By Tenzin Nyinjey
I was born in 1978—the most infamous year in exile Tibetan history.
That was the year when China’s emperor Deng Xiaoping proclaimed his infamous decree for Tibet—except independence anything can be discussed. That was the year, in other words, when we started giving up on our struggle for freedom.
I therefore belong to a broken generation!
But we did not know our dreams were being broken and shattered. In schools, we continued to read Tibetan history. We were elated when Tibetan flags were being raised and national anthems sung.
Notwithstanding the poverty and malnutrition that surrounded us, our spirits were high. There was a sense of pride and mission that life was worth living, because we thought we were fighting for a just and honorable cause.
In short, we were proud to be Tibetans. We were proud of the stories our parents told us—the achievements of our forefathers who built the Tibetan nation and civilization, as soldiers, civil servants, peasants and so on.
However, as the years rolled on, all of a sudden our pride and sense of mission started vanishing. Our notion of what does it mean to be Tibetan started changing too. Suddenly being Tibetan meant not to fight for freedom and justice, but to be peaceful, passive white doves.
Not that we do not love peace and doves. They are beautiful. But they became clichés, stereotypes and lies. They became a source of embarrassment.
We did not realize that being stereotyped is being subjected to violence. We did not know we are told that we are not humans but doves, white doves.
To be honest, we are not white doves even, because white doves are violent, for they hunt worms for their chicks!
We are snow-white shadows!
We became unreal people putting on our masks of peace and non-violence. We became people walking in the clouds like the legendary sky-dancers or angels of Tibetan Buddhism, whose duty is to entertain by dancing and throwing flower petals from the sky on meditating saints below.
Yes, we became inhabitants of the ‘white clouds.’ Fog and mist became our constant companions. Like dwelling in the Buddhist notion of emptiness of bliss, we began floating in the vast expanse of the limitless azure sky—white doves that never hunt worms for their chicks!
Our lama-leaders may be happy being the sky dancers in the 21st century—catering to the spiritual demands of the West.
But I think young Tibetans are tired and worn down by this perpetual walking in the clouds and dancing in the sky. They need a place to rest, a solid ground to walk their feet on.
They need a piece of land—if not to build homes, but at least for their unborn sons and daughters to bury their dead fathers and mothers!
The day will not be far when they will believe no more in cremations!
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