As the exile Tibetans on Thursday celebrated 25 years of Nobel Peace Prize to spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, the two Women Nobel Peace Laureates, who were present on the occasion, said boycotting the World Summit in Cape Town was message of protest against China.
“Our protest was not against our friends of the host country who had invited us, but it was a message of protest against China,” said Jody Williams, the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize winner, adding that it was message of protest against the government (South African) who sold their soul and sovereignty to China.
“We want China and countries that succumb to its pressure and restrict Dalai Lama's freedom of movement to hear that we firmly stand with His Holiness and Tibetans living in occupation and in exile,” said the Nobel Peace laureate.
She expressed sadness on not being able to go to South Africa. “It would have been awesome to celebrate the legacy of 'Super Laureate' Nelson Mandela,” she said.
Speaking on the occasion, Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, said the respect she has for the Dalai Lama has grown after seeing his world and his people preserving their culture and tradition.
“These are difficult days for you people living in exile. Fortunately, you have His Holiness who teaches peaceful resistance,” said Ebadi.
She said people of the world have learnt a lot from the Dalai Lama. "People have learnt not to lose hope. All the difficulties will come to an end. No one can prevent the sun from rising. Neither could anyone cover up the truth. The only thing people need is to stay tolerant,” Ebadi said.
“The day is not far when we will celebrate a free Tibet in presence of the Dalai Lama. I hope the government of China will learn from the Dalai Lama what the world has already learnt – love and compassion’,” she hoped.
Urging China to respect rights of Tibetan and other ethnic minorities, Ebadi said violence was like a virus and it would be difficult for any government to continue with such virus.
Islam is not violent religion, Ebadi said, but some groups were abusing Islam by killing people in the Middle-East.
“Islam and Holy Quran teach us love and forgiveness,” she asserted. She also said United Nations declared October 2, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, as International Day of non- violence after she had mentioned it in a speech in Indian Parliament in 2005.
Sikyong (Tiebtan Prime Minister –in- exile) Lobsang Sangay, while addressing the gathering, said Mahatma Gandhi was one person who truly deserved Nobel Peace prize, but missed it.
“Given his contribution for non- violence and peace, he is the true Nobel Peace Laureate,” said Sangay.
Speaker of exile Tibetan parliament, Pempa Tsering, on the occasion, urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to give freedom to his own people and minorities.
“Give your people freedom and see how much people will love you and some day you could also be Nobel Peace laureate,” said Tsering.
Students and Tibetan artists presented a colourful cultural programme on the occasion, showcasing the rich and vibrant traditions of Tibet.