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As everyone knows, the Chinese Communist Party is fully committed to reincarnating itself as the Qing dynasty, but with more aircraft carriers and a Communist Dalai Lama who tells choking city dwellers to be less materialistic. In today’s lead editorial, Huanqiu Shibao puts it this way: “众所周知，中国藏传佛教的活佛转世有一整套历史定制和宗教仪轨，持续三百多年，从清朝开始，新达赖的确定必须得到中央政府的批准。达赖这几年不断抛出人们闻所未闻的异端邪说，称他可以转世为外国人、女人等等。最近又干脆说他可以不转世了.”
In other news, women who believe in stopping sexual harassment on public transport in China have been targeted and detained by the state. It’s almost as if the Standing Committee of the CCP (where women hold 2 of the 25 posts) believes that Chinese women should take a cue from their North Korean counterparts and spend International Women’s Day busying themselves with statements about their good fortune to live in the glow of a brilliant patriarch.
As the agile voice of Barbara Hannigan recently wrote about conducting, another quasi-mystical field of leadership: “It is neither male nor female. Convention has kept the field dominated by men.” Maybe the next Dalai Lama will appear in female form, after all.
This essay was originally published as “Dalai Lama struggles to retain influence over troubled Tibet,” The Irish Times (Dublin), April 22, 2012, p. 14.
Northern Ireland is a long way from Tibet. But watching the Dalai Lama cross Derry’s “Peace Bridge” this past Thursday, one could be forgiven for imagining that the two worlds were, in fact, intimately related.
The Dalai Lama clearly has much inspiration to offer to Northern Ireland. However, the movement that he leads is experiencing massive stresses, and his peregrinations in Europe are just as important to him as they are for us.
The Dalai Lama is the head of the Yellow Hat sect, the fourteenth reincarnation of his office, and a “living Buddha.” As a child philosopher-king, he received gifts sent from Franklin D. Roosevelt, but made only desultory pushes for Tibet’s claims to sovereignty.
In 1951, the Chinese Communist Party broke Tibet’s isolation, occupying the plateau. 25% of all Tibetan males were monks, and the Chinese were ardent atheists, but efforts were made by both sides to accomodate the other. The Dalai Lama went so far as to meet with Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing. As Tibetans began to be assimilated into CCP’s matrix of “brotherly nationalities,” the Dalai Lama fled in March 1959, and has since led a government-in-exile based in Dharmsala, India.
Today, Tibetan-majority counties and regions are spread all over western China, an area targetted for heavy infrastructural investment. In Lhasa, the CCP pulls up stones worn smooth by decades of pilgrim prostrations, replaces them with new sidewalks and shopping malls, and expects gratitude. Similarly, the Chinese force nomads into new housing clusters that make surveillance easier. Police stations are built inside of monastic compounds and army soldiers do target practice within earshot of holy sites. Development is abetted by Chinese settlers, a new train from mainland China, and a host of new airports.
Tibetan writers are heavily censored; the most admired are sent to jail. Cultural erosion and “bilingual education” skewed toward Chinese is a particular sticking point. 2% of all men are monks, and they first need to undertake a secular state education. Riots are repressed. There are no discussions about the Dalai Lama’s return. The response by some Tibetans to these trends has been to bathe in gasoline and burn themselves to death in public spaces, more than 100 in the past two years.
The rise of self-immolations by Tibetans indicates that the Dalai Lama’s line for peaceful protest is beginning to erode. These acts, undertaken primarily by young Tibetans, underscore the attractions of more dramatic forms of protest. It is indeed shocking to speak with young Tibetans in China, who in one breath will laud the Dalai Lama, and in the next, talk about the need for gallant armed struggle against the occupiers.
Like the hunger strikers during the Troubles, the youth engaged in such protests have brought attention to underlying problems, but they also open up serious questions: What is the actual effect of the protest on the dominating adversary? How many martyrs does a given struggle need? The protestors simply want the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet, and the Chinese to leave, but these are incoate sentiments not to be confused with actual strategy.
Beijing has predictably responded with an uptick in policing, and harsh punishments for those who would abet the protestors. Beijing’s propaganda tags the Dalai Lama as the source of the self-immolations, asserting that he is directing a Tibetan resistance movement inside of China’s borders with the help of American and Indian intelligence organizations. It is difficult to have a reasonable conversation on these topics in Beijing.
Countries that allow the Dalai Lama to visit are occasionally held up for scorn, particularly when civic leaders meet with “His Holiness.” Mayors in Paris as well as Portland, Oregon, have been the targets in recent years of Chinese campaigns to stop so-called “splittist” activity, which can be defined as anything from meeting with the Dalai Lama to celebrations of non-communist-approved Tibetan culture. Accordingly, during the Derry visit, Martin McGuiness and Peter Robinson were nowhere to be seen, surely mindful of their upcoming trade mission to China.
The Dalai Lama is in Derry to celebrate dialogue, but his own movement is at an impasse. There are few viable paths forward for negotiations with Beijing, and the CCP seems merely to be waiting for the Dalai Lama’s death to step in and create a split in the search for his child successor. Radicalism is increasingly attractive to Tibetan youth.
Amid the complex passions of Northern Ireland’s identity politics, the Dalai Lama rings a bell of clarity and appeals for calm. But there are storm clouds over Tibet.
Image credit: The Dalai Lama waits for a ferry on the Thames River on 19 September 2015. Via the Office of the Dalai Lama.
A few weeks ago, I finally received my copy of the new French translation of Tibetan writer Woeser’s text of oral histories on the Cultural Revolution in Tibet.
This past Saturday night in Seattle, in between a Schumann Violin Concerto unearthed in unearthly manner and a celestially brutal Bruckner Symphony, I had a chance to read a single testimony and wanted to share a few impressions of the text.
Woeser’s interloctor in one long episode (pp. 72-115) is “Joenyi,” a Tibetan functionary in the TAR (and an old friend of Woeser’s father) who gave Woeser his testimony in February 2003. Joenyi worked in an unspecified area of military logistics and , somewhat surprisingly, is rather pro-People’s Liberation Army for the duration of this long interview.
(This is of course one of the beautiful things about oral histories – rarely do they conform strictly to what one might consider logical. Why would a dissident Tibetan writer allow praise of the PLA in her book which is ostensibly about Chinese destruction of Tibet? Because she has fidelity to what she was told, and because this man has recollections of her father as well. The testimony is simply an individual narrative, a single set of data points, a single voice. And if it occasionally moves in tandem with a master narrative espoused by the State, then so be it.)
Joenyi proceeds at the outset of his interview to dispel any notion that things proceeded more slowly with the Cultural Revolution in Tibet due to its extreme remoteness (reculeé / 遥远). No, indeed, news spread quite quickly across the plateau (p. 72-3).
Joenyi describes the struggle against PLA General (the man in whom Japanese colonial parlance would have been called Tibet’s “Governor-General”) Zhang Guohua.
The Red Guards arrived in localities looking to upend “local emperors,” and Zhang was at the apex of their target list. Posters in Lhasa called him Zhang Guihua 张鬼猾 [“Zhang the Cunning Devil”], and it took little time at all for Tibetans to follow in the chorus of denunciation and complaint against the Han administrator (p. 74).
While the 18th Army remained loyal to their commander, an inner-military opposition arose around the person of Yu Xin, a “director of logistics” who had worked closely with Zhang Guohua during the 1962 border war with India (p. 76).
Yu, the interviewee describes, probably would not have beaten Zhang to death, but had Zhang Guohua not fled to Beijing, he certainly would have been object of a public trial (p. 80).
Joenyi takes a moment to raise the demonic parallels made by the traditional Tibetan government in regarding communist troops as monsters, effectively reprising the 13th Dalai Lama’s famous 1931 last testament. Instead, Joenyi asserts, that the PLA members in Tibet were not Han monsters but rather regarded as “Buddha’s Soldiers.” The interviewee mentions time and again that the PLA left a positive impression on the Tibetans, and that for most inhabitants of the plateau (in fact “as one mind”), the Army was the key institution through which they understood the Chinese Communist Party (p. 82).
One possible complication to this pattern, however, are troops on the very frontiers of the PRC, where factional struggles could become bloody rather quickly (p. 83).
At this point Woeser, who has primarily been asking shorter questions in a linear fashion, interjects with a point about her own father, an acquaintance of the interviewee, and his experience in Beijing (where, perhaps, he was forced to stay?). The Lhasa-Beijing polarity is thus examined from another angle (p. 84).
I’ve got another three or four pages of Bruckner-inflected scribbles to transcribe, but this text is already nicely suprising: thus, readers can expect more to come with reference to the “Nyemo Incident” (which involves, among other things, a possessed shamanness who claims to be an adjutant both of the Tibetan mythic-king Gesar and Chairman Mao)…
Related Posts: “No Silence for the Unsubjugated: Woeser in the Parisian Press,” Sinologistical Violoncellist, 17 January 2011.
Christopher Hughes, “From Centre to Periphery: Rewriting the Cultural Revolution: From Centre to Periphery,” China Quarterly (2006) [scholarly review of Woeser’s Chinese version of the same text of testimonies — loads as pdf.]
“The True Story of Maoist Revolution in Tibet,” Revolutionary Worker, #752, 17 April 1994 [orthodox Maoist treatment of the matter which calls monks “class enemies,” etc., but is useful for understanding justifications of various kinds…]
Update: Just an interesting film from University of Michigan I was sent recently by Gavin Strassel, an Asianist bibliographer there, about art during the Cultural Revolution, added mainly for some red color in this entry, not for its connection to Tibet.
Back in July, while on a late-night stroll through the 5th Arrdondisment looking for Rue Oberkampf, I chanced upon an announcement of the Dalai Lama’s mid-August trip to Toulouse, France, a city which appears to have become a kind of new Buddhist heartland.
To follow up: The Dalai Lama indeed went to Toulouse, and a short clip from a French television station captures very well the local excitement and the huge crowds (over 10,000 attendees, each paying over 100 Euros) garnered by the visit.
Although his speech is a touch impenetrable, I personally enjoy how the 20-something guy standing in line in his sports gear is there to learn from the Dalai Lama about compassion, a value which I also felt exuding from the somewhat drunk but indisputably kind (pre-Buddhists/sloshed Boddhisattvas?) of French origin who I sat next to while taking in the fireworks and getting an earful of Leonard Bernstein and Sinatra on Bastille Day near the Ecole Militaire.
Now that I mention it, there is a working paper to be written somewhere about the battle for hearts and minds, the soft power struggle, undertaken by the Chinese government and the Tibetan Government in Exile amidst the semi-employed post-collegiate white and French-born segment of Europe. (I say “white and French-born” because it may be that among African-born Francophones in France, Sino-African relations is the terrain upon which China is judged and found wanting, or exemplary; this may be speculation on my part, but a quick glance at the newsstands in France and the predominance of African affairs there argues for my correctness in this small argumentative vector. Of course white French readers of the press are also concerned with Africa — as are France’s armed and thoroughly multi-ethnic forces — but that is another debate altogether.)
The Dalai Lama’s visit to Toulouse is also an opportunity to contrast how French politicians handle such a visit, as opposed to their American counterparts. When the Dalai Lama visits Washington, American Republicans waste no time in smashing the administration for not showing His Holiness more respect. Tibet policy is one of the great unstated, but unquestionable, areas of extreme left-right agreement in the U.S.
On the other hand, France’s answer to the Tea Party, Marine LePen and her National Front, appear to have no comment on the Dalai Lama’s visit. There is, though, this video of Le Pen holding forth in a small press conference in Toulouse (which includes complaining of the “Islamicization” of France) in which neither China nor the Dalai Lama comes in for discussion (for more on the Petainist origins of the present permutations of the French right wing, see James Shields’ detailed book from 2007). However, this Marine Le Pen press release from spring 2008, singles out the main object of attack — following in her father’s footsteps of associating French left with the Cultural Revolution — is not the Chinese government but instead a French communist:
Mardi 08 Avril 2008
Du Tibet à Nanterre : le communisme incompatible avec la démocratie
Communiqué de presse de Marine Le Pen
Si les violences commises par le régime communiste chinois au Tibet ont été largement commentées et condamnées par la classe politique, pas une voix ne s’est élevée pour dénoncer les propos stupéfiants du maire communiste de Nanterre, Patrick Jary.
Réagissant le 7 avril dans les colonnes du Parisien au prochain déménagement du siège du Front national dans la préfecture des Hauts-de-Seine, l’édile communiste affirme “qu’il faut que les gens comprennent qu’il y a des lieux où le FN n’a pas le droit de venir”.
Au Tibet comme à Nanterre, le communisme, fidèle à sa vision totalitaire du monde, démontre une fois encore son caractère antidémocratique et la vision toute particulière qu’il se fait de la liberté …
Le Front National dénonce l’hypocrisie d’une classe politique qui sait être bruyante quand il s’agit de stigmatiser les violations des droits de l’homme à l’étranger mais reste étrangement silencieuse quand certaines libertés fondamentales sont bafouées en France.
So much for France.
A week after his Toulouse sojurn, the Dalai Lama was received at Goethe University in Frankfurt, an institution with an already-dynamic Asian Studies profile, particularly via its Interdisciplinary Center for East Asian Studies. Video of the visit is available here, via Goethe University.
By way of comment: As I was in China during both of these visits, it very much interests me how routinized (which is to say, ignored) the Dalai Lama’s global work has become in the PRC press. When a prominent French politician — say, the mayor of Paris — wants to make the Dalai Lama an “honorary citizen,” or an American mayor wants to commemorate Tibetan struggles in the month of March, a stink is raised, but by and large, the CCP lets these kind of appearances pass without comment, partially because they have already spent a great deal of their human rights pushback capital on cases like Ai Weiwei. It may also be because the Dalai Lama is so apparently indefatigable, and there is little that the CCP can gain from railing against his every move. It is one of the many instances in China where the “hard line” is in reality rather spotty, and applied only exemplary circumstances sufficient to inspire second thoughts about extending an invitation, second thoughts which are then rather easily pushed aside by the original impulse to broaden the scope of the inquiry and bend the ear towards the man in the crimson and gold robes from Dhramsala.
Here on Sinologistical Violoncellist, the subject of Tibet seems to be coming up with greater frequency, as it ought to. After all, the Dalai Lama remains floating through the universe (and the halls of Congress, Richard Gere in tow) dropping rhetorical bombs on Beijing, and Zhongnanhai makes no bones about shutting off all avenues of dialog with the 14th reincarnation.
And thus, apropos of well, this, allow me to state that people who have not read (or are in the process of reading and attempting to digest) Melvyn Goldstein’s relatively new tome on the Chinese Communist Party’s policies in Tibet from 1951-1955 are really missing out. I believe this is one of the most essential books that anyone can read, and should read, in order to understand the compromises that are both possible and historically relevant between the Chinese and Tibetan leadership, and the inherent conflict in their positions.
Thus, I bring you a few dozen questions (which, unlike most of the material on this blog, I encourage you to plagiarize and modify as you like):
Discussion Questions [by Adam Cathcart] re: Melvyn Goldstein, A History of Modern Tibet, Vol. 2: The Calm Before the Storm, 1951-1955 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007).
CHAPTER ONE – Chinese Perspectives
1. On pages 22-25, Goldstein lays out a set of points which are key to understanding the realistic conditions for CCP’s gradualist policy in Tibet. I presently believe that the CCP were gradualist because they had to be. Goldstein, on the other hand, never draws this explicit conclusion. Why doesn’t Goldstein want to discuss more about the motives of the communist leaders?
2. In describing “United Front” (e.g., propaganda) work of the PLA, Goldstein describes Mao’s “carrot-stick” approach toward Tibet. What are the carrots, and what are the sticks? Absent the tens of thousands of troops bearing down on Chamdo, could Mao have gotten the Tibetan government to agree to anything?
CHAPTER TWO – Tibetan Perspectives
3. What is the 1914 Simla Convention and why does Prime Minister Nehru get on the phone about it during his meeting with the Tibetans (p. 45)? Why isn’t India more supportive of the Tibetans in their hour of need?
4. In their first meeting with the new Chinese ambassador to India, Yuan Zhongxian, in September 1950, the Tibetans state that “there is no need to liberate Tibet from imperialism, because there are no British, American, or Guomindang imperialists in Tibet, and Tibet is ruled by the Dalai Lama (not a foreign power).” Is this a true statement? If so, then why does the CCP continue to insist that it is liberating Tibet from foreign imperialism?
CHAPTER FOUR – Dalai Lama to Yadong
5. In Tibet’s appeal to the UN (pp. 90-91), China is pictured as immense and inherently aggressive. In what ways is the memo’s ultimate suggestion – the dispatch of a UN fact-finding mission to Tibet – both a non-starter with the Chinese and a horrendously belated request for political recognition from the global community?
CHAPTER FIVE – The United States Intervenes
6. Why does Goldstein find it necessary to discuss China’s intervention in the Korean War in late 1950 (pp. 114-115)? Is it possible that the connection between the war in Korea and the events in Tibet is actually much, much bigger than Goldstein implies? Or is the Korean War irrelevant to events on the Tibetan plateau at this time?
7. In point one “Against the Embassy Proposal,” the author describes how the goal of U.S. policy in China for the past several decades has been to support the “territorial integrity” of China (p. 116). The Americans threw hundreds of thousands of troops and hundreds of millions of dollars into the Asian theater of World War II to support that policy and back up China’s right to exist. Why would the Americans have considered throwing out all of that history and investment of blood and treasure in order to advocate a separation of Tibet from China? Does the U.S. Executive Branch support China’s territorial integrity today? Does the Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Relations, as she demands a consulate be set up in 2011 in Lhasa?
8. What is the major problem with the American statement (p. 117) that “we should encourage….Tibet’s orientation toward the West rather than the East”?
9. If it were possible to find enough information, the trip that never happened of “experienced explorer-scholar Schuyler Cammonn, University of Pennsylvania” to Tibet to spy out the situation in summer 1949 would be a fascinating and very publishable research paper topic (p. 119). If anyone is interested in hunting down more information about this thread for a possible guest blog post on Sinologistical Violoncellist, please let me know.
10. In U.S. Ambassador to India Henderson’s secret letter to the Dalai Lama, he recommends that his Holiness go into exile in Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka). Why does Henderson recommend this course of action? Why is this letter not a part of the Dalai Lama’s autobiography or his manga biography?
11. In the 1950s, is the Indian border city of Kalimpong really, as George Patterson called it, a “nest of spies”?
CHAPTER SIX “The Dalai Lama Returns to Lhasa”
12. At the three-day assembly and debate in Yadong, why are the Tibetan monks, including the abbots of the big three monasteries, nearly unanimous in demanding return the Dalai Lama’s return to Lhasa (p. 138)? How would you characterize the strategy of the three big monasteries in the eight years (1951-1958) of cooperation with the CCP?
13. Namseling is hardcore, the main advocate of rejecting the agreement, and therefore of the idea of perpetuating the notion of a political and cultural Tibet in exile. Why does Namseling oppose China? What is his particular view of the global role of the question of sovereignty in “keeping the flame of Tibetan independence alive”? Does history change at all if Namseling wins this argument?
CHAPTER SEVEN – Initial Contacts and Strategies
1. Zhang Jingwu arrives in Lhasa on 8 August 1951. Given that Mao had proclaimed the People’s Republic on 1 October 1949 (and with the republic, presumably, the victory of the CCP in civil war), doesn’t Zhang’s arrival in Lhasa seem awfully late? If so, then what does Tibet’s later timetable for consolidation tell us about China’s sensitiveness about “territorial integrity”?
2. Note the pre-arrival stereotypes of the Han Chinese among Tibetans: many Tibetans thought the Chinese might be “devils” of some kind. How are the imaginations of some Tibetans calmed, and others enflamed, by the appearance of actual Chinese in Lhasa?
3. Why were songs especially important in Tibet’s political culture? Hint: Because there were no newspapers in Lhasa before the Chinese showed up!
4. Who is Shelling, the source on pp. 171-172 for Zhang Jingwu’s appearance in Lhasa? Hint: he’s my old housemate in Cleveland! I was fortunate to live with linguistically talented and spiritually adept Tibetan aristocrats, via Dhramsala, when I was studying to become a Sinologistical Violoncellist in Cleveland in the late 1990s.
5. How does Lukhangwa fit into contemporary images of Tibet? Which “side” in the contemporary context is more truthful? Does Lukhangwa represent an incorrect approach among Tibetans toward relations with China? Is there such a thing as Tibetan xenophobia, or would that phrase be politically incorrect?
6. Would Tibet be better off had Sinified Tibetans like Lobsang Tashi been more assertive (p. 193)?
7. How does the fait accompli of the 17-Point Agreement make the sitsab even more hard-line in dealing with initial Chinese military officials in Tibet (p. 174)?
8. Chinese propagandists made promoted many positive images of Zhang’s first month in Lhasa. In what ways was Zhang’s behavior toward the monasteries patterned after the Guomindang/Nationalist precendent in Tibet? And why, generally speaking, was there no open Sino-Tibetan disagreement in this period?
9. Why doesn’t Lukhangwa’s threat involving “the three jewels and karmic cause” scare the Chinese (p. 176)? Hint: It’s because the Chinese officials are atheists!
10. Would you attribute the first-ever growth of what we would recognize as “civil society” in Tibet to the Chinese pressure (pp. 177-179)? Is it fair to say that the arrival of the CCP inaugurates a period of real political participation for Tibet’s non-official aristocrat class and others? If so, doesn’t this render the CCP as a positive force in Tibet?
11. What was Mao’s strategy with regards to the Dalai Lama? Does it seem likely, given the reasonably reliable information on p. 179, that the CCP threat to kill the Dalai Lama – a message delivered via his brother from Qinghai (see also Manga Biography pp. 64-69) – is simply false?
12. Were the communist leaders sincere in their desire to respect Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism (p. 180 ff.)? Or was the policy merely a necessary short-term accommodation that preceded their true desire: to wipe out the religion and therefore the basic civilization of Tibet?
13. In what ways is the CCP directive not to stir up class consciousness or attack landowners (p. 183) fundamentally at odds with concurrent political events in China at the time? What would scholars like Julia Strauss or the author of Words Kill have to say about CCP policy in Tibet in comparison to that in China proper?
14. In the early 1950s, the CCP leadership insisted that there be no specific timetable set up for Tibet’s fuller integration into the PRC. In what ways does this strategy mirror Sun Tzu or Chairman Mao’s tactics as described in their respective texts Art of War and On Protracted War? Does everything that important require a plan with a calendar? Or are flexible principles themselves sufficient grounds for acting efficiently and effectively? Did the Tibetans fail in the 1950s because of a dearth of ancient and indiginous military texts and strategies?
15. In what way is Lukhangwa the real father of “the Tibetan Resistance”? Can we speak of a “Lukhangwa model” of resistance today, or have times, tactics, and perspectives changed radically? In what ways has his strategy failed the Tibetans, particularly in the impulsive and independent character of the resistance?
16. What do you think of Goldstein’s implicit assertion that Tibet weakened itself by truncating the modernizing influence of British-educated Tibetans from 1914-1933? In what ways did Tibet’s “anti-imperialism” of the 1910s and 1920s – an outlook and violent activity for which the CCP lauds them still – paradoxically leave Tibet unreformed and thus open to Chinese allegations that they, the Chinese, are modernizing Tibet because the Tibetans are incapable of doing the job themselves?
17. On pages 192-193, Goldstein describes the minor wave of Tibetan students who went to study in the interior of China at places like People’s University in Beijing. While Goldstein seems to interpret this change positively (or at the very worst, as an anodyne development), Tibetan exiles have since depicted the associated actions as a form of “abduction” by the Chinese, part of a quasi-genocidal process of forced acculturation. In the long run, why does this topic of Tibetans studying in China matter at all? Shouldn’t we just be focused on what the Chinese are doing in Tibet itself?
18. When it comes to Tibetans who admired Chinese modernization and culture in the early- and mid-1950s, the Dalai Lama needs also to be considered (pp. 200-205). Didn’t these people understand that China was about to embark upon two massively destructive mass campaigns, known as the Great Leap Forward (1958-1961) and Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), which would be very harmful to Tibetans? If the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Sinified elites had had better foresight, wouldn’t they have gone into exile in 1951 instead of giving the Chinese Communist Party a chance to demonstrate its moderate nature? Conversely, what is the historical problem with criticizing the young Dalai Lama and others for pro-China tendencies in the mid-1950s?
19. Of the partially-Sinified and conciliationist wing of the Tibetan elites, few are more influential in the long run than Ngabo. Do you consider Ngabo a pragmatic patriot or a sell-out?
20. When is a scholar going to write a historically accurate rap battle between Ngabo and the culturally conservative obstructionist Lukhangwa, giving each man a verse which pivot around a chorus which starts with “khasey dingsey,” which is the Tibetan phrase for “say what your feel and think?”