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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Save Tibet

September 16, 2010

Idaho Montain Express
September 15, 2010

Save Tibet. Save Tibet. Save Tibet.

Save Tibet from China.

Saving Tibet from China makes a lot more moral,
ethical, economic, political, practical,
humanitarian, social, religious, ideological and
common sense than saving Iraq from Iraq,
Afghanistan from Afghanistan and Pakistan from Pakistan.

But I repeat myself.

I wrote in this space seven years ago (slightly edited for timeliness):

"There is no coherent or consistent rationale
behind the choice of countries selected to be
made safe for democracy by invasion and war. The
criteria seem to be that the invaded country is
ruled by a few powerful people for the benefit of
a the minority at the expense of the majority;
civil and human rights are not paramount;
terrorism against enemies and critics, including
its own citizens, is practiced; weapons of mass
destruction are suspected or known to be
possessed by those few countries; the citizenry
lives in fear; the country is a potential or at
least perceived threat to other nations; there is wealth to be plundered.

"While lock-step, my-country-right-or-wrong,
flag-waving patriotism is undemocratic, really
unintelligent and far more dangerous to the
homeland than heartfelt opposition to madmen at
the helm, in the spirit of America's current
crusade, I'd like to step into the current
patriotic atmosphere and propose Tibet as the
next country that needs to be made safe for
democracy. After all, what has happened in Tibet
at the hands of China makes the unholy deeds of
Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden seem, in
comparison, like the handiwork of a couple of brutal neighborhood street punks.

"China invaded its peaceful and essentially
unarmed neighbor Tibet in 1949. By 1959, the
oppression of the Tibetan people was so severe
that there was a popular uprising against the
Chinese. Tibet's spiritual and political leader,
the Dalai Lama, fled to India. The Chinese killed
approximately 1.2 million Tibetans, a fifth of
the nation's population, in order to keep
control. Many more Tibetans were put into prison
and forced labor camps. Many went into permanent
exile. More than 6,000 Buddhist monasteries and
temples and other cultural and historical
buildings were destroyed and their contents pillaged.

"The Chinese destruction of the Tibetan people
and their culture is a process that continues to
this day. Despite China's brutality toward them,
the Tibetan people's determination to preserve
their culture and beliefs and to regain their
freedom remains strong. They have asked the
international community, including the United
States, for help for 50 years. Now that the
United States is actively pursing a policy of
preemptive strikes to make the world safe for
democracy, rescuing Tibet from its oppressors is an obvious and natural choice.

"Tibet doesn't have huge oil fields or other
known natural sources of enormous material wealth
worth plundering, but it certainly meets all the
other criterion of our nation's choice of which
countries will be made safe for democracy."

Yes, I repeat myself. But there is nothing wrong
with repeating oneself when the words are true
and in the service of freedom, justice, human
rights, due process, trial by jury, freedom from
quartering of troops and search and seizure,
public trial by an impartial jury, freedom of
speech and the press—you know, democracy.

Democracy in any meaningful sense does not exist
in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan, despite the
billions of American tax dollars and thousands of
American lives that have vanished and continue to
disappear into the bottomless, cynical corruption
of those governments. Then there's the
closer-to-home, equally cynical corruption of
what is known as the American
"military-industrial complex," which appears to
be the principal beneficiary of America's current
wars to make the world safe for democracy.

Just this morning during a conversation about
very different matters, a conservative friend
observed in praise of China that "China is the
next America" because China is taking advantage
of business opportunities while America is
becoming "anti-business." In my view, she is
confusing the values of business with the values
of democracy, but she is not alone in this
confusion, which was perhaps best summarized by
President Cal Coolidge, who said, "The business
of America is business and the chief ideal of the
American people is idealism." While Glenn Beck
says that old Cal "might be my favorite
president," I would argue that the chief ideal of
the American people is democracy.

Earlier this month, the Tibetan government in
exile celebrated 50 years of declared democracy
under the spiritual leadership of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama, who has consistently advocated
non-violent resistance to China's illegal
occupation. Addressing the gathering, Tibetan
Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche said, "Democracy
will remain incomplete until the entire Tibetan
people of Tibet get a genuine autonomy with
freedom of conscience, speech [and] human dignity
and where human rights are duly respected." He
promoted "genuine democracy as the best remedy to all human problems of today."

War does not make the world safe for democracy. China is not the new America.

Save Tibet.
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