Tuesday, August 14, 2012


(A proposed online petition on the Change.org)

Many brave Tibetans have now burned themselves to death. Their dedication is beyond question, and their purpose is clearly to benefit the community and its values.

But as the wave of immolations spreads, it is more and more likely that many others will also set themselves on fire. Now the great distress and pain has spread to India’s capital too, others will follow. Meanwhile, inside Tibet, a rumour is reported to have spread that if 200 people set themselves alight, this will trigger a response from the United Nations. This could turn into a sad reality, leading to score of deaths of Tibetans, who are already so few.

But there is no certainty that they would lead to any concrete results for Tibet. The international media might not remain interested - Time.com reported that the self-immolation of Tibetan monks was one of the most underreported stories of 2011. There are an average of 900 self-immolations a year in India that are not even reported in the press. The Chinese government is in the midst of its most troubled leadership transition in decades and is almost certain to react more harshly than before. The Indian government, our most precious ally, is already showing signs of extreme impatience and discomfort.

The lives of our most dedicated people could be lost in vain, and in the most terrible agony imaginable. The risk is huge.

We believe it’s not too late to act before it gets beyond repair.

It is therefore critical to call on our brave fellow-Tibetans not to give up their lives. We need them to be remain alive, to help preserve, defend and develop our culture and our nation.

Our leadership has made clear its deep dismay at the use of self-immolation, but we urge all of us to work actively to persuade Tibetans not to risk their lives, when the results are so uncertain and the costs so terrible. With deepest respect for those who have given up their lives, we therefore appeal the administration, both the Kashag and Parliament in-Exile, to take all possible steps to persuade Tibetans not to self-immolate.

With our highest hopes,

Note: I worked on this online petition in March with few Tibetan scholars but never made it to a launch. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave your comment. With increasing self-immolations now, I may launch this online petition soon. 

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