We are back here again and it just doesn’t feel good, does it? The Dalai Lama wants to come to South Africa to attend Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s birthday party. The Archbishop Emeritus is going to be 80yrs old, which is a milestone of a birthday, and naturally he wants his friends to be there, especially those who bring the ethereal force of the Dalai Lama.
The last time the Dalai Lama wanted to come it was for a peace conference attended by other Nobel Laureates to discuss the role of football in combating racism and xenophobia. Oh and how SA needs a conference on how to combat those two evils. But he wasn’t allowed to come, and the conference was postponed.
The presidential spokesperson, at the time, came up with this unconvincing bit of reasoning. He said “South Africa doesn’t not have a problem with the Dalai Lama, but at this time the whole world will be focused on the country as hosts of the 2010 world cup. We want the focus to remain on SA. A visit now by the Dalai Lama would move the focus from SA onto issues of Tibet”.
It’s unlikely that the world cup would be overshadowed by anything. It’s The World Cup, and FIFA’s publicity machine doesn’t get overshadowed. Anyway, that was 2009. This is 2011. There is no world cup to be overshadowed. There is, in fact, only an Anglican Spiritual Leader who would like to extend an invitation to a Bhuddist Spiritual Leader to attend and by attending bestow blessings on the amazing and divine advent of his 80th Year on this earth. That’s the only focus.
So if South Africa doesn’t have a problem with the Dalai Lama – well the man said in 2009 that we don’t have, and unless we have developed a problem in the last two years, we can assume that we still don’t – So if we don’t are we tagging onto someone else’s problem with the Dalai Lama? Is that why we are so hesitant to grant him a visa to come to our country? It’s wrong.
The Archbishop once said ‘Though wrong gratifies in the moment, good yields it’s gifts over a lifetime’.
Isn’t this a moment when South Africa gives our Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Mpilo Tutu, The Arch, as he is lovingly known, ‘the good’? Isn’t it about us honouring his wishes? He has given his life to us. He has dedicated his entire career to our liberation, unwaveringly. It will forever be too early for us to forget. Let us give him something that he will remember as a gift from his nation for the rest of his life.
Many will recall his enthronement as Archbishop of Cape Town in 1986. Many people were invited from all over the world. It was a momentous occasion. However, there were also many dignitaries who were denied permission to attend. Will we, who he has dedicated his life to loving, impose such restriction on him again?
Is it not ironic that a man who fought for our human rights his whole life should be denied, by his government, the right; the simple human right of freedom of association?
I think no one should be allowed to stop us from honouring our beloved Arch. Give him The Dalai Lama for his birthday.