By Tenzin Dolma, New York
[Response to "Ten Real Questions for Kasur Tenzin Tethong," by Tenzin Ngawang, published in TPR on March 14, 2011]
Q1. You speak of self-determination. Can you give us any proof of your extensive knowledge on the subject of self-determination? It could be a book you read, an article you wrote, even a foot note or a collaborated article with any other author on this subject? Do you have any?
TNT has been involved with promotion and raising awareness on the issue of "self-determination" for decades. As an example, a conference of Tibetans and western scholars was organized with TNT's leadership. Please check the following. http://www.c100tibet...Initiative.html
Following the 2004 conference in Switzerland, Shaping the Future of Tibet – Self-determination & Individual Activism, that was jointly organized by the C100 and the Tibetan Youth Association of Europe, and subsequent follow up meetings of the organizing committee, our Chair, Tenzin Tethong, has continued working within the Tibetan community and with Tibet support organizations to progress the initiative.
We have been monitoring the direct contacts between the envoys of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese Government that began in 2002. There have been eight rounds of discussions with officials of the PRC, the last in October 2008 in China. These have been a useful channel of communication between the two sides on the issues of genuine autonomy and a single administration for the Tibetan people, but have yet to produce any tangible results.
Q2. 1000 visas by the Canadian government were granted recently. It was initiated during rep. Tashi Wangdi time, and materialized during Lobsang Nyendak’s tenure. Neither Tashi Wangdi is claiming for it nor is Lobsang Nyendak. Then why are you claiming sole credit for 1000 Visa to the USA?
Resettlement of 1000 Tibetans to Canada has not initiated yet. This project came about as a direct result of His Holiness' appeal to the Canadian Prime Minister in 2007. The project is managed by Canada Tibet Committee with involvement of the Representative of HHDL in New York. Once this project is successfully carried out, I am certain the responsible people will be recognized and credits claimed. There is no comparison to the lobbying requirement in the case of 1000 visas to Tibetans to the US. Section 134 of the Immigration Act of 1990 required an active lobbying and an act of the congress. In Canada, the initiative required the approval of only the Minister of Immigration. And watch this
Q3. You mention that you played “a key role in the formation of Tibet House – New York”. However, renowned professor Robert Thurman claims in his Bio that the Tibet House was co-founded by him along with Richard Gere and Philip Glass at the request of HHDL. Bob Thurman doesn’t mention Tethong anywhere. Why? Who is being honest in taking or giving the credit?
Tenzin N. Tethong, a visiting scholar at Stanford University and former chairman of the Tibetan cabinet in Dharamsala. He is the founder of key Tibet initiatives in the U.S. including the Tibet Fund, Tibet House- New York, and the International Campaign for Tibet. He is currently the President of Dalai Lama Foundation.
Or, you can contact Bob Thurman directly and ask email@example.com
Q4. As for the establishments of Tibet Fund, Phuntsok Thonden, former representative of HHDL to America before you established Tibet Foundation. You changed the name to Tibet Fund and now you are taking credit for it without acknowledging Phuntsok Thonden’s actual foundation. Why do you think Phuntsok Thonden doesn’t deserve any credit?
You are confusing with Phuntsok Wangyal, former Representative of HHDL to the Office of Tibet, London and the Tibet Foundation. Phuntsok Wangyal la took the Tibet Foundation with him when he resigned from the office of Tibet. Phunthon la, while Representative of the Office of Tibet, New York until 1973 never established the Tibet Fund nor Tibet Foundation. The Tibet Fund was established in 1980 by TNT.
Q5. Your job at Stanford is part-time. You are affiliated with the continuing ed program which means part-time and just over the summers. What exactly do you teach at Stanford besides Tibetan History and is it a full-time job?
TNT never claimed he had a full-time appointment. Lobsang Sangay did. That is the difference.
Q6. When you decided to resign as a Kalon Tripa, His holiness accepted your resignation. Usually, when people offer resignation to His Holiness, often times, he doesn’t accept and urge them to stay because they are capable and needed for the movement. His Holiness often says, ”if you all quit, who am I supposed to submit my resignation to?” Then why did he accept your resignation? Are you sure family is the reason for your resignation or is it the Chushi Gongdruk controversy, combined with the budget deficit and the Ladakh Peshmeni Scandal where hundreds of poor wool sellers in Ladakh lost lakhs of rupees? Please make clear your involvement with these scandals.
Unrelated questions mixed in. The quote was attributed to His Holiness only in the last 2 years and recalled by either Dolma Gyari or Samdhong Rinpoche just recently. TNT resigned in 1995 long before His Holiness felt the urgency. Do not mix timeline and cite out of context! As to your question on why His Holiness accepted TNT's resignation, you will have to ask His Holiness. Perhaps, His Holiness recognized 30 years of sacrifice and felt it appropriate for someone to take care of family needs. If you have evidence otherwise for reasons for his resignation, please produce it. As for the deficit issue, the problem comes from many who do not understand the meaning of deficit. Webster defines deficit as "an excess of expenditure over revenue". And budget as "a plan for the coordination of resources and expenditures". I hope you can string the two words together to find the meaning of budget deficit.
Q7. Your camp has resorted to negative campaign and still does. I have never ever heard you discourage them or make them stop. Is this something you personally approve and subtly draw the benefits while ignoring the bigger picture?
There is a difference between unfounded personal attacks against TNT's spouse and late father vs challenge to misrepresentation by the candidates. TNT has made numerous statements to urge all to stop from engaging in personal attacks. Those who have been following the election will know that your statement is not fact based.
Q8. You have proven to be an unsuccessful Kalon Tripa before. You quit the same position that you fight for today. Why do you think it is fair to send a quitter back to Dharamsala? No government in the world would elect a leader who has quit and turned his back on their people before. Then why do you think we should elect you again?
Your assessment of TNT's tenure is not shared by others. Election of Kalon Tripa by the people was not available to the Tibetans until 2001. So your statement about re-election is not true.
Q9. You boast of every single minor affiliation with any sort of association/organization as your creation/initiation or achievement. Almost 99% of the experience that you boast of today, you had the same credentials back in 1994 when you were the Kalon Tripa. You had all these experiences then that you mention today. Yet you failed miserably as the Kalon Tripa. So why should we elect you based on these same experiences again?
TNT's record of accomplishment is open for public examination. I urge you to challenge credentials that TNT has inappropriately claimed. Since 1995, TNT's work has been devoted to the promotion of His Holiness' vision. Please look up Dalai Lama Foundation. And please cite examples of where TNT has failed as Kalon Tripa.
Q10. Why do you really want to become the Kalon Tripa for Tibet?
Because Tibet needs him! and watch this
Editors' Note: As always, publication of any article does not necessarily imply endorsement by the Editors.
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