There is a lot going on in the world. A natural disaster in Japan. Ravages of war from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestinian territories, to now Libya. The world is still in a recession. There is global warming. And population is still set to reach 9 billion by 2045.
Still I think there is still time for some comic relief. Obama made his NCAA picks last week. And the Dalai Lama recently announced (as brought up recently in the Open Thread) that he is retiring from politics.
Dalai Lama – retiring from politics?
But as I mentioned in the comments:
1. How can the DL retire from politics when he has always been just a “religious” figure?
2. Does “retiring” mean retiring Gaddafi style – i.e. he holds no “official” title is but an “international leader” – who has gazillions stashed and can hire mercenaries to do his bidding?
3. Some have asked, why does Chinese gov’t not allow “freedom of religion” to which I have always replied because DL does not abstain from politics. If DL really wants to move toward a true separation of church and state in Tibet – which is possible, though it will be a break from tradition – then he should announce not just a temporal retirement now that he is weak and feeble, but a permanent retirement from politics in all future reincarnations. Whether he means it, and whether anyone should believe him is one thing, but since he’s already at the political circus, why not be complete – taking a stance on principle for once? No?
According to the Dalai Lama, upon his retiring, he wants to institute a democratic system that allows the exiles Tibetans to choose their leaders democratically.
But why did it have to take 60 years for the DL to reach this stage? And why democracy when the Dalai Lama represents one of the most anti-democratic and repressive institution mankind has ever seen?
It’s hard to tell from the exiles themselves since many appear blind (some still claim they have always had a democratic government all along, 2010 being the 50th anniversary!).
As raventhorn2000 has noted already in the open comments:
It’s long an open secret within the Tibetan Exile community that only the “connected” people get to leave the Religious Utopian hell hole that they call Dharamsala in India, where there are very little job opportunities, poor health care, (high infant mortality even by Indian standards).
That means, relatives of high Lamas, connection through bribery, etc., can go to Europe, US, Australia, while the others remain poor and destitute in Dharamsala.
Perhaps with DL’s death, there will finally be an end to his cult of personality.
*Seriously, I feel for the Tibetan Exiles. They thought they were brain washed by Mao, but then they turn to DL. So much misdirected religious fervor and adulation for parasitic Monks.
It’s way past praying for miracles. If DL was that magical, the New Constitution should have been a reality 20 years ago.
DL is still the head of the Yellow Hat Sect, which can elect/appoint about 1/4 of representatives in the TGIE parliament, according to the Constitution of TGIE.
The New TGIE Constitution has not be drafted yet, according to DL. So I make no opinions on that, but I doubt it will change much. Religious Sects, mostly the 4 dominant Tibetan schools of Buddhism will make up majority of the “representatives”, making TGIE still very much a “theocracy” by definition.
Indeed. A democracy is not about elections per se. That guanrantees only rule by mob. A democracy is also not just about the Constitution … or rule of law. The U.S. had all those 200 years ago, yet, for most of its history, it reserved suffrage only for white males with property and means, legally sanctified slavery, and outlawed Chinese emigrant laborers building this country from ever becoming U.S. citizen
I do not know what the Dalai Lama has in mind now appealing to democracy. Maybe he is trying to get more softpower-based recognition in the West. But even if the exile government were to pull off implementing the most egalitarian and fair democratic government this UNIVERSE has ever witnessed, what does that really prove? How can some 100,000 refuge Tibetans decide the fate of some 5-6 million?
The strength of China has always been her proud, diverse multi-cultural and multi-ethnic heritage. I’m rooting for China to reach her utmost ideals – a world in which every citizen, regardless of ethnicity, is liberated from poverty and ignorance, where all individual are empowered to lead meaningful and purposeful lives as members of a peaceful and prosperous society. I hope China stay free from the type of ethnic and religious based politics that have plunged so many parts of the world into ethnic intolerance and religious fanaticism.
A limited democracy – whether limited to a particular gender, religious group, ethnicity – is fundamentally contrarian to the spirit of openness, tolerance and harmonious prosperity that China seeks for its future.