Festival of Tibet

…article written by Lily Banks

QACI students were privileged to attend and film Brisbane’s Festival of Tibet, an important event in world politics, not just exclusive to Tibet. The festival itself was peaceful with the presence of majority Buddhist people, and an underlying feeling of immense power and purpose was experienced by all in attendance. Each person understood and was present to learn about Tibet’s situation, which, after an interview from Peter Barclay, the Tibetan Prime Minister, revealed to be dire.

On the Thursday night, QACI’s music students performed political songs of freedom from 1968, and Tibetan musician and event-coordinator Tenzin Choegyal’s beautiful piece Snow Lion. The latter part of the night was filled with classical, fusion and other fascinating performances, an insight into a beautiful art form foreign to too many of us. While filming the night, I had the privilege of talking to a few of the artists, many of whom were fascinated as to the nature of our school, the inspired and talented students, and how politically active and conscientious we are.

I spent the entire Thursday with three other fellow Geese, and one very easily learnt much about traditional and spiritual Tibetan culture as well as current political and social problems and those ongoing since the Chinese claimed Tibet in 1950. One could arrive specifically for yoga instruction, meditation or a tutorial in cooking Momos, but throughout the day Buddhist monks and nuns were ready for conversation. Books and similar merchandise was for sale and sand mandalas were being created with patience and absolute skill.

Saturday’s event had an air of importance, only a small amount more than the previous days, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of QACI students returning to listen to the Tibetan Prime Minister (who is one of the easier politicians to listen to). He began his interview with a light-hearted joke about his previous visit, delved into the specifics of the political situation in Tibet – himself having been exiled – and how the Tibetan people’s ‘altitude and attitude’ will save them from the clutch of the Chinese government.

Such an event is important for any conscious citizen, but for high-school students, it was an incredible honour to be invited and warmly welcomed to the festival, and certainly a learning experience for us all.