This happens every year. I get something in the mail from the Dalai Lama via a letter from Richard Gere. Last year, I got a Tibetan flag decal and actually did a post on it because the symbolism is very appealing to me.
This year I received a tiny 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" bundle of prayer flags strung together into a garland. Before I opened it, I took these photos of the front and back in case I couldn't put it back together again.
After carefully opening the bundle, I spread out these 5 gorgeous flags made from very fine paper. Richard Gere says they're an expression of Tibetan culture and identity.
For 18 years now, The International Campaign for Tibet (of which Richard Gere is Chairman of the Board and a Buddhist) has worked on behalf of human rights and self-determination for the Tibetan people, who cannot speak out for themselves without risking imprisonment, torture and possible death.
This post is not about Buddhism per se. Or the Dalai Lama. Or Richard Gere. Or even of China's occupation of and tyranny over Tibet. This post is about the right for any culture/religion to exist, period!
The mailing I received asked me to affirm Religious Freedom for Tibet by signing and sending the following to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:
WHEREAS... The people of Tibet, led by the Dalai Lama, are struggling to maintain a magnificent and spiritual culture on Earth; and,
WHEREAS... The tyranny that has driven more than one hundred thousand Tibetans from their homeland and threatened the existence of Tibetan culture is an affront to all humankind; and,
WHEREAS... Confronting the issue of Tibet is a basic issue of morality, a definining action for human community.
THEREFORE... I affirm my deep commitment to religious and spiritual liberty by calling on you to take immediate and dramatic action to save Tibet's religious and cultural heritage.
There are some things that absolutely outrage me and this is one of them. Why would anyone think it's okay for them to have cultural/religious freedom without allowing it for everyone else! And why in God's name would the existance of another's diminish our own?! This isn't the only place or time. And it's happening closer to home than we think. No wonder our world is so messed up!
God have mercy on us all! PLEASE.