Image: source withheld/edited for for security
Occasionally on social media sites video footage is published that shows the naked courage of Tibetans as they resist Chinese tyranny, such protests both collective and individual are a powerful reminder that the hope of Tibet’s people remains one of national liberation. As was the case with the example above when these brave Tibetans took their demands for Tibetan independence to the street. Such actions also provide a sobering contrast to certain currents flowing through the wider Tibetan movement in exile, a form of celebrity activism in which the ‘personality’ seems to take precedence over the cause. This trend tends to elevate and promote the actions of the individual, usually accompanied by numerous images or video, all of which seem to be saying ‘look at me am I not marvelous in my dedication?’
Anyone recoiling at this somewhat cynical view is requested to invest a little time on Twitter or Facebook upon which there are many examples, some it must be conceded are innocent or well meaning in supporting Tibet. Others however smack of orchestration, as if we are seeing an engineered promotion, usually such cases involve certain Tibet-related organizations, or prominent Tibetans who have attracted considerable global attention. Now while such people only can truly assess their motivation, there is no doubt that their efforts are bringing an increased awareness of Tibet, for that at least we must be grateful.
However if we were to be asked who we consider to be the voice of Tibet’s struggle the celebrity or high profile activist would not be our choice. The genuine champions of Tibet are its people who daily face the genocidal rule of China’s regime, and especially those whose activism risks far more than house arrest in a comfortable apartment in Beijing. They know such protest will invite torture, years of misery in a forced-labor camp or a likely-hood of being shot, yet despite such bone-chilling consequences ordinary Tibetans are opposing the illegal occupation of Tibet and asserting their national and cultural identity.
Their sacrifices are truly inspiring and while others may wish to fill the internet with praise for fashionable activists we reserve our solidarity for the nomad, monk, farmer, wife, brother, husband and youth of Tibet who are it’s authentic heroes.