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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."

An Open Letter from a Tibetan to His Brothers and Sisters

November 3, 2008

By Email
October 31, 2008 11:51]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Nights have been rough during these past few weeks. I have been
having nightmares -- a man in elaborate headgear on a black horse
sends his arrows whistling towards me. "He wants to kill me! He wants
to kill me!" I shouted in my sleep. No one came to the rescue and my
voice disappeared into the cold Boston night.

I am afraid that these scary dreams had to do with what we have been
hearing about Rangzen, Middle Way, National Regional Autonomy and
Genuine Autonomy etc. etc. in the news media and in the corridors of
every exile Tibetan house. The air is thick with heavy words. Some
already have their microphones raised ready to chant well-known
political mantras; many are busy whispering to unsuspected ears and
are trying to have another brother or a sister to come to their camp.
I hope that you are not only hearing and watching but also taking
part in these moves across the checkered board.

Initially I was confused with all these big terms. And I am sure that
many of you are a bit confused too. But don't worry, this only shows
that we are ordinary human beings unlike a man on the big chair who
has the luxury to coin words and to churn them. Nevertheless, we
cannot ignore these words. They define who we are, what road we will
travel, what destination we will reach and what legacy we will leave
for our children and grandchildren.

At this point I would like to tell you what the Middle Way, Genuine
Autonomy and National Regional Autonomy are about. I think they are
triplets and agree on the same principle that: We will accept the
rule of the People's Republic of China, live within PRC to enjoy all
the rights and responsibilities enshrined in PRC's 1982 constitution.
"We have more to gain living with China," one says. "All we want is
to preserve our culture and religion," another adds.

My dear brothers and sisters, look at the emotion and simplicity of
this solution -- the total surrender! There are gapping holes
everywhere in this solution. Let's see just two of them:

1. The constitution of the PRC is a sham. China has neither an
independent media nor a free judiciary system, and with an absolute
rule under the thumb of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the
notion of us enjoying the rights so enshrined is a more myth than
Lhasey Dharma having horns and a tail. One can fully state that
without the rights and freedom, the preservation of our culture and
religion is as good as dead.

2. The preamble of PRC's constitution states that in order for any
citizen to enjoy the so-called rights, they must mandatorily adhere
to four cardinal principles:

(a) that everyone respects the rule of the CPC,
(b) that every citizen holds socialism as the only political view,
(c) that everyone accepts dictatorship of the proletariat, and
(d) that everyone believe in the Marxist-Leninist and Mao Zedong Thoughts.

So you see, my brothers and sisters. Living within the PRC will be
unacceptable to us. We are all reasonable people and we can
compromise on certain things – LIVING UNDER THE DICTATORSHIP IS NOT

I claim myself to be for Rangzen though what I do for it is not much.
As a result, whenever there is a discussion or a heated debate on our
struggle for freedom, mostly on Friday nights after a few shots of
whisky, someone invariably asks, "You always say Rangzen, Rangzen.
Give me your strategy for Rangzen and I will support it." The
exchanges go on into the early morning of Saturday.

Rangzen aims to bring our home back. It does not seek out side
masters. It believes that we can lead ourselves. And the strategy for
Rangzen is what we do everyday for Tibet – the cumulative actions and
spirited thoughts for freedom. Strategy for Rangzen is not giving up
– in fact never giving up; it is to take our fight to any place any
time anywhere every time, it is to know that there is something
called truth and that it ultimately triumphs. The strategy for
Rangzen is to die for it with no regret and to know that our children
will have a worthy cause to fight for. When the victory comes, the
land will be ours in whose veins run the blood stamped with snowflakes.

Rangzen is not only these ... it is much more.

It is an all-encompassing spirit. For a poet it is his words, for a
farmer it is his farm, for a shepherd it is his hut, for a factory
worker it is his hammer and chisel, and for an exile it is his
rivers, the mountains and a house he left long ago, for a nomad it is
his tent on the grassland, where he can churn his butter and sing his
songs without a giant shadow hanging about.

Rangzen is also a long wait in a foreign land, it is a fight that
never comes free, it is the terrible years in a tiny prison cell, it
is taking to the streets in the sweltering noon sun and getting
beaten by a baton of a fat policeman, it is the willingness to let it
all go broke with a satisfied heart. It is a hope to sip barley beer
in Barkhor without having to see those men in green uniforms.

So you see, dear brothers and sisters, Rangzen is not a rainbow nor
is it a catchphrase of a few fanatics. We have it in our blood.
Within a few weeks, when we will decide the course of our struggle,
our fate and the survival as a unique and culturally distinct people,
we must not fail. Please do not remain silent. Raise your voice, for
he who remains silent is not my brother or a sister.

Last night I had the nightmare again. The same man, the one on the
black horse, trained his arrow on me and was about to shoot, when
someone shouted, "You murderer, leave my son alone!" I woke up with
sweat all over my body. The room was dark and cold. I fumbled for the
electric switch. When the bulb glowed I found myself alone. But the
voice sounded familiar from another time – I think it was Lhasey Dharma.

Take care and make sure that Rangzen is not killed.

Peace and freedom...

Bhuchung D Sonam

The writer can be reached at
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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