Rangzen means more than freedom from oppressors and suppressors, it means the sheer joy and liberty to own and run the whole sovereignty of a nation independently but unlike Rangzen, Umaylam—the Middle Way Approach is a strategy set and voted by the public. So, contrary to the growing number of Rangzen activists demanding to end the Middle Way Approach, recent incidents in New York/ New Jersey and else where speak other wise— making many mull over that maybe it’s the Rangzen which needs to be reviewed.
For long, Tibetan Youth Congress has been the largest, strongest and most prominent Tibetan organization whose sole goal is to overthrow the Chinese rule and lead an independent nation but for whatever reason, recent incidents in New York/New Jersey and else where indicate that the organization has become or is at the verge of becoming a giant shallow shell and its members as just numbers read from its old records that date back to 1990s or so. The vibration and cracking sound of that shallow shell is echoing from the mountains of Ladakh to the plain areas of Bylakuppe, from New Delhi to New York, and Tibetans in Europe and else where are also likely to feel that vibration sooner or later.
The birth of Umaylum traces back to the Dalai Lama as he made the proposal but he didn’t make the proposal arbitrarily, he had sought suggestions and held discussions to make that proposal, and finally after a series of debate and discussions, the Tibetan public voted and adopted it as the most pragmatic way to put an end to the ongoing tragedies in Tibet. Despite zero response from the Beijing government, Tibetans’ faith in its Middle Way Approach is growing stronger and stronger in recent years and for many, its kind of irony but the reason looks like simply because of the ever increasing empathy and sympathy from the Chinese public and the surprisingly increasing number of Chinese following Tibetan Buddhism and visiting Tibetan spiritual leaders inside as well as outside Tibet. As of now, it looks good and hopeful but its difficult to predict if that bet on hope will once again betray us as we are known to be betrayed by the hope when it comes to the issue of Tibet and China.
Rangzen activists are getting alarmed and angry as the larger Tibetan public is once again betting on its hope in its religion, and these activists got every reason to be alarmed as the bet is too risky. And in the eyes of many of the Rangzen activists, these Middle Way Approach followers are old and orthodox and simply and blindly following the proposal set by the Dalai Lama. But the bitter fact for these Rangzen activists is that more and more Tibetans are becoming more and more rational and starting to genuinely appreciate and follow the vision set by the Dalai Lama. The general Tibetan public is neither blindly following the Dalai Lama’s visions nor respecting him merely just because he is the Dalai Lama but his visions are realistic and his contributions towards the Tibetan cause is unfathomable.
If the Rangzen spirit has to grow, not just to survive, then the Tibetan independence advocates have to understand that most of the Middle Way Approach followers are not just blindly following the proposal set by the Dalai Lama but they are concerned about the real situation in Tibet amidst China’s rapidly growing strength in the global power arena. And the Tibetan Youth Congress has to come up with a strategy or plan that can convince the general public why they should not merely rely on the Middle Way Approach. Unfortunately Tibetan Youth Congress, the backbone of the central force for Tibetan independence has been already neck locked by few individuals who care more about their ideologies than the ongoing situation inside Tibet.
Most of the founders of the Tibetan Youth Congress are now staunch supporters of the Middle Way Approach and it’s an open secret that the organization’s reputation was built by the public’s support with the blessing from the Dalai Lama. For decades, both the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile had been indirectly supporting the organization as well.
If the Tibetan Youth Congress has to remain as a tiger where the Beijing sheep shiver just by the existence of the organization, then the general public should decide the ideology of the organization rather than letting the organization be hijacked by few narcissistic individuals who are ready to kick and kill the organization for one’s own individual benefit— be it a chance to settle down in the states or have a high post in the Tibetan government in exile.
NOTE— Tendar Tsering is a Tibetan journalist based in Minnesota, U.S.A.