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An Open Letter to Tibetans and Tibet Supporters on the Occasion of the April 7th Day of Victory for Tibet

Tuesday, Apr 8, 2008
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”First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” –Gandhi

Dear friends,

It is working.


This is our time.

Everything that has happened since 1950 right up until this day has been leading us to this.

All the Tibetans inside Tibet who have endured the brutal occupation, all those Tibetans who gave their lives along the way, all the brave Khampas who took up arms to resist China’s rule –and those Khampas who could not face the pain of defeat and took their own lives – all the thousands of Ama-las and Pa-las who toiled and died in labor camps and government farms, all the monks and nuns who kept their spirits strong through years of forced ‘re-education’ — and all those that were finally broken — all the political prisoners, the Drapchi 14, the unsung heroes like Thrinley Chodron who died years before anyone in the outside world knew of Tibet and her pain… all of their sacrifice has led us to this moment.

All the tireless efforts of His Holiness to seek a solution, all the constant work of Tibetans in Exile, all the injis who recognized an unjust situation and gave their time and energy, all the groundwork we set so we would be prepared when the time came, all the protests we all have weathered, all the many times handing out leaflets in the snow outside shut embassy doors and wondering when the world would listen…

The world is listening.

And this is our time.

Tibetans in Tibet have shown the world exactly what it means to live under Chinese rule. They have shown us how much the actions of a few brave souls can change the course of history. They have poured out of monasteries, ridden in on horseback, raised the Tibetan flag, and faced unimaginable consequences to show us that THEY ARE NOT FREE.

As much as our Tibetan brothers and sisters have shown us that they are not free, the Chinese government has shown us that THEY HAVE NOT CHANGED. They have shown the world exactly who they are. All notions of ‘progress’ and ‘development’ have been cast to the wind. A tiny flame, a little Olympic flame — right from the country that invented democracy — has cast a light that reveals the monster for exactly what it is. The light is on them now, and it will not go away.

They have ignored us, they have laughed at us, now they are fighting us. Next up…. We win.

This is our time.

The world is listening.

Today, China’s dream of Han unity was completely dashed, on the global stage. Today, Hu Jintao and his cronies are sweating in backroom meetings wondering what went wrong and trying to resurrect the party line. Today, the International Olympic Committee is staring down the throat of the biggest disgrace they have ever witnessed. Heads are rolling. And change is coming.

To Tibetans in Tibet: I will not presume to advise you on what course to take. You know far better than I what to do. But I will tell you this. Whatever you do, we will support you. We will counter their lies, scale their walls, rattle their doors, hang banners off their bridges, pursue their leaders, confront their ambassadors, and continue to protest in all ways open to us, until you have your freedom.

We will not fail you.

Tibetans, we will not stop until you are free.

Bhöd Gyalo!

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