Monday, March 24, 2008

The Games of the XIV Dalai Lama

China is trying to convince its people that the Dalai Lama is behind the unrest in Tibet.
  • "Dalai clique has descended into becoming an outright terrorist organization" (commentary on an official Shanghai news website).
  • ". . . the Dalai Lama is scheming to take the Beijing Olympics hostage. . ." (People's Daily)
Of course this is nonsense. The simplest facts about the Dalai Lama disprove the propaganda:
  • he does not support a boycott of the Beijing Olympics.
  • he does not favor independence for Tibet, he only advocates greater autonomy.
  • he does not sanction violent protest. In fact, he even threatened to resign if Tibetans' protests got any more out of hand.
The Communist Party of China is lying to its people -- nothing new about that. But this time is different. First, the whole world can hear the lie be told. Moreover, the world is very well acquainted with the target of the latest and most feeble attempt at character assassination by the Chinese state. It looks like -- in this Olympic year -- somebody forgot to tell China's leaders something crucial.

To most of us, the man China is trying to frame this time is no obscure "terrorist leader." Nor does he only represent Tibet. Far from it. He is many things to many people in many countries from many walks of life. Spiritual leader, religious icon, peace activist, philosopher king, resistance leader, guru, environmentalist, teacher, statesman, celebrity, author, meditation master, peacemaker, motivational speaker, and a supporter of science. Wherever the Dalai Lama travels -- be it Sydney, Berlin, or Chicago -- he is sure to attract an audience that rivals top entertainers. His company is sought by artists, scientists, politicians, religious leaders, spiritual seekers, royalty, actors, and multitudes of ordinary people. The Dalai Lama is a world historical figure of far larger importance than his government in exile; indeed, his message transcends Buddhism and Tibet. He is the religious man who talks about something larger than his own faith; the Tibetan who cares about the entire planet. He is quite simply "the most global citizen" of our age.

And China decided name this man as its enemy? What were they thinking?

Surely the time has come for the outside world to help the people of China get to know their most illustrious citizen. Help them to know him for the many things he is to us. The Olympics presents an opportunity for the world to share.

Let the Games of the XIV Dalai Lama begin!
Illustration: by Jotman

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