Why do Westerners from Bill Clinton to Steve Jobs go gooey-eyed over some Asian guy in robes? Have we really come nowhere since the 1960s? I mean, what does the Dalai Llama actually DO? Don’t we have something called the age of reason?
Why is it that the countries who espouse representative democracy and equality for all fall panting at the feet of …. a guy put in power claiming divine authority, leading an ethnic group hostile to outsiders, with some of the worst life expectancy and health statistics in the world?
(Did any of these guys have their eyes OPEN when they went to Tibet? The place is a shithole! Zero infrastructure, zero public institutions, and when the Chinese do something that might actually give the economy a boost – like laying a 2000 mile railway through unforgiving rock, an incredible feat of engineering – they thank them with brickbats.)
Do you realise one of the Tibetan people’s prime grievances about the Chinese is that the Han race keep moving in on their turf? Shock horror! Actually having to live next door to someone of a different race! I mean, isn’t that a little bit… racist?
But of course, this is how political correctness works: only white people are racist, certainly not the poor little Asians. If a white person takes this attitude, it’s selfish and evil and filled with hatred (true). If a member of an ‘ethnic minority’ does it, it’s ‘protecting their culture’. And if you’ve got a roving ambassador with, apparently, a hall pass to No 10 and the White House, you can get away with pretty much anything. As long as you’re wearing the robes.
Hint for religious leaders: bright colours work on Western leaders. Something orange and floor-length, and you’ll have ’em eating out of your hand. The Dalai Llama’s got it sussed.
Sheeesh, give me strength.
I’m no fan of the Chinese government, but as with so many territorial disputes, the Tibet thing all depends on when you draw the line in history. I mean, you don’t have to go back that many centuries to discover Outer Mongolia has a pretty strong claim over most of Asia and a fair chunk of Europe. And let’s face it, when Tibet was annexed by the Chinese – the 1950s – a great deal of Europe had redrawn its borders just a few years before, and over in the Middle East a bunch of guys were divvying up Israel and Palestine. Is China’s claim over Tibet ‘legitimate’? Depends on where you stand. History is a myth agreed upon.