Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Om Mani Padme Hum?

Shangri-La is under attack! The holy spiritual people of Shangri-La are being oppressed! The Oympic torch must be stopped!

Well I must point out with all the hullaballoo about the Beijing Olympic torch and the unrest in Tibet, that in American liberal fascination with Tibet, the Dalai Lama, Buddhist spirituality, and the certainty of its self-righteousness opposition to oppression in foreign countries, not everything is what it seems.

Tibetan Buddhism surely is a wonderful spiritual path, and while I have heard that the Dalai Lama has some unfortunate views on homosexuality, as a religious person outside the mainstream of Abrahamic tradition I throw no stones at its belief system or adherents.

However, I would point out that his supporters in the west seem to be endorsing a medieval theocracy with a documented and unglorious history of slavery and feudalism. I say to these supporters of Tibet the same thing I would say to supporters of Israel: if you believe separation of church and state is a defining principle of modern democracy in the United States, you need to believe the same thing about separation of church and state in other countries, no matter how like Shangri-La you imagine them.

It may be that the Chinese are oppressive to the Tibetan people, and Tibetan autonomy and self-determination is no doubt a laudatory goal. I don't excuse the subjugation of peoples. But the smashing of a brutal and backwards feudal theocracy? Go Chinese People's Liberation Army!

To the Americans caught up in protests of the Olympics, I say, your main enemy is at home. You want to help the people of Darfur? You want to help the Tibetans? End US imperialism and international corporate rape. Dismantle the CIA. Remove American troops from Korea. Remove American troops from the middle east.

Here's an interesting perspective on Tibet.

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