Brussels: The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought havoc around the world and social distance has become the norm for every human activity, from Parliamentary debates to administrative discussions going digital, virtual gatherings and webinars have become the rule of the day.
Amid the swirling debates on preventive practices for COVID-19, wearing a facemask has taken centre stage. For instance, at the recent epic EU Council meeting, most of the European leaders were observed wearing facemasks with their own national flags on display on the covering. After a worrisome lengthy discussion and dialogue, the EU Council decided to approve a historic rescue plan which was lauded by His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the wisdom of the European leaders.
TSG Portugal called “Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete-Portugal” has replicated the trend to create masks with Tibetan flag coverings, making them widely available to the public for purchase.
Alexandra Correia of the Group shares the story behind its development, “One day, I was talking with my daughter about the possibility of her making a mask with the Tibetan flag; … Right on the next day, while talking on the phone with PAN party MP, André Silva, he told me that were I to get him a mask like that he’d wear it at the Parliament’s plenary session … There was no time to waste.”
She continued, “As soon as it got available, it was a huge success and that really made me very very happy, … the public reacted very positively.”
The mask, conforming to the EU prescribed standards has been dispatched to at least 17 countries: Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, India, USA, Brazil, Chile, Germany, the UK, and Ireland. French people are the ones who ordered the most!
Although TSG Portugal is a small group formed in 2008, it has been actively championing the Tibetan cause regardless.
“Be it public protests, street actions, petitions signing, email campaigns, along with the interactions with our MPs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in some cases, the President of the Republic, the Prime-Minister, MEPs and certain foreign embassies stationed in Lisbon), as well as the Press,” Alex said. She attended the VIII International TSG meeting in Dharamsala last year.
The success of this flag mask campaign has given her “a new impetus, the certainty that we can’t stop, having to continuously do more and better for Tibet.”
The Office of Tibet, Brussels has encouraged and appreciated Alex’s work. Somehow this action reminds us of the worldwide action-filled campaigns of TSGs in the 80s when street protests with banners and posters were seen around the world and stickers on your cars and offices were the norms.
To take part in the Tibetan flag mask campaign, visit the official Facebook page of Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete-Portugal.
-Filed by the Office of Tibet, Brussels