Although I haven’t written anything for a while, a few of you readers have been keeping up a small discussion on the RFA issue on the comment section of my previous blogs. Tenzin Tethong’s appointment as RFA director has received favorable comments from many of you who have have pointed out that he is probably the best pick there is on the list of possible candidates. I do not entirely disagree with this. After all, I have written favorably of his accomplishments when he was a candidate for the Kalon Tripa elections.
But on the issue of RFA directorship, I feel that Tenzin Tethong should not have taken the job. Maybe I am being too cynical but I feel Tenzing Tethong’s appointment leaves the impression (as it was probably meant to do by RFA management) that the issue of Jigme Ngabo’s dismissal has finally been put to bed.
And of course nothing really has been resolved at all. It is not just the unfairness and injustice of Jigme Ngabo’s summary dismissal by RFA president Libby Liu that is so troubling. There is, after all, a lot of injustice in this world that we can do little about. But we should all bear in mind that Libby’s decision to remove Jigme was essentially instigated by Dharamshala’s scheming to control the channels of free expression in exile society and suppress opinions critical of it. A tendency that has been increasing of late as has been pointed out in the latest editorial in the Tibetan Political Review, and also by independent bloggers as Tsering Woser la.
From what I understand Tenzin Tethong’s appointment was approved not only by RFA management, but in a roundabout way also appears to have had official CTA blessings. Someone from the old town phoned me that Dharamshala expects Tenzin Tethong to run RFA in keeping with its own policies and avoid the “mistake” that Jigme Ngabo made in allowing views to be expressed on RFA programs that were independent or critical of CTA and its Middle Way Policy.
Will Tenzin Tethong do that? Well, he is an old bureaucrat. A very capable one but a bureaucrat nonetheless. And I feel that Dharamshala is confident that he will, in the end, play it safe, stick to the script, keep to the straight and narrow. I hope he doesn’t. He is undoubtedly intelligent, but conditioning trumps intelligence most of the time, as Dharmshala knows well.
Me? I don’t know. I’m keeping my fingers crossed on this one.