By Dechen Tsering, Berkeley, California
Since March 10th, Tibetans all over the world have had to digest and internalize His Holiness the Dalai Lama's official statement in which he said, in no uncertain terms, that he will step down as the political leader of the Tibetan people. To quote His Holiness:
"As early as the 1960s, I have repeatedly stressed that Tibetans need a leader, elected freely by the Tibetan people, to whom I can devolve power. Now, we have clearly reached the time to put this into effect. During the forthcoming eleventh session of the fourteenth Tibetan Parliament in Exile, which begins on 14th March, I will formally propose that the necessary amendments be made to the Charter for Tibetans in Exile, reflecting my decision to devolve my formal authority to the elected leader."
Needless-to-say, there are a range of emotional and rational/pragmatic reactions from the Tibetan people to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's latest proposition, which leads me to ask:
Do you support the amendment to the Tibetan Charter as proposed by His Holiness in the above excerpt that reflects His decision to formally pass the torch of political leadership to the new elected Kalon Tripa? Why and why not?
Question 2) Directed at the two top candidates for Kalon Tripa - Kasur Tenzing Tethong la & Dr. Lobsang Sangay la.
If either of you become the next Kalon Tripa, would you invite 'the other' into the new Cabinet? Why and why not? If you are invited into the other's Cabinet, would you accept the opportunity to serve in the new Cabinet? Why and why not?
Thank you for your anticipated responses to the above questions. If these questions have been answered before, please indicate the link where your answers can be found.
There is no denying that this election campaign has been one of the most active ones in the Tibetan community. This is an encouraging sign of a growing democratic ideal and interest within our people, particularly the young adults. I think it can be safely said that much of the engagement, particularly of the young adults, was generated by Dr. Sangay la's announcement to run for Kalon Tripa and his landslide victory in the preliminary elections; the well-organized volunteer campaigns by global chapters of "TNTforKalonTripa" that has evidently picked up significant steam (and probably votes) since the preliminaries, and least of all, the surprising re-entry of Kongyo Tashi Wangdu la into the race.
While I represent just one vote, I want to thank all the candidates, particularly Kasur Tethong la and Dr. Sangay la for carrying out a campaign that had the unprecedented quality of being informative, engaging, and riveting.
Recognizing the critical responsibility the next Kalon Tripa will have in light of His Holiness' March 10th statement, I hope that no matter who becomes the next Kalon Tripa, that the Tibetan people - irrespective of who we vote for - will REUNITE (post-elections) in supporting the new leader of our government in exile - whoever this democratic election bestows that huge responsibility on. I strongly believe that ultimately, we, the people, OUR UNITY, is the backbone of a successful new leadership (Kalon Tripa and Chitues) in Dharamsala.
How fortunate we are that DEMOCRACY is peacefully handed to us by our tireless leader - perhaps the biggest gift ever to a society in the 21st century wherein nation leaders such as those in Libya, Iran, Burma, and China will not hesitate to kill their own to protect [an illusion of] power and deny democratic rights to its citizens.