Dalai Lama should condemn Tibetan self-immolations writes Stephen Prothero
Tibet is witnessing an epidemic of self-immolations. In fact, since March 16, 2011, more than 40 Tibetans have followed Thich Quang Duc’s lead, setting themselves on fire to protest the Chinese occupation of Tibet.
. . . where are the protests against these Tibetan protesters?
When asked about the recent spate of self-immolations in Tibet, the Dalai Lama has offered the response of no response. In a July 9 interview, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people said he wanted “to remain neutral,” telling The Hindu:
This is a very, very delicate political issue. Now, the reality is that if I say something positive, then the Chinese immediately blame me. If I say something negative, then the family members of those people feel very sad. They sacrificed their own life. It is not easy. So I do not want to create some kind of impression that this is wrong. So the best thing is to remain neutral.
I know it is impolitic to criticize the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who is revered as a bodhisattva by many Buddhists. But he deserves criticism in this case. Why not “create some kind of impression” that killing is wrong? Why not use his vast storehouse of moral and spiritual capital to denounce this ritual of human sacrifice?
If the Dalai Lama were to speak out unequivocally against these deaths, they would surely stop. So in a very real sense, their blood is on his hands.
Quite so. In Prothero’s own words, “The Dalai Lama . . . is . . . a man of peace. It is time . . . that he started to act like one.” Peace being more than just flowery words and winning smiles.