On August 29, 2010, SFT Canada organized the Art of Resistance with SFT Director Tendor and Lhadon, head of the newly created Tibet Action Institute. Like their previous visits to Toronto, this event was another success. However, while the past events focused on what SFT had achieved, the Art of Resistance discussed our present and the framework for our struggle in the next 10-15 years ahead.
The event began with Tendor and Lhadon’s talk and followed by concert from some talented individuals, including a short skit by SFT Canada members. After the concert, the attendees’ appetite was matched equally by delicious authentic Tibetan food (thanks to all the amazing Amalas who volunteered). The final part of the event was the night party which, as always, drew a large crowd and both the SFT leaders and the Toronto Tibetan community members danced away into the night. For those people that missed the good food, music and most importantly, the talk, below is a quick summary of the main ideas (apologies if I missed some) sprinkled with some of my limited perspectives.
One of the most important takeaway message from this event was laying out the roadmap for our struggle for independence. This strategy, so far, includes increasing support in the T8 nations while looking towards using more technology to push our cause. The rationale behind T8 nations which includes US, Canada, England, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, and India is to proactively bolster support in various government levels for our cause through simple yet effective actions such as writing letters to your MPs and visiting their offices. As mentioned by Lhadon, most of our actions in the past – be it demonstrations or protests, tend to be an effect of the Chinese government’s actions. While such immediate responses have been successful in exposing the basic human rights violation in Tibet, this method to wait-and-see alone will not be as effective than say, combing this policy while also taking a much more proactive actions as mentioned earlier. Our freedom movement could last next five or fifty years, it is very hard to tell. Drawing parallels with the British rule over India, Tendor pointed out that one of the Bengali writers wrote how the British rulers were building huge mansions in Delhi that would last another 200 years. The British believed their empire would last for the next two centuries and definitely did not foresee their empire collapsing in the next ten years since these buildings were being built around 1937. Hence, as the Chinese economy continues to grow and money pours in to “develop” the infrastructure (read roads and trains), the Chinese government may believe their authoritarian rule would last forever. We know history has shown something different. However, we should also keep in mind that we have to do our part and when the time comes, we have to take our chances. This is why having a strategy or a roadmap is so vital. When a result is not instantaneous or immediate, it is human nature to get disillusioned and lose motivation. Having an effective strategy changes this and instead, increases motivation as one understands and sees that we are heading in the right direction – towards independence. This may seem off – topic but this is also how people have successful lives. Constantly analyzing and reflecting on past actions while planning for the future, even if that means making sacrifices in the short run, will eventually lead to success (whatever your definition of success may be).
Personally, I woke up the next day, a beautiful Sunday morning feeling more hopeful and reenergized. We all can and need to play our vital roles in this movement. Go talk to your local MP or come volunteer at the next SFT event!
Jigdel, SFT Toronto