What is Lhakar?
We have created Lhakar Diaries to honor the Lhakar Movement and stand in solidarity with Tibetans inside who are fighting for the survival of the Tibetan nation and identity. This is a space for us Tibetans to come together to talk about what we think it means to be Tibetan in the diaspora context, for young Tibetans to explore our own thoughts, ideas and questions about our identities as Tibetans. We encourage young Tibetans to join us to post stories, thoughts, art, music, and videos of any sort that you think feel contributes to exploration and empowerment of the Tibetan identity.
We also hope this space will be used to demystify our supporters’ ideas about Tibet and bust stereotypes of Tibetans. Although we want to make Lhakar Diaries a platform for the voices of Tibetans, we welcome supporters (allies) to send us urgent posts if and when a Tibetan voice cannot reach Lhakar Diaries. For example, see “The Voice of Tawu” in which Gabrielle served as the medium to bring us “The Voice of Tawu” in the form of an anonymous interview. Although Gabrielle was the one to type up the post, the emphasis was (and must be) the voice of Tibetans.
Lhakar Diaries is a platform created by and for Tibetans. So that we can speak for ourselves, about our issues.
Lhakar, meaning ‘White Wednesday,’ (the Dalai Lama’s ‘soul day’) is about resisting China’s occupation and the pressure to become sinicized by making the effort each Wednesday to speak the Tibetan language, wear Tibetan clothes, eat Tibetan food and shop at Tibetan merchants. Lhakar is about being Tibetan.
These seemingly benign actions anywhere else in the world have huge significance and importance inside Tibet. Such shows of resistance are not only inspiring as evidence of the resolve of Tibetans who are suffering severe crackdowns, but are clear signs of the next phase of the Tibetan freedom struggle: non-cooperation. We believe this will ultimately be our biggest weapon and China’s weakest point.
In this spirit, Lhakar Diaries will post, from our respective homes around the world, actions that we in exile take each Wednesday to honor, promote and celebrate the distinct Tibetan identity. In addition, we will post regular updates, images, and anything else we find interesting and relevant. So check us out, on the regular. Ya dig?
High Peaks Pure Earth has translated the original posting about Lhakar by a Tibetan blogger, June 9, 2010 on tibet123.org (a site which was shut down by Chinese censors not long after). In the post, the blogger writes:
“The Lhakar Pledge”:
1. The Nature of the Movement
This modest movement called Lhakar comes from the fact that I am Tibetan, and it is like a note reminding us that we are Tibetan in our daily life. Through this movement, we restore, renovate and keep our language, culture, identity and tradition.
Through this technique we can keep the people of the Snowland’s soul language till the end of humankind. This technique helps us retain Tibetan culture, Tibetan good morals and the traditions which are born from our soul language. This technique is easy and it is meaningful.
This Lhakar movement began in anticipation as remedial medicine for hundreds of diseases for Tibetan brothers and sisters who live in every region. I hope that many Tibetan brothers and sisters will participate in this movement without any invitation and follow the eight promises or keep even one of them, and practice it. I am requesting all Tibetans to keep this pledge as I kneel down on my knees and humbly fold my hands on my chest, and make this request innumerable times.
- I am Tibetan, from today I will speak pure Tibetan in my family.
- I am Tibetan, from today I will speak pure Tibetan whenever I meet a Tibetan.
- I am Tibetan, from today I will remind myself every day that I am a Tibetan till I die.
- I am Tibetan, from today I will wear only Tibetan traditional dress, chuba, every Wednesday.
- I am Tibetan, from today I will speak only Tibetan every Wednesday.
- I am Tibetan, from today I will learn Tibetan language.
- I am Tibetan, from today I will stop eating meat and only eat a vegetarian diet and gain more merit every Wednesday.
- I am Tibetan, from today I will only use Tibetan and speak Tibetan when I call or send a message to Tibetans
For more information, or if you’d like to contribute, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org