Since our last update announcing our generous $10,000 matching grant, we have received a wonderful outpouring of support: 60 donations totaling $8,760 for which we are enormously grateful. That amount has been doubled to $17,520.
Our goal this year is to raise $70,000. So far, we have received 206 donations totaling $41,697.27. So we are almost 60% of the way to our goal. Also, bear in mind that the next $1,240 in donations will be matched. So now is the time to make your donation go farther. See below for information on how to give.
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When I was a teenager, I became fascinated with all things Tibetan by reading vintage issues of National Geographic Magazine going back to the time when Tibet was the most remote and mysterious place on earth. The Chinese invasion of 1950 shattered Tibet’s isolation, sending forth torrents of Tibetan refugees who have carried its culture to the four corners of the world, including Tibet’s spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 and set up a Tibetan government in exile.
My fascination with Tibet was rekindled in my undergraduate years when I took a political science seminar on Buddhism and society taught by Weberian historian of political thought and a passionate sympathizer with the plight of the Tibetan people, both in exile and under Chinese Communist occupation. One of our textbooks, John Avedon’s In Exile from the Land of the Snows, left a powerful impression.
In 2004, when I visited India, I stayed for 10 days in a Tibetan colony named New Aruna Nagar, which was a welcome respite after three weeks of India proper. The colony was far cleaner and more laid back than India. Even the stray dogs seemed happier.
I felt surprisingly at home among the Tibetans. I recognized their gods and symbols. I sampled foods that I had heard of long ago. (Tibetan food is hardy, as you would expect from mountain people.) I was full of questions, and they were patient, and full of answers.
I have found that most European nationalists sympathize with the Tibetans, an ancient, traditional people with a rich and beautiful culture, invaded by Chinese Communists and subjected to cultural and physical genocide and race-replacement migration by Han Chinese. For years I wanted to ask the liberals who put “Free Tibet” bumper-stickers next to “Celebrate Diversity” and even “Resist Theocracy” just what they thought would happen if Tibet were to regain its independence. Wouldn’t it be a theocracy? And wouldn’t all those Han Chinese have to go home?
I don’t subscribe to Buddhism, but I love Tibetan art and respect the Dalai Lama as a political and spiritual leader. But I never thought he would be my spiritual leader.
In 2016 I saw memes reporting that the Dalai Lama had said that too many Muslim refugees were flooding into Germany. I thought it was fake news and did not bother investigating. But it was true. Take a look at “Dalai Lama says There are ‘Too Many Refugees in Europe,‘” Independent, June 1, 2016:
The Dalai Lama, widely known for his compassionate views, has said that “too many” refugees are seeking asylum in Europe, according to German news.
Speaking to reporters in the de facto capital of Tibet’s exiled government, he said: “Europe, for example Germany, cannot become an Arab country,” in an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “Germany is Germany. There are so many that in practice it becomes difficult.”
It was an unexpected extension of sympathy for a sentiment that has found fertile ground among nationalist groups. The Dalai Lama, who often speaks of humanity’s need to acknowledge its “oneness”, is a refugee himself. After Tibetans rose up against Chinese limitations on their autonomy in 1959, the current (and 14th) Dalai Lama led tens of thousands of his followers to India, where they and their descendants have lived since. An estimated 120,000 Tibetans live in India, and those born in the country can vote.
“From a moral point of view, too, I think that the refugees should only be admitted temporarily,” the Dalai Lama said.
The bulk of Arab refugees he was referencing are fleeing Syria’s brutal and seemingly endless civil war, and its spillover into Iraq. Germany has a population of 80 million people and has accepted over 1 million refugees.
Beyond the skepticism, the Dalai Lama did convey his characteristic compassion.
“When we look into the face of every single refugee, especially the children and women, we can feel their suffering,” he said. “The goal should be that they return and help rebuild their countries.”
There is nothing hypocritical about the Dalai Lama’s position. First of all, he is actually a legitimate refugee. He left Tibet and took refuge in the first safe country, India. The Arabs flooding into Germany were refugees when they left Syria for Turkey or Lebanon. When they moved on to Europe looking for more generous handouts, they became migrants. And of course, vast numbers of these migrants are not Syrians at all. They are from all over the Muslim world. They are simply posing as refugees to enter Europe. Second, the Dalai Lama’s aim is for the Tibetans to return from exile someday and rebuild their country. Of course, it will take regime change in Beijing before that happens. Sadly, the Muslims in Europe will probably return home sooner than the Tibetans.
This month, the Dalai Lama repeated his views about refugees. Speaking in Malmö, Sweden — which is home to a large and seething migrant population who have created no-go zones for native Swedes — shortly after the Swedish parliamentary elections which saw significant gains for the nationalist Sweden Democrats, His Holiness said, “Europe belongs to the Europeans.” According to the Business Times:
The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, said Wednesday that “Europe belongs to the Europeans” and that refugees should return to their native countries to rebuild them.
Speaking at a conference in Sweden’s third-largest city of Malmö, home to a large immigrant population, the Dalai Lama — who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 — said Europe was “morally responsible” for helping “a refugee really facing danger against their life”.
“Receive them, help them, educate them . . . but ultimately they should develop their own country,” said the 83-year-old Tibetan who fled the capital Lhasa in fear of his life after China poured troops into the region to crush an uprising.
“I think Europe belongs to the Europeans,” he said, adding they should make clear to refugees that “they ultimately should rebuild their own country”.
The Dalai Lama has spoken a truth that few European leaders have the courage to say: Just as Tibet belongs to the Tibetans, “Europe belongs to the Europeans.” Which means that Germany belongs to the Germans, Sweden to the Swedes, etc. Indeed, every nation deserves a homeland of its own. In short, the Dalai Lama is an ethnonationalist and an identitarian. He is also one of the most respected men on the planet. He is the winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize. He is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. And he is now my spiritual leader too — the spiritual leader of nationalists of all nations.
Have you accepted the Dalai Lama as your spiritual leader yet?
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