Friday, September 25, 2009

Obama Will Not Welcome H.H. The Dalai Lama [UPDATED]

The candidate Barack Obama was eager to engage with the exiled Tibetan leader.

President Obama, not so much.


My email to the President's office:

Today we received the appalling news that the Obama Administration will not receive a visit from His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his visit to the United States. I call on the President to reverse this decision.

The American people are not naive about the politics behind this decision; but we must reject the politics when they are wrong. These handshake photo-ops with the Dalai Lama are, as the entire establishment knows, not going to set free a single Tibetan. We will not see a serious diplomatic effort to restore Tibet's independence and this has much to do with China's status in the world.

While I understand the wisdom of engaging with China, that relationship cannot blind us to the simple and inarguable injustice that is demonstrated in the long-term exile of the Dalai Lama. He is a globally respected spiritual leader, a moral force of our time, as well as the exiled ruler of a country that was brutally conquered and eliminated. And my President will not meet this man and shake his hand? I feel shamed by this decision.

The "realist" argument is wrong. How weak is our moral leadership in the world if we cannot even muster the moral courage for a photo-op with the Dalai Lama, one of the world's most respected and respectable individuals?

It is a mistake, and it must be reversed quickly. I call on the President to meet with the Dalai Lama in October. Failing to do so is an abdication of moral courage and would stand as a glaring contradiction of the kind of leadership the President spoke of as a candidate.

1 comment:

Nathan said...