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Politics, Society, tibetan self immolation, Uncategorized

Rising From The Ashes

Source: Mountain Phoenix Over Tibet

As great the sacrifices and as well intended, no matter from what side I try to look at them, the Tibetan self-immolations don’t feel right. The sight of people burning alive, bystanders who sometimes offer a Khata to the person in flames, compatriots abroad telling me “Tibetans in Tibet are the boss, whatever they do, we must support” – all this seems surreal. To me it feels like we have run out of ideas. The struggle has reached an all-time low.

Distancing ourselves clearly from self-immolation as a political method is not a betrayal of our sacrificing Tibetan brothers and sisters. Not distancing ourselves means approval and indirect encouragement of a method that is neither humanly sustainable nor politically effective.

Self-immolation is not okay even as the ultimate resort.

Little has it served us that the self-immolations are a desperate cry for help in the face of increasing pressure. Hopes that the Chinese will put an end to the self-immolations by making concessions are clearly not materialising.  Nevertheless Tibetan public opinion abroad is that the victims are “heroes”. Tibetan-language channels also refer to Jampel Yeshi, the man who recently set himself on fire in India, as Pawo even though in his case there was no direct Chinese repression involved.

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2 thoughts on “Rising From The Ashes

  1. Thank you so much for this heartfelt, true-to-the-bone analysis that, imho, is right on the mark. The self-immolations are troubling, not least from the loss of precious life and leadership. The images projected to the world are not the same as the terribly affecting 1963 self-immolation by the Vietnamese Buddhist monk who was photographed engulfed in flames while deep in meditation. The course of the US-Viet War hinged on that event.

    Goliath is not changing out of compassion. Goliath will crumble internally with the authoritarian brutality destroying the lives of all who’ve been deprived of human rights, like a cannibalizing cancer metastisizing. David can sling his rangzen stone when the moment arrives in the eye of the storm.

    Posted by David Roche | May 2, 2012, 6:05 pm
  2. I agree with much of what you’ve said here, and I also respect your courage to express what will appear to be an unpopular opinion, since the self-immolations tend to drown out moderate and reasoned voices such as yours. But sadly, no name is attached to this post and I think it’s time that we put faces to this debate, if there is to be one at all. It is not correct, however, to say that Jamphel Yeshi did not suffer direct Chinese repression. He lived in Tawu before he came to exile, where two people have self-immolated so far, presumably because they’re not happy with conditions there. He had been captured and tortured twice by Chinese border guards. If that’s not repression I don’t know what is. I also am not convinced that the self-immolations in Tibet are actually aimed at getting the attention of the outside world. Even the letter that Jamphel Yeshi left behind gives only a token mention to international support. The letter is primarily aimed at his fellow Tibetans. But I very much appreciate what you said about endurance and the need to dig in the collective heels and plan for a long term. And I also agree that while China is in the economic driving seat, the international community is not going to make any significant difference inside Tibet, and this should be clear to everyone by now.

    Posted by subincontinentia | May 3, 2012, 2:31 am

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