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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?"

From Indianapolis to New York -- a 900 mile walk for Tibet

April 11, 2009

Posted by Tencho Gyatso
ICT Blog
April 8, 2009

On Saturday, April 4th, Jigme Norbu, a 43 year
old Tibetan, arrived in Washington, DC, on route
for his 900 mile walk for Tibet from Indianapolis
to New York City. Jigme Norbu is the youngest son
of the late Taktser Rinpoche, elder brother of
the Dalai Lama, who led a life of unwavering
devotion to the cause of Tibet. Among many
things, Taktser Rinpoche was a Tibetan Lama,
writer, teacher, scholar, a rights activist and
he was one of the first Tibetans to immigrate to
the United States in 1952. He loved this country
calling it his home away from home and he led
many walks across this nation, raising awareness about the situation in Tibet.

Now, Jigme Norbu, a second generation
Tibetan-American, born and brought up in the
United States, is following in his father’s
footsteps. Jigme started his two month walk for
Peace, Human Rights and Tibet’s independence on
March 10th, 2009 -- a day that marked the 50th
Anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising in Lhasa,
Tibet. He is dedicating the walk to the memory of
his father who spent his life fighting for
Tibet’s independence and to the memory of all
those thousands of Tibetans who have died as a
direct result of the China’s invasion and occupation of Tibet.

On the morning of April 4th, around 20 local
Tibetans joined Jigme and his companion, Wangchuk
Dorjee, as he walked from Merrifield, VA, to the
Nation’s capital amidst the crowds thronging to
see the Cherry Blossom Festival on the Washington
Mall. Along the way, there were cars honking
their support, people giving the thumbs up sign
and lots of people taking photographs of our
colorful group with the tri-colored Tibetan Flag
led by Jigme wearing his placard “Walk for Tibet Independence—900 miles.”

The next day, at a Tibetan gathering organized by
the Capital Area Tibetan Association and held at
the ICT Conference Room, Jigme and Wangchuk spoke
about their journey and about the support and
kindness of the American people they met along
the 500+ miles that they have traveled so far.
They spoke of the generosity of complete
strangers who go out of their way to show their
appreciation for their walk and for Tibet,
whether it be through a monetary donation or by
bringing them a sandwich, a drink, a pair of
walking shoes or even a place to spend the night.
This robust American way of embracing life
impulsively and generosity of spirit, to me, is
kindred to our Tibetan way of life—where
kindness, compassion and love of life play
important roles. I think that is why Taktser
Rinpoche loved America so much—for its people.

The DC Tibetans expressed their gratitude to
Jigme Norbu for initiating such a walk despite
hardships through rain and sun, walking everyday
since March 10 for 8 or 9 hours. Jigme in turn
urged younger Tibetans to start taking similar
initiatives saying that if you have the
determination, you can make a difference.

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