I would like to take this opportunity to wish a very happy birthday to the Dalai Lama today as he turns 75. If only he could celebrate it with the gift of a free Tibet. The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Tibet and has so far spent 50 years in exile, courtesy of the Chinese authorities. Click here to send your support and birthday wishes. Many people hope that Tibet will be free within his lifetime, that’s a wonderful thought, but personally I believe that China will hold out much much longer. China invaded Tibet 60 years ago in 1950 and the 14th Dalai Lama eventually fled to Northern India in 1959.
The first Free Tibet music concert was held in San Francisco in 1996 and featured the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bjork, Smashing Pumpkins, Cibo Matto, Rage Against The Machine and De La Soul. The main aim was to raise awareness of the plight of Tibet among younger people, but it also raised $800k for Tibetan justice causes. More than 100,000 people attended the first show. Among the biggest supporters of the Free Tibet campaign in the music world have been the Beastie Boys. As recently as last year the Chinese government prevented Oasis from playing in China because Noel Gallagher had played a Tibet benefit some years before. Bjork caused the Chinese some problems and is unlikely to be welcomed back after chanting Tibet, Tibet at the end of her song ‘Declare Independence’ at a show in Shanghai in 2008
Anthony Kiedis off of the Red Hot Chili Peppers met the Dalai Lama on a trip to India in 1996 and has a wonderfully comic description of that meeting in his autobiography.
This video is Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood performing ‘Exit Music’ at a Free Tibet concert
Bjork sings “Declare Independence” and shows the Tibetan flag
I will close this post with David Bowie’s excellent “Seven Years In Tibet” Alternatively you can hear the Mandarin version of the song by clicking here