992 cities, municipalities and counties all over Germany hoist the Tibetan flag on March 10th at town halls and official buildings, including the regional capitals Hanover, Magdeburg, Potsdam, Saarbruecken, Stuttgart and Wiesbaden. By doing so, hundreds of democratically elected heads of cities, municipalities and counties, who represent thousands of citizens, affirm the legitimate right of the Tibetan people to self-determination and protest against the violations of human rights and the destruction of the Tibetan people's culture, religion and national identity. This is the fourteenth time that the Tibet Support Group Germany is organizing this highly symbolic event.
The growing number of cities and towns clearly shows that the Tibet issue is still on the agenda and is being taken seriously by the public more than ever before. Peking’s attempt to draw a veil of silence over the problem has clearly failed. The extent of the predominantly peaceful protests all over Tibet last year, which continued for many months, and their brutal suppression, is a clear proof that even 60 years after the “Peaceful Liberation” the Tibetans still perceive the Chinese as their occupiers.
Flying the flag for Tibet in these circumstances means to send a distinct signal to the political leaders in our country that we support the reconciliatory and peaceful struggle of the Tibetan leader in order to prevent a new trouble spot from emerging in Tibet in the near future. In difficult times Germany has asked for international help and got it. “When 1963 Kennedy told people in the divided city of Berlin, ‘Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free’, he was acclaimed with enthusiasm”, said Monika Deimann, the coordinator of the campaign. “Today Tibet needs our support. We have to give a voice the people of Tibet who are being silenced in their own country.” It is time to recognize the Dalai Lama not only as religious but also as the political head of the Tibetan people and receive him as such. There is hardly any head of a state like him anywhere in the world who could be so sure of the loyalty of his people, both in exile and at home. China herself provides the best proof to this. Even 50 years after the escape of the Dalai Lama China is still carrying out re-education-campaigns on large scale, photos of the Tibetan leader are forbidden, monks and nuns are forced to denounce him under pressure and threat of punishment.
By hoisting a thousand flags for Tibet we urge Peking to stop its hard handed policy in Tibet and to finally entzer into serious negotiations with the Dalai Lama on the future of Tibet. Only with him a peaceful resolution of the Tibet issue will be possible.
TSG Germany's flag campaign is not a matter of human rights violations or of foreign policy – it is a question of justice and injustice. It is an injustice that the Tibetan people have had to endure up to the present day. And this matter does not halt at a communal, regional or national level. We welcome the fact that an ever growing number of mayors and heads of cities, municipalities and counties share this conviction.
The Tibet Support Group Germany thanks those in charge in cities, municipalities and counties for their solidarity with the Tibetan people and their commitment to universal responsibility.
In 1949/50 the erstwhile sovereign Tibet was illegally and in violation of international law occupied by tne People’s Republic of China and in 1951 it was annexed. 50 years ago, on 10 March 1959, Tibetans in Lhasa stood up against their Chinese occupiers. According to official Chinese figures 87.000 Tibetans lost their lives in the following crackdown. On March 17th, 1959 the Dalai Lama fled into exile to India to evade the stranglehold of the Chinese.
The current list of participants in 2009 as well as background information about March 10th and the flag-campaign can be viewed on www.tibetflagge.net.
Participants in 2009 (as of March 9th): Baden-Württemberg 164, Bavaria 154, Berlin 2, Brandenburg 28, Bremen 11, Hesse 148, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 20, Lower Saxony 116, North Rhine-Westphalia113, Saarland 33, Saxony 81, Saxony-Anhalt 53, Schleswig-Holstein 20, Thuringia 10.
Please take notice of the solidarity events of the TSG Germany in 22 cities. More information here