This year has flown by without my managing to blog here too much. In May I spoke about Tibetans and our special relationship with Apple at RightsCon 2018 in Toronto in May and the following month I was beamed into a UN Side Event in Geneva by the International Service for Human Rights to give an overview of freedom of expression in Tibet. A personal favourite speaking engagement of mine though was in July when I gave a talk called “Adventures in Tibetan Social Media” to the YTEC Youth Camp just outside London.
That brings me to “We Were Made for Home”, a poetry evening on Wednesday at Burley Fisher Books in East London. I’m really looking forward to talking about my work with High Peaks Pure Earth and also being in the company of young Tibetan writers and scholars. It’s not often we get Tibetan poetry nights in London so a huge thank you to Tibet Relief Fund for hosting and putting everything together!
Please join us on Wednesday if you can, the Facebook Event Page is here for all the details: https://www.facebook.com/events/2185528025060845/
Everyone knows FLY (Phur) by ANU and the accompanying video from last year. The other day on WeChat I came across this amazing new, and I’m assuming unofficial, video for it that seems to be promoting Yushu, where the ANU guys hail from.
I’m sharing the video here because I love it so much and hope you enjoy it too! Have a great summer!
It’s been heartwarming to see all the positive responses from all around the world to the news that Dhondup Wangchen arrived safely in the US on Christmas Day. Dhondup Wangchen’s escape from Tibet has been a rare piece of good news!
There has been strong media coverage of Dhondup Wangchen’s story that started with our Filming for Tibet press statement on 27 December. There have been news reports on New York Times, Reuters, Guardian, amongst many others.
Yesterday I was invited to speak with Sharanjit Leyl on BBC World News during the 8pm news, the video is above!
After the news of Dhondup Wangchen’s arrival came out, there were statements welcoming him from many organisations who had worked on his campaign. Thank you to Amnesty International, Dui Hua Foundation, International Campaign for Tibet and Students for a Free Tibet. Also the President of the Tibetan Government in Exile, Dr. Lobsang Sangay praised Dhondup Wangchen for his “courage and contribution to the cause of Tibet.”
Similarly, many took to Twitter including Nancy Pelosi and the Committee to Protect Journalists:
This is all so amazing and quite surreal, considering it’s been ten years since Dhondup Wangchen started filming “Leaving Fear Behind” – what a journey.
For those who want to go back and watch “Leaving Fear Behind”, it’s online here: https://vimeo.com/50220285
To read about the day I spent with Dhondup Wangchen on 10 March, 2008, read my piece for CPJ here: https://cpj.org/blog/2009/12/the-story-of-dhondup-wangchen-a-filmmaker-jailed-i.php
Happy new year and see you in 2018!
It was my absolute pleasure to interview John Billington for LondonNey about his lifelong engagement for Tibet. John, or “Uncle John” as he’s known in my family, was kind enough to come all the way from his home in Wales to spend the best part of an afternoon with us in London on a Saturday last month.
John Billington and I
Filming the interview
Cameraman and interviewer!
Some time after the interview to chat and relax, the crew worked very hard behind the scenes, thanks guys!
The full interview on YouTube is embedded at the top of this post and above are some other photos from the day.
A huge thank you of course to Uncle John but also to the entire LondonNey crew who worked extremely hard to make sure the filming on the day went smoothly. We had a productive day but it was also a lot of fun, with plenty to talk about and also to eat and drink!
I can’t not post the best song to come out of Tibet in a long time! Enjoy this over the weekend!
Ever since I saw the new restaurant Madame D’s description on Twitter, it bothered me that they described their food as an interpretation of the food prepared by “Chinese-Tibetan immigrants in India”.
The issue I take with this term is elaborated on over on my HuffPo page: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/59536635e4b0326c0a8d0c6b
Please have a read and share!
My Tibet work and my role as Editor of High Peaks Pure Earth has taken me to all sorts of places I couldn’t have imagined. Thanks to the lovely team at International Tibet Network, I’ve been connected to the rather amazing British cosmetics company LUSH and have a piece up on their website on contemporary Tibetan art!
I should go back a few months and mention that LUSH were kind enough to host myself, Kunsang Kelden and Alison Reynolds and Mandie McKeown from International Tibet Network on the Main Stage at their annual LUSH Summit which took place at Tobacco Dock in London on 8-9 February 2017. Even before that, LUSH had been supporting Tibet by donating proceeds of their Charity Pot to International Tibet Network’s work, so cool!
All four of us were blown away by the event where we were given completely free reign to speak for 45 minutes about the current situation in Tibet, art, music and freedom of expression.
Ali and Mandie did a stellar job condensing the situation in Tibet into a short amount of time and also providing an overview of campaigns leading to very concrete steps, such as taking action for detained language advocate Tashi Wangchuk. Kunsang and I focused on creative expressions inside and outside Tibet. I got to highlight the work of Woeser and Kunsang talked about her work on Lhakar Diaries too, focusing on young Tibetan artists.
We loved our day at the Summit and the talk has also been recorded and posted online on the LUSH Player, check out this link to watch the whole thing: http://player.lush.com/tv/summit-supporting-free-speech-tibet-banned-expression
So when I was asked by LUSH’s Gorilla Arthouse to contribute a piece about my views on art, I was thrilled. It was a great chance to think about why art is important and what creative expression says about the situation in Tibet and for Tibetans around the world today. I’m fortunate that all the real work is already done for me by artists and writers such as Woeser, Bhuchung D Sonam, Gade, Tenzing Rigdol and Tashi Norbu!
I’d like to end by thanking LUSH and Gorilla Arthouse (especially Graeme) for the opportunity to reach a new audience and for their support of our Tibet work. Check out Gorilla Arthouse on Facebook here and click through to my article here onto the LUSH website: https://www.facebook.com/GorillaArthouse/posts/1484855598214223
Here is the direct link to the LUSH website: https://uk.lush.com/article/art-told-dechen-pemba