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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

"We continue to march and to struggle"

November 3, 2008

Austrian journalist David Kriegleder travelled to Dharamshala, the
small town in northern India at the foot of the Himalayas, where the
Dalai Lama has led the Central Tibetan Buddhist Administration since
1959. In Dharamshala and other exiled Tibetan communities in south
Asia, Kriegleder talked to those loyal to their spiritual leader the
Dalai Lama and with representatives of younger, dissident groups who
believe that not enough has been done to force China to allow Tibetan
Buddhists to return to their Tibetan homeland.
ORF (Austria)
October 31, 2008

At 11 O'clock the moment had finally arrived. Ever since the early
morning hours, hundreds of monks, Exile-Tibetans, western activists
and I had been waiting in the dense fog for the arrival of the
political and the religious leader of the Tibetans. When the car of
his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, escorted by Indian security forces,
finally came down the main road towards his palace, the crowd was
filled with joy, spontaneous songs and prayers following like a wave
wherever his car passed. Even the sun, as if it were part of the
welcoming ceremony, managed to peak through the rain clouds shortly.
The final day of the Olympic Games 2008 and with it the final Tibetan
protest event had started.

Event though the Dalai Lama did not personally join the protestors,
his date of return from a journey to Europe had not been picked by
accident. Encouraged by his arrival hundreds of Tibetans equipped
with colourful flags and posters make their way to the "Tsug Lag
Khang", the largest Buddhist temple in Dharamsala.

"The Chinese have lied to us, to the International Olympic Committee
and to the rest of the world!" it echoes from dozens of loudspeakers.
The crowd and western spectators cheer and it seems like the whole
city has arrived by now. Even some monkeys from the nearby forest
have come, they sit on the temple roof, while curiously observing as
events unfold on this special day.

"Our Protest are not just directed towards China", 55 year old
coffee-shop owner Choephel Yonth tells me, while his niece
euphorically waves the Tibetan flag. "I think it is irresponsible
that the International Olympic committee gave the games to China,
event though everybody - especially the US and Europe - knows, what
Beijing is doing to our people."

On a small and improvised platform several famous Tibetans dissidents
and formerly imprisoned activists talk to the people. They speak in
Tibetan, but every
line is translated into english within a few seconds - after all, the
organisers want to be understood world wide. All around the temple
even on the characteristic prayer wheels - the organizers have hung
up pictures of alleged torture victims and Tibetan citizens that have
gone "missing" in the last months. "We urge the international
community to continue their monitoring on the situation in Tibet,
since now that the games are over, we are afraid that the violent
crackdown will get even more brutal" says the 72 year old Adhe
Taponsang, who is considered as on the leading voices of Tibetan
resistance, and who spent almost 30 years in Chinese prisons.

Afterwards the young Tibetan generation gets its say. Several youth
organizations start singing their songs of freedom, some of the
youngsters have blindfolded themselves to indicate the Chinese media
censorship their fellow citizen's face in Tibet.
   
Even though many young Tibetans are frustrated, they all want to
continue their struggle in a non-violent way. "For us, non-violent
resistance is not just a strategy it's a moral imperative and our way
of living", says Tenzin Jamyang, a 25 year old resident of Dharamsala
who plays in a band." Music can be a way of spreading this message,
but I'm not so sure anymore, if all the Tibetans inside Tibet still
see things this way", he adds.

After all the speeches are held, people leave the temple, chanting
anti-Chinese rhymes and songs as they march through the town. As the
emotional protests and feelings slowly wear off, a group of about 50
monks starts marching through the streets, with tea lights in their
hand and praying. It is quite a magical sight, since the sun has
already set behind the mountains and entire Dharamsala is dark due to
a power cut.

"We have Tea Lights and the Chinese have fireworks - of course our
little protests will be overlooked by most media stations, and the
Chinese Olympic Ending Ceremony will be the big topic everywhere."
says Phurbu Thinley, editor of a Tibetan internet newspaper. "There
is a difference however. In comparison to the Chinese, this is not
our last day. We will continue to march and to struggle, long after
the Olympics are over."
   
Reality Check Podcast
Listen to David Kriegleder's eyewitness account of exiled Tibetan
life in Dharamshala in the Reality Check Podcast.
http://static.orf.at/podcast/fm4/fm4_reality_check_podcast.xml
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