Thursday, February 19, 2009

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Dear Friend,

Losar, the Tibetan New Year, begins next week on Wednesday, February 25. Usually, Losar is a joyous time for Tibetans in Tibet and those in exile around the world.

The first three days of Losar are a time for family—but celebrations extend beyond the household and neighbors are greeted joyfully with cries of “Tashi Delek!” (or “good fortune!”). On the first day of Losar, Tibetan families visit monasteries to celebrate the New Year. People bring offerings of incense and juniper branches to be burned, filling the air with a delicious perfume. A spirit of happiness and hope reigns.


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This year’s celebration will be very different.

An anonymous Tibetan blogger posted the following on a Chinese-language, Tibetan-run website recently:

"The 2009 Losar was always going to be unusual because so many people have been killed. In our family, our father can never come back, our mother has visibly aged, uncles and brothers have been detained—some of whom we still don't whether they're dead or alive. Last night, the eldest brother in the neighbor's family was taken away...

“I myself will not be celebrating the new year because those who died were my compatriots, and I knew several of those who died—they were shot dead. I haven't dared call home since March of last year because I don't want to cause them any trouble. And so I don't know how they are. I've had no information on them, and just hope they're okay."

In a posting entitled "Let Us Make Lamp Offerings and Light Candles to Commemorate the Souls of the Deceased," the Tibetan writer Woeser wrote:

“...let us light butter lamps to make offerings in memory of the deceased, whose exact number we still do not know, in the corners where the video surveillance can not reach. Furthermore, those of us who live in alien lands and do not have butter lamps to offer, let us light candles for those deceased whose exact number we still do not know.”

ICT will stand with our Tibetan friends in Tibet and around the world next week and observe Losar in quiet remembrance of the deceased and the missing—for all those who have sacrificed and endured so much in pursuit of the simple dignity and freedom of their culture and heritage.

We encourage all of our friends to observe a moment of silence next Wednesday, February 25—whether it be for prayer, meditation, or quiet contemplation—and to light a candle in symbolic support of this cause that unites us with 6 million Tibetans and countless others around the globe.

Thank you for standing with ICT and Tibet.

In solidarity,

John Ackerly Sig
John Ackerly

P.S. For more about the current situation inside Tibet, read our recent news report, Tibetans “in mourning” as Chinese New Year begins.

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