Saturday, August 1, 2015

Tibet's Brave Souls


                                                   Tibet's Brave Souls

I believe all the Tibetan political prisoners current, and past had courageously raised their fist and voiced their disaffection at the Chinese policy, that too under an intimidating and oppressive environment at various time and circumstance. Risking their limbs and life these political prisoners are by and large the actual conscience and true aspiration of the Tibetan people.

Under the pretext of separatism and sedation, these brave men and women of their rank have endured hellish torture and mistreatment in the Chinese jail. They are those who were unable to withstand the onslaught of the violence, and harsh condition of imprisonment led them to total breakdown. Then they are those who perished in jail and never see the light of the day. Then they are those who survived the emotional and physical ordeal and finally released after the end of their prison term.

The question now is how many of those Tibetan political prisoners have continued their works in exile, that they have voluntarily and courageously started under the yoke of communist controlled Tibet. There is a gulf between the life in occupied Tibet and a free world. Political prisoners could continuously carry forward their legacies in exile with complete freedom and lots of resources and assistance at their disposal. But the reality has been after an initial momentous moment of their arrival in exile, the majority of the Tibetan political prisoners slowly fade out their luster in the exile Tibetan political spectrum.

I am often bothered by the question, how can those brave souls of Tibet, who have ones shook the foundation of the communist foothold in Tibet and put the Tibet issue in the international spotlight, have in due time majority of them diminished their voices in a democratic exile society?

After watching a recent presentation on the Chinese policy to control Tibetan post-2008 uprising, by a former Tibetan political prisoner turned analyst and researcher, Mr. Gaden Tashi, I am convinced by the breadth and depth of their knowledge and potential for greater contribution for new insights in understanding Chinese strategies in controlling Tibetans. I was relieved to see that here is one brave soul, who after all those years of exile, remained true to himself through relentless research endeavors in exposing the truth of Chinese policy in an objective way.

Gaden Tashi is one of a kind which has survived the torment of the Chinese prisoner officials and later escaped to exile. He was sentenced after the 1989s massive protest in Lhasa by the monks of Gaden monasteries, calling for "Tibet Independence and long life His Holiness the Dalai Lama."

He seems to be one of rarest of those hundred of brave souls, who even after rehabilitating in exile, continue to carry on the legacy of Tibetan struggle through his chosen field of analysis and research.  The Tibet Policy Institute of CTA has done an excellent service by providing him the platform to share his perspectives and understanding of Chinese tactics.

As anyone who is interested in an independent research of the China's policy on Tibet, Gaden Tashi's presentation is a must watch. His animated delivery style and well-documented evidence of Chinese's maneuver in winning the heart and soul of ordinary Tibetan through the way of carrot is an eye-opening and refreshing, to say the least. His great sense of humor, wit, and comparison of exile Tibetan set up, and those of communist mentality is thought to provoke. The presentation is focused specifically on the topic through the use of Chinese media coverage, which for some will raises doubt as what is the reality, albeit the first of impression of the picture. It can not be ruled out that whatever is depicted in image necessarily reflect the truth.  Reading beyond the text can only widen the scope of viewer's understanding of the issue and also an essential tool for critical thinking.  However the presentation has its own merits and not jumping on the bandwagon of what the exile CTA believes or the majority says so.

  As an observer of Tibet issues, the presenter minced no words in pointing out how much the Chinese tactics on handling the Tibetan affairs have fundamentally shifted. He believed that the carrot policy is likely to succeed in the long run given the human nature of loving those who provide them the basic needs.

The presenter's perspectives on the subject are not necessarily reflecting the whole picture of the Chinese subjugation and but at least,  he has successfully laid out the naked truth of China's pacified tactics, by single-pointedly nailing down on Chinese employment of material means to maintain long-term stability in Tibet.  So the question is as one audience member raised if it is working? Which I think is entirely another area of research to answer that question.Or we have to wait and see for few more years or another decade.

What otherwise turn out to be a perfect speech is slightly marred by few glitches, such as a little-hurried conclusion, limited interaction and one of the audience feeding words in the presenter's mouth by drawing his conclusion.

After all, it was a positive development that even in exile, those brave Tibetan souls can still engage and be a productive member of the society. That is not saying that those former political prisoners are only who should carry on the freedom struggle, but they have made their mark in a most tumultuous time , and they are more credible in having a greater say in peace and more relaxed time in the society.
 I will be remiss not mentioning the role of another political prisoner Lukam Jam in electrifying the political discourse during 2016 preliminary Sikyong election debate. But his contribution and controversy merit another write- up, which the reader can expect from my next piece.

As there is a tradition of honoring medals to those who have made an outstanding contribution in the battlefield.  In exile society, those brave souls of ours should accord appropriate recognition and appreciation. For a person like Gaden Tashi and Lukam Jam and many others has demonstrated that giving them a chance, former political prisoners are very resourceful and can be the beacon light of our movement.

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