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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

SFT honors Tibetan heroes

August 20, 2010

August 16, 2010

Dharamsala, August 16 -- Students for a Free
Tibet (SFT) honored "Tibetan heroes" yesterday at
the activist group’s annual event in New York
City. Tagyal (Shogdung), Runggye Adak, Norzin
Wangmo and Yeshi Choedon were among those honored
with the "Lhakar Award", which draws its name
from the Tibetan “satyagraha” movement that
started in the aftermath of the 2008 uprising.

Shogdung was honored for his intellectual
contribution to the Tibetan revolution through
his book, "The Line between Sky and Earth," now
banned in Tibet. Runggye Adak was honored for his
courageous speech of August 1, 2007 in front of a
large gathering of Chinese officials and the
public at an annual horse racing festical in
Lithang. Norzin Wangmo and Yeshi Choedon were
honored for their efforts to promote freedom of
information in Tibet. All of these individuals
are currently serving varying prison terms in Tibet or awaiting trial.

"Lhakar is a people's movement that emerged
spontaneously from Tibet," said Tendor, executive
director of SFT at the event. "In the last year,
Tibetans in various parts of Tibet have taken
diverse Lhakar pledges, resolving to speak only
in Tibetan, or to eat only in Tibetan
restaurants, or to buy from Tibetan shops, or to
go vegetarian every Wednesday. Through this
pledge, they are unifying in action in the
greatest non-cooperation movement Tibet has ever seen."

The Tibetan word "Lhakar" translates literally as
"White Wednesday," a weekday considered special
by Tibetans because the Dalai Lama was born on a Wednesday.

"Tibetans in Tibet channel their spirit of
resistance into social, cultural and economic
activities that are self-constructive (promoting
Tibetan language, culture and identity) and
non-cooperative (refusing to support Chinese
institutions and businesses). Though humble in
scale, these noncooperation tactics hark back to
the Indian boycott of British textile at a
turning point in the Indian freedom struggle," said Tendor.

The Longsho event also saw the unveiling of the
"Lhakar Wall." Tibetan artist Lobsang Choephel,
who created the "Lhakar Wall," described it as a
"canvas of resistance upon which Tibetans and
supporters can sign their pledges." This Wall
will tour through North America in the coming
months, allowing Tibetans in various cities to
paint their Lhakar Pledges upon the black and
white canvas representing unity among the six million Tibetans.

The evening's program began with a performance by
Ngawang Choephel, a musicologist and former
political prisoner, whose film 'Tibet in Song'
will be released in New York on September 24. The
highlights of the program was a performance by
Paljor Phurpatsang, founder of the classic
Tibetan rock band Rangzen Shonu, who played some
of the most memorable all-time hits such as 'We the Nomads of Tibet.'

Among other recipients of the Lhakar Awards were
Tenzin Wangyal of New York, honored for his
dedicated service to the preservation of Tibetan
culture and improvement of the community. Since
immigrating to the United States, Wangyal has
taught Tibetan language and music at the Tibetan
Sunday school in Queens every weekend, impacting
the lives of hundreds of Tibetan immigrant
children. SFT also honored Jane Stein for her
enduring support of the Tibetan cause and the
Boston Lhakar Vigil that started in March 2008 as
a community event to show solidarity with the Tibetans in Tibet.

The evening ended with a stand-up show by
comedian Sonam Wangdue, who used his "irreverent
humor" to educate the audience about Tibetan
politics, including the upcoming prime ministerial and parliamentary elections.
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