Jamyang Norbu: The merchant of mendacity?

By Jay Gelek

MINNESOTA, US, 11 November 2013

Jay Delek
I can’t understand what Jamyang Norbu was thinking when he wrote his latest piece “the sad painful joke of Tibetan democracy”. To me it defies common sense to compare the efficacy of a nascent democracy, that too of an exiled community like ours, to that of an independent nation like Bhutan.

Unlike Tibetans and the TGiE, Bhutan does not have to deal with a brutal occupying force like China who is intent on destroying everything that has anything to do with Tibet as we know it. Therefore JN’s comparison of the two political system is not only irrelevant but seems to me even duplicitous on his part.
Besides, JN’s latest is inundated with lies and vicious insinuations aimed to subvert the Tibetan leadership as usual, although ever so covertly.

JN comes forth as being deeply impressed by the Bhutanese monarch for abdicating the throne to pave the way for modern democracy in the kingdom nation. Yet when the same was done by the Dalai Lama in announcing his resignation from political responsibilities (or “Modest Power” as JN likes to call it), JN was critical of it in his piece “Resolving the Dalai Lama resignation crisis”. This brings up the question: why is he so critical of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan leadership for doing something that he praises and appreciates when done by others?

I can’t emphasize this enough: I hold no grudge against those who support Rangzen over Middle Way. My grievance is against JN and those like him who pillory the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan leadership regardless of what they do. I have said time and again that I have utmost respect for people like Tenzin Tsundue and Lhadon Tethong, despite our very different views. Even Tenzing Jigme, the new president of the TYC, the most vociferous and vehement entity in the exiled spread when it comes to Rangzen, is someone that I respect and appreciate.

My problem is not Rangzen, as it is not with all those who support the Middle Way. My problem is people like JN who constantly speak ill of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan leadership while hiding behind the cloak of Rangzen. It seems that every piece JN writes carries a pejorative tinge aimed at the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leadership, or the public in general. His latest manages to include all three.

After making a series of irrelevant, unfair, and thus flawed, comparisons between the political systems of Bhutan and the TGiE, JN then describes the Tibetan political system as being the work of “superstitious barbarians”, and puts in the extra effort of translating the words into Tibetan as “lalo” to ensure that everybody understood what he thinks of them. His addition of the word “superstitious” is a not-so-subtle swipe at Tibetans’ reverence of the Dalai Lama as the manifestation of Chenresig — for if “lalo” was what he wanted to convey, “barbarians” alone would have sufficed. Showing such insensitivity with no regard for public sentiments seems commonplace for JN, but then when he is held accountable for his actions, he goes into victim mode and cries harassment because of his Rangzen views.

It is mind-boggling to me that JN once again attempts to defend Karma Choephel’s flagrant misinterpretation of the Dalai Lama, by calling it a “bizarre accusation” or better yet a “crackpot charge”. Here is what he wrote:
In Dharamshala this September, shortly after celebrating “Tibetan Democracy Day”, the Parliament-in-Exile initiated what can perhaps be called Cultural Revolution style “struggles” (thamzing) against those who had “hurt the feelings” of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The campaign was kicked off with the censuring of a Member of Parliament, Karma Chophel, on the crackpot charge of “speculating that, when composing the ‘Words of Truth Prayer’, His Holiness the Dalai Lama had ‘independence in his heart.’” (A detailed report is available at Tibetan Political Review.) This bizarre accusation brought to mind a Cultural Revolution incident where a down-to-earth Chinese farmer speculated (perhaps a little too loudly) that sticking Mao Zedong’s quotations in the fields to encourage vegetables to grow, was perhaps not an effective agricultural technique. He was denounced, struggled, and beaten — possibly to death.
If there is anything “bizarre” or “crackpot”-like, it is JN’s comparison of KC’s censure by the speaker and the cultural-revolution-era incident of the “down-to-earth Chinese farmer”, because the farmer was unfairly beaten for speaking the truth, whereas KC was deservedly censured for saying something that had not a hint of truth. On top of that, what KC said made the Chinese sound credible when they refer to the Dalai Lama as an insincere individual.

How can anybody deny KC’s misinterpretation of the Dalai Lama? We have all seen the video and I am sure it is still there for people to see and hear. China has always said that the Dalai Lama can not be trusted, and has called his Middle-Way policy a disguise to hide “his true goal of independence”. KC in essence gave some credence to the Chinese claim by his comments on the floor of the assembly. How could any responsible Tibetan ignore such an affront? I applaud the speaker Pempa Tsering for having a pair to censure KC from further hurting the Tibetan cause.

Sometimes I wonder if it is in JN’s interest to subvert the Tibetan struggle, because for way too long now, he has had nothing but ill to speak of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan leadership. The title of his latest “the sad painful joke of Tibetan democracy” is an example of that. Have you any idea who else shares JN’s view of Tibetan democracy as a “sad painful joke”? The Western Shugden Society. They too have had equally colorful things to say about Tibetan democracy under the leadership of the Dalai Lama.

I support the Middle-Way policy whole-heartedly, and it is a choice and a decision I have made based on my understanding and judgement. I understand that those who support “Rangzen” also made their choice and decision based on their understanding and judgement, so I can respect that sincerely from my heart. I have done that and will continue to do so. But what I refuse to do is sit in silence while JN goes on an attack binge, slandering each and every one who represents the very essence of Tibet.

JN has said that Tibetans “fear the Dalai Lama”. Does he think that Tibetans are lining up to see the Dalai Lama wherever he travels because they fear him? Does the think that Tibetans celebrate the Dalai Lama’s birthday every year with so much joy because they fear him? Does he think that Tibetans in occupied Tibet literally put their lives in peril just to keep a wrinkled picture of the Dalai Lama because they fear him? Does he think that those who self-immolated while calling for the Dalai Lama’s return because they fear him?
All the Tibetans who I know love the Dalai Lama. I am speculating that actually it is JN who fears the Dalai Lama. Who else fears the Dalai Lama? The Chinese leadership and the Dhoegyal followers. Need I add more?

NOTE-- The author lives and works in Minnesota, U.S.A. The above article is initially published on Tibet Sun. The views expressed in this piece are that of the author and the publication of the article on this site does not necessarily reflect their endorsement by the website.

No comments:

Post a Comment