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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Joy and Sadness as Tutu Receives Award and Tibetan White Scarf Special

April 22, 2009

Christopher Szabo
Digital Journal

News24 and newspapers here reported that a spokesman for Humanity’s
Team, Steve Farrell, said Tutu was given the award for the spiritual
leadership he showed over many years: "Spiritually he stands up for the
oppressed," said Farrell.

It was then announced that the Dalai Lama had also sent him a gift. The
Dalai Lama’s representative, Sonam Tenzing, then draped a white scarf
around his shoulders. Tutu compared the Dalai Lama to Nelson Mandela:

"Leaders such as Madiba spent 27 years in prison and humbly reconciled
with the enemy: One would expect them to be bitter. The Dalai Lama has
been in exile for 50 years and one will expect that by now he should
have been corroded by bitterness - and he is not."

In a telephone interview with Digital Journal, Tenzing explained the
significance of the white scarf.

Tibetans traditionally offer a white scarf when visiting senior people,
for example, a village headman or a central government official. A white
scarf is always offered to the recipient of an award, or gift. A white
scarf signifies peace and shows that the person has come with a pure heart.

Responding to a question on the current situation in Tibet, Tenzing
confirmed earlier reports that many Tibetan farmers had refused to plant
crops in protest against the clampdown in March by the Chinese
government on Tibet and Tibetan-speaking areas of China.

An earlier report by Times Online quoted an unnamed source saying: “The
farmers know that they will be the ones to suffer if they do this, but
it is a way for them to show their unhappiness.” Tenzing said the
Tibetan administration in Dharamsala had advised the farmers to go back
to farming.

The Dalai’s Lama’s spokesman highlighted an additional problem, which
had not been widely reported: ”Many young people, who had been involved
in the recent peaceful protests were being hunted by the Public Security
Bureau (PBS).”

The Times Online report said Tibet and Tibetan-speaking regions of China
remained closed to journalists.
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