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As World Sympathizes With Ukrainians, Let Sufferings Of Tibetans Be Remembered Too – OpEd

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The 63rd Tibetan National uprising day was observed by Tibetans all over the world on March 10, 2022. Tibetans in exile protested in front of the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, demanding that China should stop atrocities in Tibet and quit the country.

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Tibetans now wonder as to why the world citizens, by and large, are indifferent to the plight of Tibetans at the hands of the Chinese government and have not responded in the same way that world citizens now sympathise with the plight of Ukrainians at the hands of the Russian army.

For the last fifteen days or so, Russia has been mercilessly and relentlessly dropping  bombs on Ukrainian soil, attacking Ukraine with missiles and entering the country, and slaughtering the protesting citizens. Russian forces have destroyed several infrastructure facilities and even hospitals and nuclear power stations have not been spared.  Millions of Ukrainians have now been forced to leave their mother land and seek asylum elsewhere, fearing the Russian army.

Compared to Russia, Ukraine is a smaller country by land area and the economic and military strength of Russia is far higher than that of Ukraine.

Earlier, Ukraine expressed its desire to join NATO. However, no decision has been taken by NATO with regard to admitting Ukraine and the whole matter has been only in speculative stage. Nevertheless, Russia used the possible entry of Ukraine into NATO as an excuse for waging a war. No doubt, Ukrainians are fighting hard to defend their motherland and in the process, the lives of many Ukrainians have been lost, thousands of them have been injured and valuable assets of Ukraine have been destroyed.

The President of Ukraine has convincingly said that Ukraine has not started this war. This, obviously, means that Russia is the aggressor. Inspite of several protests against the inhuman attack against Ukraine by Russian forces — and the UN and Human Rights Council asking Russia to stop the war — Russian President Putin seems to be intent on continuing the war to the logical end, unmindful of the enormous human sufferings that are happening due to his dastardly attack.

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While the world is aghast at the cruel acts of Russia, this is not the first time that such cruel acts of aggression have been carried out by a large country against its neighbor.

In 1959, Chinese forces entered the neighboring country Tibet in the Himalayan region, giving the lame excuse that Tibet is part of China.

Tibetans living in Tibet are devoted to Buddhist religion and have never entertained any greed to occupy another country and did not have any army worthy to be called so. When Chinese forces entered Tibet, the Tibetan people peacefully protested and tried to stop the Chinese forces from advancing in whatever way that they could. However, the Chinese government massacred the innocent protesting Tibetans, destroyed several monasteries and properties and forced the respected Tibetan religious leader, the Dalai Lama, to leave Tibet along with his followers and seek refuge in India.

There is a contrast in the world’s reaction to the sufferings of Ukrainians and those of Tibetans. While almost the entire world now sympathizes with the suffering Ukrainians and condemning Russia for its heinous act, the world has virtually ignored the plight of Tibetans. Even after 63 years, the world continues to ignore the plight and sufferings of Tibetans, who have lost their country and which is even now under occupation with a vice like grip by China.

It is high time that world citizens should understand that the sufferings of Tibetans at the hands of the Chinese army are no less than those of Ukrainians at the hands of the Russian army.

To recognize the sufferings of Tibetans and ensure that Tibetans get their country back from Chinese occupation, the world conscience must be awakened.

It is high time that the UN and Human Rights Council should come to the rescue of Tibetans and ensure that aggressors will not have their way against the small neighboring countries in future.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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