Tibetans engage in grassroots movements to support Dalai Lama
A multitude of grassroots movements have taken place over the past few days and chants of “Media Shame”, and #istandwithdalailama have rung loud as Tibetans across the world campaigned to condemn media houses and social media influencers who have twisted a playful interaction between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and a young Indian boy from an event in February in Dharamshala.
Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement in Karnataka, South India on Tuesday, kicked off a peace rally from Sera Monastery to Lugsam Camp (Camp No. 1), covering a distance of 5.8 km, calling for the boycott of some media houses for their misinterpretation of the Dalai Lama’s affection towards the young boy. Images and videos coming from the Tibetan settlement show demonstrators holding ‘white scarf’ to send a message of condemnation to the media houses. The use of white scarf has led to the protest rally being labelled the ‘White Scarf Movement’, an initiative initially formed by a group of 10 Tibetan monks and later joined by Tibetan masses who are followers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Bylakuppe.
Speaking to Phayul on the White Scarf Movement, Tenga Rangzen, one of the demonstrators, said, “Our purpose of using the ‘white scarf’ is because the colour ‘white’ evokes purity and our supreme spiritual leader is a testament of cleanliness. Through the White Scarf Movement, we intend to declare that the Dalai Lama’s interaction with the young Indian boy was an innocent act of playfulness.” Tenga also added that he hopes this movement will inspire Tibetans around the world and told Phayul that Tibetans in Belgium are also planning to organise the White Scarf Movement.
The organisers said that among its demands is to urge the media houses to “telecast the full video of His Holiness’ interaction with the audience on February 28” and to immediately issue a letter of apology for having defamed him.
Delhi-based Tibetan Cancer Society launched a petition drive titled, “I stand for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama” on the online public forum, change.org. The NGO on their social media handle said the petition is to press all the news media outlets and social media influencers for negatively contextualising the short video clip with the purpose of commercial sensationalisation on their platforms. The e-petitions have received a total of over 40,000 signees, becoming one of the top petitions on Change.org.