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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Nepali citizens: Isn't it time that we all stood with the Tibetans in solidarity?

May 24, 2008

By Ang Dawa Sherpa
Gorkhapatra Daily (Nepal)
May 21, 2008

Published in the 'GORKHAPATRA DAILY' official newspaper of the
Government of Nepal, 18 May 2008.

We, the people of Himalayan region of Nepal such as Sherpa, Tamang,
Lhopa, Yolmo, Manang, Dolpo, Lemi, Mukumpa, Gyasumdo, Tsumpa etc
share with the Tibetans a common religion, culture, spiritual
teacher, costumes, habits, language, ultimate wish for enlightenment
and seek refuge in the same three gems. Although geographically and
politically we are citizens of different countries but we all belong
to the same Bhotia race and no body can separate us.

It is a human nature that whenever your neighbor is in trouble,
especially when they share with you the same religion and culture, we
must extend all possible help. We have generally seen that even
animals, if attacked by a different kind, collectively resists by
shouting, by biting, by crying and by all means in order to try to
escape from the enemy. We are supposed to be wiser than animals.

Today we have seen and heard about the situation in Tibet. I cannot
say whether people who voluntarily pretend not to see and hear are
being bribed/ paid or not. But if they blindly choose to jump down
the cliff in full sense, I have nothing to say.

We all must know very clearly that the Tibetan Government in Exile is
not demanding independence. They are not demanding the boycott of
Olympics. Clearly, they are demanding equal rights as a nationality,
freedom of religion, freedom of religion, preservation of old
monasteries and building new monasteries, freedom to join monasteries
for the spread of Buddhism. In short, what our Buddhist brothers and
sisters are demanding are freedom of religion and culture. We have
seen how in Lhasa they are brutally suppressed for demanding these
basic human rights.

Survival of Tibetan Buddhism will depend on the survival of rich
cultural heritage of Tibet. It is absolutely necessary to strive for
the preservation of this rich cultural heritage of Tibet, which is
based on Buddhist philosophy, if we are aspiring for peace and
stability in China, Tibet, India, our country Nepal and the world.
This does not mean that we love a particular country and support that
and hate another country and protest. This is related to our own
country's peace and security.

According to international laws, people have the right to protest
peacefully for basic human rights. It is unfortunate that in Tibet
peaceful protesters have been gunned down, brutally suppressed, their
movements restricted causing difficulty to earn their livelihood,
monasteries locked and thousand of monks and nuns arrested and beaten
brutally. This is a real emergency situation.

Therefore, we, the Nepali Buddhist citizens of Himalayan region, must
stand in solidarity with the Tibetans in their difficult times. It is
our moral responsibility to help our neighbor. Although we may not be
able to help physically and financially, yet even expression of our
concerns and our solidarity will contribute towards reliving some
pain and suffering.

I would like to say further that recently our Nepali police have been
arresting revered Buddhist monks, nuns from Soyambhu, Boudha and
Jwalakhel areas in the name of stopping Tibetan protesters. Even the
people of Himalayan region of this country are subjected to this
lawlessness of the Nepali police which is causing immense harassments
to their daily lives. The police proudly and easily announce that
they have instructions from the government. Such statements are
causing great harm to the image of Nepal internationally. It is time
that we expressed our concerns seriously.

We do understand that once a protester reaches the venue there must
be a prescribed law in dealing with them according to the nature of
protest. However, if the police continue to arrest monks and nuns
arbitarily while walking on the streets, an unprecedented sectarian
violence may erupt in our country. In such eventuality the concerned
authorities in the government including the police will be held fully
responsible.

Finally, I sum up by asking this vital question to all the Nepali
citizens of Himalayan region who share the same religion and culture
with the Tibetans, Isn't it time that we all stood up with the
Tibetans in solidarity?

May Buddha and Boddhisattvas give us the wisdom and the courage to
distinguish between good and evil and promote the positive virtues of
cause and action. May there be peace and stability in Nepal, the
birthplace of Buddha.

Ang Dawa Sherpa is an Elected Legislator, CPM (Maoist), of Nepal.

Translated from the original Sherpa language by Jamyang Dorjee.
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