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Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dalai Lama, pack a lunch

Dalai Lama, pack a lunch

By Brenda Norrell

Hopefully President Obama's meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama will go better than Obama's meeting with American Indian leaders. Although Obama invited Native American leaders to the White House, in the end, they had to stand in line to get into the Interior Building, without even a handshake from the president.

The Dalai Lama won't have to worry about a row of white Interior officials staring down at him from the podium, the way American Indian leaders did.

The meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama will probably go well, if it happens on Feb. 18. After all, Obama is not likely to chit chat with the emblem of peace about his new funding focus on wars, drones and the development of nuclear energy.

Obama will probably keep it light, a smile about his Nobel Peace Prize and that sort of thing. There's not likely to be talk about how US soldiers sit safely at their computers in Nevada and direct drones which kill women and children in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Obama isn't likely to mention how his friends over at General Dynamics will financially benefit from war dollars. There won't be any need to be sad over photographs of dead US soldiers or their coffins, since there aren't any photos. Obama probably won't discuss the fact that no one in the US seems to know why the US is at war in Afghanistan or mention the messy US business with narcotics there.

Obama will likely shy away from details of US torture at the current CIA torture site in Afghanistan, while visiting with the Tibetan spiritual leader. There won't be talk of how the US has decided it can kill US citizens abroad who are suspects, never charged or prosecuted. Likely, there won't be a mention of how the secret renditions are continuing under the Obama administration or how the Obama administration approved oil drilling in the Arctic. There's not much chance Obama will debate his decision to appoint George W. Bush to raise funds for Haiti disaster relief.

After all, this is a bourgeois presidency, not one with the thunder and voice of Martin Luther King, Jr.

OK, so President Obama did already cancel one meeting with the Dalai Lama, choosing instead to meet with the Chinese president first.

Still, the meeting with the Dalai Lama will probably go better than the meeting with Indian Nation leaders.

After all, there's only one of him.

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