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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."

The Dead People

March 19, 2009

Tibet Truth
March 17, 2009

Speaking with a Regional Secretary of the Tibetan Youth Congress
(TYC) on a recent trip to India, he was amazed to hear that there was
no branch of the TYC in Britain, nor any Tibetan organisation openly
dedicated to campaigning on Tibetan independence. He was genuinely
saddened to hear that during the procession of the Olympic Torch
through London last year, out of the hundreds of Tibetans, and
thousands of Tibet supporters, there was only one prominent banner
calling for independence for Tibet (the rest were formed of
orchestrated appeals for negotiations, religious freedom, or
supported the Dalai Lama).

It is a curious fact that in Britain there is a sheep-like conformity
amongst Tibet support groups (shared by the Tibetan Community
itself), to follow the party-line, as dictated by the Tibetan
Government-in-Exile TGIE). Thus, Tibet is selectively presented to
the public as an issue of human and religious rights , whilst the
Dalai Lama appears to have become something of a personality cult,
whose adoring suporters, blinded perhaps by his spirituality, fail to
connect with the political aspirations of Tibetans inside Tibet, or
seem aware of the actual nature of the struggle being waged by the
people of Tibet. Like the Lotus Eaters of Greek mythology for the
most part they slumber in peaceful apathy.

At one diplomatic event some time ago, in conversation with an
official from Laos (another country with an antipathy towards
communist China), the Tibetans in Britain were once described
strangely as 'The Dead People", when asked what this meant, it was
explained that 'they only protest once a year and the rest of the
time they disappear'. To be fair, there are some very active
individual Tibetans, particularly amongst the Tibetan youth, however
there remains a general lack of determined political activity, and
virtually no action on Tibetan independence. This is rather
unfortunate, given the sacrifices and suffering inside Tibet, as
Tibetans continue their resistance and campaign for nothing less than
Rangzen (Independence) . It is also puzzling too, in that in other
countries there are affiliated branches of the TYC or Tibetan
organisations dedicated to national freedom.

It has often been considered that the reason for such stagnancy is
the degree of political influence which is exerted across the Tibetan
scene in the UK by Britain's Foreign Office, which is implacably
opposed to Tibetan independence. Certainly the organisation and
direction of major political activity, particularly public events,
has been largely transferred by Tibetans to the Executive members of
the Tibet Society and Free Tibet Campaign (FTC), both of which refuse
to campaign for Tibetan independence. Much has been written in the
Tibetan Review and elsewhere about the
relationship between the FCO and the Tibet Society,  (See also Tibet:
The Facts, A Report Prepared by the Scientific Buddhist Association
for the United Nations Commission on Human Rights by Paul Ingram
TYBA. 1990), which though reportedly committed by its constitution to
campaign for an independent Tibet, is unsleeping in its efforts to
promote Tibetan 'autonomy' and 'unconditional negotiations' between
the TGIE and communist China. A position echoed by FTC. Perhaps that
may explain the grimace from the Tibet Society's Executive, Lady
(sic) Carrick when seeing an 'Independence for Tibet' banner opposite
the Houses of Parliment on 10th March 2009?

It is to be hoped that younger Tibetans in Britain will regain the
political initiative, take full responsibility for their own cause
and restore the objective of their compatriots for an independent
nation, there are some encouraging signs that process is underway
with the emergence of the organisation Tibetan Youth
UK That organisation must ensure its
own freedom-of-movements, exercise an intelligent discrimination and
ensure that it has the confidence to assert what Tibetans inside
Tibet are dying for. Bod-Rangzen!

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