Dear Friends & Supporters of Tibet,
Tibetans will mark Losar - the Tibetan New Year - on February 14th, 2010. In the Tibetan lunar calendar, this day marks the beginning of the Iron Tiger Year 2137, a time for change, hope, and renewal. On this day, we celebrate our history, our culture, our religion, and our future - because our history is great, our culture beautiful, our religion profound, and – in spite of our present suffering – our future is bright.
Since 2008, following the Tibetan uprising in all three historical provinces of Tibet, we witnessed an escalation in the imprisonment, torture and death of our fellow countrymen and women under Chinese rule. Because of this, last year, Tibetans united around the world and did not celebrate Losar.
This year, many Tibetans are planning to observe Losar for one reason only: because we are Tibetan. We will speak Tibetan language, wear Tibetan dress, and observe Tibetan customs, thus strengthening our identity and our spirit. Through this observance we will find new courage and opportunities to advance our struggle. In observing Losar with family and friends, Tibetans will reach for happiness, which, as much as suffering, is an integral part of a freedom movement.
Through all these years of occupation one thing is clear: the oppressor envies the spirit of the Tibetan people, which cannot be crushed by violence. This year Tibetans worldwide will nourish this spirit with the observance of Losar.
While observing this important cultural tradition, we ask Tibetans and supporters to light butter lamps and candles on their altars and in their windows on February 14th to honor the courage of the Tibetan people in Tibet who continue to resist the Chinese government's illegal occupation of their homeland.
Tibet will be free.
Executive Director, Students for a Free Tibet
Director, Tibet Action Institute
Please take a moment to watch this inspiring video from Amdo, Eastern Tibet, where Tibetans, young and old, declare the myriad ways they are Tibetan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMcau-0igDs
Included in the video are these statements:
I am Tibetan because I love Tibet.
I am Tibetan because I learn Tibetan.
I am Tibetan because I love my culture.
I am Tibetan because I wear only Tibetan dress.
I am Tibetan because Tibetan blood flows in me.
I am Tibetan because my mother is Tibetan.
I am Tibetan because I sing Tibetan.
I am Tibetan because I am a Tibetan nomad.
I am Tibetan because I love my land.
I am Tibetan because I am a herder on the plateau.
I am Tibetan because I never forget Tibet.
I am Tibetan because I love my Tibetan brothers and sisters.