Dharamsala, India – U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at the Public Felicitation Ceremony hosted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Tsuglagkhang Temple in honor of the visit by a bipartisan Congressional delegation.
The following is a transcript of her remarks:
“To each of you personally I say: Tashi delek! Tashi delek! Tashi delek! Tashi delek! Thank you very much.
“I’m very honored to be here, anytime any of us can be here in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is a special, special occasion. And I’m proud to here with a delegation from across America, bringing greetings to all of you from the people of America.
“I want my colleagues to stand up and join me up here – I’m not going to speak long. But I want to associate myself with remarks of my co-chair of the delegation Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner who spoke so beautifully about the bipartisan, Democrats and Republicans alike, supporting the aspirations of the Tibetan people.
“Now, just to show you from how many places in our country – Mr. [Jim] Sensenbrenner is from Wisconsin, Eliot Engel is from New York, Jim McGovern is from Massachusetts, Betty McCollum is from Minnesota, Judy Chu is from California, Joyce Beatty is from Ohio and Pramila Jayapal is from the state of Washington – you heard from her. I want to say how proud we are to be here with Chargé d’Affaires MaryKay Carlson from the American Embassy in New Delhi.
“So I understand that this beautiful song about His Holiness, his 80th birthday, is a wish that he lives to be 113 years old. I have enjoyed and I associate myself with that remark and I know it’s good news to the government of Beijing.
“We are all here to pay tribute to His Holiness, a visionary, a man of compassion, a man of hope, [who] we are seeing on our visit. We came to see you. You have inspired us with your hope.
“I am more hopeful than ever that we will meet the challenges that face us. My hope springs from His Holiness’ message of compassion. Hope exists. People say, ‘where is hope?’ Hope exists right where His Holiness tells us, right between faith, deep faith and religion as compassion, faith and the belief that people are good. Our faith in the goodness of others, and their compassion gives us hope.
“Anyone who visits the Tibetan people whether in Tibet, here or anywhere in the world, as we did in Nepal, as Mr. McGovern mentioned earlier, see the determination that you have to preserve the authenticity of being Tibetan.
“When you see the sparkle in the eyes of the children, yesterday at the Children’s Village. We saw hope that they will one day return home to Tibet.
“We saw the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts last night and today, we saw the hope that they will bring the authenticity of the Tibetan art home to Tibet. Thank you to all of you.
“When we heard the Leadership of Dr. [Lobsang] Sangay, speaker here, leadership of the court [of the Central Tibetan Administration], we saw hope for the progress of freedom for Tibet.
“We were – Joyce Beatty – oh, excuse me, Joyce Beatty is here from Ohio and she is with us from Ohio.
“Joyce Beatty came with us last year to Tibet, as did Betty McCollum [and] Jim McGovern. We went to the Potala Palace, and we saw a room where His Holiness lived. And we promised each other then and there that we would do everything in our power to make sure he would return to that place.
“Most of all we’re inspired by his message of hope – not only for Tibetans but as my colleagues have said, ‘for the dignity of all people, wherever they are, throughout the world.’
“I was honored to be Speaker of the House [of Representatives] when His Holiness received the Congressional Gold Medal, as a President [Dr. Lobsang] Sangay said, it was a special tribute as President George W. Bush came and the First Lady, Mrs. Bush came as well. With the Gold Medal, we honored the Tibetan people, all of you. Again, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his, ‘many enduring and outstanding contributions to peace, non-violence, human rights and religious understanding.’
“You know that when he received the Nobel Peace Prize, he was the first person to receive the prize for all of those things plus the first person to receive it for his leadership and vision for protecting God’s creation: the environment. Thank you, His Holiness.
“So many people came the day of our giving the medal – a Gold Medal to His Holiness that we had to have an additional outside ceremony such as this. Thousands of people came from all over America to witness his award, but also to be inspired by His Holiness and to congratulate him.
“What we see here today in support of the Tibetan people – we have said, as we stayed here – we have said to the top leadership of the Chinese Government. We recognize that China weighs heavily on any country, any corporation, any person – Richard Gere can attest to that – who speaks out for the Tibetan people. China uses its economic leverage to silence the voices of friends of Tibet. But if we do not speak out against oppression in Tibet because of China’s economic power, we lose all moral authority to talk about human rights anywhere else in the world.
“We will not be silenced. He will not be silenced.
“So the brutal tactics of the Chinese Government – I will not go into that because His Holiness prayed for me that I would rid myself of my negative attitudes [towards China] – but brutal tactics of the Chinese Government to erase the religion, culture and language of the Tibetan people challenges the conscience of the world. We will meet that challenge. Working together we will meet that challenge.
“While we were in Tibet, they said to us, ‘We support religion. We gilded the roofs of the temple. We painted the roofs of the temple. We gilded the roofs.’ We said back to them, ‘We’re not interested in what you’re gilding the roofs. We’re interested in that you’re guarding the minds of the children. And we’re interested in freedom of education, of culture, and the vision in Tibet, not painting the roofs of the temple.’
“And so again, my colleague, Mr. Sensenbrenner began as the co-leader of this delegation, and I will close by saying to some in China: we hope they will see the light. And with His Holiness’ prayer and vision – all of your prayers and vision – a dream can come true that they recognize that something is missing there, that they will see the light.
“To some in China, an autonomous, authentic Tibet is inconceivable. To us, it is inevitable. It is inevitable. So we must shorten the distance between ‘inconceivable’ to them and the inevitable to us. Working together, we will do that. We will make sure they see the light. I’m certain that with your devotion, your determination, your commitment to Tibetan values, culture, language, religion – and under the leadership of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, who will live to be at least 113 years old, I am certain that we will succeed. Thank you very much. Tashi delek.”