December 10th was International Human Rights Day and this year it marked both a difficult and a promising time for the Tibetan people.
Crisis in Tibet
Earlier this month, Tenzin Phuntsog set himself on fire to protest the authoritarian Chinese regime occupying Tibet. He died from his injuries.
Since the end of September, ten Tibetans – crying out against injustice – have chosen to set themselves on fire so that the world might hear the pain of the Tibetan people. At least seven have died.
Tragically, these protests are occurring in Tibet with alarming frequency.
From the comfort of our homes, it's difficult to condone these acts, but who among us has the right to decide which is a less painful end for these young Tibetans: years of torture in a Chinese jail or the hope we will hear their screams for freedom?
Acts of self-immolation are the last power any of us has left – the power over our own life and death. They occur at times of crisis and helplessness.
Just this past week Tibetan writer Tsering Woeser wrote in a Wall Street Journal blog: Tibetans are not so foolish that they value their lives lightly. Rather it is the despots who have ignited the flames that engulfed these monks and nuns by pushing them to the point of desperation.... The Chinese government is afraid that Tibetans who sacrifice their lives will inspire the living to resist. But no matter how it tries to hide the self-immolations and distort their meaning, the truth continues to get out."
Silence to this crisis is not an option. If the world does nothing the number of Tibetans self-immolating will increase. These acts will only end by laying the groundwork to bring the oppression Tibetans and Chinese suffer daily to an end.
You can know that the Canada Tibet Committee is not only speaking out about this crisis, we're working with the Canadian government to ensure that it is raised at the highest levels of the Chinese government and will continue to do so in 2012.
Hope in Canada
Wanting the very best for our children is something we all share, whether we live in Vancouver or 12,000 kilometres away in the five Tibetan settlements of Arunachal Pradesh, India.
The reality though for thousands of Tibetans who live in Arunachal Pradesh is that they may never have the chance to realize their potential and to experience what so many Canadians take for granted: the very best for themselves and their children.
But now – following the 2007 request of His Holiness the Dalai Lama – the Canadian government is facilitating the immigration of 1,000 Tibetans living in Arunachal Pradesh to Canada over a five year period.
We can help fulfil the Dalai Lama's achievement by supporting these incredible families as they set out to achieve their dream as they start new lives in Canada. Each of these families is counting on us.
Your help is needed now
There's a crisis in Tibet and Tibetans need our help.
There's hope for Tibetans living in Arunachal Pradesh and they need our help.
And they all need it today.
The CTC's work is funded entirely by donations we receive from our members and generous supporters. Even the smallest of contribution goes so far in helping us support Tibet and human rights.
Please consider making a donation at http://www.tibet.ca/en/join_donate/ as your way to help us mark International Human Rights Day.
PS: For those who prefer to donate by mail there is a form that can be downloaded from that page or we'd be happy to email you a form, just contact us at email@example.com