23 June 2012
On June 20, 2012, two Tibetan men self-immolated in Tridu, Yushul: Ngawang Norphel (age 22) and Tenzin Kedhup (age 24). The latter succumbed to his injuries on the same day. The former, Ngawang Norphel, survived and was taken to a nearby monastery. The following graphic video footage of seriously burned Ngawang Norphel was recently obtained by the Central Tibetan Administration, based in India. Despite his heavy injuries, he articulates the reasons for their self-immolation: the survival of Tibetan culture, language, and identity.
The English translation of what is being said is as follows:
The following text is the transcript of an exchange between Ngawang Norphel (attempted to self-immolate on 20 June 2012) and the monk by his side. The person he refers to as ‘Khedup’ and ‘Tenzin Khedup’ is the other man who self-immolated with him and died on 20 June 2012.
(0:00-0:09) Ngawang Norphel (N.N): My people have no freedom of language. Everybody is mixing Tibetan and Chinese.
(0:11) Be that as it may
(0:16) take my wealth
(0:21) I don’t need them
(0:24) What has happened to my Land of Snow?
(0:30) What has happened to my Land of Snow?
(0:55) N.N: How is Tenzin Khedup?
(0:59) Monk by his side: He is fine
(01:00) N.N: Where is he?
(01:02) Monk: He is home
(01:07-01:12) We two “sworn brothers”, we won’t fail next time
(01:12-01:20) [This is] for the sake of Tibet. We are in the land of snow
(01:26-01:35) if we don’t have our freedom, cultural traditions and language, it would be extremely embarrassing for us
(01:37) We must therefore learn them
(01:42-01:54) Every nationality needs freedom, language and tradition
(01:55-01:59) Without language, what would be our nationality?
(02:01) [Should we then] call ourselves Chinese or Tibetan?
(02:16) N.N: Aro Khedup! Aro Khedup! Khedup!
(02:26) Where are you?
(02:32) Voice from back: Just behind you
(02:33) N.N: What?
(02:3) Voice: Just behind you
(02:38) N.N: Are you behind me?
(02:40-02:43) What are you doing? Aro! How is my face?
(02:45-02:47) Voice: Not bad. It will get better
(02:48) N.N: I don’t look like a human? Aro!
(02:51) N.N: I look dreadful, don’t I?
(02:56) N.N: I smell kerosene. We poured quite a lot of kerosene.
(03:02-03:08) N.N: Really, the way you fell down and rose up again, you really showed some courage. Aro!
(03:29) N.N: Aro! Now you hold it.
(03:39) Monk: It is better now. It really is!
(03:41-03:44) N.N: Did you hand me over to the Chinese?
(03:45-03:47) Monk: All the monks of monastery are taking care of you.
(03:47-03:51) N.N: Thank you. Thank you. I am grateful to Silkar monastery.
(03:52-03:59) Monk: All the monks of Silkar monastery are here. We don’t have good medical facilities but we are doing our best.
(03:59) N.N: Thank you
(04:02-04:15) N.N: There is no hope of my recovery. I have only one wish in my heart. I just wish to raise the prestige of my people. Aro!
(04:17) I have no other wish.
(04:29-04:32) N.N: What is Tenzin Khedup doing?
(04:32-04:36) Monk: Tenzin Khedup is fine. He is home.
(04:37) N.N: Swear
(04:38) Monk: Yes. Then.
(04:40) N.N: You are fooling me
(04:43) Monk: I am not fooling you.
(04:51) N.N: Is he dead?
(04:53) Monk: He is not dead
(04:54) N.N: What?
(04:55) Monk: He is not dead
(04:57) N.N: He is dead, right?
(04:58) Monk: He is not dead
(05:11-05:13) N.N: Where is he?
(05:54) N.N: What has become of my “sworn friend”?
(05:56)Monk: He is fine.
(05:58) N.N: Where is he?
(06:00) Monk: At home.
(06:01)N.N: Where is he?
(06:03) Monk: He was taken to his home.
(06:05) Monk: He was taken to his home.
(06:06) N.N: Where is he?
(06:08) Monk: He is at his home
(06:13) N.N: Is he dead?
(06:15)Monk: He is not dead
(06:18) Monk: Okay
The video footage can be viewed by clicking here
According to the latest update, Ngawang Norphel has since been admitted into a military hospital in Xining, the provincial capital of Qinghai Province. The two monks who were sent from Silkar Monastery to help him have been forbidden entry into the hospital. They are now said to be at the hospital gate where soldiers stand guard. Tridu, the place where the self-immolations took place is reported to be under heavy military surveillance and presence. Friends and relatives of the two self-immolators are said to be taken into police custody for interrogation. Monks from Silkar monastery, where Ngawang Norphel was tended to immediately after the self-immolations are also reported to be under heavy police surveillance and their movements restricted.
Tashi, Secretary for Information
Lobsang Choedak, Press Officer
+91 98822 32476