This is a time of year when we in the West start to profess our Goodwill to all Men and join in the festivities that Christmas brings. Though there are many who don’t share the Christian faith it tends to be a time of tolerance, not often seen during the preceding year. Those of the Jewish faith have Hanukkah in December, some Buddhists celebrate Bodhi day on 8th of December ( when Gautama achieved enlightenment). On 21st December the Pagan’s celebrate Yule while in India there are many and varied festivals that bloom in December with the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland, Lokranjan in Madhya Pradesh, Rann Utsav in Gujrat, Winter Festival at Mt.Abu (Rajasthan), Lumbini Festival in Andhra and the Chumpha Festival in Manipur.
One people who won’t find any celebrations easy this year are the Tibetans who while acknowledged by most of the World to be a Nation in it’s own right have nevertheless been under the domination of the Chinese since the invasion of 1949. Since that time the Tibetan people have struggled to keep their culture intact and regain their freedom. Many people would not understand the nomadic ways of the Tibetans but that way of life is their right and it is morally wrong of the Chinese to try and resettle nomads into purpose built houses.
China’s actions in Tibet over the past 50 years have created a climate of fear that still continues today—torture and imprisonment for peaceful protest, and economic plans that discriminate against Tibetans, threatening their unique identity. The PLA maintains a strong presence in Tibet and China’s military control increased with the 2006 opening of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.
Human rights conditions in Tibet remain dismal. Under the Chinese occupation, the Tibetan people are denied most rights guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights including the rights to self-determination, freedom of speech, assembly, movement, expression and travel. Signs of support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama are banned by the Chinese government.
We may not be able to do anything to physically help the Tibetan people regain the right of self determination that our nations are guaranteed, but what I’d ask of you at this time of goodwill is a message of hope and support to the people of that beleaguered Country. A message has been prepared or you can add your own words of support if you wish. For those that are able there is even the opportunity to donate money. The link to send a message is………….
May I take this opportunity to thank you all for the friendship and support I’ve been shown this year and wish you a Happy Christmas.