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SFT honors Tibetan heroes including Shogdung and Runggye Adak

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Monday, Aug 16, 2010
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Tagyal (Shogdung), Norzin Wangmo, Yeshi Choedon and Runggye Adak.

SFT honored “Tibetan heroes” on August 15th, 2010, at our 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, གནམ་ས་གོ་འབྱེད་ (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 the annual horse racing festival 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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