- ‘Welcome to the edge of freedom’: Biden’s boots touch down in DMZ
- Obama: Hole U.S. ‘digging out of’ requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
A world without Dalai Lama
Tibetans and the spiritual leader himself ponder the inevitable
Over the past half-century, the once-feudal king has become a master of the modern world. He is an ascetic Buddhist monk long accustomed to celebrities who want to prostrate themselves before him. He travels and lectures constantly. He has raised tens of millions of dollars for the Tibetan cause, supporting everything from orphanages to a soccer team. He has become an international symbol of peace.
In Beijing, though, he’s something different: “A jackal wearing a monk’s robe,” one China-appointed Tibetan official said. “A demon,” said another. Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of being a “splittist” who is secretly plotting Tibet’s complete independence from China.
Tibetan exile leaders and independent human rights observers, meanwhile, say China is systematically stripping Tibet of its heritage. Ethnic Han Chinese are pouring into the region, while Beijing has arrested generations of political activists and oversees a vast military and intelligence network that reaches into nearly every village and monastery.
While the Dalai Lama still advocates talks with China - the discussions have limped along for years - he has few other choices.
“So far, dialogue failed, but that does not mean in future no possibility,” he said in the Dharmsala interview. He insists one minute that change is at hand, but then says he is always disappointed. “Eventually, all these hopes disappear.”
Today, increasing numbers of Tibetans are putting their hopes in a new generation of political leaders.
In 2011, Tibetans will choose the exile government’s next prime minister, an election widely seen as the most democratic yet for the exiles. Reflecting the constant tug here between tradition and modernity, exile politicians have long tried to do what they think the Dalai Lama wants - while the Dalai Lama says politicians need to make their own decisions.
“In a way, it’s like saying, ‘Who will be our next leader?”’ said Tenzin Choeying of the activist group Students for a Free Tibet. “Without mentioning His Holiness, this is a way of addressing the issue” of his death.
He insists the movement will succeed one day: “People say we’re dreamers, but the same thing might have been said about Indians who wanted independence [from England] in the 1890s.”
That pervading sense of hope is perhaps the strangest thing about Dharmsala, this town of Tibetans and wandering hippies, with its astrologers, crystal shops and enough yoga masters to form a small but exceedingly limber army.
The Dalai Lama, despite his occasional lapses into pessimism, is hopeful that things will improve in Tibet. The activists are also hopeful.
Even the state oracle is hopeful.
The oracle is an avuncular 52-year-old monk named Thupten Ngodup who, during trances, is said to be able to communicate with the spirit world and look into the future. He is a powerful political and spiritual adviser to the Tibetan exile government and the Dalai Lama.
“Perhaps my hope might sound a little stupid,” he said in his monastery office. “But in this century, the era of dictatorship is passing.
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Craigslist killers: Police say newlyweds stabbed man for thrills
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: I do
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
Classical music and the performing arts: news and reviews you can use.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
White House pets gone wild!