Saturday, 3 November 2007

Who's Afraid of the Dalai Lama?

The Dalai Lama is known for promoting peace, ethics understanding and tolerance worldwide. Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. The chairman of the Nobel committee at the time said the honour was "in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi". The award recognized his efforts in "the struggle of the liberation of Tibet and the efforts for a peaceful resolution instead of using violence".

So who is afraid of the Dalai Lama? The Chinese government for one, Beijing demonizes him. Since his arrival in Canada the Chinese government has said that he is a subversive Tibetan separatist and "political exile who has long been engaged in activities aimed at splitting China under the camouflage of religion."

The Canadian and U.S. governments also have reason to fear, although they have both hesitated about criticizing of his holiness. The Dalai Lama, in a recent visit to Canada, criticized both the Canadian and U.S. governments for the money spent on military conflict. He spoke about Iraq in particular, saying that the money spent on war "cannot bring friendship between Americans and Iraqis," but the same amount spent on education and health could.

Such messages if taken to heart by the people of both respective countries could make it more difficult to maintain support for their respective military campaigns in the Middle East.

"I always tell people the concept of war is outdated," Tenzin Gyatso said, at a speech in Toronto. "On a global level, affection, sense of respect, that friendly attitude, considering people as brothers and sisters, that is the basis of genuine peace. World peace must come from inner peace." - Scary thought indeed.

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