Washington DC, (August 5, 2008) – The Art of Peace Foundation announced today that tracks from their upcoming album, ‘Songs for Tibet – The Art of Peace’ have been available as a free download to Olympic athletes worldwide. ‘Songs for Tibet’ includes original tracks by artists including Sting, Alanis Morissette, Moby, and Dave Matthews, composed as an expression of support for the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people. “First and foremost, we hope the athletes are inspired by the music, but the initiative also draws attention to the lack of fundamental freedoms for those under Chinese rule, including Tibetans,” said Michael Wohl, Executive Director of the Art of Peace Foundation.
Beijing was awarded the Olympics based on assurances that they would adopt fundamental norms and values of the international community, including unfettered media access and improved human rights conditions for its citizens. As these values have not been honored, Beijing is in non-compliance with their agreement for holding the Olympics. Nonetheless, athletes at Olympic venues, including the Olympic Village, could in theory be forced out of the Olympics and have their medals revoked for expressing dissatisfaction with this non-compliance and criticism about China’s treatment of Tibet.
Playing ‘Songs for Tibet’ on an iPod provides Olympic athletes with an acceptable way to make a statement about the repressive atmosphere of the Games and support free expression, says Michael Wohl, who adds: “We began contacting athletes as soon as the album was done. We knew once the athletes were in Beijing, ‘The Great Firewall of China’ might prevent accessibility to downloads.” The Great Firewall is the massive Chinese internet monitoring and censorship system.
“We support the Olympics, the athletes and the accomplishments of the Chinese citizens in hosting the Olympics,” added Wohl. “If Olympic athletes cannot speak their conscience, however, the Chinese government is treating Olympic athletes like modern day gladiators to be used for sport and entertainment. This is against everything the Olympics stand for. One can’t support the Olympics while denying athletes their fundamental freedom of speaking the truth.”
Mary Beth Markey, Vice President for Advocacy of the International Campaign for Tibet said: “This initiative is a wonderful statement about freedom of expression, and a reminder to those in Beijing for the Games to remember the crisis in Tibet.” ‘Songs for Tibet’ is also supported by the initiative, ‘Sports for Peace’, which has organised a petition signed so far by more than 100 world class athletes, including a number of Olympic Gold medalists, to China’s President Hu Jintao (http://www.sportsforpeace.de). The petition calls for an improvement in human rights in China and a peaceful solution for the issue of Tibet.
Olympic athletes wishing to download the album can do so by contacting AOPC@ArtOfPeaceFoundation.org. A video for the project by Mark Pellington entitled, ‘Songs for Tibet – Freedom is Expression’ will be on YouTube, and is available for websites and broadcast use.
Beginning August 5, the week of the opening of the Olympics, ‘Songs for Tibet – The Art of Peace,’ will be available worldwide exclusively through iTunes. On August 12, it will be available through all retail channels worldwide, including Amazon.
A press conference will take place August 7th at the Jacobson Howard Gallery, 33 East 68th Street, NY, NY 10065, at 11:00 am EST.
To participate in the teleconference call:
In the USA/Canada Toll-Free Access #: 1-800-914-8405
Outside the US/Canada: 1-647-723-6919
Access Code: 0389668
Speakers: Executive Director Michael Wohl, Album Producer Rupert Hine, some contributing artists (names not confirmed) and Professor Robert Thurman, a former monk who studied with the Dalai Lama whose new book is entitled ‘Why the Dalai Lama Matters’.
For information about the music project or the conference call:
Elizabeth Freund, Beautiful Day Media
Tel: +1 718-858-3550
For information about Tibet:
Kate Saunders, International Campaign for Tibet, London
Tel: +44 7947 138612
ICT’s new report, ‘Tibet at a Turning Point: The Spring Uprising and China’s New Crackdown’, is available for downloading »
About The Art of Peace Foundation
The Art of Peace Foundation is a 501(C)(3) non-profit founded on the Dalai Lama’s belief of ‘Universal Responsibility.’ The Foundation’s mission is to engage the world in a proactive way while remaining grounded in the Dalai Lama’s vision of non-violence. Besides raising awareness and support for Tibet and the Dalai Lama at this critical moment, proceeds that the foundation receives from the sale of the album will support initiatives important to the Dalai Lama for the promotion of peace and Tibetan cultural preservation projects. For more on The Great Firewall of China and the music project, please visit http://www.ArtOfPeaceFoundation.org
About Meridian Trust
The Art of Peace Foundation also works with their UK partner, Meridian Trust, to preserve Tibetan cultural traditions. Meridian Trust’s patron is the Dalai Lama, who has asked them to raise the awareness of Tibetan cultural traditions. http://www.Meridian-Trust.org
About the International Campaign for Tibet
The International Campaign for Tibet (https://savetibet.org) works to promote human rights and democratic freedoms for the people of Tibet. ICT
monitors and reports on human rights, environmental and socio economic conditions in Tibet,
advocates for Tibetans imprisoned for their political or religious beliefs,
works with governments to develop policies and programs to help Tibetans,
secures humanitarian and development assistance for Tibetans,
mobilizes individuals and the international community to take action on behalf of Tibetans, and
promotes self-determination for the Tibetan people through negotiations between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama.