Photo by Tawang
Ottawa, March 20 - Slogans such as, ‘Shame! Shame! China Shame!’, ‘Tibet belongs to Tibetans!’ and ‘Stop the military in Tibet’ reverberated the early chilly morning in Ottawa’s Parliament Hill on Thursday. Tibetans and supporters poured in from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Belleville. The crowd seemed at least a thousand and exonerated a determined aura of urgency and unity.
After a brief chanting of passionate slogans, Judy Tethong from Victoria BC, recalled her early encounter with Tibetans decades ago and how her life became a part of it ever since. She was overwhelmed with emotions and inspirations at the sight of Tibetans who have over the years multiplied into thousands and has formed a significant community in Canada. Presently, her daughter Lhadon Tethong works tirelessly leading the SFT network worldwide from New York office, along with many dedicated Tibetan youths and non-Tibetan supporters across the globe.
As the air picked up its fervor and the protesters began shouting slogans again, a message was relayed from Prime Minster Stephen Harper through MP Pierre Poilevre, which called for China to show restraint with the peaceful protestors in Tibet.
As reports of Chinese military build-up sighted across the Lhasa city earlier during the day was circulating, Chinese government finally admitted about their guns being fired upon Tibetan protestors, however death toll figures were suspiciously dubious, believes the Tibetans-in-exile.
Protestors carried placards of fellow brethrens from Tibet who had suffered at the hands of brutal Chinese communist regime displaying heart-wrenching pictures of dead bodies removed of their private organs and cruel execution methods inflicted on them. Emotionally charged crowds ranging from teenagers to elderly citizens showed no sign of fatigue and discouragement, rather they were even more determined to let their voices be heard amid the conflicting sense of sudden helplessness and constant reminder of their fellow Tibetans suffering within Tibet.
Before the march towards the UN building and Chinese embassy began, organizers requested the crowd to remain calm and not resort to any violent actions. And as the rally poured into the downtown Ottawa, spectators watched and cheered and a few even joined in.
Soon after arriving at the embassy, words arrived from the Chair of Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, Senator Consiglio Di Nino who had again requested the Chinese ambassador Lu Shumin, for the fourth time a passage into Tibet along with other senators and MPs. Mr. Di Nino stressed that the subsequent expulsion of foreign medias who could have impartially reported the real situation is deeply troubling. “If authorities in Tibet are abiding by international standards they should have nothing to hide, and we and other international observers should be welcomed in,” said Di Nino who has been requesting visas since Jan 2007.
Local SFT and RTYC members spoke as well during the demonstration in front of the Chinese embassy which was met by loud cheers and support.
One Mr. Kunsang la took the street divider as a podium and pointed towards the embassy building saying that some Chinese official was taking pictures, upon which the crowd got even more charged and began waving the multi-colored national flag vigorously. Everyone seemed undaunted by the treacherous sudden cold chill and momentary ice pellets and snow downpours.
Olympics as symbolizing the human spirit and dignity as core values and China’s failure to maintain those values over the last few decades were reiterated against pro-Olympic lobbyists who questioned the legitimacy of the current uprising on the grounds of basic values. Tibetan cause being at a critical juncture which has over the 50yrs suffered brutal suppression and continues to do so, determination of these very Tibetan population seems un-wavered by the challenges and are all the more convinced of their commitment towards their brothers and sisters in Tibet who despite their knowledge of imminent repercussions for their actions, they have stood up and shown the world that human spirit cannot be won or tamed by force. ‘We are your voice and we salute the martyrs’ was deeply taken in by the protestors.