• 2008-04-09
The recent opinion article in this newspaper highlighted the plight of the Tibetan people under the heel of the Chinese. The truth of the matter is that the West did very little of any substance for either the people of Tibet or those of the Baltics.
The only reason Balts are free is because the Soviet economy disintegrated 's not through any western influence, regardless of people on the outside pulling for you, which means little. The Russians were ousted from Afghanistan with American military and financial assistance. Ireland rid itself of British occupying forces through it's own efforts combined with Irish/American money. Israel is able to fight off it's enemies thanks to the huge financial input of American Jews.

The west can tut-tut all it wants, but it won't have the slightest effect on the Chinese determination to bring Tibetans to subjugation. The country is already being flooded with Chinese settlers who bring a language and culture not compatible with those of the hapless inhabitants, sound familiar? America is in hock to the Chinese so there'll be no help from that quarter.
Only one thing, in my opinion, can curb the excesses we are witnessing at the moment 's the media. China has just sentenced a human rights activist to three years jail. That was a mistake as the details are now spread all over the world's newspapers plus the internet. With the Olympic Games due in August they are desperate to play down state bullying or brutality.

The Dalai Lama has a golden opportunity to exploit the situation by going to Tibet in a fearless show of solidarity with his people. China would not dare arrest him, the goal posts have been moved and they could not risk the wrath of the world  with the Games coming up.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for him to achieve something positive by using his Nobel Peace Prize experience in calming a volatile situation without embarrassing Beijing.

During his time in exile he has gained pop star status, giving audience to the great and the good. He lives in comfort in India when not traveling the world and no doubt will be aware of the sacrifices made by a former leader of that country 's Mahatma Gandhi. Maybe it's time for him to now emulate the great man and show the world, and his people, the meaning of the words "Dalai Lama." He has achieved little for his country thus far and so long as he remains nullified by Chinese dismissal of his relevance his time in exile will have been ineffectual - with little to add to the history books. Many believe he has written-off Tibet as he builds a new Buddhist empire in India, which he intends, will be his legacy.

The next Dalai Lama will be nominated by the Chinese and will follow the party line, with peaceful integration the objective.

No doubt human-rights observers will be fully occupied.


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