Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Who's afraid of the Dalai Lama ?

The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism is being feared by our South African government. Mr Kgalema Motlanthe, acting as 'president', therefore don't want him attending a peace conference, organised by the soccer guys. Of course, the 're-called', dismissed ex, sitting at the back, also feared this religious leader 10 or so years ago.

When I was a child, I also feared strange weird characters, especially men in red dresses. Maybe they had special magical powers, which would reveal my own dark secrets. As I grew up, I however became fascinated by the rituals, the symbolism, but at a deeper level the kind of values and commitments that are embedded in their understanding of the world, spirituality and justice. And yes, in a way as a Christian, I am often unmasked by their perspectives and commitments to the point of sacrificing comfort. Its therefor no surprise that the Dalai Lama is in exile in India, because of his resistance to the cruelty and unjust repression of a neo-colonial China on the Tibetan people. If I did not grow up, I would have still been a captive of my childhood fears and fear often robs us from growing up. Fear inhibit the flourishing of our human-ness with others. Whilst colonialism, was at the heart driven by economic interests, it fed on the fears of the other and exploited the fears in order to unjustly ravage the livelihood of people and in that way it de-humanised us all.

The current ban placed on the visit of the Dalai Lama, or (the double H, as he is known amongst close friends) says a lot. Whilst we marvel at 'pastor Zuma' parading as God's divine messenger in the pulpits of Rhema and other obscure faith communities, the real movers and shakers of South African politics are trembling and shaking, because of the unnerving presence of a weird man in a red dress. Maybe he has strange, magical powers.... or what do you say, 'my China' ?
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