By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, July 24: Tibetan associations in Belgium on Tuesday released a video where executives from seven Tibetan groups made a joint statement urging Tibetans around the world to exercise restrain from attaching any regionalist tone to the brawl among Tibetan youths and let the law take its own course on the incident that happened on July 20 in Antwerp, Belgium.
The Tibetan Association in Belgium, Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Regional Tibetan Women’s Association, Dokham Chushi Dangdruk- Belgium chapter, Regional Domed Association, Regional Utsang Association and Sheran Nangchey Tibetan School and cultural center executives spoke in a video clip released on their YouTube channel yesterday.
The meeting of the heads of the Tibetan group was held after directive from the exile Tibetan government known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration which urged thorough deliberations and measures to avoid such incidents in the future, the president of the Belgium Tibetan Association said. The group also said that as a measure to curb similar incidents, it has decided to ban any individual who is found to be responsible for fights and altercations on the pitch or during official parties for the period of one year from the Euro-Tibet cup.
Executives from the representatives of the three traditional provinces of Tibet said that the incident is a brawl among a few irresponsible Tibetan youths who were drunk and not fights between youths from different “cholkas” as one Mila Rangzen who uploaded the viral brawl video on Youtube and titled it “Dozen robjor men assault an unarmed Utsang man in Belgium”, leading to speculation among various Wechat groups, some even believing it. However, it turns out that the man getting beaten up was from Drakyab in Kham and not from Utsang.
“I believe it has to do with the mentality among Tibetan youth that a friend must help another friend in such fights or else risk being considered a coward by your friends. It is prevalent among our community. We know a youth was murdered in Toronto after a similar party, reportedly by another Tibetan, in March 2013. But there is no video, so no outrage. This time such a strong reaction because people have seen and heard it. That's human nature. You see, you believe, you react.
"It appears to be sparked by a mere clash of ego among a few youth. The man getting beaten, our sources say, had hit a beer bottle on a Tibetan from Belgium, but nobody seem to have reacted to shoot it on camera. He suffered a cut on his head, leading the other men from Belgium to chase him. But I am not saying that this incident was the cause of this fight. This is based on what I have known after my investigations for my report for Tibet Sun, and what is visible in the video. I hope the law will take its own course and people get back to their work, and not immediately come to any conclusive judgment that threatens Tibetan unity,” said the Tibetan journalist and event producer.
Dokham Chushi Dangdruk, Belgium chapter President said that rumors and speculation that the fight among the Tibetan youths were due to regional conflicts are unfounded and baseless and that the Tibetan community in Belgium is united and strong as one family.
The brawl took place in Antwerp in the early hours of Saturday following a farewell party of the 2019 Euro-Tibet football cup organized by RTYC Belgium. The incident left five people injured after altercations between two groups of friends from France and Belgium.