Episode 01

RENAISSANCE SERIES | Amplifying Everything Banned in Tibet
Episode 01. Poetry in Resistance
June 1, 2010
New York

All videos from Episode 01 0f the Renaissance Series: Poetry in Resistance can be viewed in the above player.

Review by one of our new amazing SFT interns:

Before starting to intern at SFT HQ, I personally only knew one Tibetan girl, and her name was Tenzin. Little did I know, I was about to meet and hear about a whole lot more Tenzin’s on my first day of the internship. I had never seen so many Tibetans in my life, and the first episode of the ‘Renaissance Series’ thrown by SFT HQ was a very exciting and thought-provoking introduction to Tibetan language, culture, religion, and art. The purpose of these series is to “amplify everything that is banned in Tibet” by advocating works of art such as poems, writings, and music that are vehemently banned in Tibet by the Chinese government. The theme of the first episode was “Poetry in Resistance,” and it featured the poems of Woeser, one of the most widely recognized Tibetan writers who resides in Beijing and writes in Chinese, Dolma Kyab, the Tibetan writer and teacher who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2005, and the original poems of other artists and supporters of SFT.

The most inspiring thing about the poetry reading and mini-concert was the strong and hopeful voices of these Tibetan poets, writers, and singers that shined through as they spoke and sang out about the injustices and human rights violations the Tibetans were subject to in Tibet and China. They hoped for a better future in which they could freely express their feelings, thoughts, and emotions—a human right that should be endowed to all human beings. Although more than half of the poems read by SFT members, supporters, and friends were written by Tibetans that were or still are detained, imprisoned, or tortured—their voices, nevertheless, were powerfully heard, and it was especially moving because the poems were personal accounts of Tibetans living and suffering under Chinese occupation. This event which would be deemed a “subversive act” by the Chinese government, was freely carried out in Jackson Heights, Queens, and successfully amplified the sound and enduring voices of Tibetan writers and artists.

Not knowing a word of Tibetan besides “la,” I was not able to understand the poems read in Tibetan, but was able to decipher that the tone of these revolutionary poets was of perseverance—a declaration that they would never give up resisting the Chinese government’s unfair policies that served to suppress the Tibetan people. This message grasped my attention, and was a refreshing and encouraging start to my first day at SFT HQ. The night ended with the audience singing in unison, “fly away , fly away” along with Tenzin Choegyal, whose music uniquely and beautifully combines folk Tibetan music with a World Music twist. At that moment, I began to comprehend just how powerful and significant one voice of support was for Tibet, let alone all of the supporters Tibet has today.

-HQ Intern