MADISON - The Flag of Tibet will fly over the City-County Building in Madison, Wisconsin , the seat of local government in Dane County to honor the visit July 19-24 of the Dalai Lama, the exiled leader of Tibetans throughout the world.
Last night the City/County Liaison Committee, a panel of officials representing both the City of Madison and Dane County, voted unanimously to fly the flag in honor of the Dalai Lama’s visit, his seventh to the area. The resolution was authored by Supervisor. Dave de Felice, who has offered previous resolutions in support of Tibetans and their fight for autonomy.
“This is an important time in the history of Tibet because the world spotlight will shine on Tibet’s oppressor, China, when the 2008 Summer Olympics are held in August,” de Felice said. “Flying the Flag of Tibet underscores our commitment to freedom and expresses our unity with the Tibetan people in our community and abroad.”
The Dalai Lama is the political and spiritual leader of Tibetans throughout the world. He lives in exile in India where he presides over the Central Tibetan Administration. As the Olympics approach, Chinese authorities have cracked down on dissent in Tibet. On March 14, Tibetans in their native country attempted to mark the anniversary of a failed uprising against the Chinese in 1959. The demonstrations were met with lethal force. More than 200 Tibetans were reportedly killed and the oppression of Tibetan society, culture and religion has increased.
Lobsang Tenzin, president of the Wisconsin Tibetan Association (WTA) , spoke to the city/county committee about the importance of recognizing Tibet’s struggle.
“The Tibet flag is a symbol throughout the world of human rights and freedom. It is a reminder to all that our struggle for freedom continues,” Tenzin said.
Later in the evening, the Madison Common Council unanimously passed a resolution sponsored by Mayor Dave Cieslewisz, Alder Solomon and Alder Rhodes-Conway honoring the visit of H.H. The Dalai Lama to Madison and supporting the display of the Tibetan national flag over the City-County Building. Members from the Wisconsin Tibetan Association attended the meeting to speak and show their support for the resolution.
Lobsang Tenzin President Wisconsin Tibetan Association thanked the members of the Common Council on behalf of the Tibetan people throughout the world for the care and compassion they had conveyed to the Tibetan people. Tenzin said that their action will help promote peace and justice for Tibet.
Sharpa Tulku, former president of Wisconsin Tibetan Association, thanked the Common Council for taking up the resolution.
"I am honored to take part in the democratic process. I assure you this is not something I take for granted. My fellow countrymen are deprived of the most basic human rights. The resolution sponsored by Mayor Dave and Alderpersons Solomon and Rhodes-Conway is an expression of the values of human rights we cherish and hold so dear to our hearts in this country, the land of freedom and opportunities, " Sharpu Tulku said.
After the Resolution was passed WTA President Lobsang Tenzin presented a Khata (white scarf) to all members of the City/County Liaison Committee and the Madison Common Council. The Khata is a traditional Tibetan form of gratitude.