译者：卜花儿 ( @Buxoro)
Saturday, Jan 28, 2012
我 不知道你是不是像我一样，我反正一看到媒体和流亡藏人总用“绝望”这个形容词，来描述在西藏自2009年以来发生的自焚抗议，就非常不安。在我写这篇文章 之时，自焚已发生了17起，像“真正的绝望举动”、“绝望的自焚”这样的说法已成为日常词汇，自动重复，好像作家、政府官员及政治家不觉得有必要去分析这 些行动背后更广博的志向。
从词源上看，“绝望”来自拉丁语“desperatus”，意为“被剥夺了希望”，用到形容抗议行动时，带有痛 苦和沮丧的意味。阿富汗妇女和少女的自焚（2009年3月至2010年3月有103例）也许可以被称为“绝望举动”，自焚者以此来表明她们宁可死，也不愿 生活在长期的家庭暴力与虐待之中。当被问及她们的动机时，自杀未成后幸存的阿富汗妇女总说，她们感到“没有出路”。其中之一，当问及对其他妇女有无忠告 时，甚至答道：“不要焚烧自己。如果你想找出路，用枪，痛苦要少些。”
西藏自焚事件则完全不同。首先，所有可得的证据都表明，他们的动机 是更伟大的事业，而不是因为抑郁、社会压力或财务负担。正如今年1月8日在果洛达日自焚的一位受人尊敬的喇嘛索巴朱古所写：“我自焚不是因为我的个人利益 与问题，而是为了六百万没有自由的藏人，为了达赖喇嘛返回西藏。”其次，虽说藏人的自由被剥夺，他们的希望没有被剥夺。自从藏人先驱图登欧珠1998年4 月在新德里自焚以来，从我们能得到的信息来看，所有自焚者都健康、快乐，除了为反抗中国对西藏的占领而牺牲，他们没有任何其它理由去死。再次引用索巴朱古 在其政治遗嘱中清楚地表明没有绝望：“藏人不应对未来失去希望，幸福的一天终会到来”。这种乐观态度甚至表现在亲属身上；22岁的洛桑嘉央在1月14日自 焚，他的母亲表示家人“对他的死没有遗憾”，因为他是“为了西藏的事业而牺牲”。
从这种无畏的抗议中引发的希望，也对那些在被占领的西藏 抵制中国压迫的人民产生了巨大影响。在中国监狱因莫须有的间谍指控被关了6年的民族音乐学者与制片人阿旺曲培最近指出：“1997年［原文如此］，我还在 监狱里，听到了图登欧珠在印度自焚的消息。（…）与所有在西藏的政治犯一样，我受到了鼓舞和激励，因为我们感到会有事为西藏而发生。”他进一步说：“我相 信大多数听说过图登欧珠历史性牺牲的在西藏的藏人，一定会受到启示并为之感动。”
在这些抗议行动中，我们看不出任何绝望的意味，也没有信 心的失去。从这些自焚事件中我们所能看到的，与其它任何一例在西藏的抵抗行动一样，是充满信心、坚韧顽强的突出范例，是崇高的希望，是坚定的决心。这些牺 牲体现了整个民族的梦想与道德力量，绝不能随便地或冷漠地贬低为悲壮有加，却完全无用的个人行动。
对“绝望”这个词的滥用，虽然对很多人 来说是无意的，有损于这些英勇的行动，这是必须指出的。首先它损害人的记忆：它显示了对他或她的动机、决心和愿望令人不安的缺乏尊重。去强调那些毫无根据 的苦楚与绝望，一个英勇的行动会被人记成一种逃避的方式，或者更糟，一种软弱与怯懦的标志。在大众心理中，这会产生有害的后果。中国当局很清楚需要贬低对 自焚者的记忆，并且很快地指责索巴朱古是因为秘密恋情而自杀，虽然这种指控不大成功。而且这样还有损于这些自焚事件标志着反抗中国占领斗争复始的信念：把 这些行动标为绝望，并视为无望的抗议，我们在冒着将一个潜在的革命希望扼杀在萌芽之中的风险。在这里，我们提到了一个至少对在达兰萨拉的西藏领导者来说是 更为敏感的问题。
在自焚者付诸行动时，他们心中肯定会有几重目的，他们大概不想只是完成一次性的演示行动，而是认定他们的牺牲会成为点燃 更大规模抵抗运动的火花。他们的目的常被解释为引起世界对中国在西藏镇压的注意，但这种解释并不完全正确。不论在西藏境内或流亡在外，很多藏人已不再对其 他国家为他们而作出实质的政治参与抱有信心。而且，没有一个自焚者在他们的遗言中提到联合国或任何一个外国政府。这些自焚行动更广的目标，可能不是有意设 计，但肯定是有所预料，是为了唤起藏人团结一致、抵抗中国的占领。这是毫无疑问的。这些蔑视强权的行动的确鼓起了抵抗者的勇气，这些率先殉身的人肯定料到 了明显会发生的这种连锁反应。索巴朱古自焚后在果洛地区，或洛桑嘉央的阿坝县发生的要求独立的抗议，明确展示了这些行动如何成为催化剂——即使第二个抗议 更直接的原因是警方非人道地殴打火焰中的洛桑嘉央。
不能想像这些自焚的藏人，特别是在因果业力中有过长期修行的僧尼们，不会意识到他们的 行动可以产生巨大后果，可以体现他们同胞的不满与挫折。他们可能（也可能没有）听说过穆罕默德•布瓦吉吉，他的自焚引起了去年在突尼斯发生的革命并启发了 更广泛的阿拉伯之春，但他们肯定会意识到他们的行动将引发抗争的巨大潜力。看一看中国的武警、警察以及特警在西藏不安地区人数上不成比例的部署，没人会怀 疑北京意识到了这些抗议活动的激烈性，并且对由此而来的威胁极度重视。那么，为什么达兰萨拉不去充分利用这个局势呢？
西藏流亡政府，固执 其不能自脱的中间道路，确实有其充分的理由尽量减少这些自焚的影响范围。首先，这些对抗性行动与官方的绥靖政策相抵触，而那些高级官员认定那是解决冲突的 唯一关键。但是，更重要的一点，自焚者之中有些人要求独立，也有些人称西藏为“国家”（rgyal-khab），显示了对“真正自治”微不足道的支持。
由 此看来，不必奇怪噶伦赤巴洛桑森格在《华盛顿邮报》称这些自焚为“绝望的行动”，或在最近的一次采访中称“僧人的自焚是出于无助”。也不必奇怪在宣读所有 在西藏将自己焚烧者的名单时，同一位噶伦赤巴，面对近20万聚集在菩提迦耶参加时轮金刚法会的藏人，不知何故遗漏了扎白的名字，20岁的他在2009年2 月成为第一位在西藏的自焚者。
但是，尽管达兰萨拉不情愿认同自焚者的真正目标，以及外国媒体拒绝描绘藏人奋争的实质，当前迫切需要的是不 要让这些（自焚）行动无休止地发生。终止自焚——并使之服务于其真正的目的——是不会仅仅在解除对寺院的封锁并将武警部队从不平静地区撤出后实现的。坦克 与机枪只是中国残酷压迫中可见的一面。无论要求中国“克制”（美国政府西藏问题特别协调员用词）能给当地居民多少解脱，都只有短期的效果。总有一天，抗议 活动再会出现，很有可能会有更加激烈的程度，造成更大的伤亡。
然而，复兴的抵抗，如有组织并更具对抗性，会驱使西藏内的有志人士采取强迫 将自己点燃之外的各种行动。自2008年以来，在西藏的藏人已清楚地表明了他们的决心和勇气。反抗中国占领的抵抗运动在这四年中不断发展壮大，并达到了 1950年代以来从未有过的层次。以前总是避免采取立场的知识分子和艺术家们现在坚决支持，要求独立以及展示西藏国旗比以往更频繁，以鼓舞人心的“拉喀运 动”为标志的不合作行动越来越多地在整个西藏出现。在全国范围内，新的国家意识在不断增长，新的抵抗方式在发明；不满情绪在全国都在沸腾。这种合流之势很 少出现过。
不难想象，在这种情况下，如果达兰萨拉发出一个正式呼吁来整合并参与重要的非暴力行动，会在西藏发生多大的影响。比如，号召一 个全国范围的不合作运动，无疑会受到欢迎，并在条件允许的情况下，得到大部分在中国统治下生活的藏人支持。还值得注意的是，这种措施会赋予新选出的流亡政 府以坚实的合理性，这个选举在西藏境内被热衷地追随，在西藏的藏人对其仍寄予厚望。然而，我再次表示我对西藏流亡政府领导这场斗争意愿的疑惑。中间道路方 案，不仅是自治的主张，也被证明是不行动与投降的呼吁，它从未为在西藏的藏人指引方向（也许除去提倡与中国占领者合作）。根据噶伦赤巴的陈述以及他对来自 中国的无情制裁的担心，达兰萨拉肯定不会在近期内鼓励在西藏的政治抗议。
这 些自焚者是真正的自由战士，他们用的是非暴力行动的最高形式——也是最痛苦的——来为他们的国家摆脱压迫。至少我们也该做到的是还他们的牺牲以本来面貌， 而不要以我们的短视，来加上他们原本没有的意愿。这些男男女女不是在中国极权之下绝望的受害者。他们不是向中国强权屈服的“被剥夺了希望”的人。他们牺牲 自己是为了他们国人的利益，是为了恢复国民的骄傲，因为他们知道他们的行动会有所作为。因为他们秉承希望，西藏总有一天会得到自由。他们是指引继续对中国 暴政反抗的灯塔，鼓舞着数百万藏人团结一致，争取独立的斗争。愿这些自焚的藏人标志着共产党中国垮台的开始。
Christophe Besuchet：克里斯托夫•白苏且是一位导演和西藏独立运动的长期活动人士。他是《Lungta》（风马旗）杂志的前发行人，是瑞士TSG组织的合作 创办人并且曾经绘制了若干拉萨和西藏地图。1994年至1999年，在达兰萨拉担任“阿尼玛卿研究会”的平面设计师。目前是瑞士让赞联盟副主席。
Beacons of resistance, not desperate acts
By Christophe Besuchet
I do not know if you are like me, but I find it extremely distressing to see how commonly the adjective “desperate” has been used by the media and Tibetans in exile to describe the self-immolation protests that have taken place in Tibet since 2009 — seventeen cases so far as I write this. Phrases such as “truly desperate acts” or “desperate self-immolation” have become part of the usual vocabulary and are repeated automatically, as if writers, government officials and politicians do not find it necessary to analyze for themselves the wider ambitions behind these actions.
Etymologically, the word desperation comes from the Latin desperatus, or “deprived of hopes”, and carries a sense of misery and dejection when it is applied to protest actions. Self-immolation by women and girls in Afghanistan (103 cases reported between March 2009 and March 2010)  can probably be referred to as “desperate acts” as those who carry them out prefer to die rather than to live under constant domestic violence and abuse. When questioned about their motives, Afghan women who survived their suicide attempts usually replied that they felt as if they had “no way out”. One of them, when asked whether she had a message for other women, even replied: “Don't burn yourself. If you want a way out, use a gun: it's less painful.” 
Tibetan self-immolations are entirely different. First, all available evidence indicates that they are motivated by a greater cause, not by depression, social pressure or financial burdens. As Sopa Tulku, a revered high-ranking lama who immolated himself in Golok Darlak on 8 January this year, wrote : “I am not self-immolating for my personal interests or problems, but for the six million Tibetans who have no freedom and for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.”  Secondly, if Tibetans are deprived of their freedom, they are not deprived of hope. Starting with Thupten Ngodup , the first Tibetan known to have set himself on fire in April 1998 in New Delhi, those instances of self-immolation about which we have any background information can be said to have been carried out by happy and healthy people, who have no reason to die apart from offering their lives to the struggle against China’s occupation of Tibet. Sopa Tulku, again, was very clear in his political testament about not being desperate: “Tibetans should not loose hope in the future, a day of happiness will surely dawn”. This sense of optimism extends even to relatives; the mother of the 22-year-old Lobsang Jamyang, who immolated himself on 14 January, declared that her family “has no regret for his death” as he had “sacrificed his life for the Tibetan cause.” 
The hopes derived from such fearless protests have also had a strong impact on those who are resisting China’s oppression in occupied Tibet. Ngawang Choephel, an ethnomusicologist and filmmaker who spent six years in a Chinese jail on fabricated spying charges, noted recently: “In 1997 [sic], when I was in prison, I heard news of Thupten Ngodup's self-immolation in India. (…) I was encouraged and energized, like all other political prisoners in Tibet because we felt that something would happen for Tibet.” He further added: “I am sure that most of the Tibetans in Tibet who heard about Thupten Ngodup's historic sacrifice must have been inspired and moved.” 
There is definitely no sense of despair that we know of in any of these acts of protest. Nor any hopelessness. As far as we can tell, these self-immolations are, like every single act of resistance in Tibet, a striking example of confident resiliency, of high hopes and of unflinching determination. These sacrifices carry the dream and the moral strength of an entire nation and cannot be, carelessly or sarcastically, reduced to some tragic but useless individual acts.
This abuse of the word "desperate", unintentional as it may be for many, is damaging to these valiant actions and this must be pointed out. It is firstly injurious to the person’s memory: it shows a troubling lack of respect for his or her motives, determination and aspirations. By emphasizing some unsubstantiated anguish and despair, a heroic act will be remembered merely as a means of escape or, worse, as a sign of weakness and cowardice. In the collective psyche, this could have detrimental consequences. The Chinese regime understands very well the need to demean the memory of those who have committed self-immolation and was, for example, quick to accuse, albeit without success, Sopa Tulku of suicide because of a secret love affair. But it is also harmful to the promise these self-immolations can represent for a renewed struggle against China’s occupation: by branding them desperate and viewing them as hopeless protests, we risk nipping in the bud any hope of a potential revolution. And here we are touching a much more sensitive issue, at least as far as the Tibetan leadership in Dharamshala is concerned.
When committing self-immolation, these people certainly had several objectives in mind. They probably did not think of just carrying out a one-shot dramatic action, but considered their sacrifices as sparks that would set off a larger resistance movement. It is usually explained that their aim was just to draw the world’s attention to Chinese repression in Tibet, but this is not entirely true. Many Tibetans, in Tibet and in exile, have indeed become disheartened about meaningful political engagement on their behalf by foreign countries. Besides, not a single reference was made by the self-immolators to the United Nations or to any foreign government in their messages. The wider goal of these self-immolations, probably not consciously planned but definitely anticipated, was to serve as a wake-up call for Tibetans to unite and stand up against the Chinese occupation. There is little doubt about this. These acts of defiance have indeed inspired courage in those with the will to resist, and their authors must have carefully considered the obvious eventuality of such a chain reaction. The pro-independence protests that broke out in the Golok region following Sopa Tulku’s self-immolation, or in Ngaba county following that of Lobsang Jamyang, clearly demonstrate how theses actions acted as catalysts — even if the second protest seems to have been triggered by the inhumane beating of Lobsang Jamyang, still in flames, by the police forces.
It would be very surprising if Tibetans who set themselves on fire, especially nuns and monks trained in the field of causality, were not conscious of the fact that their actions can have tremendous consequences and can capture the discontent and frustration of their compatriots. They may (or may not) have heard of Mohamed Bouazizi, the man whose self-immolation sparked last year’s Tunisian revolution and inspired the wider Arab Spring, but they definitely realize the immense potential of unrest triggered by their actions. Looking at the disproportionate number of Chinese paramilitary troops, police forces and SWAT teams deployed in the restive areas in Tibet, it leaves no room for doubt that Beijing realizes the explosive nature of these protests and is taking the threats posed by them very seriously. Why, then, does Dharamshala not take advantage of the situation?
The Tibetan Government-in-Exile, obstinate and a prisoner of its own Middle Way Approach, has actually every reason to minimize the scope of these self-immolations. First, these confrontational actions go against the official policy of appeasement which, high-ranking officials are convinced, is the only key to resolving the conflict. But more importantly, demands for independence by some of the self-immolators, and references to Tibet as a “nation” (rgyal-khab) by others, clearly show the meager support for “genuine autonomy”.
It should come therefore as no surprise that the Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay refers to these acts of self-immolation in The Washington Post as “desperate acts”  or declares in a recent interview that "monks are self-immolating out of helplessness".  Nor should it comes as a surprise when, reading the names of all those who set themselves on fire in Tibet, the same prime minister, in front of nearly 200,000 Tibetans who had gathered in Bodh Gaya for the Kalachakra teachings, somehow omitted the name of 20-year-old Tapey, the first person who committed self-immolation in Tibet in February 2009.
But despite Dharamshala’s reluctance to acknowledge the true ambitions of self-immolators and the foreign media’s refusal to portray the Tibetan struggle for what it is, something urgently needs to be undertaken to ensure that these actions do not happen indefinitely. Putting an end to self-immolations — and making certain they serve a real purpose — will, however, not be achieved simply by lifting the sieges of monasteries and withdrawing paramilitary forces from restive areas. Tanks and machine guns are merely a visible symptom of China’s ruthless domination. No matter how much relief Chinese “restraint” (the word used by the US Government’s Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues)  would provide to local residents, it would represent no more than a short-term fix. One day or another, protests will break out again, most probably on a more radical scale and involving greater casualties.
Renewed resistance, on the other hand, organized and more confrontational, would most probably drive dedicated people inside Tibet to undertake actions that do not forcibly involve setting oneself on fire. Since 2008, Tibetans in Tibet have clearly demonstrated their determination and courage. The resistance movement against China’s occupation has been continuously growing in that four-year span and has reached a stage unknown since the 1950s. Intellectuals and artists who had previously avoided taking a stand are now firmly on board, calls for independence and the use of the Tibetan national flag have become more frequent than ever, and acts of non-cooperation, embodied in the very inspiring Lhakar movement , are increasingly carried out throughout Tibet. All over the country a new sense of national identity is growing, new forms of resistance are being invented; all over the country discontent is boiling. Such a conjuncture occurs only rarely.
In such circumstances, it is not hard to imagine that an official appeal by Dharamshala to unite and engage in major non-violent actions would have a tremendous effect in Tibet. Calling for a country-wide non-cooperation movement, for example, would undoubtedly be hailed and, as much as conditions allow, embraced by the majority of Tibetans living under Chinese domination. Such a step would also, it is worth noting, confer solid legitimacy on the new leadership in exile whose election was enthusiastically followed in Tibet and in whom Tibetans in Tibet have still high hopes. However, once again I have to express my doubts about the Tibetan Government-in-Exile’s willingness to lead the struggle. The Middle Way Approach is not only a claim for autonomy, it has also proven to be a call for non-action and surrender, and it has never served to provide direction to Tibetans in Tibet (apart, maybe, from advocating collaboration with the Chinese occupiers). Based on the prime minister’s statements and on his fear of ruthless sanctions from China , Dharamshala will definitely not encourage political protests in Tibet anytime soon.
But I am convinced of one thing: without taking Tibetan resistance to a new level, there is little chance that self-immolations and similar extreme actions will stop. Going back to the prior status quo is not an option and Tibetans are now approaching a point where there is no turning back. The “Tsampa Revolution”, as coined by Jigme Ugen, is on the move. To quote lyrics by the British singer Peter Gabriel, written after the death of Steven Biko in a South African jail: “You can blow out a candle, but you cannot blow out a fire; once the flames begin to catch, the wind will blow it higher." 
These self-immolators are true freedom fighters, who use the ultimate form of non-violent action — the most painful one — to free their country from oppression. The minimum we ought to do is to view their sacrifices for what they are, not for what our myopic approach wishes them to be. These men and women are not desperate victims of China’s totalitarianism. They are not people who gave in to Chinese might because they were “deprived of hope”. They are sacrificing themselves for the benefit of their countrymen and women, and for the restoration of a nation’s pride, because they know their actions can make a difference. Because they are carrying the hope that Tibet will be free some day. They are the beacons of a renewed struggle against China’s tyranny and an inspiration for millions of Tibetans to unite and fight for their independence. May the sacrifices of these Tibetan self-immolators mark the beginning of Communist China’s downfall.
Christophe Besuchet is an art director and a long-time activist in Tibet's independence movement. He is currently the Vice President of Switzerland's Rangzen Alliance.
Article submitted by the author.
The views expressed in this piece are that of the author and the publication of the piece on this website does not necessarily reflect their endorsement by the website.
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 ༢༠༡༢ལོའི་བོད་ནང་གི་མེར་བསྲེགས་གནས་ཚུལ་ཐོག་མ། Tibet Times, 9 Jan 2012 http://www.tibettimes.net/news.php?cat=49&&id=5385
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 Vishal Arora, "World will regret its neglect of Tibet: Tibetan PM", IANS, 18 Jan 2012. http://bit.ly/xprV5X
 "Statement by Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Maria Otero", 24 January 2012 http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/01/182424.htm
 "Tibetan PM Discouraging Political Protest In Tibet?", Tibettruth.com, 2 Nov 2011 http://tibettruth.com/2011/11/02/tibetan-pm-discouraging-political-protest-in-tibet/
 Peter Gabriel - Biko (1987) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgM-1r0X5Zc