By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review
February 13 has emerged as a potentially important new holiday in the Tibetan calendar, in a development that could indicate new self-confidence in the Tibetan struggle even as Tibet continues to experience a tragic series of self-immolations.
This year, Tibetan activists and support groups around the world marked the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Tibetan Proclamation of Independence from China, according to Radio Free Asia.
Until this year, while Tibetans were generally aware of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama’s 1913 proclamation re-asserting Tibet's long-standing independence, few probably knew that it was issued on the 8th Day of the 1st Month in the Female Water-Bull-Year, i.e. February 13, 1913. Now, however, looking at the activities around this day and at the widespread reporting in the Tibetan media, it is safe to say that that February 13 is firmly established in many Tibetan minds (obviously it is hard to measure this in Tibet, but certainly in exile).
In a sense, Tibetan history has literally been made, with a new national holiday commemorating the nation’s independence. Moreover, this commemoration is a unifying one that all Tibetans can support, even those who seek an autonomous status within China; all agree that Tibet has a history as an independent state.
Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) was quoted as saying, “Every country has an independence or national day regardless of its current political status and Tibet is no exception.” Interestingly, the Washington Post just conducted a worldwide comparison of those countries who celebrate independence versus those who celebrate a revolution-related or unification-related national day. (The Washington Post’s map has been modified by TPR to include Tibet, which is colored green to indicate the commemoration of Tibetan Independence Day.) The new commemoration of Tibetan Independence Day on February 13 puts Tibet squarely in the company of the majority of the world's countries which have suffered colonization or occupation in their past.
Click Map for Larger Version
Map by Washington Post - modified by TPR (to show Tibet) pursuant to fair use
As a next step, the Tibetan Youth Association of Europe has launched an unprecedented petition campaign to the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile to officially recognize February 13 as Tibetan Independence Day. As far as we know, there has never before been an organized petition campaign directed to the Tibetan Parliament, which is an exciting step in Tibetan democracy. The petition can be signed at www.be-tibet.com. We urge all members of the Tibetan Parliament to support this valuable goal of officially recognizing February 13 as Tibetan Independence Day.