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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?"

Disarm the heart

October 31, 2007

CanWest News Service
October 29, 2007

OTTAWA -- An "inner disarmament" of the human soul that replaces jealousy and hatred with compassion and a holistic world view is the first step toward peaceful
co-existence, the Dalai Lama told a packed arena yesterday.

No better option exists for an interconnected world facing man-made threats that range from terrorism and dictatorships to climate change and nuclear weapons, the
leader of Tibet's exiled community told about 9,000 people gathered inside Ottawa's Civic Centre during a relaxed, humour-filled talk.

"The problems which we are facing, including Tibet, ultimately they are here," he said, pointing at his heart. "First inner disarmament, then outer disarmament."

The Dalai Lama will meet today with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Parliament Hill as his three-day visit to Ottawa continues. Their conference will mark the
first time a Canadian prime minister has publicly hosted the controversial Buddhist monk in an official venue. Then prime minister Paul Martin met him in 2004, but it
was at a private function at the home of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Ottawa.

The public got their turn to hear the Dalai Lama yesterday, as the 72-year-old spent nearly two hours talking about the day's theme: "Global Citizenship through
Universal Responsibility." Included was a call for young Canadians to serve in the developing world.

Countries, even continents, could exist in relative isolation during previous centuries, he said. But globalization means "destruction of another part of the world is [the]
destruction of yourself," and "the concept of war is out of date."

Dialogue and compromise is the answer, the Dalai Lama argued. "We all come from our mother's womb," he said. "Therefore we all have the same potential for

The Dalai Lama's speech had concrete political elements as well. He pointed to the European Union as a successful anti-war device on a traditionally blood-soaked
continent. He said the EU's integration model should one day spread to Africa and Latin America--as well as to Canada, the United States and Mexico.

He also pledged support for pro-democracy monks under attack by Burma's military regime, urged the West to show greater patience toward Russia, and
promoted closer contact with Iran.

Aside from emphasizing the need for better health and education for Tibetans, the Dalai Lama spent little time discussing his homeland. That will likely change at
today's meeting with Mr. Harper, causing concern on both sides of the Pacific.

While foreign heads of state, such as U.S. President George W. Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have greeted the Dalai Lama as a revered foreign
dignitary, the Chinese government views him as an agitator calling for the independence of a region integral to their country.

Last week, spokesmen from the Chinese Embassy denounced Mr. Harper's decision to host the Dalai Lama. The Canada Tibet Committee responded by urging the
federal government to adopt six priorities regarding Tibetan autonomy, including a negotiated settlement with the Chinese government, residency for exiles, and
raising environmental concerns with the Chinese authorities.

Conservative Senator Consiglio Di Nino further provoked the Chinese Embassy recently by saying China would "huff and puff," but predicted the visit would have
little consequence to Canada's strong economic relationship with its second-largest trading partner.

The Department of Foreign Affairs downplayed the monk's visit in a statement, emphasizing the Dalai Lama's role as a religious leader, not as a political figure. He
will also meet with Governor-General Michaelle Jean, who interviewed the Dalai Lama during his 2004 visit, tomorrow. He then travels to Toronto.

The Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, an honourary Canadian citizenship in 2006 and the United States Congressional Gold Medal one
week ago.

Before his Civic Centre speech, the Dalai Lama met with some 200 of his countrymen and women and their families.

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