London: The formal ceremony of the Tibet flag-raising event was held on Sunday, 12 May 2019, inside the tranquil setting of the majestic Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist temple in Milton Keynes, located 50 miles northwest of London. This is the sixth year in a row that the Tibet flag raising event is held here by a local resident Ms Catherine Mostyn Scott and her team of dedicated volunteers. The event this year coincides with the 60th anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s escape into exile from Tibet to India, in 1959. In the presence of its first citizen Councillor Martin Petchey, The Mayor of Milton Keynes, Ms Catherine Mostyn Scott welcomed the more than 80 people gathered inside the temple (local residents as well as those coming in from nearby areas) for the event and briefly explained how the annual flag raising event came about. She mentioned how her presence at one of the Tibet flag raising events at Northampton, organised by a local resident there Ms Caroline Scattergood, inspired her to do such an event at Milton Keynes. Citing the 2019 Freedom House report which ranked Tibet as the second least free country in the world for the fourth year in a row with only Syria considered to be less free. Ms Catherine Mostyn Scott said that it was up to people in the free world with moral conscience to make the plight of the Tibetans known to the international community and to fly the Tibet flag with pride and without any fear. The Mayor of Milton Keynes in his brief address spoke on behalf of all the residents of Milton Keynes and remarked that his presence at the event was to send a message of solidarity with the Tibetan people. The Mayor referred to His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the emblem of world peace and harmony, and someone who has great concern for environment, fate of the world and climate change. “Tibetan culture is centered on humanity. It is that culture and spirit that I will celebrate today when I raise the Tibet flag.” remarked The Mayor.
Tenzin Kunga, the Communications & Advocacy Officer, representing the Office of Tibet, London and the Tibetan Community in Britain, expressed deep gratitude and thankfulness to Ms Catherine Mostyn Scott and her team of volunteers for organising the Tibet flag raising event, year after year. He remarked that such acts of solidarity with the Tibetans sent a powerful message to the Chinese leadership that the Tibet issue cannot be wished away and that the Tibet issue cannot be left unresolved.
Singer Lee Bellingham from the bank Lhasa Calling performed a song that he composed specially for the occasion titled ‘I choose a world that’s unafraid to love’ whose lyrics go, ‘‘sixty years of a nation in chains and an endless struggle for the truth, an army that rises to command the world couldn’t vanquish the love within you’’, which was acknowledged with a loud applause by the audience.
The ceremony began with prayers from Sister Maruta of Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist temple; and Buddhist monk from Sheffield Ven Rigzin. A Tibetan entrepreneur Kunchok Nyima enthralled the audience with a singing bowl demonstration.
As the Tibet flag was raised outside by The Mayor of Milton Keynes, joined by all those present, the Tibetan contingent sang the national anthem.
The Mayor then launched the flag run for two categories: runners as well as for dogs, where the flag-bearers run around the nearby Willen Lake and finish at the temple.
The mayor stayed back to give away the certificates to the runners and the dog-owners. A documentary The Spirit of Tibet: Journey to Enlightenment, Life and World of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was shown inside the temple.
The event concluded with a positive atmosphere and spirit.
-Filed by Office of Tibet, London