In an incredible act, the South African government has barred the Dalai Lama from an International Peace Conference — knuckling under to pressure from China. The very people that once fought efforts to silence Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu are now silencing a Noble Prize winner and international voice of peace because they do not want to insult China.
Thabo Masebe, spokesman for President Kgalema Motlanthe, said that it was inconvenient to allow the Dalai Lama to be heard at the conference, which would be “the source of negative publicity about China.” As if it needed to be added, Masebe stressed “We do value our relationship with China.” China is one of South Africa’s biggest trade partners.
Fellow Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and members of the Nobel Committee canceled plans to participate in Friday’s conference in protest.
The shameful act will leave an indelible stain on South Africa’s reputation and tarnish its own history in fighting repression. I cannot imagine that any reputable academic or NGO would go participate in such a conference.
For the full story, click here.
9 thoughts on “South Africa Bars Dalai Lama From International Peace Conference”
Amen. Think too about Bush attending the Beijing Olympics.
This is a perfect example of a policy decision that we might well have prevented had we not forfeited our position as a respected leader in the world. Having sold our economic souls to Saudi Arabia and China and our moral souls to the war on terrorism, we are left with no credibility and the tragedy of Tibetan “liberation” has achieved its own perverse legitimacy.
Thanks for the link I didn’t know about this and it adds to my sadness about SA.
“Mike Spindell … I was also opposed to South African apartheid through the years and attended demonstrations against it. I wept when I found out that Nelson Mandela had been released from jail and then went on to lead the country. This story bolsters something that I’ve learned working against oppression my whole life and that is that being oppressed doesn’t necessarily make you empathetic towards the oppression of others.”
I’m right there with you buddy. The ‘decline’ of SA for political reasons is a sad turn of events. Their homophobia is a real problem also:
I was 14 years old when Tibet was invaded and it contributed to my loss of political innocence. Perhaps 6 years before National Geographic had run a cover story and photographic spread that was the first real pictures and stories about Tibet, up until then few non-Tibetans had been allowed into Lhasa. There were followup stories about the teenage Dalai Lama and his diverse interests including Jazz. Thus the invasion and exile of the Dalai Lama hit me hard. I’ve heard the man speak through the years and I believe he is a very good person.
I was also opposed to South African apartheid through the years and attended demonstrations against it. I wept when I found out that Nelson Mandela had been released from jail and then went on to lead the country. This story bolsters something that I’ve learned working against oppression my whole life and that is that being oppressed doesn’t necessarily make you empathetic towards the oppression of others. Being oppressed confers sainthood on no one, usually the opposite. While we must always fight oppression, we must have no illusions that oppression ennobles anyone. The South African government has shown it in this story.
Thanks for posting this. I laughed, also wanting to cry, when I read the other day about all the money China has spent in Tibet to erect a monument commemorating the “liberation” in 1959. It’s like the line in Michael Clayton: the truth can be adjusted. I listen to a lot of Joseph Campbell (as well as the Dalai Lama) on my ipod and Campbell laments that more Americans don’t know the terrible way the Tibetans were treated. He also describes getting to know Tibetan monks well and yet never, ever hearing them speak ill of the Chinese.
Perhaps the exclusion of the Dalai Lama will bring more attention to the cause, ironically elevating the Dalai Lama’s cause rather than detracting from it.
I should add that in many ways this is not surprising. China has invested a tremendous amount of money in Africa in general, and probably in SA as well. From what I have read, the officials in the various African countries like China because they’re not as particular about human rights, unlike Western countries.
The irony is amazing.
that is just so wrong for more than a few reasons.
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