The threat of violence

Living in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, it is easy to forget that we live in a world on the edge. Coming from Istanbul, where protests against government overreach are being responded to by tear gas and water cannons, I was nonetheless surprised to find soldiers around the Stupa in Boudha, Nepal. There were no soldiers here at this Tibetan holy place when I was here seven years ago.

Asking around, I found out that tomorrow is the birthday of the Dalai Lama, and Tibetans will not be allowed to travel freely or congregate. The government (and the Chinese government) is worried that "something" might happen.

I pray for this world, so bent on destruction. I work for this world to build bridges of understanding that can allay fear, build trust, and diffuse violence. That is why I am here.

p.s. The Dalai Lama's birthday came and went with no protests, no violence, just a lot of smiles and extra prayers. It was a beautiful thing to see. Even the police were smiling at everyone. Nepalis are really peaceful people at heart.


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