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Profiles in Courage: 50-Day Countdown to March 10, 2009

January 21, 2009

Students for a Free Tibet
January 20, 2009
 
Today is the beginning of the 50-day countdown to March 10th, 2009. This year's March 10th observance will mark exactly 50
years since that historic day in 1959 when thousands of Tibetans took to the streets of Lhasa demanding the immediate
withdrawal of Chinese occupying forces. Within weeks, the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government escaped into exile in India
and thousands of Tibetans were killed in the aftermath of the Uprising. Read archived news articles from the London Times in
1959 here:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/system/topicRoot/The_Dalai_Lama_flees_Tibet_/
 
As a Tibetan, I can find no words that adequately capture the deep emotional significance of March 10th. For those of us
born or raised in exile, March 10th is an annual ritual of protest that from our earliest days of childhood connects us to
both our country and to our political struggle.
 
For our parents and grandparents who were forced to flee Tibet, March 10th serves as a painful reminder of the land and
loved ones they left behind.
 
And for Tibetans inside Tibet, every March 10th marks yet another year that they have been denied their basic rights and
freedom and forced to live without their beloved leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
 
This year, March 10th will be particularly emotional as we mark not only half a century of China's occupation but also one
year since historic protests broke out across Tibet. Still today, Tibetans are living in a climate of fear under a brutal
military lockdown. At least 200 Tibetans were killed in China's violent response to the protests and approximately 1,000
remain missing or imprisoned.
 
At the same time, March 10th is also a proud time of remembrance. It's a day when Tibetans around the world hoist the
Tibetan flag, sing the national anthem and renew their commitment to the freedom struggle. It's a time to honor the living
and remember the dead; a time to pay tribute to those Tibetans who have steadfastly refused to give up their right to
freedom and independence.
 
In the lead up to this March 10th, we will profile 50 Tibetans who embody the spirit of the enduring Tibetan resistance.
Each day, from now until March 10th, we will feature a different Tibetan hero on our website. We will honor their sacrifice
and inspire a new generation with their courage.
 
To mark the start of the 50-day countdown, we pay tribute to Jampa Tenzin, the monk whose image and remarkable story from
the
1987 protests in Lhasa has come to symbolize Tibetan resistance and defiance of Chinese rule. To learn more, go to:
www.studentsforafreetibet.org/50days
 
We will also be sending a weekly email outlining our plans and preparations for global March 10th observances, including
materials and resources to help you get involved in this historic campaign. Don't forget to check
www.studentsforafreetibet.org/50days to see who is being profiled daily during the countdown.
 
In solidarity,
 
Lhadon Tethong
Executive Director
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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