Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Discussion and Democracy

Despite the enormous pending assignments, last night, I eagerly tuned to waiting for the discussion and decision on the agenda - the amendment of a clause in the Tibetan charter i.e., the Katri's third term. Even though, I am against this amendment, I was excited to watch the discussion that will generate through this agenda in the house of our parliament. However, I must say, I am disappointed at how it came down to a simple conclusion, not meaning that the bill didn't go through but that the bill went down without a meaningful discussion.

With on and off of LIVE streaming, watching the session was a painful and frustrating experience. I still don't understand why has a problem with LIVE streaming and not I think this is a question people working in the must explore so that interested viewers from around the world can watch such important political discussion LIVE with less or no disruption.

Irrespective of disruptions, I was able to watch the appeal of Katri (or Kashag) to the Chairman (or Chairwomen) requesting to proceed with the agenda with no discussion in the house. One reason, if I heard correctly, advocated by the Katri was that the discussion on the floor of parliament will create unnecessary talks, writings, and discussions within the larger Tibetan community. To be frank, I didn't expect this kind of reasoning from Kashag. I felt it is against the democratic ideals that Kashag advocates as one of its three principle.

I am a person who believes strongly in the strength and power of discussion because it helps to generate new ideas, new thoughts, new perspectives, new approaches, and most importantly, political awareness among the masses. When I say political awareness, I intend to say that people who has less or no interest in politics will hear a lot (willingly or unwillingly) about recent happenings in the Tibetan politics (such as the agenda in discussion) through their community affiliations, through his or her friend circles, or through the intellectual communities via talks, writings, and workshops. As Paulo Friere said discussion and dialogue is an education that will help critical consciousness and critical thinking. Without discussion, there will not be an education. And without education, there will not be critical consciousness/thinking. And without critical consciousness/thinking, there will not be a good democracy. Therefore, discussion and democracy goes hand in hand.

Coming back to Katri's appeal, it completely disregards the importance of a healthy discussion that members of the parliament owes to the Tibetan public. "No discussion" on the agenda not only deprived members of the parliament rights to share their insights on the agenda but also, blocked further expansion of the discussion in the Tibetan public. That being said, I think "no discussion" failed to live up to the principles of democracy that Kashag strongly advocates. Lets not deprive our Tibetan people to hear what they should hear, to read what they need to, and to listen what they are suppose to.


Note: This is an interpretation I made out from Katri's speech. If I heard it wrong, feel free to jump in to correct me with a line. Thanks.

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