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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

What if they gave a war and nobody came?

March 25, 2009

Who wouldn't want the Dalai Lama at their peace conference?
Examiner (Denver, CO)
March 24, 2009

That was the mantra back in the late '60s, early '70s. Well, they
finally did get out of the war in question in southeast Asia, but
they keep on giving those pesky old wars, and people just keep on
showing up to fight. Unfortunately, too many end up getting wounded
or killed. So, the goal to end war remains a vital one.

Now, a group of people are holding the 2010 World Cup Peace
Conference in the Republic of South Africa this week, but there's a
great possibility no one will attend. It's not that the subject of
peace isn't important, but the South African government has made a
big mistake, and with the quality of people being featured at the
event, it's no wonder most of them have the internal fortitude
necessary to stand up and say, "I'm not coming if he can't come."

"He" is the Dalai Lama, the leader of the Tibetan Buddhist community
and one of the foremost icons of peace on the planet. And the reason
he can't appear at the event is that the government of the Republic
of South Africa is bowing to pressure from Communist China to deny a
visa to the esteemed Nobel Peace Laureate. Besides former South
African president F.W. de Klerk, objectors to this travesty include a
long list of other Nobel Laureates, including South Africa's own
retired Cape Town Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

So, will South Africa relent and allow the peaceful priest to attend,
or will the others cave in and say, "Oh heck, we can do this without
him, just this once?" Knowing the mettle of the people involved, I'd
predict that the latter isn't even a remote possibility. These, after
all, are people who've stood up against their own governments,
sometimes risking their very lives to protect their fellow human
beings. Attending one event is nothing in the face of principle, and
there's a big principle at work here.

Representatives of the African National Congress, the major party of
the current South African government, claim that since they had the
backing of the communists during the long decades of apartheid, they
owe the Chinese government a certain loyalty. Actually, the opposite
is true. China has always aided native causes throughout Africa
because of their opposition to the conservative European-style
governments of colonial days. As the old saying goes, "The enemy of
my enemy is my friend." China is dead-set against any African
government that falls on the conservative end of the political spectrum.

The truth is, China might stomp and thunder and make a lot of noise,
but with their growing dependence on the world capitalist market,
they're not about to throw any of their strong trading partners to
the wolves over a little party invitation. In the long run, South
Africa wouldn't be taking much risk by reversing their current
stance. Indeed, they'd gain a great deal more in worldwide goodwill
by doing the right thing.

So, let's hear it for that invitation for the Dalai Lama to attend
the Johannesburg peace conference! It would certainly be a lot safer
for everybody involved than any old-fashioned war.
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