By Pema Rinchen
Last night I met with my friend, an activist, who has been involved with the Tibetan cause for many years.
He was complaining against the Tibetan people for not showing enough enthusiasm and passion for our struggle.
He said that every time Tibetan leaders and activists visit Tibetan settlements to give lectures on our struggle, the public is not paying much attention.
I told him perhaps the problem does not lie with the public only.
Perhaps the problem lies with the leadership.
For they must be lacking imagination to engage the public.
They must be lacking intelligence, integrity and vision.
If that's the case, he said, how can we seriously engage the public in the cause.
After much arguments, we came to the agreement that the cause we often talk about innocently is an ambiguous word that needs to be enumerated clearly.
We said we have to ensure first of all whether the cause is relevant to the public, whether we are able to engage the issues that are affecting the public in the settlements.
This made us suspect that we are not able to do this successfully.
We both agreed that the narratives in our cause have become cliches, often bereft of any real meaning.
Words such as human rights violations, religious freedom, Middle-Way, Communist China, Rangzen have become jargons.
It is as if these words have grown too old, almost on the verge of death now.
We both agreed we are living in different times, in different eras, so obviously we need different words to represent our times accurately.
So what are the problems we are besetting nowadays, so we asked each other.
Nihilism we both recognised.
Losing meaning and hope in life.
Nowadays, people don't care much about values.
They often wonder if values are real. One example we found is the fascination and determination to reach the West at all costs.
Many young people nowadays believe reaching the goal is the key. They say as long as you reach America, that's what matters.
They seem to be saying that the end justifies the means. So that's why we have young and old people, using all means to reach the shores of the West.
Human trafficking has become widespread, so has infidelity and breaking up of homes.
We then asked if these are the real crisis? If nihilism curses our community, what are the solutions? Why can't we find them?
We said solutions must be there....
We said one thing we could do is to learn from other societies who have suffered from such attacks and had fought their ways out successfully.
At the risk of sounding cliched and boring, we gave ourselves the examples of personalities like Gandhi and Martin King who never comprised on principles.
In the end we found the reason why our cause seems to be dormant and not progressing much.
We found the reason is the lack of inspirational leadership.
We realised that without true leadership, built on the foundation of integrity and imagination, a movement can't find its true path.
We said that if we raise this issue, people would say we are 'complaining.'
But we both agreed that silence is not the solution either.
Pema Rinchen is a Tibetan entrepreneur based in South India. He holds a degree in Masters of Commerce from Delhi University. Article submitted by the author.
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