Sunday, March 29, 2009
Dalai Lama Banned from South Africa
(Also posted on Ashin-Mettacara.com)
The Dalai Lama has been refused a travel visa to South Africa, in fact he will be banned from entering the country for the next 16 months. The ban comes following pressure from China to stop the Buddhist spiritual leader of Tibet to attend a peace conference.
The peace conference was to be held in Johannesberg and was organized by Mandla Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela. The list of attendees included Archbishop and Nobel prize winner Desmond Tutu, Nobel prize winner Nelson Mandela, Nobel prize winner his Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.
Archbishop Tutu and the Committee are now refusing to attend the conference in protest of South Africa's move. Tutu is quoted in the Globe and Mail as having said in regards to the ban: “We are shamelessly succumbing to Chinese pressure,” and that he was “distressed and ashamed” by the “disgraceful” decision to prohibit the Dalai Lama from entering South Africa. The move is “a total betrayal of our struggle history"
South Africa says it stands by its decision and says it is due to the World Cup of soccer being held there next year. Government officials have stated that having the Dalai Lama visiting would take the spotlight away from the World Cup preparations.
It's clear to me (and apparently 86% of South Africans polled this week) that the South African government caved under China's influence. A country that considers itself an example of freedom and a beacon of Human Rights for all other nations of the world living with intolerance and ethnically biased policies, should now be holding its head in shame. South Africa has given in to pressure that is ethnically and religiously and monetarily motivated, something they fought so hard against to defeat Apartheid.
In a move fueled by money and fear South Africa has tarnished its image. Its people are losing faith in its government. The world is watching and waiting to see what happens next.