Tibet: Changing the Victim Mentality.

In March 2012, a month long hunger strike by three Tibetans in front of UN headquarter in New York was concluded, when the UN officials came to greet the hunger strikers and assured them that UN will raise the issue of Tibet in international forum and investigate the current repressive situations in Tibet. One hunger striker broke down and pleaded the UN officials to please do something about Tibet. I had a hard time watching the whole video on YouTube ‘cos I got this sick feeling that this whole hunger strike incident portrays us Tibetans as victims and we urge UN to support us. Its as if UN is the saviour and our only way to freedom. We are always looking to the west for help. We’ve got to get out of this mentality of victimhood. We’ve to think out of the box.

Recently Lance Armstrong has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. He publicly admitted to doping and has been stripped of all the seven of his Tour de France titles. He is also banned from sports, though I think it is bit too late as he took retirement from cycling several years ago. But this scandal shouldn’t take anything away from his heroic struggle against cancer and his tremendous contribution to fight against cancer by raising hundreds of millions of dollars through his very popular foundation Livestrong and their iconic wristbands. I’ve a stock of it, just in case to replace my old ones or lost ones. I’ve to wear one all the time. He is still an inspiration for me.

When Lance Armstrong got diagnosed with cancer, he didn’t let cancer affect him, and refused to see himself as a victim of cancer. Instead, he fought cancer head on and emerged victorious. Similarly, the approach to our cause shouldn’t be that from one of a victim begging to world, rather we should fight with China as equals, and fight accordingly. There are many ways besides violence. Gandhi led a struggle for India’s freedom by demanding independence as their birth right, and in no way did he rely solely on international intervention. He fought on his own with truth as his guiding light. He didn’t had a victim mentality.

Therefore, we also shouldn’t think of ourselves as victims and feel helpless. We shouldn’t think that all we can do is only urge and urge for international intervention. We need a proactive, firm and assertive approach, and we can then look for different ways to fight the cause. One idea I already mentioned in my other blog is, opening a Non Chinese retail store to target China’s economy, no matter how small a dent it is. With a new approach, we can have more ideas. We’ve to think differently as equals, definitely not as a victim. There is no place for poor and the weak victims in today’s world. We’ve to fight our own battle. We’ve to believe in ourselves and realize our full potential. Even one person can make a difference. I know its easy to say all these crap than doing it, but still wanted to let it out.

I now understand the slogans or logo such as “Save Tibet”. We expect the world to save Tibet. Why not Quit Tibet like “Quit India” movement by Gandhi. Having truth on our side isn’t enough, ‘cos our position on the issue of Tibet is still that of a weakling, as we see ourselves as victims. Truth can’t fight on its own.

People may say our situation is different or we’ve to think according to reality, but weakness can never be the answer in any situation. No matter what the situation, having a firm, assertive approach from our side is more important, irrespective of enemy’s situation. China is like a child full of tantrums. We cannot correct the child’s behaviour by fulfilling or appeasing all the demands as it’ll never end. At some point, we’ve to say enough is enough, and refuse to accept the child’s demands. If necessary even scold him or give one slap to show who’s the boss. My point here is that a spoilt child can’t understand any diplomacy. They have to be dealt straightforwardly. Same thing with China. Demand our rights. No more saying to china, “We’ve done everything you want, now is your turn”. Diplomacy won’t work. Diplomacy is weakness. Plus, the world won’t give a damn. They only want trade and oil.

I don’t have many ideas at present. I haven’t really thought much on it, as there are too many things going on in the world and in our personal lives, to focus solely on Tibet. I may get more ideas when I make Tibet my full time focus. Plus, I need to find my own courage and self belief to pursue those ideas. But I shouldn’t be the only one thinking about solutions. We are all on the same boat.

Our movement has become too passive. I think its ‘cos we are laid-back and easy going, including me. There are several reasons. First, we expect world to save us ‘cos we are victims. Second, we are waiting for changes to happen in China, instead of bringing our own changes. Third, for a long time, we have shirked our responsibilities and let Dalai Lama do all the hard work, while we are busy focusing on making our livelihoods and how to go west(me too but indirectly as its my parents). His Holiness may be a better leader, but why can’t we grow up and take responsibilities. Our struggle can’t depend on the single person all the time. As Tibetans, we lack confidence and self belief, including me.

Our passivity makes us passive bystanders, even though there are people who are willing to sacrifice their lives going on hunger strikes, and in Tibet, where people are taking extreme measures of burning themselves. But their approach is wrong. They are risking their lives on a weak, timid, and negative approach. Hunger strikers do deserve tremendous credit, but they are wasting their effort in the wrong directions. In the end of strike, there was some pleading by them to UN to do more. That was it. What can we expect from UN and the world? We’ve no oil. Our people in Tibet are ready to goto extreme length of self immolations to fight for our cause. So, the ability or the potential is there. Only the proper direction or the right approach is missing. If people can burn themselves, which is the ultimate sacrifice, then they can do anything. They just need some proper guidance.

I agree something is better than nothing. I say the same thing. Thats why I goto protests out of duty and to make up the numbers. The onus is on me, since I wrote it. But passive movement shouldn’t be the only way. i wish people can divert their time and effort to more proactive approach and be less reliant on passive approach. In the meantime, we can continue with the passive approach. But it shouldn’t be, be all, end all.

Some of the feedbacks I got were about similarities and differences in ours and Gandhian approach. Yes, there are some similarities. Both our movements are non violent, but ours is passive and his isn’t. First, he led active struggle from the front by leading protests and doing hunger strike, but we don’t have anyone yet. Dalai lama, being a religious or spiritual leader, is acting from behind. Can we imagine him leading the protests, or going on hunger strike. He is above all those things. I still don’t know whether that is the right thing or not, hence I can’t criticize. Lets leave the issue at that. Second, Gandhi never changed his stance, but we did. We gave everything on the platter to the spoilt kid China, who can’t understand reciprocity or kindness. That’s not a good parenting skill. Third, our people may not feel depressed, but they definitely feel helpless, which is clearly visible everywhere, including the pleading of hunger strikers to some UN officials. Our helplessness shows our victimization.

About self immolating martyrs, I think they did so ‘cos that was the only way to publicize our cause and also to wake up Tibetans in exile to take the Tibet issue more seriously. They are not afraid of giving up their own life, so had they been inspired by Gandhi’s proactive approach, they would have supported Gandhian approach till the end. Gandhi’s path of truth and showing the other cheek is not easy for everyone to follow who don’t want to risk their lives. Gandhi mentions that in the movie “Lage Raho Munnabhai” as well. The self immolators would have made an ideal supporters as they showed they are not afraid to risk their lives.

The differences about the number of populations is secondary. how many people does it take to make a difference? even one is enough, and we still have millions. There is also differences in non-violent ways. Ours is passive while Gandhi is proactive. Even cowardly act can be called non violent ‘cos cowards just backs down from any issue. So there is no fight. Even passive bystanders are non violent ‘cos though they are not doing anything, they are not using violent means. Gandhi’s approach was to provoke the enemy but respond non-violently and by not backing down. If the enemy hits you, show the other cheek. No eye for an eye. Gandhi’s non violent means was neither cowardly not passive. So, there are more differences than similarities. Gandhi was the one in control, not the Britishers. They just responded to his actions and when he didn’t respond, they were baffled. How do you show aggression to someone who doesn’t respond in the same way . In our case, we’ve let all the balls in China’s court and waiting for response and change of heart from China. Ours isn’t a Gandhi approach by a long shot.

It is a fact that Tibetans are victims at the hand of Chinese murderers. But its also a fact that Lance Armstong got cancer. So, how did he handle it? Did he get depressed and gave up on life. It is also a fact that India was colonized for 300yrs. Did Gandhi acted like a victim or like a fighter? We, Tibetans are victims, but we need to think proactively about how to fight our cause instead of going out on streets and saying we are victims and urge for international interventions.

It is very depressing and demoralizing when our own Gov’t in the past told us not to protest against China as it might jeopardize the meetings between the Tibetan envoys and the Chinese. They are dutifully obeying all the requests made by China. So, isn’t it obvious to see who is stronger and who is weak. Our gov’t is making things easier for china by appeasing China, when its supposed to be the opposite. Dialogues or negotiations must be done from a position of strength, not weakness. It was the same case with general Tibetans. During protests, we were told by some officials to say CCP (chinese communist party) instead of China, just because some Chinese people told them that they didn’t like it. I was furious ‘cos how in the world are people supposed to know what CCP stands for? Do we give the whole world a lesson on what CCP is? Using china is much easier for general public to understand. As long as CCP rules China, we’ll use China. Just how far do we need to go in appeasing others? There is a limit to appeasing and on thinking too much as well.

We all have potentials and we seek to use our potentials to full. I also want to do many things but gets flustered by obstacles in life. I get trapped in my own mindset and there are many times when I feel down. I then come across pics, like the one I saw of a Tibetan woman crying for help, and it gives me a jolt as I don’t feel helpless regarding Tibet yet I haven’t been able to do much. I’ve got countless wake up call moments like this, but it’s difficult to sustain it. I also feel helplessness in some ways, but I feel mainly for myself not for Tibet, ‘cos as I said, I’ve many ideas that I want to do regarding Tibet and the world. So, I feel helplessness in my ability to come out of my mess, though I’m trying. Otherwise I see lot of potentials in things we can do for Tibet. We all have our own ideas of what to do for Tibet, but we keep it to ourselves for fear of being ridiculed. Its time to let out those ideas and pursue it and not let it rust somewhere in your head. I wish all Tibetans and people around the world could realize their full potential.

In my current state of mind, I do feel like one of the passive bystanders, doing nothing much except writing blogs, which isn’t enough as I seek the ability to walk the talk. Life is sufferings, indeed, according to Buddha. Fear is deep seated in me. I don’t know why Tibetans cry out of helplessness? If you believe in yourself, then there is no time to cry or waste, only to work on what you believe in. My guess is they don’t realize their full potential. We can do anything if we set our mind to do something. Yes we can. Yes we can.

A leader is needed to guide our people inside Tibet in their struggle for a nation, as they are willing to goto extreme lengths of protests, and not afraid of dying. A leader, who can make a proper use of our comrades who are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice. A leader, who can properly channel the 50 yr long raging patriotism burning inside the Tibetans in Tibet as they continue to face oppressions, day in, day out. We need a Gandhi like leader who can lead from the front, who can bring the change, not wait for it. If there isn’t any, people will keep on resorting to immolations as the ultimate symbol of protests inside tibet. No point in opposing their actions if you can’t propose anything worthwhile. So, don’t oppose, if you can’t propose. Begging attitude has to stop. If you want something, you’ve to initiate, or strive for it. Just go for it. We can’t expect others to give us everything on a platter. We can’t depend on the generosity or kindness of others. Living on charity of others is not the right way to live. Our’s is not an ideal world yet. I’m not saying I’ve it in me as a leader, but I do feel the guilt of not being able to do anything substantial, and this guilty feeling will continue as long as I don’t clear out my own mess first, and that is another equally hard struggle.

Some die hard followers are already there who are prepared to follow the leader to any lengths. Only the leader is missing. So, the reverse has happened. We’ve the followers but the Gandhi like leader is missing. I’m saying this ‘cos following on Gandhi’s path of truth and nonviolence isn’t easy, yet our followers have already demonstrated their tremendous commitment. They are not afraid of sacrificing themselves for the sake of others and won’t harm the others. They would make the ideal followers of Gandhi. Tremendous opportunity awaits.

I’ve posted a video of hunger strikers being called of after assurance by UN officials to call for investigation in Tibet. It was the pleading or begging by Tibetan hunger strikers to some UN officials that compelled me to write this blog, as I found it hard to watch.

I’ve posted a link to the movie “Gandhi” from Youtube. Enjoy and learn.

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8 Responses to “Tibet: Changing the Victim Mentality.”

  1. 007 Says:

    A word “compassion” may help understanding Tibetan’s psychology. Tibetans are either “mothers” or “children”, they don’t have adults’ logic. Monks don’t allowed (by their religion believe) involving in labor-work. They are feed by others who are “mother” Tibetans (or from Chinese government funds) until they become “adult”. Once they grow up, they are supposed to have priorities above common people (as medium between gods/spirits and living human beings, or called having “wisdom”, they have rights to own this priority.) They own nothing but spread “compassion”. Are you giving them compassion or they are giving you compassion? Hard to say! Priest – patron is another word for them. The monks, who are the intelligentsia of Tibet, cannot/never be independent of themselves. They are pride of this culture, pride to have strategies balance in between shameful “begging” and glorious “compassion”, but no independent personality — as it is said ”living for others”. Who are “others”? Hard to say!
    “Mother” Tibetans, who are common hard working people, receiving blesses from monks, are not supposed to have any voices because they are not “enlightened beings”. Since they are not “enlightened”, they supposed to seek guidance from the monks, — detailed daily life guidance. Can they be independent? Are common people mothers or children? Hard to say!

  2. 007 Says:

    Compassion is different from love. Love is bi-directional. When you give out love, you feel being equally loved. Compassion is unidirectional. When you give out compassion (mercy/pity), you take advantage mentally on the receivers — since you feel that they depend on you. When somebody requires compassion from you — you feel the obligation since they depend on you, especially when he is hurting himself, are you bullied or blackmailed?
    In this world, we depend on each other. Nobody can stand alone by himself. But each one should have some kind of responsibilities and do some something he can do for his own seek and release others.
    Only In order to obtaining compassion from international, making tension/disorder, is not a good method! Sacrifice live human-beings even worse. It is unforgivable!

  3. ttronan Says:

    007, sorry i didn’t reply sooner. i found ur comment highly spiritual, hence i didn’t want to reply in a rush. but i still find it hard to grasp. we, tibetans are compassionate, but we also have a right to live freely and with dignity. there is nothing wrong in calling spade a spade. people cannot misuse our compassion. chinese take it a sign of weakness. and we are weak by pleading to the world to save us. gandhi was firm and assertive. yet, he too was compassionate. i just want to follow his path. i want to know what does ur compassion mean? do we do nothing or continue pleading to world?
    also, can u write in a simpler way so that i can understand. i’m also intrigued by u. so, can u tell me about u and how u came across my blog. u r also free to ask about me. waiting for ur answer. bye.

  4. bangs Says:

    i may not be knowing the ground truth in Tibet, but would like to expess my views also. 007 you are talking about obtaining compassionate from international group create problems what type of problems can it create.Tibetans are seeking help from international community so whats wrong in that. u talked about in your mail that are u bullied or blackmailed, u just answer my question if i ask u to change your identity that your ancestors have been passing for generations, is that not a blackmailing rather say torture. Can u change ur tradition, ur culture as far as i know
    Chinese and Tibetans both have different cultures.and the ethnic groups out there are not allowed to fully enjoy their culture ’cause it can mobilise people to revolt
    The development progress in eastern China is far more than Tibetans highlands why? the job opportunity is less for Tibetans not Tibetans only but to other ethinic group also like Kazakh, Manchu, Mongols etc.
    why is it that the Tibet, innet Mongolia ,
    Xinjiang these parts are still poorer in economy and why the Hans are occupying or say settling here in large number.
    I read an article on Xinjiang region which is mainly inhabited by Kyrgyz Muslims, the Muslims there cannot use loudspeaker in Mosques for Azan is that fair to ban a practice of someones religion.
    on the other hand ttronan u talked about Gandhi and his path, in order to follow Ahimsa (non-Violence) there should be mass demonstration from within and outside the community. IN India the police man used to ger tired by knocking people but still they used to see more people coming, that’s the strategy mass demonstration which i think lack in Tibetans at present moment. without shedding blood nothing can happen, even Honorouble Dalai Lama wants middle path and not full independence rather self-autonomous region.
    one day u talked on Syria that even Arabs want to pass resolution on it u know why? ’cause Syria is ruled by Shia minority and the so called Arab nations are Sunni they will never want Shia’s to be in power as Iran is the leader of Shia in the World while Saudi Arabia is the leader/head of Sunnis in the world.So Iran wants to help Syria from UN resolution while Saudi Arabia or Arab league which are mostly Sunnis want UN resolution.
    well these are my personal views and 007 i am neither Tibetan nor Han

  5. 007 Says:

    Someone read too many books and only follows the rules in his brain but not his eyes and hearts. We are human beings not mechines. We cry when see flames rising. Don’t ask me why and explain the “heros” intention. — They have died.
    Who ever still use them is the one behind the scene.

  6. ttronan Says:

    sanjay, its good to see u here. i’m actually surprised. haha. i’ll respond to u later.

    to 007, seems like u r the one who read too many books on spirituality. u wrote too much on compassion but there is no clear outcome. u r like one of those naysayers, who are good at preventing people from doing their things. you’ll find out fault in anything by making a spiritual twist our of them. its easier to oppose than propose. thoughts or wisdom are useless if they can’t be applied. i propose practical solutions. i don’t find any in ur writings. you just say, its bad to commit suicide etc. even we know those stuffs. you say making tension, disorder is not a good method. then why don’t you show us the good way? anyone can criticize. our writing has to be constructive to be effective. i don’t find ur writing constructive. i want to you notice that i’m only commenting on your writing, and not on you, as a mark of respect. i want discussions to be healthy, not sarcastic. however, i do have a comment on your nickname. the name 007 doesn’t go well with spiritual minded person like you. james bond, kills people and is a womanizer. but ur writing reflects a complete opposite persona. maybe there are still some contradictions within you, and u might need to sort that out first. the name doesn’t match ur thinking, so its hypocritical. also, i don’t really know ur intentions here as to whether u r being helpful or to create distrubance. anyway, i look forward to what solutions you have to propose. otherwise, you are wasting your time as well as mine, by beating round the bush.

  7. bangs Says:

    007 reading books aren’t bad when one read book he get ideas but only when he himself is rational human being, one analayis the situation. u can’t have a clear picture of a situation unless u r at the place of all this happenings so u read articles for and against and then develop ur own view not mugging up but analayising the situation and that too only when u r a rational human being.
    u talked about self-immolation is bad, i do agree to it. u said that those who use these people to do so are still behind the scene but it can also be a matter of self-respect don’t u think it is disgraceful to live at the cost of one’s self-respect. without it. man is cipher. nothing is more disgraceful for a brave person than to live life devoid of self-respect ,
    at the same time i also do not favour self-immolation to be the ultimate solution to obtain self-respect or to tell world about the situation in Tibet
    It might be possible that these self-immolation may lead to another spring revolution which might be very bloody so i don’t favour it, as innocent are always the victim.
    At present i have no solution for this. I am thinking over it and if i find some i am definetly going to post.

  8. ttronan Says:

    sanjay, lets end the matter here. we had enough discussion on it.

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