My Message for 10th March Uprising Day.

Losar Tashi Delek to everyone. Hope you all had a good time.

I’ve several messages for 10 March Uprising Day and they are clear and simple. My focus is on the basics. After being in Canada for three years and attending numerous protest events, I saw many flaws and I’ve laid out my solution to those problems. They are more like the etiquettes for the protests.

Before laying down the etiquette, I want to share my thought on uprising day. Few days back, a friend of mine asked me if I’m going to attend Uprising Day, and my reply was that I’ve to go as I don’t have a choice. I’ve made the decision to attend this special day every year, come what may. I told her all this without understanding them fully myself. so, I later pondered why I said those things and I realized that I’ve come to think of attending Uprising Day as my duty of being a patriot, and that I don’t and shouldn’t really have a choice in this regard. Then, I thought I could use this revelation to encourage more people to take the Uprising Day seriously.

Hence, I decided to write this paragraph. I really hope that more and more people will think of Uprising Day as their patriotic duty to attend and not take it lightly. They shouldn’t think of Uprising Day as a choice between this or watching movie, going on date, studies, work etc. On 10th March, attending the Uprising Day should be the top most priority. Ignoring 10 March will gradually reduce the relevance among Tibetans and the whole purpose of this day will be lost. So, my request to everyone is that, if you’ve any other commitments on 10 March, either postpone or prepone it. And all this for not just this year, but every year. This is our duty, our right. Also, people should attend the day and not worry about whether their friends are coming or not, as some people’s decisions are based on that. Make your own decisions and don’t depend on others. You should goto Uprising Day ‘cos you want to go and honour the sacrifices of our struggle, not ‘cos your friends will join you there. This day should be considered the most important day of the year. Think of it like a wedding day or even more important. I should have also told my friend that I’m not the right person to be asked this question of attending Uprising Day or not. Its more like a insult to me. That’s why, I couldn’t help but show some outburst at the Facebook invitation of Uprising Day last year. I’ll be more restrained this year.

First, I would like all the Tibetans to come out in Chupa, our traditional/national dress. Its usually the men who seems reluctant to wear it, so this article goes out to them. I got this idea of wearing Chupa after seeing one guy wear it at the protest. He was one of the few wearing chupa and out of curiosity I asked him why(which may have been a stupid question) and his answer was that he is wearing it ‘cos he is Tibetan. His answer struck me and this idea of wearing chupa on Uprising Day has been with me ever since and now I wear it on every Losar as well.

I had found the reason and needed no further. Last year, I had used reasoning on Facebook wall to get people to wear chuba, but this year, there has been a shift in my perspective.

There may be various reasons to get people to wear chupa, like showing patriotism, showing solidarity, asserting our Tibetan identity etc, but I didn’t feel good about the thought. Do we need reasons to love our family, friends, and partners? No. Do we need reasons to speak or write in tibetan language even though there are reasons to back it up. No. In the same way, we need not have reasons to wear chupa. You either feel like it or you don’t. Just wear it without thinking much, like the nike ad says “just do it”.

The use of reasoning/logic is generally good but it has its downsides also. It forces you to do things, even when you don’t feel like it, then it becomes a drag. So, if people feel pressured to wear chupa, they will naturally come to resist it. For eg, not everybody likes studies though there is a reason to study to get a job etc, so it becomes a drag. No wonder student drop out is common everywhere even though studying is a logical thing to do. I’m against anything that is forced/pressured. Its not healthy in the long run. The Intention/volition has to be pure and genuine. This applies to everything, not just the chupa. By the way, the world would be a much better place if everyone, not just the gov’t, were genuine and stopped acting out of self interest. Getting back to the topic, by pretending, you are deceiving not only yourself but others. therefore, reasoning can make people pretentious, like people showing off to impress others. I would like people to develop a genuine will to wear chupa on occasions that befits it. Being born in exile, I also didn’t had much interest in (bulky) chupa, but now I don’t have to think twice about wearing it. It comes natural to me. In terms of practicality, its too hot to wear in summer for July 6, and not warm enough for march weather, so i wear sweater inside. haha.

Secondly, I would like to see less chit-chatting and more of chanting of slogans. Its good when many people show up for protest, but if they think that its more than enough, then they are wrong. I expect more from them. I see many people chatting and not taking part actively. To them, I want to say that you can talk with friends or whoever before the protest, after the protest and maybe later also. Your friends are not to going anywhere. I discourage the talk during the protest. I want to see full commitment and 100 % effort from the people. Last year, I was disheartened when no one followed my slogans as people around me were either busy chatting or walking silently. I want people to blare their voice out till they lose it, to show that they really worked their heart out. I want to see aggression in people but a controlled one ‘cos we don’t want to be seen as hostile people. Smile and wave to people on the streets in between. Appreciate their support. Some people overreact when they tell us not to smile.

I was really impressed by the speech a Tibetan lady gave at the Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day, Toronto, 2012. First, she wished that there were more people present on this day as peoples interest in Women’s Uprising Day wanes after 10th March. Second, the weather on 10th march had been really cold, and people had been busy getting hot beverages and finding a warm place. I hadn’t given much attention to it. But she said, that people shouldn’t be so perturbed by weather and should have enough strength to bear it. The pain that our people in Tibet are going through is nothing compared to our minor discomforts. We’ve become too soft and lazy due to our comfortable life in exile. The pain felt by the burning of skin must be too terrible. I can’t even imagine the depth of that pain, that too a pain that is self inflicted for the sake of others.

She mentioned about people in Arab countries who don’t wear fancy stuffs at protests yet their protests are so loud and vociferous, which we can see in the various arab springs revolution. Compared to them, our protests is meek. I don’t see everybody gathered shouting. Half the people are just mindlessly walking along or talking with their friends. I want to see a patriotic passion or enthusiasm or controlled aggression in all the Tibetans and I want to see them shouting their voice out with their heart till their voice starts creaking. This I don’t see and I doubt it in future as well. Tibetans do not have the same passion or enthusiasm as the Arabs. We’ve become too soft, too peace loving, to demand or fight for our rights. Attending protest is good, but that alone is not enough. We shouldn’t follow the violent nature of arab revolutions, but we should definitely follow their passion.

Thirdly, I wish there was unison of slogans, especially on the streets. Many people have the tendency to just blurt out of nowhere and I hate that ‘cos it adds to the noise of other slogans and creates confusion and even the spectators hear several slogans at the same time which won’t be clear. I thought I had solutions for it, but they look bit far fetched. Still it would help if people were more cooperative.

Some say the protest was fun. but, we are not going to protest to have fun. so, I hope more and more people will take it seriously. I feel strongly about these things ‘cos they are very basic, not a complicated tasks and anyone can do it. even i’m not good with complicated stuffs. I like things simple. Also, basics are like foundations upon which you built your goals. What use is advanced solar panels on rooftop when the foundation of house is weak?

I’ve a confession to make also. there are times when i doubt the purpose of the protest. so during those time, i try to contemplate. but usually I feel the rush and I’m soon shouting slogans. I also get pissed off by lack of effort from others and sulk for sometime. Maybe I expect too much from others.

I wanted to share my perspective on the protests and if you like it, then feel free to share it with others. You just have to feel it. Free Tibet.

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