After my youngest brother's demise to AIDS in 1995 I traveled to several of Asia's most holy sites to expiate his sins.
Some of mine too.
My main destination was Lhasa and I spent two months there drinking beer and walking around the Jokhrang, the Tibetan cathedral to Buddhism.
The Chinese presence was noticeable with soldiers posted on the outskirts and undercover police scattered amongst the pilgrims to suppress any mention of the Dalai Lama.
The authorities were also engaged in tearing down the old section of the city to erect modern buildings, mostly because the Central Bureau understands that order brings power and chaos brings disaster, however few people in the West about the wholesale destruction of Tibetan Culture, especially when their heaven of consumerism is collapsing like a castle of sand.
Only one voice is heard in this desert.
"Tibet has become "hell on earth," Dalai Lama said to the public on the 50th anniversary of the failed uprising in 1959.
On that day 300,000 Tibetans gathered around the grounds to prevent the Chinese from arresting their spiritual leader.
Their blockade was futile and the Dalai Lama fled over the Himalayas to conduct a campaign of non-violence against the Chinese occupation of his homeland. Fearful of another outbreak against their authority such as the 2008 Losar uprising the Chinese security forces have reinforced the high plateau with hordes of police and soldiers.
No reporters are allowed within the old boundaries of Tibet and all tourists have been issued restricted visas.
Only rumors filter from Tibet, as the Dalai Lama promotes the Middle Way to contest the Chinese rule.
"I have no doubt that the justice of Tibetan cause will prevail if we continue to tread a path of truth and nonviolence. We have to prepare for the worst. At the same time, we should not give up our hope."
Ireland never gave up hope.
Not for 400 years of British occupation.
I can only pray that Tibet can triumph against the odds.
Tibet go bragh.
Freedom will come one day, for in the words of the deceased IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, "Our revenge will be the laughter of our children."