My time in Dharamsala has now come to an end and 6th April proved to be a most fitting way to end this visit.In the morning, a prayer session took place at Tsuklagkhang, at which the Dalai Lama was later present. It took me back to my very first visit and the very first prayers I had attended in his presence on 12th October 2005, and it brought everything full circle for me – why I had come to this spot in the mountains in the first place and why I now keep returning to this second home -what the Tibetan community and Dharamsala have given me. Throughout this visit, I have been continually questioning my place here and yet I keep returning to the words of Norphel who I met here last summer. He told me back then, “The way I see you is that maybe you were my mother in a previous life, or maybe you are my mother in a life to come.” I was deeply touched by this sentiment and yet if I take this on board, which I feel I have to do, then I have a responsibility that ties me to this place. Equally, with Tashi May, she has become part of my world and I guess I am part of hers and I want to be present for her. So as I was sat amid hundreds of others at Tsuklagkhang I felt at peace and happy in the knowledge that I had been able to share this critical time with my Tibetan friends and colleagues, although very aware of how grave the Tibetan situation now is, and committed to doing what I can to contribute in a positive way.
The Dalai Lama stated that his address was intended for the local Tibetans and so he spoke in Tibetan. This is what he said:
Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to All Tibetans
While extending my warm greetings to all Tibetans in Tibet, I would like to share some of my thoughts.
1. Since 10th March this year, we have witnessed protests and demonstrations in almost all parts of Tibet, even in a few cities in Mainland China by students, which are the outburst of long pent-up physical and mental anguish of the Tibetans and the feeling of deep resentment against the suppression of the rights of Tibetan people, lack of religious freedom and for trying to distort the truth at every occasion, such as saying that Tibetans look towards the Chinese Communist Party as the “Living Buddha”, is an ultra leftist statement and smack of Han chauvinism. I am very much saddened and concerned by the use of arms to suppress the peaceful demonsatrations of Tibetan people’s aspirations that have resulted in unrest in Tibet, causing many deaths, and much more casualties, detention and injury. Such suppression and suffering are very unfortunate and tragic which will reduce any compassionate person to tears. I, however, feel helpless in the face of these tragic incidents.
2. I pray for all Tibetans as well s Chinese who have lost their lives during the current crisis.
3. The recent protests all over Tibet have not only contradicted but also shattered the People Republic of China’s propaganda that except for a few “reactionaries”, the majority of Tibetans enjoy a prosperous and contented life. These protests have made it very clear that Tibetans in the three provinces of Tibet, U-tsang, Kham and Amdo, harbour the same aspirations and hopes. These protests have also conveyed to the world that the Tibet issue can no longer be neglected. These protests highligh the need to find a way to resolve the issue through “finding truth from facts”. The courage and determination of those Tibetans who have, for the greater interests of Tibetan people, demonstrated their deep anguish and hopes by risking everything is commendable as the world community has acknowledged and supported the spirit of Tibetans.
4. I deeply appreciate the acts of many Tibetan Government employess and Communist Party cadres who have, without losing their Tibetan identity, shown grit and sense of what is right during the present crisis. In future, I would appeal to the Tibetan Party cadres and Government employees not to look always for their personal benefit, but to work for safeguarding the larger interests of Tibet by reporting the real sentiments of the Tibetan people to their superiors in the Party and try to give unbiased guidance to for instigatinng and orchestrating the Tibetan people.
5. Presidents, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers, Nobel Laureates, Parliamentarians, and concerned citizens from every part of the world have been sending clear messages to the Chinese leadership to stop the harsh crackdown against the Tibetan people. They have all been encouraging the Chinese Government to follow a path where a mutually beneficial solution could be reached. We should create an opportunity for their efforts to bring about positive results. I know you are being provoked at every level but it is important to stick to our non-violent practice.
6. The Chinese authorities have been making false allegations against myself and the Central Tibetan Administration the recent events in Tibet. These allegations are totally untrue. I have made repeated appeals for an independent and respected international body to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter. I am sure this independent body will uncover the truth. If the People’s Republic of China has any basis to back their allegations, they need to disclose these to the world. Just makign allegations is not enough.
7. For the future of Tibet, I have decided to find a solution within the framework of the People’s Republic of China. Since 1974, I have sincerely remained steadfast to the mutually beneficial Middle-Way Approach. The whole world knows this. The Middle-Way Approach means that all Tibetans must be governed by similar administration that enjoys National Regional Autonomy and all the provisions in it, self-rule and full decision making, except for matters concerning foreign relations and national defence. However, I have said it from the beginning that the Tibetans in Tibet have the right to make the final decision for the future of Tibet.
8. The hosting of the Olympic Games this year is a matter of great pride to the 1.2 billion Chinese people. I have from the very beginning supported the holding of these Games in Beijing. My position on this remains unchanged. I feel the Tibetans should not cause any hindrance to the Games. It is the legitimate right of every Tibetan to struggle for their freedoms and rights. On the other hand, it will be futile and not helpful to anyone if we do something that will create hatred in the minds of the Chinese people. On the contrary, we need to foster trust and respect in our hearts in order to create a harmonious society, as this cannot be built on the basis of force and intimidation.
9. Our struggle is with a few in the leadership of the People’s Republic of China and not with the Chinese people. Therefore, we should never cause misunderstanding or do something that will hurt the Chinese people. Even during this difficult situation, many Chinese intellectuals, writers and lawyers in Mainland China and other parts of the world have sympathised and shown un their solidarity by issuing statements, writing articles and offering pledges of support that is overwhelming. I recently issued an appeal to the Chinese people all over the world on 28th March, which I hope you will hear and read.
10. If the present situation in Tibet continues, I am very much concerned that the Chinese Government will unleash more force and increase the suppression of Tibetan people. Because of my moral obligation and responsibility to the Tibetan people, I have repeatedly asked the concerned leadership of the PRC to immediately stop their suppression in all parts of Tibet and withdraw its armed police and troops. If this brings a result, I would also advise Tibetans to stop all the current protests.
11. I want to urge my fellow Tibetans who live in freedom outside Tibet to be extra vigilant as they voice their feelings on the developments in Tibet. We should not engage in any action that could be even remotely interpreted as violent. Even under the most provocative of situations we must not allow our most precious and deeply held values to be compromised. I firmly believe that we will achieve success through our non-violent path. We must be wise to understand where the unprecedented affection and support for our cause stems from.
12. As Tibet is currently virtually closed and no international media is allowed there, I doubt my message will reach the Tibetans in Tibet. But I hope through media and by word of mouth, it will be passed on to the majority of you.
13. Finally, I want to reiterate and appeal once again to Tibetans to practise non-violence and not waiver from this path, however serious the situation might be.
The Dalai Lama
6th April, 2008
As I am about to board my plane, I am feeling a rush of all sorts of sentiments, as my eyes brim with tears from the range of emotions we have all gone through over the last two months. As I’ve said previously, this has been an extraordinary time and I’d like to thank all those who’ve shared their thoughts, feelings and sentiments with me and helped me produce the work I have been doing so far and will go on to do, Tibetans and non-Tibetans alike. Moreover, I thank them all for the inspiration, courage and spirit they have given me. The Tibetan cause has been close to my heart since 1989, the year of the Dalai Lama’s Nobel Peace Prize, the year of Tiananmen Square, the year when I learnt the true reality of the plight of Tibet, and I guess for all of us who’ve been observing and supporting the Tibetan movement all this time, we all feel that despite the bloodshed, the pain and the frustration, the summer of 2008 could be the brink. We are hoping that Through an exile lens will help raise greater awareness of the true reality of the history as well as the current situation in Tibet and the exile community – thoughts and imaginings of Tibet seen through an exile lens…