FALL TWO THOUSAND FIVE
HU JINTAO: FREE TIBET NOW! Hu Jintao met rowdy demonstrators at nearly every stop of his ﬁrst trip to North America since becoming the President of China. Hundreds of Tibetans and supporters shadowed Hu as he met with politicians and business leaders in Ottawa, Toronto, New York and Vancouver. One SFT member, Chris Shwartz, was arrested in Toronto after handcufﬁng himself to a table and disrupting a dinner hosted by the Canada-China Business Council. In New York, China’s Foreign Minister looked ﬂustered and embarrassed as he was surrounded by a group of Tibetans waving Tibetan ﬂags and shouting “Shame on China” and “China out of Tibet.” At Hu’s ﬁnal stop in Vancouver, SFT Canada’s National Coordinator Kate Woznow climbed a ﬂag pole and staged a “mock hanging” while displaying signs that said “Tibet’s Pain, China’s Shame” and “Hu Jintao: Free Tibet Now.” Everywhere the Chinese leaders go, we are there letting them know that we will continue to struggle until Tibet is free.
RAIL GIANT BOMBARDIER ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS
SFT MEMBERS WORLDWIDE TARGET THE COMPANY’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE CHINA-TIBET RAILWAY By Kate Woznow In February 2005, Canadian transportation giant Bombardier announced it would supply China with 361 specially designed rail cars for the China-Tibet railway. Most companies would think twice before committing ethical suicide by doing business in an occupied country – but not Bombardier. They jumped on board with little consideration to the social, cultural or environmental impacts of this devastating project. From the beginning we knew Bombardier would prove a formidable opponent. The company has a long history of doing business in China and views this project as an opportunity to secure future rail contracts from the Chinese government. However, SFT also has a history of successfully forcing corporate giants, including B.P. and Holiday Inn, out of Tibet. In April 2005, in conjunction with other Tibet Support Groups, SFT launched an international campaign to demand Bombardier withdraw from the project.
Bombardier Feels the Heat: By May, after having received over 3000 emails and faxes at its corporate headquarters, Bombardier was feeling the heat. Then, on June 7th, SFT’s sights turned to Bombardier’s annual shareholders meeting, held at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Montréal. Shareholders arriving to the meeting were met with a rally, which included a mock Bombardier train railroading Tibetans in its path. While SFT’s Executive Director Lhadon Tethong spoke directly to shareholders inside the meeting, an SFT Canada member scaled the roof of the Sheraton Hotel,
2 SFT HQ
in classic SFT style, and unfurled a Tibetan ﬂag, calling on Bombardier to leave Tibet. A week later, during a publicity stunt at an upscale restaurant in Paris, SFT once again forced the China-Tibet railway into the media spotlight. This time, members of SFT France blockaded the entrance of the restaurant to expose the corporation’s attempts to recast their corporate image. SFT ﬂexed its muscle once again on July 26th, when Tibetans and supporters took part in an international fax action targeting Bombardier ofﬁces and members of the Bombardier board of directors around the world. We sent faxes and phoned ofﬁces in Austria, India, Australia, Canada, Sweden, US, Mexico, New Zealand, Germany, and Belgium.
Keeping the Pressure On: On June 16th, the Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, a parliamentary committee of the Canadian government, approved a motion to call on Bombardier executives to testify about their involvement in the ChinaTibet railway. In effect, Bombardier is being taken to task and will have to publicly defend their decision to forgo a social and environmental assessment before entering the project. The next step for SFT is to increase global pressure on Bombardier. Plans are in the works for an international day of action in the weeks leading up to the parliamentary hearing, scheduled to take place in the fall. Whether at a rail industry meeting in the UK or at their corporate ofﬁces in India, SFT members will continue to target Bombardier until they leave Tibet!
3 SFT Canada SFT India Olympics 4 Free Tibet! Action Camp IV 6 Chapter Updates 7 SFT Decade Film Festival Buddha’s Warriors Inside Tibet
Tashi Delek, Welcome back to a new school year sure to be ﬁlled with SFT’s hard-hitting worldwide action for Tibetan freedom. A lot has changed here at HQ in the past few months. Freya Putt, SFT’s Program Coordinator, resigned in July after ﬁve years of full-time service to begin graduate studies at Columbia University. Lucky for us, she’s staying in New York and will ﬁnish her degree just in time to work on the ﬁnal stretch of the Olympics campaign (isn’t that right, Freya?). And in other good news, Matt BrownerHamlin, a member since his high school days in ‘99, has joined the staff in the essential new role of SFT Operations Director. Matt is now running the ofﬁce, the intern and volunteer program, and taking care of our growing tech and logistical needs, all of which allows us to go about our work— kicking the Chinese government’s butt out of Tibet— more efﬁciently and effectively. In June, we held SFT’s sixth annual Free Tibet! Action Camp for the ﬁrst time in Europe (see page 4). Taking this unique leadership training program to Europe marks a major milestone for SFT. As China tries to paint international support for Tibet as simply a “U.S.-China issue,” SFT’s worldwide activities— like camp in Europe— have become even more critical. On this note, we’re thrilled to announce that SFT Canada and SFT India now have National Coordinators! Long-time grassroots leader Kate Woznow is working part-time in Vancouver and in India, Tenzin Choeying, a founding member of SFT at Delhi University, is in the process of setting up an ofﬁce in Dharamsala from which he will work fulltime. I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome Kate and Choeying to the team and say thanks to the SFT members and supporters in those countries for their dedication and commitment to helping take SFT’s work to the next level. As you will see in the pages that follow, China’s repression in Tibet continues, as does the noble battle for Tibetan self-determination. Perhaps one of the clearest indications of all that is wrong can be seen in the Inside Tibet section on this page. For the Chinese authorities to beat and imprison Tibetan youth for protesting racism and job discrimination speaks not only of the political repression in Tibet, but also the glaring social inequality, the existence of which Chinese authorities so vehemently deny. By engaging in political and economic campaigns to raise public awareness about such abuses, we are keeping the international spotlight on China’s actions inside Tibet. In this way, we hold the Chinese authorities’ feet to the ﬁre and force them to change their policies on the ground in Tibet. Our actions are causing an ever-increasing understanding amongst Chinese citizens that the embarrassing protests of their leaders and demonstrations at their embassies abroad will not stop until the human rights abuses stop and Tibet is free. While this may not always be obvious, it is happening. Slowly but surely, we are making a difference.
“The pleasure is all yours!” Outgoing Program Coordinator Freya unloads the burden onto SFT’s new Operations Director Matt.
CHANGE OF STAFF AT SFT HEADQUARTERS: This has been a summer of mixed emotions for all of us at SFT HQ. Freya Putt, our long time Program Coordinator, went back to school after ﬁve years of dedicated service to the Tibetan cause. During her tenure Freya not only went on protest missions in such risky places as Beijing, but also toiled away at her desk through countless nights. On a more cheerful note, we’re very happy to announce that Matt BrownerHamlin, former SFT chapter contact at The Johns Hopkins University, joined us as Operations Director this past May. Matt is a veteran of the World Bank campaign and is working hard with Han and the Board to bring SFT to the cutting edge of activist technologies.
TECHNOLOGY NOTE: BLOGGING COMES TO SFT Though SFT’s blog “Tibet Will Be Free” has been around since this past February, it has really hit stride this summer. With eight regular contributors and dozens of others posting their comments on the site, “Tibet Will Be Free” has become a critical tool for communicating with and to our members and supporters. Every chapter should have a blog: they’re easy to use, free, and fun. Once you’re signed up, email a link to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post it on our site. Stay tuned at tibetwillbefree.blogspot.com for more opinion pieces, news stories, photos, videos, and general chicanery brought to you by the SFT staff and Board of Directors. Don’t forget that we want to hear from you, too – comment on our posts!
INSIDE TIBET Tibetan Graduates Protest for Jobs, Eight Said To Be Arrested
Dozens of ethnic Tibetans staged protests this week outside government ofﬁces in the Qinghai provincial capital, Xining, in western China, accusing authorities of favoritism and discrimination in ﬁlling the few jobs available. Some 70 Tibetans from Xunhua Salar Autonomous County, including many college graduates, launched a protest July 11, in front of the Qinghai Provincial Government ofﬁce in Xining, asking for jobs, witnesses told RFA’s Tibetan service. All but eight were sent home late Wednesday, July 13, the sources said. According to an unconﬁrmed eyewitness account, police arrested and beat up eight Tibetan youths on July 13. They included a youth identiﬁed as Dukar Kyab from Karing, whom police were said to have identiﬁed as a ringleader and beaten badly. No further information was immediately available.
Bod rangzen. Tibet will be free.
Sources in the region said Tibetans believe young Tibetan graduates are disproportionately represented among the unemployed in Xunhua Salar Autonomous County, mostly since 2000. Of 100 government positions opening this year, only 17 went to Tibetans, while ethnic Salars and Han Chinese ﬁlled the rest—many of them having completed only a high school education, the sources said. The Tibetan college students have accused authorities of discrimination and nepotism in hiring, and they say most local ofﬁcials are Salars or Han Chinese.
Lhadon Tethong Executive Director
This article was excerpted from a piece written for Radio Free Asia by Sarah Jackson-Han on July 15, 2005. 2
SFT CANADA UPDATE
The past year has been very exciting for SFT Canada. In addition to organizing at the chapter level, we worked hard to become a more effective national network. In November we held our ﬁrst SFT Canada board elections and our seven elected board members went to work right away raising funds and strategizing on how to grow SFT Canada.
EYE ON OLYMPICS
The SFT Canada board met in person for the ﬁrst time in early January and spent two days locked away in meetings, working hard to develop a clearer vision and plan of action for accomplishing SFT Canada’s short term goals. In order to facilitate the implementation of these goals, I was hired as part-time National Coordinator in April. Hiring our ﬁrst paid organizer was an extremely exciting milestone for SFT Canada. I started my position feeling naturally a little nervous, however, the pleasure of working with such an incredible activist network gives me conﬁdence and reafﬁrms my belief that Tibet will soon be free.
China announced its Olympic slogan in late June. According to the Beijing Olympic Games Organizers, “One World One Dream” was chosen because it “fully reﬂects the essence and the universal values of the Olympic spirit” and shows that “together we seek for the ideal of Mankind for peace.”
One of my ﬁrst tasks was to help organize the 3rd Annual SFT Canada Conference, held in May in Vancouver, B.C. With 20 participants and over half of our board members attending, the conference was a great opportunity to gather suggestions from Canadian members, especially in terms what they needed from our ofﬁce for the upcoming year. This was also the ﬁrst time SFT Canada was able to offer climbing as a conference workshop. It was exciting to see participants, board members, and even SFT’s grassroots coordinator, Tendor, hanging out in the trees. On the action front, June was a very busy month for us. In addition to the Bombardier AGM, we organized a second rally targeting Canada’s leading communications ﬁrm, Nortel, at its annual general meeting in Toronto. Nortel has entered an agreement to provide wireless communications technology for the ChinaTibet railway. Maude Côté, SFT Canada Board member, spoke passionately inside the meeting about Canadians’ concerns regarding Nortel’s involvement in this project Currently, SFT Canada is getting organized and revved up for the new school year. We look forward to being an even more vocal and visible force this year. If you would like more information on how get involved with a SFT Canada, please get in touch with me at email@example.com Kate Woznow, National Coordinator, SFT Canada
SFT INDIA UPDATE Tashi Delek! Hi everybody this is SFT India. We have been silently working here for about four years, but its only this year, we are formally a part of the SFT International family. I have been appointed the coordinator for SFT India chapter. We have a wonderful team of volunteers, many of whom are veteran SFTers since the inception of SFT India in 2001. We have recently found a home for our ofﬁce. If any of you have been to Dharamsala, it’s on the ground ﬂoor of the Exile House, the house of the famous Mr. Lhasang Tsering la. We just got our ﬁrst desktop computer. We hope to soon stand on our own. We plan to run a library in Dharamsala as our regular activity beside political action. We have already started collecting books, CDs, and magazines. Anybody coming here must visit our ofﬁce reading room. We successfully strategized our future with Tendor this past August. We began with bang with a freedom concert on March 10th. The concert was inspired by Techung’s Dharamsala visit. At the time Dharamsala allowed no “Free Tibet” slogans, so ours became the only free public voice. A crowd of about a thousand people sang with Techung and other Tibetan artists. We received a number of important guests, including Lobsang Senge from Harvard University, the Indian writer Pankaj Mishra, writer Pico Iyer, a strong Tibet supporter from Madras named Aasha Reddy, and our own Lhadon la. June saw many college students come to Dharamsala for holiday. Taking advantage of the situation, we organized a special youth conference “The Struggle and Youth Responsibility.” It lasted for four hours and built a much-needed bond between Tibetan youngsters involved in the struggle. About 120 youngsters from Dharamsala and around India took part in the conference. Our enthusiasm in work, planning and contact building has allowed us to do so much with little resources, which we feel is a success. We have been able to create a platform for the youngsters’ expression, whether it is art or political voice or just simple opinions. We regularly meet over cups of tea in small restaurant corners. Now that we have an ofﬁce, it’ll be a whirlwind experience. In making Tibet a free country, Tenzin Choeying, National Coordinator, SFT India
ONE WORLD ONE DREAM: FREE TIBET!
We’ve developed our own little slogan here at SFT. It goes like this: One World. One Dream. Free Tibet. To spread this message far and wide we’re making buttons, stickers, shirts, posters…everything you could possibly imagine. Of course, we’ll need your help to make it happen. Visit the SFT website: studentsforafreetibet.org/olympics to download and order materials. In the words of the Beijing Games Organizers: “The slogan is simple, meaningful, inspiring, and easy to remember, read and spread.”
WHY DO YOU THINK THE BEIJING 2008 OLYMPICS ARE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR TIBET? Here’s what a few activists had to say…
The Universality of Olympic Values By Heidi Basch The Olympic values of education, friendship, solidarity and fair play resound with opportunity for Students for a Free Tibet to reinvigorate their efforts to expose the Chinese government for its disrespect for the very ideals which lay at the foundation of the Olympic games. This is our chance to elucidate and bridge the gap for human rights respected, not just inside the Olympic arena, but outside as well.
Beijing Olympics: World Stage for Tibetans and Tibet Supporters alike By Li Zang The upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, China is a very momentous event for many reasons. The world stage will be set for Tibetan activists globally. Students, children, and adults of all backgrounds will stand up in 2008 and state their opinion. It is a perfect opportunity to put the spotlight on China and show the world their disturbing human rights record. The Chinese government, the International Olympics Committee, and many athletes won’t like it, but it is our time to step up and show the world why China should be shunned and boycotted for trying to destroy a culture that has been around for thousands of years. This is an opportunity for the world to see that China’s lies and propaganda should not be given preferential treatment. We can end their regime with enough pressure and this is the time to put the pressure on China.
Revealing the Truth By Dawa Dorjee The Olympic Games represents the triumph of human spirit and freedom against all adversaries. Despite this China succeeded in blinding the world with its economic growth and won the opportunity to host the 2008 Olympics. Freedom and democracy is not on march in China, but on retreat. Though deceptive politics helped China gain the title of being “The Host for the 2008 Olympics,” still truth can not be hidden for long. During each and every day until the games start and during the games, we will remember Tibetan cries for freedom and stand on their side and work accordingly. The Olympics are an opportunity for China to shine in her deceptions and human rights abuses, but it is also an opportunity for the world to defend freedom for Tibet and advocate democracy in China. The SFT India Ofﬁce crew, front left to right, Tsering Ngodup, Board member; Choeying, SFT India National Coordinator; Jamyang, Board member; (back) Donyoe, SFT India web master.
FREE TIBET! AC TWO REPORTS FROM DÜSSELDORF
Action Camp Photo Montage. From left to right, Top row: Pete Speller, Joanna Karolewska, Tsomo Gyachungtsang, Lhadon Tethong, Piotr Dynowski, Matt Browner-Hamlin, David Murphy, Serlha Tawo; Second row: Kathy Ni Keefe, Leslie, Jonas Nyman, Pin Diep, Fiona McConnel, Heather Reddick, Loic Druesne, Chloe Bennett-Pinel; Third row: David Demes, Leticia Wolken, Tsewang Norbu, Stewart Waters, Alexis Guilpart, Tobias Leussner, Lucy Fairbrother, Ian Busse; Bottom row: Ally Barnes, Dhondup Gelek, Guillaume Guilpart, Thupten Tsering, Beda Calhoun, Iain Thom, Erin Johnston, Julia Kirshner.
I had to ask myself what Action Camp was when I got the SFT Newsletter announcing camp in Germany. Though I was unsure about what Action Camp with SFT would be like, I really looked forward to living in a tent and talking all night to some awesome people at the campﬁre. Unfortunately in the evenings I was so tired that I only once joined the campﬁre, but nonetheless it was fantastic. Getting to better know the people you worked with every day in the workshops was great. My favorite workshops were “Action Planning and Scouting” and “Climbing.” We learned everything that we will need for planning and carrying out a direct action. What I liked the most were the visit of former political prisoners Jamyang Tsultrim and two of the Drapchi 14 singing nuns, Gyaltsen Dolkar and Namdrol Lhamo. I really look up to these people who suffered so much and still have the strength and the power to support and to inspire us. Now, when I think back to this awesome week at Pauenhof I am deeply happy but also so sad that it is all over. The people I met and the friends I made were so inspiring, so powerful and so full of love and compassion that it was really hard to come back here and to reintegrate in this world of mostly careless and uncomprehending people. But what I learned at Camp was that we have the strength and the opportunity to change that situation. We can make the people care and we can make them think about what is happening in Tibet. It is our duty to do so. And because I regard this also as my duty I will now set up a chapter in my school. For me that was a small but important victory. The Tibet movement has to be extended in Germany and of course in the whole world to speak with one voice for a FREE TIBET. David Demes, Runkel, Germany
CTION CAMP VI After a much too long travel by bus from Paris to Düsseldorf with my brother, the ﬁrst SFT staff member we met was Matt, who was welcoming and communicative, even though our English was so poor! Arriving at the camp at night, the place was so idyllic: a Buddhist center with a lot of statues, prayer ﬂags, little butter lights burning. I’ve just one word to describe the organization: perfect and just one to speak about the vegetarian food: delicious! I like meat very much, but I forgot it completely during the week! How should I sum up what did I learn during the workshops? Impossible. Everything was so important and interesting. I particularly appreciated the practical workshops like direct action training or political theatre, which were so fun! One sentence was always coming back in my head at the end of a workshop: “How could my chapter have worked without knowing this?” So now, all the SFT France members who came to the camp are very motivated and we are always thinking about the same thing: ACTION! Thank you so much to the Staff to organized Camp, thank you to everybody who came, Lhadon, Tendor, Han, Freya, Matt, Alma, everybody, I miss you so much. I hope see you next year and before. Every morning it’s hard for me to wake up now that nobody is here to bang a gong. Alex Guilpart, Paris, France
CHAPTER UPDATES: NEWS FROM THE FIELD talked about the club and our movie. It is about spreading awareness. One sticker, one t-shirt, one movie, on person at a time, it all adds up in the end and each step is one more step towards Freedom. Love Chance The Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, NJ We had a vigil for Tenzin Delek Rinpoche last November. Our biggest undertaking was putting together a ﬁfteen thousand dollar scholarship for a Tibetan student to come to our school for a year before going to an American university. This August seventeen year-old Tenzin Kalsang from Pokhara, Nepal will be coming to Lawrenceville to study. She previously attended TCV Dharamsala. We’re also really excited to be planning a trip to see His Holiness speak at Rutgers. We will be holding a Tibetan movie festival beforehand. Claire Tyree
SFT France demonstrating for Tenzin Delek.
University of Virginia On July 20th, Rich Felker, the sector contact for Sector Four, and I held an event for the University of Virginia Tibetan summer language institute students. About 30 students, teachers and local Tibetans showed up to see a ﬁfteen-minute video of the March 5th, 1988 demonstration in Lhasa, as shot by a Chinese news crew. This was the demonstration that caused martial law to be declared. This was followed by a twenty-minute speech by Lobsang Jigme, who took part in all three major demonstrations in Lhasa in 1987 and 1988. He gave a stirring speech about the things he saw and what it was like to live in Lhasa under martial law. The event was a great success with emotional responses from many students, who previously knew very little about Tibet, asking to join SFT. Amalia Rubin SFT France – Etudiants pour un Tibet Libre Do I have to remind the action that we did against Bombardier in June? We wrote a letter to the French company Nexans who decided to help Bombardier by providing them electrical materials. The letter was sent in the name of ETL, and then sent to the other associations so that they can send it in their name, and then to our members so that they can send it as individuals. We plan to do more if Nexans does not answer us – they haven’t yet. We organized two big demonstrations: one for Tenzin Delek Rinpoche November 2004 and one for the Panchen Lama in April 2005. It was organized with two other Tibetan associations in Paris, and we had about one hundred people for each demonstration. We plan to have a table at the Tibetan Festival in mid-September 2005. We will hold our General Assembly the week following the Tibetan Festival. We hope that all the branches will be there, and that we can discuss what they did and want to do in the coming year. We will also elect our new board: the president, the secretary, and the treasurer. We also want to share the skills we learned at the Action Camp, even if it’s a shorter presentation. We hope that everyone who’ll be there will be as motivated as we were after Action Camp! Sandrine and ETL
SFT UK: Big things have been happening with SFT UK since the last issue of Banned in Tibet. We’ve just recently acquired space for our ﬁrst national ofﬁce thanks to the kind help of the Tibet Society. Now that this big step has been made we are going to expand SFT UK in several respects over the coming year. Events over the last term included a visit by Tendor to the UK in March. Tendor toured several universities talking on grassroots activism and SFT International. During his visit we also had our March 10th uprising protest through the streets of London. Several members of SFT, as part of a street theatre action, donned PLA uniforms and marched members of the Tibetan community towards the houses of Parliament. More recently a group of students from across the country attended action camp in Germany as trainers, participants and volunteers. Whilst one group was in Germany, another braved the storms at the Glastonbury Festival to run a stall there and was able to get the Tibetan ﬂag on the BBC. We also held a workshop on SFT and future actions during the G8 in Scotland. If you would like to ﬁnd out more about SFT UK and how you can get involved please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles D Owen H.S., Black Mountain, NC My chapter has been organizing protests and ways of mass-producing information to give to the masses. We have a strategy of educating people internationally through the Internet and the help of friends overseas. We have emailed people in South Korea and the Philippines pamphlets and ﬂiers, which they have passed out. We’ve also contacted people in Japan, China, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Romania, and the Ukraine to educate them about the genocide that has occurred in Tibet. Li Zang
SFT UK Board member Iain Thom at the G8 in Edinburgh.
University of Hawaii: Aloha from Hawaii! Students for a Free Tibet Hawaii ofﬁcially started in March of 2005. It has been small number of students involved but we still continue to grow. Currently I am holding a Free Tibet Movie Series on campus the ﬁrst Thursday of every month. I also silk-screened some “Free Tibet” t-shirts in all sizes that will be sold at the door, with the money paying for our chapter dues. We are also in touch with Iolani High School’s Peace Institution, who has invited us to see Victor Chan speak in February. These students are going to be coming to our meetings to see how Students for a Free Tibet are leaders for peace.
SFT France taking it to the streets for the Panchen Lama.
Sandrine and Leticia of ETL locked down outside of a Bombardier press function.
In April, on Earth Day I sold hand made soap in a festival on campus that had the SFT logo on them in which 10% of the proﬁts went to buying bumper sticker, pens, and info sheets from SFT. The word continues to be spread, SFT Hawaii was in the school newspaper and on school radio station has 6
SFT Tel Aviv: We printed and hung ﬂyers in the area we live in Tel Aviv, Israel in order to make people here more aware of this issue. The great thing was that a journalist for Time Out Tel Aviv happened to see one of our ﬂyers and wrote about it in the last issue of the magazine! The logo of “Game’s Over - Free Tibet” was published there, along with a short article about the issue. Dana Carmel
Article appearing “Time Out Tel Aviv” about the hard work of SFT Tel Aviv.
Mikel Dunham’s Buddha’s Warriors By Tenzin Dorjee
If there was any suspicion that the People’s Liberation Army of China simply walked into the welcoming arms of the Tibetan masses in 1949, Buddha’s Warriors puts it to eternal rest. The new book by Mikel Dunham is one of the most revealing accounts of the immensely courageous Tibetan resistance against the invading Chinese army. Although Tibetans are known to the rest of the world for the silent suffering they’ve endured under - or the peaceful struggle they’ve waged against - Chinese occupation for the past ﬁve decades, what is less well known is the pockets of violent resistance that sprung up in various villages in the early 1950s and later evolved into a uniﬁed guerilla resistance movement under the leadership of Gonpo Tashi Andrugtsang. Buddha’s Warriors, aptly named since many of the warriors were actually monks who gave up their vows of nonviolence so that they could guard their religion and country, is a story told not in the author’s poetic voice alone; much of the story is told in the original voices of the Tibetan guerillas themselves, now old and retired (or deceased), in their simple and visual language. Readers with an interest in the United States’ foreign policy will ﬁnd it fascinating that the CIA initially Khampa warriors photograph: Credit to Mikel Dunham supported the Tibetan guerilla resistance in the 1950s but later abandoned them after Nixon and Kissinger decided to warm up to China in the midst of the Cold War. The story highlights the glorious battles won by the ridiculously outnumbered and out-armed Tibetan soldiers, but the ending is one of defeat and betrayal. Nevertheless, as a Tibetan, what I found most inspiring is the fact that several thousand Tibetan warriors with nothing but guns, horses and courage, fought hard enough and lasted long enough to keep the Chinese soldiers at bay for ten hard years. Buddha’s Warriors is a must-read for Tibetans and their supporters, particularly at a time when our future seems bleak and our history forgotten. Mikel will be touring North America this fall to promote Buddha’s Warriors. If you are interested in having him come talk at your school, please email: email@example.com .
PORTLAND TIBETAN FILM FESTIVAL: A HOW TO I started toying with the idea of organizing a Tibetan Film Festival in the month of November, 2004. The idea seemed overwhelming as I had never done anything like this before, yet the potential to inform and engage hundreds of people about Tibet through ﬁlms really appealed to me. The ﬁrst thing I did was ﬁgure out which ﬁlms I wanted shown and contacted their ofﬁces for screening permits and negotiate prices involved.
Tendor brings down the house at the SFT Decade commemoration. Photo: Ryan Jensen
Board member Sam Chapin and rock star Techung reminisce about the Tibetan Freedom Concerts. Photo: Ryan Jensen
Kate Saunders, Jamyang Norbu, and Tang Baiqiao during a roundtable discussion of Tibet.
The last two newsletters have contained highlights of the people and actions that have made SFT’s ﬁrst decade of work for the Tibetan cause so inspiring. This summer, SFT’s tenth anniversary year came to a close when we turned... eleven. But before that, in May, we ﬁnally celebrated the anniversary with a 10-year reunion weekend and a great event called SFT DECADE at Tibet House in New York. The weekend began with former SFT staff, board, chapter leaders, friends, and supporters arriving in New York from around the world. Ten years of SFT alumni came out of the woodwork to reminisce about SFT’s past and rededicate themselves to current and future efforts. Saturday evening’s SFT DECADE event ofﬁcially kicked off the celebration with speeches and stories from SFT leaders and special guests. Supporters and alumni enjoyed drinks and snacks and a multimedia presentation with video and slides, as well as rousing music performed by Techung and his Tibetan Institute for Performing Arts compatriot Tseten. SFT revelers packed into the basement of a local club for an after-party with dancing and laughing until the wee hours. On Sunday, friends and reunion-goers visited the SFT Headquarters, looking through binders of old materials and albums of photos from across the years. While we wish there was no need for SFT’s efforts, it was excellent to reconnect with SFT’s rich history and celebrate all of the people whose resistance and dedication has meant so much to the Tibetan cause. We hope the next SFT reunion will happen in a free Tibet....
The next move was securing a location: our college’s Performing Arts Center. By that time I had made up my mind that this ﬁlm festival would be during the summer and so I tentatively booked all weekends for two whole months, which would give me the ﬂexibility to accommodate ﬁlmmakers availability. My objective was to have all expenses covered and it took me about a month to conﬁrm all donations from individuals and organizations. One of the best highlights for me was that over 20 Tibetan youths were involved in volunteering, which is sadly quite rare. The event also got free airtime from a local radio station for 3 weeks, was covered in 2 city newspapers, and also was covered by 15 websites. But when 650 people attended during the weekend of July 23 and 24 and we raised more than $5K for Students for a Free Tibet, all the stress and frustration were absolutely worth it. I’m ready to not only organize another one in Spring of 2006 but I’d be delighted to help you organize a ﬁlm festival on your campus or in your community. Feel free to email me at: tibetanﬁlmfestival@yahoo.com You can also visit my website at www.tibetanﬁlmfestival.org Tenzin “Kyikyi” Yeshi
For additional information and images from the weekend, check out: http://studentsforafreetibet.org/decade
Ngawang Choephel, former political prisoner and focus of one of SFT’s ﬁrst campaigns, addresses the crowd before performing. Photo: Ryan Jensen
Guests pose for a group shot during the SFT HQ open house. Photo: Ryan Jensen
If undeliverable please return to: Students for a Free Tibet 602 East 14th Street, 2nd Floor NY, NY 10009 USA
Dates to Remember December 2: Commemoration of the sentencing of Tenzin Delek and Lobsang Dhondup December 10: International Human Rights Day & Anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s
Nobel Peace Prize January (date TBA): SFT UK Conference January 13-15: SFT’s North America Training Conference in Santa Barbara, California February 28: Losar (Tibetan New Year) Pauenhof: an idyllic setting north of Dusseldorf, Germany and host to Free Tibet! Action Camp VI.
banned in tibet
March 10: Tibetan National Uprising Day April 25: Panchen Lama’s 17th Birthday May 4-7: SFT Canada Conference
Editor: Matt Browner-Hamlin Design & Layout: Juice Design Staff: Lhadon Tethong Executive Director Han-shan Development Director Tenzin Dorjee Grassroots Coordinator Matt Browner-Hamlin Operations Director Board of Directors: Tenzin Bhagen, Sam Chapin, Sophia Conroy Chair, Paul Donowitz Secretary, Nathan Freitas, Jason Halperin, Jonathan Hulland, Dechen Lhewa, Tenzin Nyesang, Michelle Ridlen Treasurer, Rick Roth, Josh Schrei, Lisa Shimamura, Shana Warshawsky, Tenzin
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Wangyal, Tenzin Yeshi Banned in Tibet is a semi-annual newsletter published by Students for a Free Tibet. SFT works in solidarity with the Tibetan people in their struggle for freedom
and independence. As a chapter-based network of young people and activists in 35 countries around the world, we use education, grassroots organizing, and nonviolent
direct action to campaign for Tibetans’ fundamental right
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