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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Letters: Sautman/Schrei Exchanges

May 12, 2010

from Barry Sautman

Most of Josh Schrei?s description of my article ?Vegetarian between
Meals: the Dalai Lama, War and Violence,? published in the academic
journal Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique 18:1 (2010):89-143, is
inaccurate. For example:

1) The article does not call out the Dalai Lama for not condemning the
Indian government for waging its war in Kashmir. It documents that he
has supported the Indian government?s claim to Kashmir, a disputed
territory over which it has waged a war that has cost tens of thousands
of lives. The Dalai Lama and Tibet Government in Exile (TGIE) also
supported India?s acquisition and testing of nuclear weapons and, quite
incredibly, have repeatedly praised India as a model of ethnic and
religious harmony. Even if they did not want to risk angering their
patron by condemning its long-running wars in Kashmir and other parts of
the country, they are under no compulsion to support Indian government
positions. As the article documents, the Dalai Lama and TGIE have also
failed to condemn the wars of their other major patron, the US government..

2) The article does not assert that the Dalai Lama supported apartheid,
the official racial discrimination practice in South Africa from
1948-1994, a system that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands
in that country and neighbouring African states. It points out that the
Dalai Lama was an adult during much of that period, that there was a
huge, world-wide movement to condemn apartheid, and that there is no
evidence of any statement or action by the Dalai Lama against the
apartheid system. As the article documents, the Dalai Lama has also
adopted a wholly one-sided approach to the Israel/Palestine conflict,
one that evinces no support for the Palestinian struggle against ethnic

3) The article does not express any ?love? for the Chinese government
because I have no reason at all to have any. Its only reference to
?love? is to document the Dalai Lama?s frequent expressions of ?love? of
George W. Bush.

I have used the verb ?documents? several times because, as Schrei
concedes, every statement about the Dalai Lama?s politics made in the
article is meticulously documented. Readers of the article can decide
for themselves whether the politics of the Dalai Lama and TGIE are those
of principled non-violence and support for the oppressed, as is often
claimed. The article, is should be noted, is about politics, not
religious views or practices. Anyone who enters the world of politics
should be open to criticism, even if he is also a religious figure and
even if many of his followers hold that no criticisms should be allowed
-- something that the article also documents.

It is fortunate Schrei chooses to not engage with the vast bulk of my
article?s arguments: he has never shown a sign of knowing anything about
such matters. Instead, he has won his place as the most arrogant of
Tibet independence supporters based on pure abusiveness. Ignore what he
says and make your own determination by reading the article.
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