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Monday, September 26, 2005

Messenger From a Burning House

A brilliant opinion piece in the LA Times by writer Pico Iyer. These are important words for anyone - from Larry King to Paul Martin to wealthy western 'Tibetan' Buddhists - who claim to admire the Dalai Lama. Just an excerpt:

How to try to preserve Tibet after half a century of occupation remains a tangled question: More and more Tibetans in exile, especially the young, believe the Dalai Lama is too conciliatory, too ready to forgive, and some urge attacks on Chinese power stations, roads and even officials. When the Dalai Lama, who just turned 70, is no longer around, it's possible that some Tibetans will turn, in desperation, to terrorism. His gamble — and hope — is that by taking the high road, and speaking for universal principles of tolerance and trust, he will gain some (mostly invisible) ground in the long run.

Those of us outside the Tibetan community face a very different, but no less urgent, task: As the Dalai Lama travels through the U.S., those who long to see him, to touch him, those who are eager to bask in his infectious optimism and warmth, must also try to help him in the place where he needs it most: urging China to change its policies before there is no Tibet to save.

Otherwise we just seize the parts of his message that inspire us and ignore the parts that challenge us. In doing so, we become dangerously close to being children gathering around a spiritual godfather, hungry for his wisdom and hardly caring that his home, across the way, is going up in flames.

Read the full piece in the LA Times.

5 Comments:

  • At 12:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Unfortunately, I think it is difficult for people who go to see His Holiness' speeches to know how desperate the situation is due to the fact that he does not mention the urgency of that situation within the speeches. I saw him two years ago in Central Park and yesterday at Rutgers, and I definitely do not recall any mention about the occupation of Tibet yesterday by His Holiness except when he spoke about how he deflected the anger of a former Tibetan political prisoner. Without groups like Students for a Free Tibet bridging the mental gap for the American and foreign audiences many leave the lectures with a message of hope and optimism but not with that sense of urgency and desperation that is going on in Tibet. Sometimes I wish he would be more outspoken in public so people would understand what we are fighting for and feel more compelled to join us in that fight, albeit a non-violent one.

    -Liz F. RU SFT

     
  • At 12:33 AM, Blogger Tribal Queer said…

    i seriously hope all those "dharma stars" who just loooove appropriating Tibetan culture read this article. its a much needed slap in the face of the over privileged west. i remember attending the end of the SF to LA Tibetan Freedom march back in 2000 and seeing about 200-300 protesters at the chinese consulate...then the very next day over 10 thousand...10 bloody thousand showed up in hordes to catch a glimpse of His Holiness at a convention center. needless to say i was utterly infuriated at the fact that many of these folks were no where to be seen when the Tibetan community and the Tibetan freedom movement needed them. i'm just so sick of seeing bumper sticker activists that co-opt Tibetan culture and don't realize the urgent need for action. fuck calling them "Dharma Stars" they're more like "Dharma Vultures". Parasites feeding off of the Tibetan people and NEVER giving anything back. These same people would condemn any sort of direct action because it would seem like some form of violence. WAKE THE FUCK UP! Its this apathy and lack of urgency that makes people take desperate measures. Honestly, i wouldn't dare begrudge a community that has been forced into exile for half a century and then silenced by the TGIE, for taking less than "compassionate" measures. In my own country the Pilipin@ indigneous people, the poor and working class fight with guns and bolo knives to show how far the government (US/Philippine Puppet) can push them. This show of force has given them leverage and tools for negotiation. its a fuct up fact, but then again this is a fuct up world. people need to wake up to the realization that they have to be proactive NOW and not after the fact, to stem any violence that might occur in the future. People need to wake up, stand up and rise the fuck up. Free Tibet...NOW.

     
  • At 12:50 AM, Blogger Blevins said…

    As a Buddhist and as an American, I can not help but feel for my Tibetan brothers and sisters. However, feeling empathy often times is not enough.
    I totally respect the ideology of peaceful resistance and protest. Granted, Gandhi's movement is credited for gaining India's independence through non-violent action...but truth be told, how many Indians got a little bit rowdy in their quest for freedom and even sacrificed their lives through confrontational resistance?
    Tibet will never be free as long as world governments continue to show China favoritism and turn a blind eye to the plight of the Tibetan people and Tibet will never be free as long as China is controlled by the Communists and neo-nationalists.
    The longer Tibet is in the hands of those maniacs in Beijing, I am afraid that the Tibetan people will perish. They have the guns, but we have the power!

     
  • At 12:52 AM, Blogger Blevins said…

    http://blevins96.blogspot.com/

     
  • At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Karlo said…

    Good Job! :)

     

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