The justifying context of higher emptiness
A response to CTA's clarification on Kalon Tripa's comments
CTA’s response to Jamyang Norbu’s post on the controversial statement made by the PM is rather puzzling. Not the faintest argument is provided, not even an attempt to deny Norbu’s analysis. The reader is instead expected to watch a full 40-minute video in order to appreciate “the context in which these comments were made.” Not much of a clarification if you ask me.
For those who are new to the subject, the controversy took root in a concluding speech delivered last May in New York by Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, the current prime minister of the Tibetan government in exile. At the end of his address, he talked about the challenges faced by the government and warned against Tibetans advocating independence or calling for genuine democracy in exile society; according to the PM’s own words, these people are “a bit more dangerous than the Chinese Communists.”
Understandably, Jamyang Norbu’s post provoked the ire of many activists and triggered a large number of comments on the author’s website — enough at least to force a clumsy reaction from the government. For the prime minister’s allies, and seemingly for the CTA as well, Jamyang Norbu had misinterpreted Prof. Samdhong’s statement: as long as the PM didn’t put together the words “Rangzen activists” and “more dangerous than the Chinese Communists”, the remark was acceptable.
Now I ask you this: is acceptable really tolerable? No matter whether the prime minister was referring to all Tibetans advocating independence or only to a small number of them, no matter in which context this remark was made, it is absolutely intolerable and inexcusable to associate any Rangzen advocate with a regime that killed between 60 and 80 millions of its own citizens and that robbed Tibet of its independence, of its cultural heritage and of one-fifth of its people.
We are talking here about the most repressive regime on earth, about a government that engage itself in the illegal trade of prisoners’ organs and forced abortions, about the largest forced-labor camps network ever conceived, and about a totalitarian machine that puts at risk the entire Asian continent. How can a representative of the Tibetan government decently compare devoted patriots to such a dangerous organization of tyrants?
Unfortunately, this is not the first of Prof. Samdhong’s irresponsible branding. In September 2008, on Al Jazeera’s “People & Power”, the prime minister had rashly labeled Shugden practitioners “terrorists willing to kill anybody” and accused them to be “very close to the PRC leadership.” But in his crusade against what he wrongly views as an opposition to the Dalai Lama and as a threat to “National Unity”, the prime minister has only himself to blame for the greatest damages: by demonizing and marginalizing some segments of the Diaspora, he has alienated himself from many Tibetans, including some of his strongest and most devoted supporters, and has left an indelible stain on Tibetan democracy. Today, there is no exaggeration in saying that Prof. Samdhong is the prime factor responsible for a growing loss of confidence in the government and for political divisions within the Tibetan society.
Less than a month ago in the European Union, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding linked France’s crackdown on Roma (Gypsy) migrants to World War II roundups of Jews, Gypsies and others by Nazis. Although her anger was justified, the comparison of French President Sarkozy’s controversial drive to expel ethnic Roma to the deportation of 76,000 Jews from France during the war was unacceptable and extreme. As a result, the Commissioner was forced to apologize for her “insulting remarks”.
There is a good lesson to learn here for Tibetan democracy and for all Kalon Tripa candidates. Apologies are, after all, the first step towards accountability, and I can’t think of any good reasons why a Tibetan prime minister shouldn’t be forced to comply with such a healthy procedure and publicly apologize for such an indecent and devastating statement. One thing is certain, though: the kind of clarifications made by the CTA on this issue is an insult to our intelligence and will definitely raise more questions on the government’s genuine interest in the diverse political views that exist among the common Tibetan people.The justifying context of higher emptiness,