ERIN POTTS Happy Human Rights Day everyone!
Nima Hi Erin, Welcome! Congratulations for all the success on this!
CHRIS Hi Erin! Any plans to have another Freedom Concert?
ERIN POTTS You never know when Milarepa might do something, but as of yet there are no public plans. We are full of suprises! Hey Nima you should be answering these questions!
Nima I will help whenever I can... I am a Tibetan now living in Canada
CHRIS Erin, have you met the Dalai Lama?
ERIN POTTS Yes I have met the Dalai Lama. It was a very amazing experience. He has a very calm presence and a warm smile.
Nima Erin, Did you go on the Tibetan Freedom Concert on tour? What was the response like for that?
ERIN POTTS The Tibetan Freedom Tour... we traveled around the Northeast and midwest to High Schools and colleges educating everyone about Tibet. It was an effort... the concert reached so many people in just one day, and we wanted to do more, so we put this event together with some other organizations.
Sonicmod How did the proceeds of the concert go to help Tibet?
ERIN POTTS We just distributed our first round of grants to other non-for profit organizations. There are about 12 groups who received money from us. We will be giving out 3 more rounds of grants over the next year from the same moneys raised from the concert.
Nima How does Milarepa and Students for Free Tibet work together?
ERIN POTTS Milarepa has a lot of connections we are able to draw in a lot of attention from young people. We also work closely on Campaigns.
Sonicmod What do you think about President Clinton's turn-around in his stance toward economic sanctions toward China?
ERIN POTTS I think that the president is in a difficult position. Often in their 2nd term they do the right thing, b/c they won't be able to be re-elected.
Dania What is Hong Kong planning on doing July 1st with China's Reclaim from Britain....
ERIN POTTS There has already begun to be a re-shift with property. When July 1 comes a lot of the transition will have happened. I do hope that there are no demonstrations. It's really hard to predict what will happen.
Sonicmod What do predict will happen with the fight over choosing the Dalai Lama's successor?
ERIN POTTS Thank god there is no need for a successor yet. His Holiness is very healthy. He has stated that he will not reincarnate the way Dalai Lamas have in the past.
CHRIS Erin, what other Asian countries have allied with the Tibetan Cause?
ERIN POTTS There are parts of all of the countries in Asia. In Nepal there are a lot of Tibetan supporters b/c they see them come over the border very frequently. In India it is the same. All over we are finding that people support Tibet. Governments don't.
CHRIS Yes, I guess that's what I meant... How many governments recognized the Dalai Lama as the political leader?
ERIN POTTS None. I think that Czech, before its split, recognized the Dalai Lama. Basically no governments recognize His Holiness as a political leader, just a spiritual one.
Nima Many government leaders have welcomed the Dalai Lama but almost all make it a point to say that they are inviting him as a religious leader. The governments still lack the courage.
LoraP Erin, do you know of other groups that connect rock n' roll with social responsibility? Any in NYC?
ERIN POTTS There is: Artists for a Hate Free America, Rock For Choice, Amnesty International, Farm Aid, Live Aid, Greenpeace and there is a group called Concerts for the Environment. A lot of people are doing it.
Sonicmod What efforts have Amnesty International made to help political prisoners from Tibet?
ERIN POTTS They are constantly doing letter writing campaigns, bombarding the government with letters on behalf of prisoners. Today, here in SF they are holding a demonstration outside the Chinese Consulate.
Sonicmod What do you think the Chinese will do if there are demonstrations in Hong Kong?
ERIN POTTS Probably meet those demonstrations with the same way they treated others: pretty violent scenes to be coming out of Hong Kong. I
think that the Chinese government has done a good job trying to scare the Hong Kong citizens.
CHRIS Would you say that the situation in South Africa would be parallel to Tibet? That Nelson Mandela was a political prisoner & now -- thank god -- he is the political leader of the country. I mean, it may be a
different situation, but similar?
ERIN POTTS In a lot of ways, yes, it is similar. And in a lot of ways it is dissimilar. China is a lot bigger in a lot of ways. The US was very supportive at the beginning of the problems in South Africa. We will see our government change their minds...
Nima South African government has now decided to sever all ties with Taiwan and be in with the PRC. Mandela did meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama recently in SA. China objected as usual.
CHRIS I read about Disney not giving in to China's demands that they stop this film they are distributing about the Dalai Lama. I think there is a glimmer of hope right there...
ERIN POTTS I think that when you look at what Disney has actually said -- they didn't stand up to china in the media. However, I do think it is important that a huge corporation is standing up to China.
Nima The lesson Disney learned is not very different from what McDonald's and others are learning. You cannot win by doing business with China. China has not learned to play fair -- they will never learn to play fair as long as the dictatorial regime is in power.
ERIN POTTS I encourage everyone to think about what today means, about the declaration of Human Rights. I think that it is important exercise for us.
Nima I think if Disney had succumbed to China's pressure they would have lost Scorcesse from their pool. Part of the deal apparently was that Scorcesse would join Disney's talent pool if Disney distributes "Kundun",
the film on the Dalai Lama. BTW, there is also another film on Tibet being filmed in Argentina on Heinrich Harrer's Seven Years in Tibet with Brad Pitts in starring role -- this is being distributed by Columbia Pictures.
Aside, here is that website on a series of articles on Tibet. The articles are very very good. It is the Philadelphia Inquirer's web page link.
Ten: Tashi delek all :)
ERIN POTTS Get in touch with organizations... 212-481-3569 is the number for Students For a Free Tibet. Milarepa: 1-888-Milarepa. We can also get you in touch with other organizations. In a lot of cities there will be demonstrations. Call your local Amnesty International. Please go out and show your support.