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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

The Long March to Tibet

June 22, 2008

By Tenzin Tsundue
June 19, 2008

For the last 90 days, 300 Tibetans have been walking through the
green fields, valleys, mountains and busy streets of India. Braving
the heat, we have covered 1,300 km to walk back to Tibet, our home.
Though ours has been a non-violent march, we have spent days in jail.
Now we wonder what will happen to us today when we try to enter into Tibet.

The police have been following us, saying they are with us for our
security. But the other day they arrested 260 marchers. The rest may
soon face a similar fate. Starting from Dharamsala on March 10, the
day of the Tibetan National Uprising, we walked down the slopes of
Himachal Pradesh and reached the plains of Punjab and Haryana. While
passing through Delhi, we paid our respects at the Gandhi Samadhi and
then moved towards the Kumaon hills. We passed Didihat and Ascot and
from here we see the snow-clad mountains beyond which lies our home.

Many helped us in our journey: we were given food and shelter at
gurudwaras, ashrams, schools and villages. When we started, there
were 100 Tibetan marchers and eight foreigners. But along the way,
more joined us. By the time we reached Delhi, our number had doubled.
When we entered Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand, the number was 317. But the
district administration pushed us back. Along the way, some had
dropped out due to illness and injuries. Today, we are 50-strong.

Five Tibetan NGOs launched the Tibetan Uprising Movement in January.
They called for volunteers and asked them to pledge non-violence and
discipline. But the Dalai Lama wanted us to stop the march. But we
want to do this though we know it won’t be easy. The majority of
the marchers are monks and nuns; then there are mothers who have left
their children behind, boys and girls and some who escaped from
Tibet. Those who couldn’t join, help us with funds. I used to live
with my friends in Dharamsala and we sold whatever we had to join this march.

Today, at the border town of Dharchula, there will be two groups
trying to enter Tibet. We will be the first to reach there. The other
comprises Indians going on the Mansarovar pilgrimage. The Indian
police might stop us. But the other group will be welcomed by the
Chinese military when they cross into Tibet. This march may be
stopped. But that's not the end of our struggle. We have figured out
other ways to shape the destiny of our country.

The above article by Tenzin Tsundue on Hindustan Times on Monday, June 16, 2008
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