Tibet Will Be Free (the SFT Blog!)

WELCOME TO THE STUDENTS FOR A FREE TIBET BLOG--------> This is the weblog of the SFT Headquarters. Here you can peek into the minds (not to mention actions, events, trainings, brainstorms, parties...) of the SFT staff, board members, volunteers, friends and fellow activists. Tibet will be free.

We've Moved:

Tibet Will Be Free has moved off of this site because Blogger is owned by Google. Visit the new TIBET WILL BE FREE at blog.studentsforafreetibet.org

Sunday, August 28, 2005

California State Fair Madness

So last weekend, Thupten and I were minding our own business and eating corndogs at the Cal State Fair, when we stumbled accross this atrocity called "Folkways of Tibet," an exhibit celebrating "the 40th anniversary of the Tibet Autonomous Region" and depicting "China's Tibet." We agreed that it was pretty much the worst piece of propaganda we had seen in recent years, and decided to get a crew together to come up and do some educating.

This morning, members of TYC, TJC, TANC, SFT, and the Bay Area Tibetan soccer team (represent!) braved the 104 degree central valley heat with banners and t-shirts (from the Alma and Chris martini sweatshop). The target was Cal State University Sacramento, who evidently sponsored the exhbit at the suggestion of Chinese alum without doing any fact checking on the content (you can take action and tell them to cancel this thing immediately by clicking here.)

Once everyone had taken their positions, the girl managing the exhibit came up to Thupten looking pretty mortified (see right). Mortification quickly turned to tears when she saw how upset Tibetans were at the content of the exhibit. She said she had to call security, but promised to start an SFT chapter!!!

Check out the Sacramento Bee tomorrow for an article and some photos of the action. Here's Chris and Thup looking tough, followed by some fair cops in chino shorts throwing us out!

Feeling satisfied with our accomplishment, we spent the rest of the afternoon in the Bollywood tent eating fair food. Check out this photo of SFT love!
More soon from the Bay Area...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

SFT HQ Extreme Makeover 2005

Well, yes, we've been busy here at SFT Headquarters. [click on the picture to enlarge] We've completely overhauled our office space in New York. Okay, we're not quite there yet. But we're rolling, and we're already excited about the changes. More space, better space, better equipment, better organized all-around, etc. We're preparing for a big school year and we won't have time to do this stuff then. Actually, in a lot of ways, we feel like we're renovating now in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. We're putting our "house in order" so that we can focus fully on the next 3 years - 2008 will be here sooner than we think!

It's been fun though, thanks to some great volunteers and several local board members. We even finally got rid of lots of old computers that were taking up a tremendous amount of space here. And after we cleaned off all the information, we put 'em out in board member Sam's truck... where a handful of them were taken by friendly neighbors (there was a sign reading "free computers"). We hope you enjpy them!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

SFT works for global peace and non-violence

From the New York Times: "At a demonstration near President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Tex., Kathy Nikeef carried crosses memorializing Americans killed in Iraq." full article here

Kathy is a former SFT Board Member, and we're proud that she's representing down in Texas, in support of Cindy Sheehan. Go Kathy!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I need your input!

Some of you may seen the mobile ringtone and wallpaper site I launched last year. Its called "Mobile-ize For Tibet" and its currently located at http://www.sftonline.org/ring. For a donation of $3 to SFT, you can get a cool background image for your phone (such as the one to the left), or a ringtone of Long-sho or Lhabhu Dhabhu.

Now I say "some of you" because the whole problem with the service has been the inability to market it, due both to time and money. I still think it could be very popular, particularly if I improve a few things:

1) New website design to improve usability, general look

2) Add new wallpapers, ringtones, on a regular basis (each month?)

3) Increase marketing through word of mouth, banner ads on phayul, etc., fliers, stickers, etc. especially towards Tibetan youth

4) And most importantly, find a *NEW NAME*. We need a name thats catchy and fun - TibetTones.com? TibetRing? RangzenRingers? YakTone?

Please post your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below. I'm really looking forward to hearing your ideas. This could be a great bit of extra income for SFT!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Latest March for Tibet's Independence Concludes

Accompanied by dozens of local Tibetans and supporters, twenty-some tired, sweaty and sore activists limped into Dag Hammerskold Plaza across from the U.N. around noon today, officially concluding their walk from Boston to New York, International Tibet Independence Movement's (ITIM) latest "March for Tibet's Independence."

After some slogan-shouting and the singing of the Tibetan National Anthem, all of the walkers introduced themselves and received khatas. There were speeches by, among others, ITIM's president Larry Gerstein and by Jigme Norbu, the son of Taktser Rinpoche, the Dalai Lama's older brother who has never wavered from his insistence that Tibetans continue to seek complete independence. Larry and Jigme la and his patriotic father and ITIM Board members and supporters and the walkers, not just this march but all of them (ten marches in about as many years? ...and this was a short one) deserve admiration for their commitment to the Tibetan cause.

I was also invited to give a speech. I basically said, hey, we have almost exactly three years until the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Chinese Gov't thinks it's their big opportunity to come out as the open, progressive, happy, new and improved One China. We say our big opportunity to create a real political crisis for them on the eve of the Games, while they squirm uncomfortably in the bright hot spotlight.

I think the speech went over pretty well because no one seemed to mind that I was basically soaking wet. Uhg, it was the hottest, most humid day in NYC yet this year. Nasty. Well, small complaints in the scheme of things, eh? Yes. Onward!

Friday, August 12, 2005

SFT India Fever: Youth Rocking Dharamsala

Everyone digs Tendor's post [below] from Dharamsala and we only want more. So check out the latest excellent article from Tenzin Tsundue, SFT India's unofficial chief advisor (a Gandhi-esque Karl Rove), in this month's Tibetan World Magazine.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Dharamsala belongs to them!!!

DHARAMSALA - The seat of the Tibetan Government in Exile, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and now SFT India too!
So yesterday I walked down to the Tsuklakhang crossroads and took a left turn onto the steep, steep road that leads to Exile House. The road is actually not much bigger than a footpath, but it's called a 'road' because the reckless cabbies of Dharamsala ply their cabs up and down this path at 100 km/hour as if they're on the highway to... hell. Any way, so I walked down that path/road to the ground floor of Exile House and knocked on a door that sported a small but highly visible SFT sticker. The door opened and I saw the familiar face of Choeying, SFT India's National Coordinator. Choeying and I chatted for a long time - there was much to talk about. SFT India has been coordinating a freakish streak of events in the past year, including their powerful street theater on Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, the hugely successful Rangzen Concert on March 10th, and most recently, the modest but super cool film event aimed at bringing progressive, art house cinema to small town Dharamsala audience. Although the office was just recently set up, it boasted a new computer set - this computer will soon receive many, many deadly viruses from the Chinese government-hired hackers - and a painting of March 10th by SFT's in-house painter and Bob Marley fanatic Jamyang.

Around seven in the evening, SFT India's unofficial board members all converged upon the small but neatly arranged office room. In the kitchen there were Yungdrung (former TYC hunger striker) and Tenzin Tsering (a young and enthusiastic volunteer) stoking the fire and stirring the dal. In the main office room, there were Jamyang, Choeying, Karma Sichoe (also former hunger striker and a thangka painter), Jhangchub (a brilliant rebel with a sweet tooth for art films) and Tsundue (who needs no introduction). Hearing them out on what latest adventures they've been upto, what we should be doing to accelerate the fight for Rangzen, and what they want to do in the coming year or two, it became clear to me that this tight group of shabbily-dressed youngsters will change this town... and a lot more. They will give China one hell of a headache!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Board meeting success!

We're finishing up the SFT International board meeting in upstate New York and it's all good! There are 14 members of the Board present along with Matt, Han and Lhadon. We're missing Tendor but know he's rocking it in Dharamsala. So many great plans and so much money to raise so that SFTers can kick ass in the coming year. More soon.

(written by Lhadon)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

SFT India office at Exile House in Dharamsala

How cool is this? SFT India is in their new digs: Lhasang Tsering's "Exile House" in Dharamsala. Congrats to all the selfless & hardworking members of SFT India and thanks for never giving up and taking SFT to the next level in India. This marks the beginning of a new era for SFT around the world. Watch out China! Soon, Tendor will arive back in India for the first time since he moved to the U.S. six years ago. He's looking forward to visiting his family and old friends and working together with Choeying & all SFT India/Dharamsala members to plot the end of the Chinese occupation of Tibet (or at least the beginning of the end.)
Photo: (front left to right) Tsering Ngodup, Board member, Choeying, SFT India National Coordinator, Jamyang, Board member (back) Donyoe, SFT India web master