Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving - repaying gratitude with revenge? What Tibet rebels could teach native Americans about autonomy and freedom

Stories of two huge landmass : North America and China.

Pilgrims who could not adapt to the harsh winter conditions were helped by native American Indians. Thanksgiving was a gesture of gratitude. However, pilgrims decided to stay on in the land of milk and honey, and European migrants flocked to America to seize, plunder, steal from Native Indians and did not spare killing those who stood in their way.

Tibet was ruled by theocratic monastery and majority who were serfs suffered inhuman treatment.  Local feudalist lama-abbot controlled government was concerned that post-war revolutionary fervour will spread to disgruntled serfs.  There were indications of planned uprisings and internal dissension.

Following negotiations, Dalai Lama invited the People's Liberation Army to get the house in order. His Holiness was seen taking photos with Mao and attendance of plenary sessions of the national assembly during happier times.

Census showed that the population of Tibetan Autonomous increased due to stability, decline in starvation and better medical facilities, amenities and general living conditions. The slaves were freed, liberated and enjoyed equality with former serf owners.

However, Dalai Lama's inner circle and revisionists discontent with the erosion of their powers conspired to revolt against Beijing and regain power with the help of Uncle Sam. Thanks to the help of CIA, the Dalai Lama ended up in exile and could not return to his homeland which has since changed by leaps and bounds, materially and spiritually.

The whole of China, not only Tibet and inner provinces suffered from the devastation of failed economic management and the political "cultural" revolution. Tibet was not singled out. However, for the last two decades, economic growth and policies to develop remote areas has brought about improvements and uplifting of conditions for growing numbers of people. Better communication links, infrastructure, health facilities, However, superstition and accessibility remain major obstacles to reach out to every family living in the Tibetan region.

On the other side of the globe, native American Indians live in poverty and could not get out of the rut.  But in a democracy, the government does not want to interfere in the lives of its people who should enjoy all the freedom they want. The capitalist Darwinian system does not require intervention . American presidents are more interested in garnering national support to fund democratisation of other countries. In a system where majority rules (tyranny?), the aspirations of remnant native Americans are ignored.

More than two centuries on, why don't Indians learn from dissident Tibetan Buddhist monks to exercise freedom and agitate for more help by burning themselves to have their voices heard?  Some say native Indians have pride and honour or perhaps are they are not very politicised and assertive.

Does the Dalai Lama have in mind some sort of native reserves for Tibetans?  If Americans can't redress inequalities within their own country, how could they hope to champion human rights for Tibetans unless there is a prize at the end of the tunnel.

No comments:

Post a Comment