SFT Weekly Update: A Moment of Hope

In these times of great turmoil inside Tibet, it is easy to forget that nothing is permanent except change. As empires rise and fall, so do dictatorships. Oppression, after all, is impermanent too.

Last week we witnessed a quiet moment that serves as a profound reminder of this basic truth. After almost two decades of living under house arrest, Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi was able to travel to Europe this month to deliver her belated acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, an award she won in 1991.

Last Tuesday in London, on her 67th birthday, she met with her fellow Nobel peace laureate His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This meeting between two global peace icons – and two of the most inspiring leaders of our time – was a moment of triumph for truth and justice.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama will also celebrate his birthday soon. Next week on July 6th he turns 77 years old. It is hard to think of any living individual who better represents the ideals of peace, hope, and compassion. As a leader, visionary, philosopher, environmentalist, reformer, and peace activist, His Holiness’ monumental contribution to humankind has touched us all.

Born in a remote corner of eastern Tibet in 1935 and educated in the grandeur of Lhasa’s Potala Palace, his life – and that of his nation – was turned upside down when Tibet was invaded by China in 1949. As Chinese troops massacred Tibetans, stole their land, looted their wealth, and razed their temples to the ground, the young Dalai Lama was called upon to lead his people. 

Instead of resigning to a life under Chinese control, he risked everything to flee his beloved homeland. His dramatic escape to India, from where he could continue to lead his people in their freedom struggle, was a visionary decision and has denied the Chinese government the power to control his activities.

Ever since he moved into a humble residence in Dharamsala at the age of 24, His Holiness has dedicated every waking hour to the cause of his people, and indeed to the well-being of all sentient beings. In his effort to promote world peace, religious harmony, and universal responsibility, he has traveled across continents, given thousands of talks, written hundreds of books, and educated millions of people. 

Everywhere he travels, the Dalai Lama brings inspiration and rekindles our hope.

As he multiplies kindness and compassion around this world, his own homeland remains in chains. His people are going through one of the most difficult periods in Tibetan history. His Holiness, always undefeated and hopeful, recently told a reporter in London, “The Tibetan spirit is very, very strong – it will remain.”

While this is true, we must continue to invest in the Tibetan freedom struggle and complement His Holiness’ tireless work to ensure the Tibetan spirit remains strong for generations to come. In addition to waging hard-hitting campaigns and actions that raise China’s cost of occupation, at SFT we are equipping young Tibet movement leaders with the vision, strategy, and skills to advance the cause of Tibetan freedom.

Please donate to SFT’s innovative Youth Leadership Program in honor of His Holiness’s 77th birthday
:
http://sft.convio.net/site/Donation2?df_id=2000&2000.donation=form1

This year, you can also donate your birthday to SFT as a gift in honor of His Holiness’s birthday. To do so, please fill out this simple form and we will contact you two weeks before your birthday with instructions on how you can fulfill your pledge.

Your generous donation will help cultivate young leaders whose vision, dynamism, and hard work will bring us one giant step closer to Tibetan freedom.

Thank you for your support and generosity. Tibet will be free.

In Solidarity,

Tendor signature 

Tendor
Executive Director

P.S. To make a donation in honor of His Holiness’s 77th birthday to SFT’s Youth Leadership Program, please visit: http://sft.convio.net/site/Donation2?df_id=2000&2000.donation=form1

Art for Tibet II Officially Opens!

SFT officially opened Art for Tibet II last night with a Gallery opening featuring a panel discussion on Tibetan art, culture and resistance. View the 100+ artworks including two works anonymously submitted from Tibet. The Art for Tibet Online Auction runs until 5PM EST on September 24th.

(more…)

From London to Lhasa: Students for a Free Tibet UK 2010-07-22 00:48:10

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Wales has many positive qualities, but its weather isn’t usually one of them. So I’m glad to say that stereotype didn’t hold true when we headed to Pembrey in Carmarthenshire for Beach Break Live, the UK’s biggest student festival. The sun shone down on our little stall all week making our time there all the better.

We went with two aims in mind – to sell our lovely range or merchandise and to spread the word about SFT UK’s fantastic work, hopefully getting lots of new people involved. Whilst our sales could have been better, we did meet lots of enthusiastic people and almost everyone that stopped at our stall signed our petition to free Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen or joined our email list or stayed for a chat about what we do. Some of them were keen to start campaigning at their universities and colleges and one of them, Sophie, is starting a new SFT group at the University of Plymouth this year and left with a box load of leaflets, postcards and other great stuff to get the group off to a flying start. Watch this space to see how she gets on.

Whilst we worked hard making our stall the most beautiful on site and keeping it open for over 12 hours a day, there was still time for fun and the week was full of memorable moments. From the impromptu yoga class outside our stall, to dancing at the Granny Gaff, from our neighbours at On Your Beach accidentally making tea with vodka, to a barbeque on the beach at sunset.

Massive thanks go to our volunteers Fenya, Sonam, Gabby, Lizzie and Pete who were tireless throughout the week; we really could not have done it without you guys.

To find out more of our pictures click here

photos & report prepared by Ben Martin

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From London to Lhasa: Students for a Free Tibet UK 2010-07-22 00:48:10

P1010081

Wales has many positive qualities, but its weather isn’t usually one of them. So I’m glad to say that stereotype didn’t hold true when we headed to Pembrey in Carmarthenshire for Beach Break Live, the UK’s biggest student festival. The sun shone down on our little stall all week making our time there all the better.

We went with two aims in mind – to sell our lovely range or merchandise and to spread the word about SFT UK’s fantastic work, hopefully getting lots of new people involved. Whilst our sales could have been better, we did meet lots of enthusiastic people and almost everyone that stopped at our stall signed our petition to free Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen or joined our email list or stayed for a chat about what we do. Some of them were keen to start campaigning at their universities and colleges and one of them, Sophie, is starting a new SFT group at the University of Plymouth this year and left with a box load of leaflets, postcards and other great stuff to get the group off to a flying start. Watch this space to see how she gets on.

Whilst we worked hard making our stall the most beautiful on site and keeping it open for over 12 hours a day, there was still time for fun and the week was full of memorable moments. From the impromptu yoga class outside our stall, to dancing at the Granny Gaff, from our neighbours at On Your Beach accidentally making tea with vodka, to a barbeque on the beach at sunset.

Massive thanks go to our volunteers Fenya, Sonam, Gabby, Lizzie and Pete who were tireless throughout the week; we really could not have done it without you guys.

To find out more of our pictures click here

photos & report prepared by Ben Martin

P1010075

P1010080

Comments

SFT Japan protests Wen Jiabao’s visit

SFT Japan helped coordinate protests marking the arrival of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to Japan on Sunday. Check out the photos below:

japan_wen_protest

SFT works to ensure that China’s leaders hear loud & clear from Tibetans and their supporters everywhere they travel around the world. While Beijing can use violence to silence the voices of Tibetans inside Tibet, they can not stop us from amplifying these voices in free countries.

Tibetans and Supporters deliver letter to the British Prime Minister and the Chinese ambassador

10dst
(Photos by Anna Branthwaite, Tibet Society, UK)

6th March, London: Tibetans across the world are preparing to mark the 51st anniversary of the Lhasa Uprising. In Tibet, various non-violent protests have been reported across the Tibetan plateau since Losar and the meeting between President Obama and the Dalai Lama in Washington. The Chinese government clearly fears more vigorous protests in March, and wary of the negative press it received in 2008 has attempted to preempt any such protests by launching a ‘Strike Hard’ Campaign in Lhasa, rounding up over 500 Tibetans. Protests have occurred in Ngaba, in the Tibetan province of Amdo, as well as Zachuka in Kham. In response, Tibetans and supporters in India held a candle lit vigil strongly condeming the act.

On the 6th March in London, around 500 Tibetans and supporters marched in the streets of London calling for the end of oppression in Tibet and expressed the need for immediate resolution to the Tibetan issue. Letters were delivered to the British Prime Minister and to the Chinese ambassador by the representatives of Tibet support groups in London.

watch the video footage from Reuters here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTM3-E60HHg

m6
(Photos by Anna Branthwaite, Tibet Society, UK)

This March 10th hundreds of Tibet supporters from across the country will be converging on Parliament to lobby their MPs and we want you to be there. Meeting with your MP is one of the most effective ways to support human rights in Tibet and it couldn’t be easier.  To take part just follow the steps below:

1. Find your out your MP’s contact details at http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/commons or by calling the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272.

2. Make an appointment to visit them at Parliament by using email, post or telephone. Explain that you will in Westminster for the Tibet Mass Lobby on March 10th and would like to meet them as close to 2.30pm as possible (we would like everyone to be at Parliament at the same time!)

Please note that your MP or his or her representative will have to come to meet you even without a confirmation of your appointment. So come down to the Mass Lobby on 10 March even if your appointment is not confirmed.

3. Let us know the name of your MP, his or her constituency and the time of your appointment by contacting liam@sftuk.org. It is very important for us to know if you are coming to the mass lobby so that we can coordinate with others from your constituency and you can meet your MP together.

You will then receive a lobby pack containing:

* Logistical information – timings, directions, meeting points, etc
* What to expect on the day and from your appointment
* Information for you and for your MP about the primary concerns addressed by the mass lobby
* A lobby postcard with the key demands for you to hand to your MP
* Facts about Tibet including the current situation

If you have any questions or would like any more information please do not hesitate to contact liam@sfutk.org

Other Events on the day
————————–
PROTEST & RALLY at CHINESE EMBASSY

Venue: Chinese Embassy, 49-51 Portland Place, London W1B 1JL Map
Nearest undergrounds: Oxford Circus, Portland Place, Regents Park
Time: 11am – 12pm

WREATH-LAYING at MEMORIAL TO COMMEMORATE THE 51st ANNIVERSARY OF THE TIBETAN NATIONAL UPRISING

Venue: Outside the West door, Westminster Abbey, London SW1. Map
Nearest undergrounds: Westminster
Time: 1.45pm

—————————————
The mass lobby is organised by The Coalition of UK Tibet Support Groups, made up of: Tibet Society, Free Tibet, Students for a Free Tibet UK, Tibetan Community in Britain and Tibetan Youth UK.

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Tibetans and Supporters deliver letter to the British Prime Minister and the Chinese ambassador

10dst
(Photos by Anna Branthwaite, Tibet Society, UK)

6th March, London: Tibetans across the world are preparing to mark the 51st anniversary of the Lhasa Uprising. In Tibet, various non-violent protests have been reported across the Tibetan plateau since Losar and the meeting between President Obama and the Dalai Lama in Washington. The Chinese government clearly fears more vigorous protests in March, and wary of the negative press it received in 2008 has attempted to preempt any such protests by launching a ‘Strike Hard’ Campaign in Lhasa, rounding up over 500 Tibetans. Protests have occurred in Ngaba, in the Tibetan province of Amdo, as well as Zachuka in Kham. In response, Tibetans and supporters in India held a candle lit vigil strongly condeming the act.

On the 6th March in London, around 500 Tibetans and supporters marched in the streets of London calling for the end of oppression in Tibet and expressed the need for immediate resolution to the Tibetan issue. Letters were delivered to the British Prime Minister and to the Chinese ambassador by the representatives of Tibet support groups in London.

watch the video footage from Reuters here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTM3-E60HHg

m6
(Photos by Anna Branthwaite, Tibet Society, UK)

This March 10th hundreds of Tibet supporters from across the country will be converging on Parliament to lobby their MPs and we want you to be there. Meeting with your MP is one of the most effective ways to support human rights in Tibet and it couldn’t be easier.  To take part just follow the steps below:

1. Find your out your MP’s contact details at http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/commons or by calling the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272.

2. Make an appointment to visit them at Parliament by using email, post or telephone. Explain that you will in Westminster for the Tibet Mass Lobby on March 10th and would like to meet them as close to 2.30pm as possible (we would like everyone to be at Parliament at the same time!)

Please note that your MP or his or her representative will have to come to meet you even without a confirmation of your appointment. So come down to the Mass Lobby on 10 March even if your appointment is not confirmed.

3. Let us know the name of your MP, his or her constituency and the time of your appointment by contacting liam@sftuk.org. It is very important for us to know if you are coming to the mass lobby so that we can coordinate with others from your constituency and you can meet your MP together.

You will then receive a lobby pack containing:

* Logistical information – timings, directions, meeting points, etc
* What to expect on the day and from your appointment
* Information for you and for your MP about the primary concerns addressed by the mass lobby
* A lobby postcard with the key demands for you to hand to your MP
* Facts about Tibet including the current situation

If you have any questions or would like any more information please do not hesitate to contact liam@sfutk.org

Other Events on the day
————————–
PROTEST & RALLY at CHINESE EMBASSY

Venue: Chinese Embassy, 49-51 Portland Place, London W1B 1JL Map
Nearest undergrounds: Oxford Circus, Portland Place, Regents Park
Time: 11am – 12pm

WREATH-LAYING at MEMORIAL TO COMMEMORATE THE 51st ANNIVERSARY OF THE TIBETAN NATIONAL UPRISING

Venue: Outside the West door, Westminster Abbey, London SW1. Map
Nearest undergrounds: Westminster
Time: 1.45pm

—————————————
The mass lobby is organised by The Coalition of UK Tibet Support Groups, made up of: Tibet Society, Free Tibet, Students for a Free Tibet UK, Tibetan Community in Britain and Tibetan Youth UK.

Comments

Losar: Because we are Tibetan

Tibetans will mark Losar – the Tibetan New Year – on February 14th, 2010. In the Tibetan lunar calendar, this day marks the beginning of the Iron Tiger Year 2137, a time for change, hope, and renewal. On this day, we celebrate our history, our culture, our religion, and our future – because our history is great, our culture beautiful, our religion profound, and – in spite of our present suffering – our future is bright.

Since 2008, following the Tibetan uprising in all three historical provinces of Tibet, we witnessed an escalation in the imprisonment, torture and death of our fellow countrymen and women under Chinese rule. Because of this, last year, Tibetans united around the world and did not celebrate Losar.

This year, many Tibetans are planning to observe Losar for one reason only: because we are Tibetan. We will speak Tibetan language, wear Tibetan dress, and observe Tibetan customs, thus strengthening our identity and our spirit. Through this observance we will find new courage and opportunities to advance our struggle. In observing Losar with family and friends, Tibetans will reach for happiness, which, as much as suffering, is an integral part of a freedom movement.

Through all these years of occupation one thing is clear: the oppressor envies the spirit of the Tibetan people, which cannot be crushed by violence. This year Tibetans worldwide will nourish this spirit with the observance of Losar.

While observing this important cultural tradition, we ask Tibetans and supporters to light butter lamps and candles on their altars and in their windows on February 14th to honor the courage of the Tibetan people in Tibet who continue to resist the Chinese government’s illegal occupation of their homeland.

Please take a moment to watch this inspiring video from Amdo, Eastern Tibet, where Tibetans, young and old, declare the myriad ways they are Tibetan:

Also you can watch a similar solidarity campaign video from Tibetans in India:

Included in the video are these statements:
I am Tibetan because I love Tibet.
I am Tibetan because I learn Tibetan.
I am Tibetan because I love my culture.
I am Tibetan because I wear only Tibetan dress.
I am Tibetan because Tibetan blood flows in me.
I am Tibetan because my mother is Tibetan.
I am Tibetan because I sing Tibetan.
I am Tibetan because I am a Tibetan nomad.
I am Tibetan because I love my land.
I am Tibetan because I am a herder on the plateau.
I am Tibetan because I never forget Tibet.
I am Tibetan because I love my Tibetan brothers and sisters.

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