Protest Encore!

Girl with a signOct 21, 2006 – With Tibetans driving to Vancouver from down south in Oregon and Washington, we protested yet again in front of the People’s Republic of China Consulate. This time it was with an added little punch as we had more than a hundred protestors lining down the Granville Street clad in traditional Tibetan garbs and colourful flags and banners reminding the people and the government of the Sep. 30 killings on Nangpa La Pass. The day was pleasantly sunny and the weekend commuters more than obliged us with their incessant honks and waves.

Kate Woznow, our National Co-ordinator was also at the demonstration, having just returned from SFT India Free Tibet! Action Camp. Welcome back, Kate. It’s great to non-violently direct-act with you again.

Members of the Canada Tibet Committee (CTC), Regional Tibet Youth Congress (RTYC), and — was it just me or did I see some dharma people there as well? — many others were participating in full vigour. Towards the conclusion of the demo, the Tibetans sang a spirited rendition of the Tibetan national anthem, and a couple of other humanitarian and nationalistic songs.

Tsewang Rinzin, member of the Oregon RTYC club, delivered a particularly heartfelt and succint reminder to the Tibetans in the diaspora here in North America about their obligations towards Tibet and the Tibetans suffering there. “I’m not here to chastize anyone about their responsibilities,” cried Rinzin, “or how they should conduct their lives. But it is IMPERATIVE that we take a little time off of our schedules so that we can show up to events like these and support our brothers and sisters who are still suffering under the harsh regime of Red China in Tibet.” What was impressive about his long, emotional speech was that is was all improvised. He continued, “Until Tibet gains absolute freedom — which I believe we will eventually — we cannot afford to be flippant about our situation. We cannot let the weights of our career and responsibilities in this materialistic lifestyle prevent us from helping Tibet however we can. I want to wholeheartedly thank all the protestors who came here today, but I’m equally saddened by the overwhelming lack of participation from the majority of the Tibetans from Oregon, from Washington and from Vancouver. I believe we have around 300 Tibetans in Washington, and yet, I look around and [can] count only upto 37 or so. This is very, very shameful indeed. I look around and I see all the elderly folks trying, despite their age or discomfort, to make the effort in coming here and screaming for a liberated Tibet. It is my dream, and I know it is theirs too, that when the time comes, they can have the honour of finally laying to rest in the country where they were born and raised. Thank you and Free Tibet!” At the end of his emotional spiel, many of the Tibetans present applauded and screamed “Free Tibet” for another 15 minutes.

Tsewang Rinzin

After 2 hours of demonstrating, the protestors slowly dispersed and made their way back home. Some inside Vancouver, others south of the border. All, undoubtedly, still holding the memory of the slain nun and others high up in the cold mountain pass of Nang pa La.

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