Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Youth Born In Exile

Being an exile is perhaps one of the worst things that can happen to somebody, it could perhaps be one of the best things that might happen when your country is occupied, or it could be a culmination of both. Whatever it is, life in exile, away from one’s country, is an experience filled with complexities and moments when you question your identity, especially when you are born in exile.

Growing up in exile is a hard process, not because of material amenities, rights or physical comfort, but simply because you so long to belong. It is hard when you look around and no one recognizes you. A Tibetan born in exile is perceived mostly as a Nepali, Burmese, Bhutanese, Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese or anything but Tibetan. It is hard, when every time you say you are a Tibetan; one has to answer “What does that mean? Isn’t it the same as Chinese? What is the difference and why is it?” Being born in exile for a Tibetan youth is more than being the purveyor of a glamorous cause, it is more than being recognized as the followers of His Holiness The Dalai lama, it is more than being displaced from one’s lands, it is a burden. A burden we are born with, a burden we didn’t choose and a burden that will probably outlast our lives.