Human Rights Violators should NOT be rewarded with Money or Prestige!

This picture was sent to me earlier this year by a friend that is a Buddhist monk.  We are both of the faith typically called “Tibetan”  Buddhism.  As such, we’re pretty much automatically labelled enemies of the Chinese People.  I wanted to share this picture with you because of several things going on right now concerning His Holiness the Dali Lama, the candidates for President, and the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

This picture demonstrates the real force being the so-called rioting monks and the violence last April in Tibet.  It was posed so China could justify the disappearance of over 10,000 Buddhist monks and nuns. You are seeing this correctly.  It is a group of Chinese soldiers holding monk garb.  This was taken by a friend of ours right after some of the riots. I think you can figure out the rest for yourself.

I decided to re-open this issue  since I was also speaking to my Lama today. A lama is a spiritual teacher along the lines of a Rabbi in Judaism.  His wife, Ang Dawa,  is an activist for the Sherpa peoples.  They both are from Nepal but were born in a section where the line between Nepal and China is more relevant to countries than native peoples.  The Sherpas are indigenous people living in the Himalaya Mountains and you all probably know them best for their incredible mountaineering skills.  Ang Dawa has just been elected to the new Nepali parliament and has been an activist/journalist for the UN for many years for Human and Women’s Rights.  She just wrote an article in the local newspaper stating that there are basic human rights and they include being able to practice religion as you see fit, including becoming monks and nuns. It was a very generic article on human rights and mentioned no countries by name.  However, there are over 10,000 tibetan buddhist monks and nun–many of which are Sherpa–unaccounted for after the april/may so-called uprisings. This includes some of the senior most and most respected rinpoches.  They have simply disappeared.

While I am not surprised the President George W. Bush has decided to attend the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, I had held out some hope.  This week there have been several headlines out there concerning both the Olympics and the struggles of the Tibetan people to maintain their cultural identity and practice their religion. There have also been some activities on the parts of presidential candidates.  I argue, both activities are essential windows into their approaches to Human Rights.

The first was this picture of John McCain and his Holiness the Dali Lama.  The New York Times in its story stated this:

“But other Republicans — the so-called foreign policy pragmatists, many of whom have come to view the Iraq war as a mistake — say the administration’s policy shifts highlight the more confrontational nature of Mr. McCain’s foreign policy, particularly in his approach toward Russia and his embrace on Friday of the Dalai Lama, whom the Chinese regard as the fomenter of a rebellion in Tibet. They say the meeting will only antagonize China before the Summer Olympics, and at a moment when the United States is seeking its cooperation on economic issues and negotiations with North Korea.”

source:   http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/26/us/26policy.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

At the same time, we see this move from the Obama Campaign.

As reported by Advertising Age, it appears that the Obama campaign is going to be a major TV sponsor of the Beijing Olympics.

“It’s official. Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign will be among the TV sponsors of NBC Universal’s Olympics coverage. In the first significant network-TV buy of any presidential candidate in at least 16 years, the Obama campaign has taken a $5 million package of Olympics spots that includes network TV as well as cable ads. According to NBC’s political file, the campaign had initially requested information about 500,000, $2 million and $4 million package of Olympics spots. The network also offered the candidate a $10 million package.”

So, let me ask you a question.  Aren’t the progressives supposed to be the ones concerned with Human Rights and standing up for them regardless of the economic consequences?  Is it way too cynical of me to see this move by the Obama campaign as finding a way to profit and gain votes from an event that highlights a country that mistreats its peoples?  This is Communist China folks!  Monks and Nuns disappear there.  Google and MIcrosoft have had to build limits into their software to suppress free speech in this country.

Oh, btw, after the Chinese government protested the publication of Ang Dawa’s statement of basic human rights, there were threats issued to the publisher of that paper in Nepal.  The paper has been been barred from further publication.

Is this the type of thing the Obama campaign should be sponsoring with campaign dollars?