TIBET SPEAKING TOUR OF EUROPE
The first 10 days
It’s been a dizzyingly busy whirlwind tour the past 10 days ever since I landed in Zurich that late night, 2nd April. Mainly to speak at the Geneva Summit 2022 on Human Rights I planned a 28 day speaking tour of Switzerland(2-10April), Sweden(12-17), Norway(18-20), Denmark(21-22), Spain(23-26) and the Czech Republic(26-29) and return to India on the 29th.
This tour has been made possible by the efforts of Tibetan Women’s Organization, Switzerland.
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In Zurich, I spoke at public gatherings organized by The Tibetan Association of Switzerland and Lichtenshien, Tibet Women’s Organization (TWO) and Tibetan Youth Association in Europe (TYAE), Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Association (STFA); Tibetan Associations of Berne, Geneva, St. Gallan and Lichtenstein. I spoke on issues like resistance, Tibet and international politics, culture and dentity, intellectual growth and unity.
Trains are comfortable and fast but expensive if you do not have monthly train passes. I was mostly driven around by my friends in their cars. So, on the way I acted tourist, captured fantastic pictures of the Swiss spring.
#GenevaSummit introduced me to some amazingly courageous freedom warriors from Uganda, Nicaragua, Iran, Afghanistan, East Turkestan, Hong Kong and China. I met Enes Kanter Rushan Abbas Joey Siu My 8 min speech went well. Besides talking about Tibet, the spirit of non-violent struggle, I thanked Switzerland and India for accepting Tibetan refugees right from 1959 and 1960.
Switzerland was in the middle of a confusing spring, it was snowing in the Alps, sunny in the pasturelands. Spring flowers are in full bloom, tulips, daffodils (remembering Worthsworth), colourful pansies and petunias. So are the cherry blossoms (Sakura in Japanese) that seem to illuminate the surroundings, but in the higher mountains they’re retreating. They will burst back with those coral cherries in summer. In Geneva, I met my friend Lobsang who twice climbed that broken leg chair at the UN.
I am now in Sweden, the land of the Vikings. I am speaking in a couple of universities and also meet Swedish supporters and the small Tibetan community here.
These empty streets and origami-like roadside-restaurants and white bathrooms look surreal, being away from India’s noise, population and chaos. The constant weighing of pricing to Indian rupees and everything else to Indian summer is confusing. Missing India already.