Yesterday a lot of Missoulians got super excited that Tenzin Gyatzo, the 14th Dalai Lama is coming to our burg in 2011. Aside from the fact that his visit is over a year away, there are more reasons to not be excited this.
First off, I have to say that I think China is a terrible totalitarian-minded regime that crushes people. I find their human rights record grotesque, and their leaders to be awful, empty husks of humanity. But that said… the Lama isn’t that great of an alternative.
Mr. Gyatzo views himself as the rightful leader of Tibet. He believes himself to be spiritually on high, even being referred to as “His Holiness.” Here’s my first issue with him. He sees himself as both the political and spiritual leader of Buddhist and the nation of Tibet. In other words, he is a theocrat.
I know that America is no pearl of democracy, or bastion of freedom, but we are not a theocracy (in fact, we made our first constitutional amendment a refutation of theocratic government). What Mr. Gyatzo wants is a theocratic rule of Tibet. He is not for a “free” Tibet. He is in fact for implementing a religious dictatorship. It’s sick. It’s un-American. It should not be something supported by our government, the CIA, or our treasured D-List actors like Steven Seagal (who Mr. Gyatzo has claimed is a reincarnated lama).
Under his rule people would have to be Buddhist, and his word would be the end-all-be-all of any conflict within the government of the faith. That’s such an awful and evil thing to me that I can’t help myself from going insane any time someone says he should have Tibet back. Why would we wish that upon a people so under siege (not Under Siege, a film by reincarnated lama Steven Seagal)?
But we do support him. We give him asylum, and money, and so many of us praise his wonderful, humble living style. Which is my second issue with Mr. Gyatzo, by the way.
The lamas class in Tibet had a much higher standard of living than other people. They did not live in humble poverty, but in monasteries and temples. There was gold, and an abundance of food while below many lived in unending poverty and filth. Some people will say that I’m buying into Chinese propaganda concerning Tibet’s past, but even the Dalai Lama himself has said that serfdom existed, but then — in a stunningly weasel move — says that serfs in Tibet were treated better than serfs in China. As if that makes it better. As if we are to think that one oppression is okay by default because it could be worse. It’s like he’s saying, “Sure, you don’t have any rights and live in poverty, but over there they only have turnips! So be glad you’re over here in poverty and filth. Back to work.”
It is easy, however, for him to make these claims as he rides around in his LandRover doing commercials for Apple.
But of course this second issue is just an extension of my overall annoyance with American’s loving on this man. He does not deserve his nation back (and the Chinese also do not deserve it, FYI). The people of Tibet deserve the lives proclaimed — but not believed in — by so many bumper stickers: a Free Tibet. They deserve to have voting rights, freedom of speech and belief. And the Dalai Lama would not give this to them. He would make his ideas and beliefs the law.
He is no better than the leaders of Iran, really. Sure, he is against the death penalty, but he is also against people engaging in sexual acts like masturbation. (He also believes that homosexuals are incapable of being Buddhist because they engage in sexual acts he finds offensive.) While he will not kill people in cruel, and awful ways as the Ayatollahs will, he will take away freedom just the same.
But still America will continue to lift this man up as a courageous and giving soul. He will continue to get money from Richard Gere, and Sharon Stone (in a way he’s like Scientology).
Our leaders will praise and welcome him during so many gatherings.
And all the while the only victim will be the truth.
Wow. I thought I was kicking people in the teeth when I said a gay man compiled the modern Christian Bible.
Anyway, I’ve been busy these past few months trying to write a novel and working my ass off at…work. I’ll be updating more frequently.