MCLEOD GANJ, India, 29 November 2012
Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan service is a truly great gift from the people of the United States of America to Tibetans both in and outside Tibet. It is a lifeline between the Tibetans inside imprisoned Tibet, the Tibetan diaspora, and the outside world.
Moreover, it has provided objectivity in presentation of news and views, and impartiality of coverage. With all this, and much hard work put in by the ex-director and staff over the years, the RFA’s Tibetan Service has earned the trust and appreciation of the vast majority of Tibetans everywhere.
The controversy surrounding the recent dismissal of its director, Mr Jigme Ngapo, without giving any reason and in disregard to the wishes and pleas of a big majority of its Tibetan staff members, has surprised and saddened me.
It is not my contention that I know all about the dismissal of Mr Ngapo. Perhaps we may know the real reason(s) if and when Mr Ngapo speaks. But the dogged refusal of RFA to make the reason known, at least to its stakeholders, has brought its well-respected transparency into serious question.
I have seen the press release by US Congressman and Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, Mr. Dana Rohrabacher, his letter to the president of the RFA, and the Sikyong Lobsang Sangay’s press release in this connection.
The tone and tenor of language used by Mr Dana Rohrabacher in his communication to Sikyong L. Sangay, and the latter’s flat and curt denial, made me to wonder if there is more to this than meets the eye.
To me it appears (I may be wrong) that the dismissal has something to do with the cross-currents between the CTA and fellow Tibet Independence advocators. That is a matter in which only we Tibetans are responsible for its consequence. We must resolve this problem by ourselves, and only ourselves, in good faith and sincerity. Let no-one else highjack it from behind the scene!
Since the CTA is in the commanding position, and in the light of its declared principle of following the Middle Way — and since that this principle is declared to be not based on the expediency of power play, but on Buddhist principles of moderation and justice — it should be possible for the CTA to take the initiative to bridge the gap. The CTA can reach the other side for a heart-to-heart talk to resolve the difference, rather than taking shelter in technically-correct, but otherwise not so proper, resolutions of Chethue Lenkhang.
As for the merits and demerits, both stands have strong and as well as weak points. Discussion of those is not my message here.
The important thing is that the sides should try to make concrete efforts to arrive at an area of convergence. It need not be like water being mixed with water, but towards an understanding based on allowing good faith and common sense to prevail in correcting each other and in acceptance of useful opinions and valued ideas, in good faith and humility. It would be wise to avoid the sniping from rooftops or trying to score brownie points.
If we take a look at the Palestine problem, the divorce of the Fatah and Hamas has, after taking all minuses and pluses into account, weakened the cause of Palestine considerably and strengthened the Israeli hands. The Palestine cause has lost its supporters and well-wishers to a significant extent because of this development.
We must not allow ourselves to travel on a similar road. And it takes two to tango. It is very much in the CTA’s hands to start the tango.
Moreover it is time to ask ourselves this question. Why don’t we try to apply our much-talked-about Middle Way in uncomfortable areas in our community — where the Middle Way actually has a fair chance to succeed? Rather than desperately trying to push the Middle Way in a situation where its chances of success are so far very slim.
So far as my belief goes, both the CTA and Tibet Independence advocacy groups are sincerely striving for the good of Tibet. They should pool their efforts and not allow themselves to stray in cross currents. And again — it takes two hands to clap.
Bod Gyalo and Bodme Khyope!
About the author
Gyaltsen Wangchuk studies and writes in McLeod Ganj, India.