By Andy Dabilis | New Europe
ON THE WEB, 15 December 2008
The Dalai Lama wowed the European Parliament with his travelling roadshow, preaching tolerance, patience, humility and free lunches, and when asked if he would join adoring fans there in a one-day fast to protest ongoing Chinese repression in his homeland of Tibet, smiled and said, “Right after breakfast.” His joke was not so funny in the land he fled 50 years ago to live in India, his monk’s robe flapping behind, the Chinese in hot pursuit because they thought he was an enemy of the state. If only they realised his meekness is no threat and that his timorous timidity while he’s been busy getting honorary degrees in fake courage isn’t passive resistance, it’s no resistance.
He’s got the best job in the world, presiding over a government-in-exile while making a few speeches around the world professing how upset he is that his people aren’t free, even while going robe-in-hand to the Chinese to say he doesn’t want independence, bowing and kow-towing, begging for democratic autonomy instead, tantamount to continued slavery for Tibetans.
He didn’t support a boycott of the Beijing Olympics, provoking unlikely dissent from some Tibetans frustrated his prayerful approach hasn’t worked, and was noticeably quiet during the uprising in which many of his followers were killed or jailed. They were the real heroes, while he was cowering away, and two months after the Games ended, so did his when he said he had given up. There’s a difference between the non-violent approach the brilliant Gandhi used to break England’s colonial rule over India, and the Dalai Lama’s surrender.
Gandhi, a freedom activist, went to jail for his beliefs. The Dalai Lama won’t even go to a bad restaurant. The Chinese call him a wolf in monk’s clothes but should take a look under that robe because there isn’t even a lamb’s tail there. It’s time he put down the green tea and reach for a little Moxie. His Peaceful Way, in which he’s dispensed pearls of wisdom like “My religion is kindness,” proved Winston Churchill was right when he said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
But the Dalai Lama is exempt from criticism, because politicians and publishers won’t allow it, even though he’s ridiculed behind his back. Only British journalist Christopher Hitchens has taken him on, proclaiming that he “makes absurd pronouncements about sex and diet and, when on his trips to Hollywood fund-raisers, anoints major donors like Steven Segal and Richard Gere as holy,” even if their movies aren’t exactly sacred.
This isn’t about celebrity though, but freedom, and he’s never been up to the task and has had life-time immunity from being questioned about it, until now, when younger Tibetans expressed frustration at half a century of failure. He said he was powerless to stop Chinese violence, but if he had the guts to stand in front of the guns like his own people did, it’s pretty unlikely the Chinese would shoot because he could have waved his Nobel Peace Prize at them and even the United States and Europe, who roll over because they need Chinese business to end their recessions, might protest, if only a little louder than he. You make your stand where the fight is, not where it isn’t.
What can you expect from a religious leader who said that, “The economic system of Marxism is founded on moral principles, while capitalism is concerned only with gain and profitability,” and described himself as half-Buddhist and half-Marxist. His recent pronouncement to European Union leaders in Poland was prophetic though, because he said what’s needed now is “A century of dialogue.” He’s halfway there.