalai Lama and Lobsang Sangay?
I agree with you that I and majority of us in exile don’t have the courage to burn ourselves to protest against Chinese occupation, but at least we can be honest and true to the aspirations of the self-immolating Tibetans in Tibet, and convey it accurately to the outside world.
I don’t think Jamyang-la is criticizing Dharamsala and Dalai Lama. He is bringing out this truth: Tibetans inside Tibet wants independence, but the Dalai Lama, despite having the power to mobilize the whole Tibetan people, constantly denies it!
But things are changing, especially inside Tibet. As Jamyang-la noticed a new generation inside Tibet is growing, independent and secular. They are the source of Tibet’s ultimate leadership, although they are crushed by the Chinese as can be seen by the PRC imprisonment of young poets, writers, singers and businessmen.
Within diaspora, many are also moving away from the Dalai Lama’s charm and leadership, disappointed by his giving up of Tibetan independence.
Here’s the link to a joint statement by Kashag and Chitue on the self-immolations in Tibet http://tibet.net/en/index.php#
Full of contradictions and sugar coating, Orwellian double think, lies, conscious and unconscious both:
“China’s occupation and repression of Tibet intolerable.”
“political repression, cultural assimilation, economic marginalization and environmental destruction.”
“restore freedom and resolve the issue of Tibet through dialogue for the mutual benefit of the Tibetan and Chinese people.”
“We call upon all Tibetans and Tibet supporters in the free world to join efforts and organize activities in their respective regions.”
“These events must be peaceful, respectful of local laws and dignified.” (THE LAWS OF THE HOST COUNTRIES REGARD TIBET AS PART OF CHINA)
“we stand with you in fulfilling our common aspirations, and we share the pain of your sacrifice.”
I am not going to pretend, I am a realist who is against the Tibetan Independence movement. However I do agree with JN’s assessment that a bad economic downturn is really the only chance to bring down the Chinese government. Yet it’s also telling that JN saw China’s economy crashing, something which Tibetans has no control over, as the key to Tibet independence. Thus these monks who burn themselves to death will have zero influence over China’s policy on Tibet. Nor will these actions change other nations’ policies toward China. I thus have to wonder why are people here so positive about these events? To me it’s just a waste of lives to fuel nationalism for people mostly who don’t even live in Tibet (this kind of coverage is censored in China). While I think China’s economy will definitely crash someday, there are a lot of things the Chinese government could still do to retain power such as to introduce democracy which IMO won’t do the Tibetan independence movement any good. If I were for the Tibetan Independence movement, my nightmare would be China becoming a democratic nation with Tibetans in Tibet participate in the elections, thus affirming their Chinese identity.
Also, I wonder how many of the hardcore Tibet independence people are actually from Tibet. I have recently visited Tibet and honestly I think many Tibetans live rather nicely with Hans, at least in large cities. From what I have seen, younger Tibetans in Tibet simply want what most young people everywhere want: good cloths, electronics, cars, etc. The Han visitors have brought many Tibetans villages enough business that they stopped farming/herding while achieving higher standard of living through tourism. While I don’t think the Tibetan hosts love us Han visitors, they do seem genuinely happy about the improvements and change to their lives. I remember reading a Times article a few years ago where Tibetan Hotels refused to serve han visitors, but I don’t think that is the case today. I think one crucial disagreement I would have against a lot of people here is the degree which Tibetans in Tibet would fight for Tibet Independence.
The spirit of a freedom fighter, the principle of a nationalist and the gut to kick the ass of one’s enemy (excuse for the coarse slang, all are present in the present essay as it had been with all the principal postings on this blog. The political theory that it believes would work however is diametrically different from that of Dharamsala, needless to say that it is absolutely opposed to that of Beijing. The theory of the present essay appears to be the same as saying that freedom is achieved only by winning a war, whereas Dharamsala believes that the age of war is long gone and is no longer valid. It is the age of “dialogue”. Beiing belives that “dialogue” can work, but Dharamsala has no legitimate right to be the counterpart of Beijing in such a dialogue (Weiqun 2009, “Tibet” 2009,1,20). According to Beijing what Dharamsala can propose in a dialogue with Beijing is only about the future of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the XIVth, and not of Tibet.
So now who would be the legitimate counterpart in such a dialogue. It is certainly not Beijing, for there is no way to clap with one hand. It appears that in Beijing’s eye, it is the local government of Tibet Autonomous Region, i.e, Lhasa, that has the legitimate right to propose such a dialogue, a dialogue to discuss the extension of the local power, or (in Dharamsala’s words) to discuss the creation of a “genuine autonmy”.
If Tibetan people prefer to go free Tibet (Rangzen)and nothing more. Then it seems that the option is to win the war. Fight and win. No compromise, because there is no willingness for such a compromise from the counterpart.
If Tibetans people prefer to go for the “dialogue”, then perhaps the International Community must work to make Lhasa a transparent counterpart of Beijing to work out the extention of its local power as provided with the country’s constitution. It seems that there is no reason why China should not agree to such an intervention of the International Community, for it has a certain obligation as a leading world super power (next to the US) and it is well aware of it (“Chinese premier Wen Jiabao calls for more democracy”, BBC)
Unconfirmed reports say a Tibetan nun has set herself alight in protest in Ngaba area today. No details yet.
Chris…you are right…it was reported in Hongkong Business Standard first…..why is only the ordained self-immolate while many rangzen wallas condemn monks as being pasive? Now the question is to tackle, why is thisthe case? Especially the Buddhist monks. Why our Christian monks or muslim imans or bonpo monks or Jonang or so? JN kind of pointed out as if he is trying to make an argument through which he is kind of trivializing the role of DL in the Tibetan Struggle? Is it true only monks wanted independence as JN pointed despite the fact they call for return of HHDL?
Cannot our loud mouth exile rangzen wallas who only stand on rangzen budge shit to show sincerity? At least, those monks supported DL’s policy and fervently calling for his return, neither kudras nor privileged run-away cowards? Forget about JN as an individual. Anyway,we have few months aways, let see if JN his group can at least burn one of the feet of hands to live upto talk or just “politics as usual” for one’s ego gratification.
NG Lets see u self-immolate this march. Otherwise, stop telling
people wat to do.
With all due respect, the Baltics (and Soviet Union in general) did see massive population transfer.
In the period of 1959–1979 the number of ethnic Russians in Latvia increased by 47%.
This is a hopeful thing though, meaning if Latvia could recover in time from Russia’s decades of crimes, Tibet could also recover from China’s.
““These events must be peaceful, respectful of local laws and dignified.” (THE LAWS OF THE HOST COUNTRIES REGARD TIBET AS PART OF CHINA)”
Actually one of the most powerful protests in recent history in Tibet was peaceful, respectful of local laws and dignified–the student language protests.
It may be that setting things on fire will be what is needed in the end; I would never personally rule that out, since I don’t know if there’s any other way to stop the more horrific CCP state violence against Tibetans.
At the same time, how can we deny the immense power the student protests had? The authorities were somewhat powerless at first, since it was thousands of kids not technically doing anything wrong. If those kids had been burning things, and the authorities brutally stopped them, many in the world would have said, “Well, what were police supposed to do?”
But with the peaceful, dignified (yet still quite loud) approach, and the world watching, to some extent the CCP thugs’ hands were tied. Of course they have quietly abused the “leaders” of the protests and persecuted the families now; but they weren’t able to simply shut down the protests with world approval, they had to swallow a lot of it.
It’s impossible to say for sure that the peaceful approach is automatically less powerful.
Btw with the fire reference I wasn’t referring to immolations.
I saw so many notes on face books and net-works say come out do something, don’t stay home just talk and talk empty words. Here is how some people act if they go out one day for rolling or anything to do with Tibet start to yell rest of world say “come out, come out, don’t stay home with empty words”. and show the clip video how much he or she did in shouting in streets. Criticize other not doing any thing x y z….. I am so frustrated see these people. Tibetan freedom struggle is not just go out shouting in streets. We need more people stay home spread the word through internet, send letters to wherever out situation needs to be heard, go to different respective offices in the local where are you living ask for support. these people need so understand that we need to work on different means to get supports and spread words. I believe shouting in street is not only way to fight China and save people’s lives in Tibet.
“It seems that there is no reason why China should not agree to such an intervention of the International Community”
Laughable. ANY intervention imposed by the international “community” on China will more or less be rejected out of principle.
You think Tibet is a big issue? Look at the currency row.
བོད་ཀྱི་རང་བཙན་འཐབ་རྩོད་པ་མཁས་དབང་འཇམ་དབྱངས་ནོར་བུའི་ལྟ་བ་རྒྱལ་ལོ། གཞན་གྱིས་བཅོས་སླད་བྲལ་བའི་སྤྱོད་པ་རྒྱལ་ལོ། དྲང་ཚུགས་མདའ་ལྟར་བརྩན་པའི་སྒོམ་པ་རྒྱལ་ལོ། བོད་རྒྱལ་ལོ། རང་བཙན་རྒྱལ་ལོ།
“On the 26th of March 2012 they declared war on the Chinese and Manchu troops stationed there and fierce fighting broke out throughout the city. After nearly a year of hard and brutal fighting, the Chinese surrendered and were deported to China, via India. The 13th Dalai Lama entered a free Tibet the next yea”.
2012 is a TYPO but it could be a premonition for the biggest ever 10th March 2012.
Even though we have different ways of seeing things we all one what is best for our people and our country. Let’s try not to trivialize the noble sacrifices of these courageous Tibetans by indulging in infighting. Debate whether elevated or otherwise is a great thing but right now is not the time. This sort of events should bring us together in trying to find the best solution to alleviate the suffering of our brothers and sisters. Let’s try to make it about THEM.
We all “want” not “one.” I was thinking so hard on us being ONE. That’s my excuse for that stupid mistake anyway.
By the way is it illegal if you contribute someone’s air fare if he or she wants to come to burn/protest infront of the UN?
JN you forgot to mention that all 8 now 9 Tibetans who self-immolated also called for the return of the Dalai Lama.
As to the assumptions you’ve made, your continued insistence that the exiled government is defunct, I’d ask you, exactly how is the CTA different in day to day operations than the TGIE? It seems to me from conversations I’ve had with Parliament members, researching news reports and observations I’ve made that nothing has changed other than HHDL is no longer the head honcho and a western educated man is the PM. Having been an early participant in the TGIE you should understand more fully what the true purpose of the government was. While politics played a part, mostly the government is about caring for the exiled communities. Since there is no land to govern or protect militarily, no domestic product with which to enter the global economy all they could do was focus on preservation of culture, establishing and maintaining contacts with foreign governments and establish branches or offices where ever Tibetans lived in exile. All of this is still happening…so why do you insist that the exiled government is dead?
What you call a crisis in Dharamshala was not a crisis, simply another move on the part of HHDL to make sure that the People were forced to run the government without him. He has been doing this since the 70’s in bits and pieces, slowly democratizing the governing body, sometimes by making a decision without input, but all aimed at giving the power to the people, which is what democracy is all about.
Some say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. Who actually said this is debatable and unimportant because there is a natural truth to the statement. Violence only begets violence. It takes but a few moments of reviewing world history to ascertain this truth. I get the feeling that you would approve of violence if it meant a free Tibet and if that is the case then nothing really will have been gained. From a wider lens the Tibet issue is not unlike any other instance of occupation, colonialism or now what we refer to as globalization. Hegemony seems to be the order of the world we live in and it is merely an illusion, because no power will remain dominant forever; another fact that history tells. My question is always this; is there another way? What will be required to end the bloody dance of dominance and submission? Wars certainly have not been the answer nor will they ever be. Even were Tibet to win its freedom it would remain under the threat of takeover, just as every nation on the planet is now. Under threat, always watching, guarding and protecting land, economy, people that will fall to dust in the eye of history. It is not until humans advance as a species that an end to genocide, whether in life or culture will end. Violence is not the way forward.
Waiting for China’s economy to collapse is nothing but crossing your fingers behind your back and hoping. It will collapse yes I believe that, but when and what will remain in its stead? The idea that Tibetans will suddenly have the ability to be free is untenable and foolish. News reports on the self-immolations are relegated to the Asia section of the news not the front page and I have yet to see a single mention on local or even national nightly news in the U.S. My western friends are surprised to hear about these events, one has to look for the reports to find them. We can never assume that the world is watching, because in this instance they aren’t; and that is the reality and part of the problem.
The Tibetans in exile have been so busy arguing amongst themselves, criticizing one another and slogging through surviving in India or acquiescing to the materialism of the west that the message of Tibet remains on the back burner. What is the message anyway? Freedom? Autonomy? Human rights? Freedom of religion? I am ever amazed at how little my well educated PhD’d peers know about the issues involving China’s occupation of Tibet. Tibet has become a branded image of mountains, monks, prayer flags and the Dalai Lama. A recent survey I conducted confirmed this. People didn’t think of torture, black prisons, colonialism, struggle, protests, poverty, and immolations when they think of Tibet, instead they have nice happy thoughts.
You are right to look to the Arab Spring as inspiration that the people can create change. Also look to the Occupy Wallstreet movement. While fledgling at the moment it is reminiscent of times past when the people took their roles as citizens seriously and had the courage to stand together for a better democratic society. That is the real power in these equations, not bombs, not guns, not blood shed or violence. Lasting change has never come from violence and instead has come from a group of people who have overpowered the hegemonic forces with their united voices. Tibetans must unite and they must have the backing of citizens across the globe.
I still think its incredibly important to support what’s happening inside Tibet by nabbing the CCP agents who daily operate against Tibet and Tibetans freely and without opposition in the west.
Here’s Mohamad Soueid’s opening paragraph in Reuters:
Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid, 47, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was accused of acting as an agent of the Syrian intelligence service and collecting video and audio recordings of protesters against Syria and its president Bashar al-Assad.
Why on earth could it not read “Wang Leijun, 47, a naturalized U.S. citizen was accused of acting as an agent of the Chinese intelligence service and collecting video and audio recordings of protestors against China and its president Hu Jintao.”
There is absolutely no difference between what Soueid was doing and what countless mainland Chinese are doing at every single Tibet rally abroad.
We need to watch the Soueid case very closely and see what precedents are set/invoked, and then insist that the government apply the law equally to all violators.
Those who have and are immolating themseleves for the sake of Tibet, beyond doubt, deserve all the honour and respect. And for sure, their sacrifice will not go in vain. The world’s moral support is with them.
All said that, this exteme action must not continue. One can do more by living than by dying. This is universal truth. The world must help not to fuel the people’s tendency to burn themselves up, but to live and live with dignity. All the movements must encourage people to live and fight to live. Not fight to die. It is high time that all the high profile spiritual personals and Nobel Laurets should work to bring about greater encouragement in this world to value one’s precious life.
According to Samten Karmay-la, Langdarma was not anti-Buddhist. Based on his analysis of Tunhuang documents, Buddhism was flourishing during Langdarma’s reign.
If that is true then we have to question this whole thesis of the destruction of Tibetan Buddhism by him and then later revived and saved from Eastern Tibet, as in the famous story tenpai mero med nes sod, which you have quoted in your essay.
I also remember in one of your earlier essays, you mentioned the legendary story of Lha lama yeshi od, giving up his life, sacrificing himself, to bring Buddhism to Tibet from India, as an inspiration for us to fight for Rangzen.
But according to the great historian, Roberto Vitali, who is the world’s leading authority on Western Tibet, yeshi od died peacefully at Tholing.
Again, in one of your power point presentations on Rangzen in Dharamsala a few years ago, you invoked Pholanas’ biography, miwang togjoe. I am wondering, given your not-so-good grasp of Tibetan literature, which you yourself acknowledge, you actually read the whole biography, and even if you read it, comprehended it fully.
These things you must take care of while writing your essays and giving public talks.
Personally, I have learned many things from you, for which am grateful to you. Your short story, the silence, has left a deep impression on my mind.
Best wishes, and hope to read more interesting essays in future, and hope readers, both your detractors and supporters, read with an open and critical eye.
High Peaks Pure Earth translated a poem from inside Tibet by blogger སེང་རྡོར། about the immolations. It received 1000 views and over 40 comments before it was harmonized.
སྐུ་ཞབས་འཇམ་དབྱངས་ནོར་བུ་ལགས། སྐུ་ཉིད་ཀྱི་རང་བཙན་མེ་རོ་སྦར་བ། ཞེས་པའི་རྩོམ་ཡིག་བོད་སྒྱུར་མ་དེ་ངས་ད་ལྟ་རང་བོད་ཀྱི་དུས་བབ་ནས་ལྟ་ཀློག་བྱས་པ་ཡིན་ལ། ལྟ་ཀློག་བྱས་ཚར་མ་ཐག་ང་ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་ཟིན་བྲིས་སུ་ཞུགས་ནས་མ་རྩོམ་ལ་བལྟས་པ་ཡིན། མ་རྩོམ་གྱི་མགོ་དེར་《རང་བཙན་མེ་རོ་སྤར་པ།》ཞེས་བོད་ཡིག་གིས་བྲིས་འདུག་པས་སེམས་དགའ་སོང་། འོན་ཀྱང་ཁྱེད་ཀྱིས་སྦར་བ་ལ་སྤར་ཞེས་ས་པ་བཏགས་པ་ར་བཞག་སྤར་ཞེས་བྲིས་འདུག དག་ཡིག་ཏུ་བཏགས་པའི་དེབ་རེ་ཟུང་ན་མེ་སྦར་བ་ལ་མེ་སྤར་པའམ་མེ་སྤར་བ་ཞེས་བྲིས་འདུག་པ་དེ་ཚོ་ནི་མ་དག་པ་རེད། གཞུང་ཁུངས་མ་རྣམས་སུ་མེ་སྦར་བ་ལས་སྤར་པ་བྲིས་མི་འདུག སྤར་བ་ནི་གོ་གནས་སོགས་ཇེ་མཐོར་བཏང་བའམ་གནས་གཞན་དུ་མངགས་པའི་དོན་རེད། IGNITINGཞེས་པ་འདི་ལ་མེ་རོ་སྦར་བ་ཞེས་འབྲི་བ་ལས་མེ་རོ་སྤར་པ་ཞེས་བྲིས་ན་དག་ཡིག་ཁུངས་མ་དག་དང་མི་མཐུན་ལགས། ཀློག་པ་པོ་ཞིག་གིས་བསམ་ཚུལ་ཙམ་དུ་ཕུལ་བ་ལགས།
A Tibetan translation will be on rangzen.net in a few hours. JN
The Tibetan version of this article is available on Khabdha (http://bit.ly/mYUb2O) and on the Rangzen Alliance’s website (http://bit.ly/nUkxtr).
ཧྥེ་གླིང་བྱང་མའི་ཨ་རབ་ ཀྱི་གསར་བརྗེ་ཟེར་བ་དང་སྲིད་དབང་སྒེར་གཅོད་པ་མགོ་སྟིང་སློག་པ་ནི་བོད་ཀྱི་ གནས་སྟངས་ལ་འབྲེལ་བ་ཅི་ཡོད་དམ། དཔྱད་པ་ཕྲན་ཙམ་བཏང་ན། བོད་ནི་བཙན་འཛུལ་འོག་ཡོད་པ་དང་བོད་མི་མང་ལ་བདག་དབང་བྲལ་ཡོད་པས། བོད་ཀྱི་འཐབ་རྩོད་ནི་བདག་དབང་གི་གནད་དོན་ཡིན། དེ་ནི་རྒྱ་ནག་མི་མང་གི་དམངས་གཙོ་བརྩོན་ལེན་གྱི་འཐབ་རྩོད་དང་། ཧྥེ་གླིང་བྱང་མའི་གསར་བརྗེ་དང་ག་ལ་འདྲ། ཐབས་ལམ་དང་དམིགས་འབེན། གནས་བབ་སོགས་ཕྱོགས་མང་པོའི་ཆ་ནས་མི་འདྲའོ།། ཁྱོད་ལྟར་ན། བོད་མི་ཚོས་ཀྱང་རྒྱ་ནག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ཀྱི་ཆེད་དུ་གསར་བརྗེ་དང་འཐབ་རྩོད་བྱེད་པ་ལྟ་བུར་བརྗོད་འདུག
ཡང་བཙན་བྱོལ་གཞུང་དེ་དག་གིས་གཞིས་པའི་མི་མང་གི་ལས་འགུལ་ལ་ཤུགས་རྐྱེན་ཐེབས་ ཟེར་འདི་ལ་དཔྱད་པར་བྱ་བ་ཡོད་དེ། རང་བཙན་ཡིན་པའི་ཧྥེ་གླིང་བྱང་མའི་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་དེ་དག་ལ་ད་དུང་བཙན་བྱོལ་གཞུང་ཟེར་ བ་ཞིག་ཡོད་ན། ཁོ་ཚོས་ཁས་ལེན་པའི་གཞུང་ངོ་མ་དེ་གང་ཡིན་ནམ། ག་ད་ཧྥེ་ནི་སྲིད་དབང་སྒེར་གཅོད་པ་ཞིག་ཡིན་པ་ལས། བོད་བཙན་བཟུང་བྱས་པའི་རྒྱ་དམར་གྱི་སྲིད་འཛིན་ལྟ་བུ་གང་ན་ཡིན།
ཁྱོད་ཀྱིས་ལུང་འདྲེན་དུ། ༧རྒྱལ་བ་རིན་པོ་ཆེས་ བོད་མི་ཚོས་ལྷ་སར་འཕྲོག་བཅོམ་བྱས་པའི་རྒྱུ་རྐྱེན་གྱིས་ངོས་རང་དགོངས་པ་ཞུ་གི་ཡིན་ཞེས་གསུངས་ཡོད་པ་དེ་རེད། ཅེས་བཀོད་པ་འདི་ནི་ལོག་བཤད་འབའ་ཞིག་ཏུ་ཟད་དོ།། རྒྱལ་བ་རིན་པོ་ཆེས་དེ་ལྟར་མ་གསུངས་པ་སུས་ཀྱང་ཤེས། བོད་མི་དང་རྒྱ་གཞུང་གཉིས་ཕན་ཚུན་སེམས་ཐག་བཅད་ནས་གདོང་ཐུག་རྒྱག་ལ་ཉེ་བར་ དགོངས་ནས་ཁོང་གིས་བོད་མི་ཚོས་མི་གསོད་དྲག་སྤྱོད་མི་སྤེལ་བའི་ཆེད་དུ། མི་སྲོག་ལ་འཚེ་བའི་བྱ་འགུལ་སྤེལ་ན་དགོངས་ཞུ་རྒྱུ་ཡིན་གསུངས། དོན་ངོ་མར་རྒྱལ་བ་རིན་པོ་ཆེས་བོད་མི་མང་པོའི་ཚེ་སྲོག་ཤོར་བ་སྔོན་འགོག་གནང་ བ་འདི་ཇི་འདྲའི་དྲིན་ཆེ་ཨང་། དེ་མིན་ན་རྒྱ་ནག་གཞུང་གིས་དམར་གསོད་དང་དྲག་སྤྱོད་བསམ་ཡུལ་ལས་འགོངས་པ་བྱས་ ཟིན་པ་ལོས་མཁྱེན། སྐབས་དེར་རྒྱ་ནག་དམར་གཞུང་གིས་རྒྱ་མི་མང་པོར་ངན་སྐུལ་བྱས་ཏེ་རྒྱ་བོད་མི་མང་ བར་ལ་སྔར་མེད་འཁོན་འཛིན་བསླངས་ཏེ། བོད་མིའི་ལས་འགུལ་ལ་དྲག་གནོན་བྱ་བར་རྒྱ་ནག་མི་མང་གིས་ངོས་ལེན་ཡོད་པར་བརྗོད་ པ་དེ་མི་དྲན་ནམ། དེའི་རྗེས་ནས་ས་འགུལ་དང་རྒྱལ་སྤྱིའི་དཔལ་འབྱོར་ཉམས་རྒུད་བྱུང་བའི་དུས་སུ། རྒྱལ་སྤྱིའི་སྲིད་གཞུང་དག་གིས་བོད་དོན་ལ་རྣམ་འགྱུར་གང་བསྟན་པ་ལ་བསམ་གཞིགས་བྱ་དགོས་པའི་གནས་མིན་ནམ།
མཁས་དབང་དུ་འཆེ་བའི་འཇམ་དབྱངས་ནོར་བུ་ལགས། ད་ནི་ཁྱོད་ཀྱིས་ཁ་བཤད་ཆུ་ཡི་ཝུ་བ་དེ་ལག་ལེན་གསེར་གྱི་ཐིགས་པར་བསྒྱུར་བའི་ དུས་ལ་བབ་འདུག ཁྱོད་སྔོན་ལ་ཐབས་མཁས་ཀྱིས་བོད་ནང་དུ་འཛུལ་ནས། པོ་ཏ་ལ་ཐང་ཆེན་དུ་སྐད་འབོད་ཐེངས་ཤིག་གམ། བྱུང་ན་རང་ལུས་མེ་ལ་སྤར་ཚེ། བོད་མི་མང་པོར་སེམས་འགུལ་དང་སྤོབས་པ་བླ་ལྷག་སྟེར་ཐུབ་པ་གདོན་མི་ཟ།
ཧ་ཧ། ཀུ་རེ་ཡིན། འཇམ་དབྱངས་ནོར་བུ་མཁས་པ་ཡིན་པས། བོད་མི་མང་པོས་སྲོག་བློས་བཏང་ཚར་ནས་རྒྱལ་ཁ་ལེན་ལ་ཉེ་དུས། ཁོང་གིས་བོད་ཀྱི་དར་ཆ་ཞིག་འཕྱར་སྟེ། རྒྱལ་ཁ་ལེན་པའི་བྱས་རྗེས་དེ་རང་གི་རྣམ་ཐར་དུ་འབྲི་རྒྱུར་སྒུག་ཡོད་པ་ངས་ཀྱང་ལོས་ཤེས།
Lobsang Phuntsok (20), Tsewang Norbu (29), Khaying (18), Choephel (19), and Tenzin Wangmo (20) have all succumbed to their injuries, while there is no information on the well being and whereabouts of Lobsang Kelsang (18), Lobsang Kunchok (19), Kelsang Wangchuk (17), and Norbu Damdul (19).
salute to the flaming rangzen warriors! the young do not fear and do the impossible and achieve the possible!
སྤྱི་ལོ་ ༢༠༡༡ ཟླ་ ༡༠ ཚེས་ ༡༩ གི་ཆུ་ཚོད་ ༩ སྐར་མ་ ༢༠
ཧྥེ་གླིང་བྱང་མའི་ཨ་རབ་ཀྱི་གསར་བརྗེ་ཟེར་བ་དང་སྲིད་དབང་སྒེར་གཅོད་པ་མགོ་སྟིང་སློག་པ་ནི་བོད་ཀྱི་གནས་སྟངས་ལ་འབྲེལ་བ་ཅི་ཡོད་དམ། དཔྱད་པ་ཕྲན་ཙམ་བཏང་ན། བོད་ནི་བཙན་འཛུལ་འོག་ཡོད་པ་དང་བོད་མི་མང་ལ་བདག་དབང་བྲལ་ཡོད་པས། བོད་ཀྱི་འཐབ་རྩོད་ནི་བདག་དབང་གི་གནད་དོན་ཡིན། དེ་ནི་རྒྱ་ནག་མི་མང་གི་དམངས་གཙོ་བརྩོན་ལེན་གྱི་འཐབ་རྩོད་དང་། ཧྥེ་གླིང་བྱང་མའི་གསར་བརྗེ་དང་ག་ལ་འདྲ། ཐབས་ལམ་དང་དམིགས་འབེན། གནས་བབ་སོགས་ཕྱོགས་མང་པོའི་ཆ་ནས་མི་འདྲའོ།། ཁྱོད་ལྟར་ན། བོད་མི་ཚོས་ཀྱང་རྒྱ་ནག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ཀྱི་ཆེད་དུ་གསར་བརྗེ་དང་འཐབ་རྩོད་བྱེད་པ་ལྟ་བུར་བརྗོད་འདུག
ཡང་བཙན་བྱོལ་གཞུང་དེ་དག་གིས་གཞིས་པའི་མི་མང་གི་ལས་འགུལ་ལ་ཤུགས་རྐྱེན་ཐེབས་ཟེར་འདི་ལ་དཔྱད་པར་བྱ་བ་ཡོད་དེ། རང་བཙན་ཡིན་པའི་ཧྥེ་གླིང་བྱང་མའི་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་དེ་དག་ལ་ད་དུང་བཙན་བྱོལ་གཞུང་ཟེར་བ་ཞིག་ཡོད་ན། ཁོ་ཚོས་ཁས་ལེན་པའི་གཞུང་ངོ་མ་དེ་གང་ཡིན་ནམ། ག་ད་ཧྥེ་ནི་སྲིད་དབང་སྒེར་གཅོད་པ་ཞིག་ཡིན་པ་ལས། བོད་བཙན་བཟུང་བྱས་པའི་རྒྱ་དམར་གྱི་སྲིད་འཛིན་ལྟ་བུ་གང་ན་ཡིན།
ཁྱོད་ཀྱིས་ལུང་འདྲེན་དུ། ༧རྒྱལ་བ་རིན་པོ་ཆེས་ བོད་མི་ཚོས་ལྷ་སར་འཕྲོག་བཅོམ་བྱས་པའི་རྒྱུ་རྐྱེན་གྱིས་ངོས་རང་དགོངས་པ་ཞུ་གི་ཡིན་ཞེས་གསུངས་ཡོད་པ་དེ་རེད། ཅེས་བཀོད་པ་འདི་ནི་ལོག་བཤད་འབའ་ཞིག་ཏུ་ཟད་དོ།། རྒྱལ་བ་རིན་པོ་ཆེས་དེ་ལྟར་མ་གསུངས་པ་སུས་ཀྱང་ཤེས། བོད་མི་དང་རྒྱ་གཞུང་གཉིས་ཕན་ཚུན་སེམས་ཐག་བཅད་ནས་གདོང་ཐུག་རྒྱག་ལ་ཉེ་བར་དགོངས་ནས་ཁོང་གིས་བོད་མི་ཚོད་མི་གསོད་དྲག་སྤྱོད་མི་སྤེལ་བའི་ཆེད་དུ། མི་སྲོག་ལ་འཚེ་བའི་བྱ་འགུལ་སྤེལ་ན་དགོངས་ཞུ་གི་ཡིན་གསུངས། དོན་ངོ་མར་རྒྱལ་བ་རིན་པོ་ཆེས་བོད་མི་མང་པོའི་ཚེ་སྲོག་ཤོར་བ་སྔོན་འགོག་གནང་བ་འདི་ཇི་འདྲའི་དྲིན་ཆེ་ཨང་། དེ་མིན་ན་རྒྱ་ནག་གཞུང་གིས་དམར་གསོད་དང་དྲག་སྤྱོད་བསམ་ཡུལ་ལས་འགོངས་པ་བྱས་ཟིན་པ་ལོས་མཁྱེན། སྐབས་དེར་རྒྱ་ནག་དམར་གཞུང་གིས་རྒྱ་མི་མང་པོར་ངན་སྐུལ་བྱས་ཏེ་རྒྱ་བོད་མི་མང་བར་ལ་སྔར་མེད་འཁོན་འཛིན་བསླངས་ཏེ། བོད་མིའི་ལས་འགུལ་ལ་དྲག་གནོན་བྱ་བར་རྒྱ་ནག་མི་མང་གིས་ངོས་ལེན་ཡོད་པར་བརྗོད་པ་དེ་མི་དྲན་ནམ། དེའི་རྗེས་ནས་ས་འགུལ་དང་རྒྱལ་སྤྱིའི་དཔལ་འབྱོར་ཉམས་རྒུད་བྱུང་ནས། རྒྱལ་སྤྱིའི་སྲིད་གཞུང་དག་གིས་བོད་དོན་ལ་རྣམ་འགྱུར་གང་བསྟན་པ་ལ་བསམ་གཞིགས་བྱ་དགོས་གནས་མིན་ནམ།
མཁས་དབང་དུ་འཆེ་བའི་འཇམ་དབྱངས་ནོར་བུ་ལགས། ད་ནི་ཁྱོད་ཀྱིས་ཁ་བཤད་ཆུ་ཡི་ཝུ་བ་དེ་ལག་ལེན་གསེར་གྱི་ཐིགས་པར་བསྒྱུར་བའི་དུས་ལ་བབ་འདུག ཁྱོད་སྔོན་ལ་ཐབས་མཁས་ཀྱིས་བོད་ནང་དུ་འཛུལ་ནས། པོ་ཏ་ལ་ཐང་ཆེན་དུ་སྐད་འབོད་ཐེངས་ཤིག་གམ། བྱུང་ན་རང་ལུས་མེ་ལ་སྤར་ཚེ། བོད་མི་མང་པོར་སེམས་འགུལ་དང་སྤོབས་པ་བླ་ལྷག་སྟེར་ཐུབ་པ་གདོན་མི་ཟ། ང་ཡང་ཁྱོད་ཀྱི་ཕྱི་རྗེས་འབྲངས་ངེས་ཡིན།
ཧ་ཧ། ཀུ་རེ་ཡིན། འཇམ་དབྱངས་ནོར་བུ་མཁས་པ་ཡིན་པས། བོད་མི་མང་པོས་སྲོག་བློས་བཏང་ཚར་ནས་རྒྱལ་ཁ་ལེན་ལ་ཉེ་དུས། ཁོང་གིས་བོད་ཀྱི་དར་ཆ་ཞིག་འཕྱར་སྟེ། རྒྱལ་ཁ་ལེན་པའི་བྱས་རྗེས་དེ་རང་གི་རྣམ་ཐར་དུ་འབྲི་རྒྱུར་སྒུག་ཡོད་པ་ངས་ཀྱང་ལོས་ཤེས།
On the morning of the 15th, English-language reports of another self-immolation in Rnga-ba appeared, with one news dispatch on Phayul stating that the monk, Nor-bu dgra-’dul, had died calling for “complete independence” (http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=30172). This raises a question which has unfortunately been well-muddled by the fine folks at ICT and many others in Dharamsala for many, many years. Early on ICT, in support of the Dalai Lama’s policies and under the direction (one has to suppose) of its director, Lodi Gyari, adopted the—how might one put this politely?—less-than-forthright policy of translating calls from inside Tibet for rang-btsan as calls for “freedom” (rang-dbang). As Tibet-watchers know, the terms are not synonyms: when the Dalai Lama says he is against independence he is not, after all, saying he is against freedom. So quite often calls for independence in Tibet surfaced as calls for freedom in the Western media. Clearly some sort of lazy inertia has arisen around this, with some journalists simply putting Dharamsala policies and rhetoric in the mouths of Tibetan protestors. When it comes to those Tibetans who have willingly and tragically given up their lives for Tibet in acts of self-immolation, their loss of voice in this way is particularly devastating. Thus, it’s quite understandable that Christophe would be so profoundly frustrated by The Independent’s assertion that these Tibetans are immolating themselves for “autonomy.” (https://www.jamyangnorbu.com/blog/2011/10/14/embers-of-independence-rangzen-mero/#comments)
For this reason it is particularly important that we know as much as we can of what the Tibetans who are sacrificing themselves are saying in Tibetan. What does it mean to read in English that Nor-bu dgra-’dul called out for “complete independence?” The term “complete independence” was generally wielded in Dharamsala throughout the 1990s to mitigate the real significance of the stance that the Tibetan-Government-in-Exile (before it joined the Dodo in blissful extinction) was taking. The tactic was to insist to the general population that the TGIE was simply not for full independence rather than honestly asserting that the TGIE rejected Tibetan independence and accepted that Tibetans are just a minority nationality of China. By ostensibly not being for “full independence” the broad exile population could lull itself with the sense that the TGIE was still supportive of Tibetan independence of some sort, just not independence of the “full” sort. Misleading? Yes, but then again, that was the point, wasn’t it?
So we come to Nor-bu dgra-’dul’s last words as described in English: a call for “complete independence.” Now, one needs to bear in mind that the term “complete independence” (what Dharamsala opposed and opposes) has been used as a rhetorical tool to mark extremists. This, even though demonstrations in Dharamsala and elsewhere in the Tibetan world were in part characterized for decades by the broad mass of participants proclaiming “Bod rang-btsan gtsang-ma yin!” This phrase is essentially an assertion of Tibet’s legitimate identity as a country replete with all the attributes of independence. It differs somewhat from exclaiming “Bod rang-btsan gtsang-ma dgos,” which asserts that Tibet needs to be cleanly or fully independent. One might argue over why such assertions have been demonized in Dharamsala (though the reasons seem quite obvious). But for our purposes the fact that this language has become controversial requires that we ask, specifically, what Nor-bu dgra-’dul cried out before he died.
Well, if the Tibetan website Khabdha and the site for Bod-kyi dus-bab can be relied on, it was not something that contained the term rang-btsan gtsang-ma, in spite of the Phayul report claiming he called for “complete independence.” According to the reports on Khabdha and Bod-kyi dus-bab (http://www.khabdha.org/?p=22651 and http://www.tibettimes.net/news.php?showfooter=1&id=4976) he went to his death avoiding or—more likely—unaware of the way exile authorities had taken a phrase that most Tibetans used to utter unabashedly and imbued it with the sinister tones of extremism and indeed violence. No, Nor-bu dgra-’dul’s last appeal was simple and direct: “Bod kha-ba-can la rang-dbang rang-btsan dgos!” “Tibet, Land of Snows, must be free and independent!”
There is no time for debate. It is emergency and the time is running out.
The UNO and the world leaders must call for an emergency meeting to respond to this call of “fire protest”, so that this extreme action is stopped immediately.
The world’s high profile spiritual personals and the nobel laurets have greater obligations to immediately respond to this this kind of urgent calls. What are they waiting for? More lost of innocent lives?
Having lived in the heart of Gangkyi for many years now, I personally experienced that three things embarrasses us:
1. Books 2. the word Rangzen or complete independence and 3. Pawo Thupten Ngodup
Lord Buddha’s great wisdom of Middle-Way, unfortunately, has become a dogma when it comes to our struggle.
The self immolations at Kirti Monastery were selfless acts to benefit millions of others. If we can’t follow these heroic and brave patriots in their selfless acts, we can at the least demonstrate vociferously in honor of these patriots who sacrificed their lives for us.
So let us not besmirch the sacrifices make by these patriots. Let us instead make March 10, 2012 the biggest worldwide demonstration to prove to the Chinese we are firmly unwilling to live under their illegal occupation and autocratic rule.
People in the know talk about the coming collapse of China. Is that now being debunked? Seems like that nation’s economy grows stronger each year & has turned economic theories upside down?
While the rich get obscenely rich the picture gets even bleaker for those Chinese in the hinterlands. Now many parts of Tibet are a virtual military zone. Isn’t this the setting stage for expressions of dissent against political tyranny and dictatorship?
A HYMN TO EASTERN FLAMES – 11/9/2011
Dark shadows of evil have fallen on our world
And out of the tar-black night, flames burst
Now and then fading into silent embers
And still they will not let them rest
Stroking the flaming sacrifice with rifle butts
Tightening the shackles that bind their feet;
Sending more troops to swarm silent courtyards
Filled with marooned praying monks
Even in death they will not yield to an evil state
Choosing only the last to self-immolate than harm;
The very same devils that liberated us with guns
And steals even our very last breath
Their message from the flaming pyres rises
High into the heavens, calling on our gods
To take this heavy colonial yoke off us
So that Tibet may be free
These unsung heroes of our dying breed
Whom humanity on earth chooses to ignore;
In our hearts must not die; keep us alight
Till at last we shall be free
When ever there is debate about the Tibet’s causes, some running dog of the communist china always attacking the kkudrak, lama and old society. Making mockery of an old society, kudrak and lama is sign of communist propaganda victory. non of those are worse than communist china. communist chinese took over country and now sucking the blood of our brother and sister in Tibet. Kudrak lama and old society’s time, Tibetan were not protesting and self immolating though under the poverty. But really leading self contented life. so when we are debating,or discussing, make sure not to miss the focal point which should be at the heart communist china. sometime I feel we losing the main target and befallen in internal rift. set and shot arrow at the heart of communsit china. Tibet will win.
# 72 Shakapa,
I agree with you. Lets make 2012 the biggest rally of all. lets show the Chinese that Tibetans outside are united. Tibetans inside of of Tibet are not alone in their suffering and struggle.
March 10, 2012 So be it.
Ngatso Bho ki
My late father, Tsepon Wangchuk Deden Shakabpa’s history books and pamphlets encouraging Tibetans never to give up the fight for independence are being widely and intently read in Tibet and the Tibetan people are valiantly and loudly responding to his call.
Now we hear your call, that we will gladly and loudly respond to it.
I had been an avid reader of Jamyang Norbu la’s articles in Tibetan Review when I was in Dharamsala, working for the Tibetan Government in Exile. I found your articles very courageous and, of course, enlightening because you managed to more than scratch the surface–understatement here on my part– and thus go beyond the dominant cliches when it came to political issues affecting Tibetans. After moving the United States, because of popular forums like Phayul, I have been able to follow up on what is happening about the issue of Tibet by reading your articles and other young writers, cast in your mold, to sift truth from fiction. Your long record of committment to truth, unvarnished truth, when it came to the issue of Tibet, continue to shine a laser-like focus on the deeds–often misdeeds– of our Government, which often plays into the hands of China. Keep writing and continue holding the lantern.
For over sixty decades the Tibetan people have suffered physical and emotional torture while the world sits and watches.It is time for the world to express solidarity for the suffering of Tibetans,to join hands with them in their silent and painful endeavour to free Tibet by encouraging them to raise the pitch of their voices so high that the terrible might of Chinese power relents.The global community should sit up and join the cause of thousands of suffering Tibetans
thank you so much Vijay. Tibetans have and are suffered for Phayul, but shall have eternal gratitude for Mother India.
We want to thank many of the old officials who helped lay the foundation of our exile society and government. Thank you to all of these dedicated souls, and people from all sections who led us wisely in the early years of our plight. They are the reason many of us today are educated, and able to sustain our culture and traditions.