WHAT IF GANDHI STYLE SATYAGRAHA WAS WAGED IN TIBET?
I’VE BEEN ASKED THIS QUESTION FOR YEARS. WELL, HERE IS YOUR ANSWER: LHAKAR.
Despite China’s totalitarian rule, Tibetans have embraced the power of strategic nonviolent action. This grassroots revolution is being called Lhakar, which means “White Wednesday” or “Pure Wednesday.” Not surprisingly, the Dalai Lama was born on a Wednesday.
Every Wednesday, a growing number of Tibetans are making a special effort to wear traditional clothes, speak Tibetan, eat at Tibetan restaurants and buy from Tibetan-owned businesses. They channel their spirit of resistance into social, cultural and economic activities that are self-constructive (promoting Tibetan language and culture) and non-cooperative (refusing to support Chinese institutions and businesses).
Since 2008, Beijing has locked down the streets to deter protests. But the resistance has not abated; it has simply moved indoors. Lhakar participants nurture Tibetan tradition in their homes and daily lives, strengthening their cultural identity, social networks and political impact. Through Lhakar they are saying, “We are Tibetan.”
This cultural revival is also ushering in the Tibetan equivalent of the Renaissance. Musicians, writers, and painters are changing the landscape of Tibetan arts and literature, producing an endless stream of songs, essays, and other artwork that express the Tibetan people’s unfathomable pain, occasional joy, and constant yearning. The courage that fueled the 2008 uprising has emboldened the vision with which this new Tibetan art is bursting into the world. The political movement is feeding the arts, and the arts are feeding the movement right back.
Exiled Tibetans have started campaigns to mirror these activities. Tibetans in Boston, USA hold vigils every Wednesday, making a Lhakar pledge to continue the vigil until Tibet is free. SFT has launched our monthly Renaissance Series: amplifying everything banned in Tibet. Tibet supporters have pledged to educate their political representatives on Tibet, while others have pledged to boycott made-in-China products.
This gathering storm – a combination of cultural renaissance and political revolution – will ultimately wipe out China’s oppression, leaving in its wake a Tibet ruled by Tibetans. Half a century after Gandhi died, his satyagraha is reborn in Tibet. This time its name is Lhakar.
From SFT's official Newsletter 'Banned in Tibet'
To download the Newsletter: http://blog.studentsforafreetibet.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/STUFT1-36887_Newsletter_web.pdf