While the world looks on in horror at the violence taking place in Tibet, the riots are even more troubling for Ottawa's small Tibetan community.

Hundreds of pro-Tibetan activists gathered on Parliament Hill earlier this week, including Tibetan  Jurme Wangda, a former bodyguard to the Dalai Lama.  He is now the president of "Ottawa Friends for Tibet."

When not out among the protesters denouncing the violence in Tibet, the silence of his own South Ottawa home leaves Wangda alone with his thoughts.

These days, those thoughts are of the brother still in his homeland.

Because if his affiliation with the Dalai Lama, Wangda said it wasn't safe for him to contact family members back home.

"The last time I saw my younger brother was in 1987 and since then I haven't seen him. I maybe called him once or twice," said Wangda.

Now all he can do is watch and wait, like everyone else.

"Thousands of people killed in a war. That is a tragedy, but not exactly for me. For me, the real tragedy is the people living and we can not reach each other, speak to each other," he said.

Wangda's brother is also on the minds of the 14 other members of Ottawa's Tibetan community.

"For me it's pretty shocking because I don't have any family members inside Tibet anymore but to know that someone does, it hits really close to home and puts things in perspective," said Tenzin Wangkhang.

Wangkhang has worked hard to organize action through Students for Free Tibet.

Organization like that has led to governments around the world taking notice of the tiny nation's plight under the Chinese government's rule.

The speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, called on the world community to denounce China in the wake of its crackdown in Tibet. She travelled to India this week to meet with the Dalai Lama.

The day before, Prime Minister Stephen Harper publicly urged China to show "restraint" in the Tibetan uprising.

Whether through protests or prayers, Wangkhang and Wangda believe in never turning a blind eye.

"When the light is off, there is darkness everywhere. If there is darkness, then even when we have two eyes we cannot see," said Wangda.

With a report from CTV's Natalie Johnson