On Saturday the 13th of November, we at SFT Canada hosted our first ‘Renaissance Series’ event. It was held at the Masaryk-Cowan Community Recreation Centre in Parkdale, the neighbourhood with the highest concentration of Tibetans in Canada.
The first ‘Renaissance Series’ event was started in New York at SFT Headquarters, and is an event whereby SFT members showcase literature, art, songs and other materials which speak of human rights and criticism of the Chinese government. In short, its goal is to ‘Amplify everything banned in Tibet’. Due to its immense popularity and success, the Renaissance Series has been replicated in various other SFT Chapters worldwide, such as SFT India and SFT UK. Judging from the positive responses at our first showcase in Canada, it was pretty evident that this series was something we could keep hosting, not only as a means of awareness for the people at risk but also generating support for our cause.
The Renaissance event was started off with an introduction to the theme of the Renaissance series, a brief overview of the recent events in Tibet and a mention of artists in Tibet that have risked everything to express themselves, such as Sherten, Tashi Dhondup who is still in prison, and Jamyang Kyi, among others.
The first poem recital was by Youdon Khangsar, an active SFT member and student at U of T, who wrote a poem titled ‘I am’ in the theme of Tibetan renaissance. This was followed by a recital by Tenzin Lobsang, National Director of SFT Canada, of Woeser’s poems translated into English. Rinchen Dolma from SFT York followed with poems by one of her favorite Tibetan freedom activists, Tenzin Tsundue.
Methok sang Jamyang Kyi’s ‘Phayul Drenlu’, a song about remembering your fatherland, and after her performance, Tenzin Chosang, a student and active member of SFT Toronto, recited a poem from Tibet and another one written on his own. After this, Chosank, the Vice-President of the Tibet Club in Parkdale Collegiate Institute, recited a Tibetan translation of Tashi Dhondup’s poem ‘Torture without a trace’.
Finally we had a special guest performance by Paljor from Rangzen Shonu who performed his most famous song ‘Rangzen’ and ‘Ngatso bhoe kyi Dokpa’ (Our Tibetan Nomads).
All in all a complete and truly informative event, this success could not have been possible without personal efforts by the performers and volunteers alike. As people of conscience and Tibetans, it is imperative that we do whatever we can to at least bring awareness to the courageous artists and activists in Tibet. These people risk their livelihoods, their own lives as well as their relatives’, in order to express the deep disgruntlements of the Tibetans who are continually oppressed and marginalized in their own lands.
It is certainly heartwarming to see students rise up here within Canada as well and to let people know that we have their backs in this journey towards independence for Tibetans. Whether it is with a pen, a paintbrush, or with our voices, the Tibetan movement is constantly growing with every new piece of writing, every new song, and every new piece of art to speak our minds about our cause. And as we get our minds working for another Renaissance event, we at SFT Canada urge you to consider supporting this cause, and if you can’t show up for these events, help make them happen, and contribute as a Rangzen circle member.
Ugen B, SFT Toronto