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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Opinion: Making the Meeting Special

November 23, 2008

By Sherab Woser
Phayul
November 20, 2008

When His Holiness recently declared that he was losing faith in the
Chinese government, almost every one went crazy. Our exile-government
offices rolled out press releases, speeches and interviews to make
the statement sound better to Chinese ears, including at times
certain glaring misinterpretations. The international press devoured
onto it like hungry wolves and have followed its smell to the special
meeting going on in Dharamshala. Governments began to contemplate
'what if' and the British known for their eccentrics came out with a
lengthy discourse repeating that they don't support Tibet's demand
for independence. But the craziest was perhaps the Chinese
government. Until now it would have been stupid for anyone to imagine
the Chinese government holding an exclusive press conference on the
current dialogue process between Tibet and China, let alone
committing to the continuation of the win-win dialogue process for
them. Although the Vice-Minister of the United Front Work Department
had nothing pleasant to say but they did it – they won the crazy prize.

The only person who seemed composed was His Holiness The Dalai Lama.
For my limited knowledge of history, His Holiness had earlier also,
at least once lost complete faith in the Chinese government as a
result of which we escaped into exile. I don't know what miracles did
China perform to earn that faith back but we know for certain what
China has done to lose it, once again. With His latest message to
Tibetans in and out of Tibet, His Holiness has seemingly written the
elegy for His Middle Way Approach based on the Strasbourg proposal.
And still if there are people who have hopes left with the Chinese
government, I humbly suggest that either you are too optimistic to be
able to do any good to yourself let alone your people or you are
simply politically challenged– God wasn't kind to you.

The tales of the glorious Spring Uprisings and the sacrifices of
thousands of our brethrens were written in golden words as so
proclaimed by the Kashag and the chapter almost closed when His
Holiness called for the special meeting to be held under the
constitutional provisions with regard to the emergency situation
inside Tibet. Being the true democratic leader that He is – His
Holiness saw, heard and recognized the sacrifices and wishes of His
own people while many of our elected leaders were already busy with
their own lives. I am sure that it was not with a happy heart His
Holiness declared that his policy of the past almost three decades
has failed to yield any concrete political result. But by admitting
to the reality of failure He has won a moral victory – an art that so
many leaders are yet to learn. And with the call for the special
meeting His Holiness has induced a new vigour and a rejuvenated
enthusiasm in the otherwise drag of hope since 2002. I might not be
over guessing if I say that perhaps right now His Holiness is feeling
much the same way when he stepped onto Indian soil as a refugee
almost five decades back. There was this sense of failure as it is
now but then more eager to raise head was the commitment to win, to
return, to restart.

For the exile population in general and the exile government in
particular, this meeting has opened us the opportunity to re-affirm
our status and purpose as the representatives of the majority of our
people languishing under the communist regime. It should be with this
great sense of duty that the delegates of the special meeting bring
onto the table the aspirations and demands of our people left back
home who have continued to oppose the Chinese regime many times at
the cost of their lives. The purpose of the meeting will be truly met
when the delegates leave behind their comfort zones of
self-proclaimed practicality and believe themselves to be the parents
of a brave son who went out on March 14 and never returned, when the
delegates believe themselves to be a brother or a sister of one of
the innocent hundreds who calling for 'Rangzen' on our own streets
were massacred by the Chinese, when the delegates believe themselves
to be one of those brave souls who hoisted the Tibetan flag on a
Chinese government building and hoped that Tibetans in exile will
forever uphold the dignity of our flag instead of surrendering our
independence.

Belief - it is not that difficult. Decades back in America when the
black people were passing through their worst nightmare they believed
in a dream. When in India 200 years of imperialism seemed never
ending a young man believed in the power of truth and active
non-violence. When in 1959 His Holiness didn't have a roof of His own
He believed that He can build schools, monasteries and settlements.
And today, living in the worst times of our history, Tibetans in
Tibet still dare to believe. Believe that His Holiness the Dalai Lama
will return home, believe that the Tibetan flag will fly over the
Potala Palace, believe that their children will grow up to be
Tibetans, believe that Tibet will be free.

We can make this meeting special by believing that yes, together we can.

The writer is a former executive member of the Tibetan Youth Congress
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