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Monday, March 14, 2005

Don’t Free Tibet

To everyone with an aging “Free Tibet” bumper sticker on the back of their rusting old Volvo, it looks like it’s time to give up the dream.

The Dalai Lama said that by dropping the sovereignty claim for Tibet, his people would be able to benefit from China’s economic achievements. This was in stark contrast to his previous stand, that Tibet should be a self-governing domestic and political entity under a type of “one country, two systems” arrangement.

“This is the message I wish to deliver to China,” he said. “I am not in favour of separation. Tibet is a part of the People’s Republic of China. It is an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. Tibetan culture and Buddhism are part of Chinese culture.”

I wonder how Richard Gere is taking the news. Intriguingly to me, Hollywood and its “Free Tibet” movement never wanted to actually do anything to free Tibet (except, of course, make movies and speeches). The truth is, though, that they deified the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan cause; it was easy for them since the leader of the movement was a peaceful, enlightened non-Westerner struggling for the rights of a country where the United States had no vested interests.

Put oil into the bedrock of a nation and no direct action that the United States takes can possibly be righteous. For that matter, if the leader happens to be a Republican, then the cause must be evil, heartless, and driven by semi-secret Zionist forces.

Now that the Dalai Lama has expressed a more materialistic side, hoping that China’s rapid development will fuel economic growth and security for Tibet, I wonder how the Hollywood elite will now view the leader. His statements--with a desire for cultural and spiritual autonomy, buttressed by all of the benefits of China’s economy and political structure--might not live up to Hollywood’s expectations of an immaculate leader.

It’s not as surprising a development as might otherwise be imagined, though.

In recent years, the Dalai Lama has been increasingly accommodating in his political manoeuvrings, pursuing a “middle way” that would ensure autonomy rather than independence and leave China in control of Tibet’s foreign policy.

So, not surprising, but it sure leaves a lot of bumper stickers looking a little out of date.

Read the story.

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One wonders how much “cultural autonomy” the Dalai Lama thinks he can get. Sounds like he’s getting soft in his old age.

on Mar 14 2005 @ 10:41 PM

Tibet is an example of what happens when you are not willing to fight for what you believe in. The United States has shed blood to free slaves, stop European imperialism, Nazism, and now, Islamic Fascism. Looking at photos of the 800,000 Lebanese massing together to assert their God-given right to freedom, it is hard for me to imagine that the world would be a better place without rough men ready to defend the rest of us.

From the dawn of recorded history until today, there are only 2 periods of time when people were considered citizens, not subjects and free to live life as they chose. The first was the Greek/Roman era, the second period began in 1776 (or 1775 if you want to get technical). This second era of freedom persists only because we devote so much energy, resources, and blood to defending it.

The Lebanese revolution will probably, hopefully, be bloodless. But, it is the blood of Americans and our allies (Britain, Australia, Italy, Japan, Korea, and many others) that made this “bloodless” revolution possible. While we were able to defeat Soviet Communism without shedding blood (only in a loose sense of the word) only because we showed that we were stronger. And that we loved freedom more than peace.

Even in India, Ghandi’s peaceful revolution was based on the concept of loving freedom more than life. He knew the British would respect that sentiment. If China had been in India instead of the British, Ghandi’s revolution would have been even more of a failure than the current Tibetan resistance.

I respect the Dalai Lama and his ways. But, I disagree with him. Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th Dalai Lama. Over the course of a thousand years he has lived, died, and been reborn to again take the mantle of Dalai Lama. Maybe a thousand years from now his people will live free again. To this Westerner that is hard to imagine. And even harder to accept. Freedom is too precious to leave to the whims of dictators, despots, and any political force that does not believe in and defend the inalienable rights of us all.

Live free, or die.

on Mar 15 2005 @ 01:00 AM

Free from what?

Not to be contrary, but I’ll bet you pay taxes.  Is that freedom to do what you want?  Do you obey most traffic laws?  Damn the tyranny!

How many years did the Lebanese live with a lack of freedom before they started protesting?  How many centuries have people lived as subjects rather than citizens?  If given the choice, would you go back in time and slaughter them all because they chose life over liberty?  Could the freedom of the United States ever have happened without millenia of non-free people living but dreaming/musing for a better life?

Some things take time.  A man who is reborn many times over thousands of years might be willing to take a long view of things.

That doesn’t mean I support the invasion and occupation of Tibet by China.  But if the Tibetans change their self-identity to consider themselves Chinese, should we object?

Should we expect that the native Americans should still rise up and slaughter all us non-natives to regain their freedom from the oppression of the United States?  What about the descendents of slaves who were brought here unwillingly?  Should they not consider themselves Americans because their ancestors didn’t choose to come here?

I don’t know...I can’t go so far as to say the Tibetans are better off under China’s rule, so I guess I am actually just being contrarian.  I guess its just from my perspective, the only people I ever saw complaining about Tibet were the Dalai Lama and his rich, famous friends.  The people who stayed in Tibet don’t seem to be all that upset with things, overall, these days.  Maybe if the central Chinese govt weakened, we’d see Tibet split off like the former Warsaw Pact states did when the Soviet Union dissolved...but I hardly think it’s a given.  The protests for democracy in Tian’anmen Square in Beijing were not singular; similar protests were going on at every major college throughout the nation.  That would have been an excellent time for Tibet to rise up and assert its independence, or at the very least, join in the protests.
I don’t remember them doing anything...do you?

Did you know that the Dalai Lama actually invited the Communists in, originally?

I don’t know...I think this whole situation is probably far more complicated than Richard Gere makes it sound.

on Mar 15 2005 @ 10:14 AM
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