Vienna: On the 15th of May, a press conference was held in Vienna, Austria regarding the European Tibet Solidarity movement that is to be held on 26th of May. The spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness Dalai Lama and the political leader of Tibet, Dr. Lobsang Sangay will both be present at the movement.
Tibetan communities from all over the world as well as supporters of the Tibetan cause are expected to attend the movement. A TPI correspondent interviewed some of the delegates present and the conversations are as below:
Matthias Schickofer, event media coordinator.
Q: Could you give us a brief about the event
We're having a press conference today to announce that in the afternoon of 26th of May, there will be a demonstration, called European Solidarity Rally with the Tibetan people in Vienna. His Holiness Dalai Lama will be present at the demonstration and he will give a speech. Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the prime minister for Tibet will also be present. The demonstration will be at Helton Plots and start at 2 p.m. We hope that many people from all over Austria, Slovenia and neighboring countries come to Vienna to raise their voice to support a peaceful and humane solution for Tibet.
Q: How many people will join the gathering?
We don't know how many people will come exactly but we hope that we see at least 5000 people there. If there are more people we will be extremely happy but we need a strong statement, as many people as possible to support the cause of the Tibetan people. So we call on everybody to come.
Q: Did you invite Austrian politicians?
Yes, we invited Austrian politicians and at least two of them will be speaking. It is not finalized so I cannot say anything about who will appear.
Hubert Von Goisern, Famous Austrian musician With Tibetan artist from TIPA, one day, I'd like to produce a Tibetan opera in the west. But we haven't had a chance yet to pull it through. It's also very difficult at that time when I was trying to get in touch with the management of TIPA. They did not like my approach, so we had a problem, but, later I met His Holiness the Dalai Lama and i have explained about my plan to His Holiness. His Holiness likes my approach and asked me to continue., when I finished the modern music CD, I have given it to His Holiness, he said he likes it.
Migmar Wangdu Christoph Raith, President of the Swiss Tibetan French Association, an NGO.
The Swiss Tibetan French Association and The Tibet Youth Association in Europe have initiated the rally. But now, the rally is organized by a huge coalition of the Tibetan communities all over Europe. It is far more important that people know that it is not just Swiss but a European movement. Our idea and message is also that Europe (especially Tibetans in Europe) and the European people (especially the Austrian people) that they should say to the Tibetans in Tibet: "We have not forgotten you- we support you. Do not forget your hope."
The second aim is that we want to tell the European Government "Please, in any high political level or international level, you must raise the Tibetan issue."
The third aim is that we want them to send a Tibet delegation to Tibet and in the near future, they should appoint a special coordinator for
Q: Can you give us a summary of the press conference
The other organizations present were ‘Save Tibet', a Tibetan support group in Vienna, Austria. Mrs. Zimmerman, the president, focused on how the Austrian people have a connection with Tibet and how they support Tibet.
The second participant was Hubert Von Goisen, a well known Austrian musician. He's a longtime friend of Tibet. He visited Tibet and in the press conference, he said that he has seen the situation in Tibet with his own eyes.
The third was a young Tibetan lady; Migmar, a representative of the Tibetan Youth Association (Europe) and she talked about the tour in Austria to inform people about Tibet and our solidarity rally. She will go from tomorrow to all the places where his Holiness makes the tour. I think that it is a good way of how we can mobilize people for the 26th May, Solidarity Rally in Vienna.
My name is Elisabeth Zimmerman and I am from the largest organization: Save Tibet in Austria. I am very familiar with Dharamsala since many years and this will be the 19th time that I will be there. I usually go around the time of the anniversary and this gives me the opportunity to see His Holiness when he is in station. Our organization is especially involved in support of Tibetan children and the sponsorship for refugee children in the cities. We are very proud that we are the second largest support altogether.
Apart from this, we also support organizations like the TWA (Tibetan Women's Association), The Tibetan Charity, and Old People's Home (OPH). We have a lot of children from Choklamsa and other remote areas. We have focused on nomads in Ladakh and we have of course, some secret sources and secret ways to bring money into Tibet itself.
Q: How long have you been involved in the Tibetan cause?
Q: You're also involved today and the upcoming event on the 26th. What do you think about it?
It is great that we have the opportunity and we have to take the chance when His Holiness is in Vienna on his tour. I am very confident that it will be a big success and lots of people; even those who are not aware will come.
Dorjee Sangpo, the president of the Tibetan community in Austria. He explained that Tibetans first moved to Austria in 1970 and the Tibetan community is started in 1990. Few people worked very hard and now around 270 Tibetans live in Austria. He said that usually we organize a lot of movements for the Tibetan cause in Austria. When we organize these types of movements, we usually get a lot of support from "Save Tibet", an NGO and other groups. On 26th of May, we plan to organize the European Tibet Solidarity rally, a movement which is supported by organizations, individuals and the people of Austria. We request people for attend the movement. In Tibet, there is really critical situation so media and politicians cannot go to Tibet as they are prohibited. As Tibetans who stay in Tibet are not free and their human rights are violated, they are trying really hard to send information to the outside world. If we will get more information by the 26thMay, we make the world aware of their situation through announcements and media.
With respect to the movement, the European Tibet Communities have lots of hope and we ask for support from the Governments and the people worldwide so that the Tibetans inside Tibet who should not spend their lives in vain.
Migmar Dakyel, European Tibetan Youth Association, She said that currently there are more than 4,500 Tibetans living in Switzerland. The situation of the Tibetan community and the Tibetan movement is quite good with the support of large organizations such as Swiss Tibetan French Organization, the regional Tibetan Women's Association, and regional Tibetan Youth Congress. In other countries, some pro Tibetan organizations are headed by people of other nationalities and sometimes this causes problems. But in Switzerland, most of these organizations are lead by Tibetans themselves.
In Switzerland, we are always organizing movements and we have a good relationship with the Swiss Government. Currently many members of the Parliaments support the Tibetan movement and when we organize any events or movements, there are no problems in obtaining permissions from the government. We also maintain a very good rapport with the Police Force. She added that in Switzerland, many Tibetans study in universities or have graduated in subjects like law and are educated. This will be a crucial aspect in the future for solving the Tibetan problems.