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SFR: Can you talk a little bit about what this demonstration is?
Tashi: Today is a universal human rights day, and today is actually the 68th annual universal Human Rights Day, and also we are celebrating the Nobel peace prize, which was awarded to his holiness the Dalai Lama. All around the world right now, everywhere where Tibetans are, we are doing the same demonstration—calling for human rights in Tibet because of the self-immolations.
Can you describe what self-immolation is?
What the Tibetans in Tibet are doing are setting themselves on fire, calling for human rights and the return of his holiness the Dalai Lama in Tibet. That’s the basic demand that they’re making. They’re setting themselves on fire, because that’s the last resort they have, because nothing else is working.
Is the other demand that the Chinese leave Tibet?
Yes, and human rights, and the return of his holiness the Dalai Lama.
What people make up the demonstration today?
We mostly have Tibetans from Santa Fe and Albuquerque, and we have a few Americans joining us for this demonstration. I think we have about 60 people.
Are there demonstrations going on like this all over the world right now?
Yes. Today is the universal Human Rights Day. In India they did it yesterday, because yesterday was the 10th. New York is the biggest demonstration right now, and they have about 6,000 people. The demonstrators are not just from New York. They’re from Toronto, Philadelphia, Washington DC––from all of the states around the city.
What do you hope to accomplish today here in Santa Fe?
We want the world to know what’s going on in Tibet, because the number of self-immolations has reached 95, but neither the media nor the world is paying attention to it. If one self-immolation happens in a country like Iraq or Syria, it becomes really huge news, but in Tibet, 95 people have self-immolated, and you don’t hear about it on your local or international news. We’re trying to bring attention to the media and to the world about what’s happening in Tibet. We want international media to go and assess the situation.
Will you be giving a speech today?
Yes I will be talking about self-immolation today and I also have a few guest speakers.
Do you consider self-immolation to be a selfless act?
It is, because it’s not causing any harm or pain to anybody else. They’re sacrificing themselves for the cause of Tibet. It is violent, but it is a selfless act of sacrifice.
For more information on the Tibetan Association of Santa Fe click here.