lotu5 on Wed, 20 Aug 2008 05:19:04 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Graffiti Research Lab Throwies power Tibet Olympics Protest

Photos and videos here: http://freetibet2008.org/globalactions/lightbanner/

AP story here:

Beijing ? Five pro-Tibet activists unfurled a banner spelling out ?Free
Tibet? in English and Chinese in bright blue LED ?throwie? lights in
Beijing?s Olympic Park tonight. The five were detained by security
personnel after displaying the banner for about 20 seconds at 11:48 pm
August 19th. Their whereabouts are currently unknown. Read the press

The detained activists are Americans Amy Johnson, 33, Sam Corbin, 24, Liza
Smith, 31, Jacob Blumenfeld, 26, and Lauren Valle, 21. (bios of activists
are below)

?The Chinese government is desperate to turn the world?s attention away
from its abuses in Tibet as the Olympics take place, but the creativity
and determination of Tibetans and their supporters has once again ensured
that Tibetan voices are heard and seen in Beijing despite the massive
security clampdown,? said Tenzin Dorjee, Deputy Director of Students for a
Free Tibet. ?The Chinese leadership must realize that the only way it can
make the issue of Tibet disappear is to acknowledge the demands of the
Tibetan people and work with them to bring an end to China?s occupation of

The lights used on the banner are blue 10 mm light-emitting diodes (LEDs)
powered by small batteries, commonly known as ?throwies.? Throwies are
open-source technology attributed to OpenLab and Graffiti Research Lab,
developed as a means of creating non-destructive graffiti and light
displays. This is the first time ever that they have been used on a
banner. James Powderly, free speech activist and co-founder of the
Graffiti Research Lab (GRL), was detained in Beijing early this morning.

Bios and photos of the Tibet supporters detained for unfurling the LED

Lauren Valle, 31, was born in Falmouth, MA, and currently lives in
Brooklyn, NY. She studies Eastern Religion and Philosophy at Columbia
University. She has supported various organizations working to build a
more just and sustainable world. She is taking action for Tibet this
summer because she believes that the Olympics represent a unique and
critical opportunity for people of conscience to come together on a global
level and speak out for human rights.

Amy Johnson, 33, was born in Detroit, Michigan where she grew up until
moving to Georgia when she was 13 years old. She attended the University
of Boulder, Colorado and lived there on and off for 15 years. Amy studied
Policy and Social Values along with Peace and Conflict Studies and since
then has worked with kids in various capacities, from teaching and
counseling to leading international service trips abroad.

Amy has recently started her own company. She is also a Metalsmith who
makes politically-oriented jewelry from bullets she has found in the
mountains around Boulder. Amy recently relocated to Los Angeles, and is
pursuing commercial opportunities for her jewelry, in addition to
continuing environmental and social justice efforts.

Jacob Blumenfeld, 26, was born and raised in San Diego, California. His
mother passed away when he was 5 years old and he, along with his brother
and sister, were raised by their father. He went to a Jewish school and
then to Vassar College.

As a teenager and throughout college, Jacob became involved in numerous
social justice projects. After college, he became involved in efforts for
immigrant rights in San Diego, as well as projects promoting independent
media. Jacob now lives in Brooklyn, NY and is pursuing his PhD in
philosophy at the New School for Social Research. He teaches philosophy
and is still active in many social justice projects in New York, such as
the Regeneracion Childcare collective and Jews Against the Occupation.
This is the first nonviolent action Jacob has taken related to Tibet, but
has been aware of the situation in Tibet.

As a Jew whose grandparents survived the Holocaust, Jacob feels an
obligation to support the struggles of all peoples oppressed for their
racial, ethnic or national identities, from Palestine to Chiapas to Tibet.
The movement for a Free Tibet is part of a larger struggle for freedom
from occupation, and hence Jacob considers it part of his struggle as

Liza Smith, 31, was born in Boulder, Colorado and grew up in the Shambhala
community ? with students of Trungpa Rinpoche ? and was raised practicing
Tibetan Buddhism. She currently lives in Oakland, CA where she works for
the Fellowship of Reconciliation Colombia Program. Liza has been active in
human rights for Colombia for the last 10 years. She has organized against
US military aid to Colombia, lead delegations of Americans to Colombia to
accompany threatened human rights leaders, and lived in Colombia.

Liza has benefitted greatly from the teachings of the Tibetan Buddhist
tradition and has taken action in China because she believes in the global
struggle for human rights and that all struggles to live in peace, whether
in the US, Colombia or Tibet, are deeply interconnected.

Samantha Corbin, 24, was born and raised in the Bronx, NY and currently
lives in Brooklyn, NY. She has worked as an environmental and social
justice activist and organizer in New York and Washington DC for many
years. Some of the campaigns she has been involved with include advocating
for the right of Appalachian residents who are fighting the multi-national
banks funding mountaintop removal coal mining.

Sam has worked with SFT as a volunteer and organizer and has also served
as a climb trainer at an SFT Free Tibet! Action Camp. Sam traveled to
China this summer to speak out in solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet
and feels it is her responsibility as a person who values justice to speak
out at this critical time.

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