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Editorial: Let the Dalai Lama visit

September 14, 2011

The New Age Editorial

There really should not be a problem for South Africa granting a visa to the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet.

South Africa is, after all, a country whose own freedom fighters were welcomed in many countries around the world during the long struggle against apartheid.

The Dalai Lama has been in a lifelong struggle to free his tiny nation from the yoke of Chinese oppression and assimilation. He is what we would call a bona fide freedom fighter and struggle leader.

The Dalai Lama and his people’s struggle have been consistently fought by peaceful means, as dictated by their religion.

Yet, as is the case with many other countries, SA seems to have yielded to open intimidation by the People’s Republic of China, whose oppression of the Tibetans has been all but peaceful.

China has systematically set out to isolate the Dalai Lama and has not hesitated to flex its global economic muscle and threaten countries who even dared to be considerate of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan struggle.

For ordinary people who admire the Dalai Lama and the gallant struggle of his people it is pure nonsense.

This time around there is a compelling reason for SA to grant the Dalai Lama a visa. He has been invited to attend the 80th birthday celebrations of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, one of this country’s most admired spiritual and struggle leaders. He will also, should he be allowed, deliver the inaugural Desmond Tutu Memorial Lecture.

Tutu is right up there with Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter and Albertina Sisulu when it comes to our own gallery of the great and the good. There can be no better reason to allow the Dalai Lama to visit.

There is an opportunity here for SA to do what is right and moral.

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