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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Dalai Lama prays at site of Martin Luther King's assassination

September 24, 2009

(AFP) - September 23, 2009

MEMPHIS, Tennessee - Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama bowed
his head in prayer Wednesday on the site where American civil rights leader
Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968.

The 74-year-old monk was in Memphis for the first time to be honored by the
National Civil Rights Museum, which encompasses the Lorraine Motel where
King was shot.

"Indeed, a very moving tour," he told reporters after placing a white shawl
over a wreath that marks the spot where King was assassinated.

"At the same time, historical events give us conviction."

The Dalai Lama said people everywhere struggle against the same injustices
and inequalities but "despite difficulties and obstacles, we can win."

The tour kicked off a two-week visit to the United States and Canada where
he will be giving a number of spiritual talks but is not expected to meet
with President Barack Obama.

China, which sent troops into Tibet in 1950 and clamped down on protests
last year, strenuously opposes international meetings of the Dalai Lama.

It accuses him of being a "splittist," although the Dalai Lama says he is
seeking greater rights for Tibetans under Chinese rule.

While Obama recently sent a high-level delegation to the Dalai Lama's
home-in-exile in northern India who voiced support for the Tibetan leader,
he is not expected to meet with the Nobel Peace Prize winner until after he
pays his first presidential visit to China in November.

The Dalai Lama received a warm welcome in Memphis, where he accepted the
International Freedom Award at a packed luncheon before addressing over
2,000 people at a public forum.

"As a living example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi's
non-violence in the face of political oppression and suffering, the Dalai
Lama demonstrates lifelong peaceful struggle against brutality and
injustice," said museum chair Benjamin Hooks.

"As the Tibetan people mark their fiftieth year in exile, the Dalai Lama's
struggle serves as an inspiration to social justice movements everywhere."
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