Saturday, 26 October 2013

It costs a Tibetan his life to ensure two columns in a newspaper: Tenzin Tsundue

Tenzin Tsundue
"Tibetan struggle was primarily led by political activism on the streets to demonstrate our dissent. The biggest change in the last 10-15 years is that a deep sense of intellectual inquiry has crept in among the Tibetan youth. I think this is a huge leap. When a lot of people put in a lot of effort, it strengthens and sustains the community. It helps us define the freedom we are fighting for. The crux of the intellectual inquiry now is, ‘Are we demanding equal share of China’s mining in Tibet? Or China’s development in Tibet?’ Earlier, we would just deflect our protests to the Western media. Our demands and activism are changing now. A film festival like this tells our young people what the world is up to. And this, in turn, helps us in telling our own stories. A number of young people are using creative arts to exhibit their works.
I am deeply frustrated and angry that the international media has enough resources to report on the choice of clothes of celebrities, but is unable to and unwilling to investigate the causes of these self-immolations. It costs a Tibetan his life to ensure two columns or a picture in a newspaper. Much of the media is either state owned or corporate owned, with many having direct interests in China. This makes them naturally biased. The real reason behind these immolations is the brutal Chinese oppression of the Tibetan people, and the rejection of the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet. Even after 121 cases of immolation so far, China continues to say that this was at the instigation of exiled Tibetans. At the ground level though, we will do anything to stop a self-immolation. When a Tibetan tried to immolate himself in Dharamshala in March this year, our activists stopped him from doing so and counselled him later."

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