March 2009 Archives

Barking Beauty

New York, NY, USA -- 22 March 2009 | Permalink
7 pictures

“It's standing room only in there”, the woman at the entrance warned me. She was right. Between an audience that filled the available seating to overflowing, twenty-five or thirty small dogs, their owners, a half dozen photographers, and two television crews, the small theater was packed to overflowing. I hovered at the back end of a line of stage mothers with their four-legged charges, wondering if I could squeeze past to get to where the action was without inadvertently trampling a finalist. My friend R., several kilos of professional photo gear gripped in her hands, emerged from the melee wearing the bewildered grin of a woman who isn't quite sure if she's hallucinating or not. “Just go for it,” she advised, stepping nimbly over a bulldog wearing a pink tulle skirt and stopping to snap away at a passing bichon frise in a hand-knitted cardigan. I took her advice, and plunged into the fray.

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Free Tibet Protest

New York, NY, USA -- 10 March 2009 | Permalink
4 pictures

It's been fifty years since the uprising in Tibet against Chinese occupation, and more than that since what the Chinese government likes to refer to as the ‘peaceful liberation’ of the country (during which the people of Tibet were ‘liberated’ from the crushing burdens of autonomy, self-determination and, in many cases, their lives). Today was an international day of protest to commemorate the failed March Uprising and call again for China to release its hold on Tibet.

There's a sizable Tibetan expatriate community in the north-east, but even so I was surprised by the size of the demonstration: the line of marchers in white T-shirts carrying black flags seemed to go on and on. And while free Tibet is something of a cause celebre among Western liberals, this march seemed to be an authentically Tibetan affair: I only saw one person, at the very tail end of the procession, who was obviously not Tibetan. Their banners and slogans — “Tibet for the Tibetans, China for the Chinese” and “Shame, shame, Hu Jintao” were in English, however.