BRUSSELS: Tibetans in Belgium observed the 59th National Uprising Day at Schuman Place in Brussels yesterday afternoon. The quiet Saturday afternoon in front of the European Commission Building was abuzz with Tibetans from across Brussels and elsewhere congregating there. The Tibetans formed a circular position with Tibetans hundreds of flags aflutter and huge banners in red and blue.
The programme had two parts. The first was solemn observation of the Uprising. Tibetan National Anthem was sung followed by a minute’s silence in memory of the Tibetans who had sacrificed their lives for Tibet.
The Vice President of Tibetan Community gave a brief introduction on the significance of the Day. He said that there was no need for an elaborate explanation as Tibetans had held the day every year for over 50 years.
Representative Tashi Phuntsok spoke next. He alluded briefly to the tragic but brave day of March 10, 1959 by Tibetans in Lhasa. He then drew the attention of the crowd to the international politics of the time when the world was divided into the Communist Bloc and the Free world. When the Cold war was at its height. The Soviets Union was enveloped in the Iron Curtain and China shielded in its Bamboo Curtain. Tibetans fought a silent battle from 1959-79. Cultural Revolution wrought destruction and decimation and starvation.
However, with grace of His Holiness and under his leadership Tibetans persevered with resilience. Tibetans in Tibet bore the brunt of Chinese repression. But by early 80s there was a slight chink of freedom in Tibet which gave a new lease of life. Over the years Tibetan freedom movement gained support across the world.
Now the emerging China is flexing its muscle globally. Through its smart power it is putting pressure by every means all over the world while its iron-fist stranglehold in Tibet is ever more harsh. He recalled the recent kowtowing of Mercedes Benz to Chinese pressure. Therefore, he urged everybody to be mindful this historic Day and play one’s role in fulfilling the aspirations of those Tibetans who have died for Tibet.
In end Melanie Blondelle of the International Campaign for Tibet addressed the gathering. She reiterated ICT’s continued effort for Tibet’s cause. It rededicated its support for Tibet because it was a just cause, she said.
As the formal ceremony concluded, Tibetans took up a disciplined formation and marched in protests to the Chinese Embassy with slogans We Want Justice and Long Live Dalai Lama reverberating in the streets of Brussels.
Though over 300 Tibetans from Belgium had gone to Geneva to participate in the Grand European Rally in front of the UN by the Tibetans more than 200 were present at the Schuman Place. MEPs Mann and Negy too have gone to Geneva from Tibet Interest Group of European Parliament through the good offices of the Bureau du Tibet.
-Filed by Office of Tibet, Brussels-