Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Caring Little, Caring Less

Few Australians know or care much about Tibet. What we do know seems to be largely romanticised twaddle about a Shangri-La like culture which existed before the Chinese occupation just after the war, which sent the Dalai Lama into exile in Northern India.
The Dalai Lama is an exemplary person who appears to live out in reality what he proclaims in practice, non-violence. Whilst being articulate and outspoken, he nevertheless has refused to be drawn into a slanging match with the Chinese.
If China decided to end the Tibet crisis it could do it now. The truth is that China can essentially do what it likes. It comes from being the biggest kid in the classroom. It doesn't do it (presumably) because it cannot afford to isolate itself from world opinion when it has just spent the best part of the last two decades getting back into the mainstream.
Australia has discovered an interesting thing, we can be frightened or we can be strong. Frightened that we alienate the world's largest market. Strong as we realise that we are not without bargaining chips...coal. But also a sense of place in the world.
We cannot get too cocky, China could sit on us as easily as it sits on Tibet.
But we should try and be strong and do what is right. That's what seems to be hapenning.
Cooperating does not mean agreeing to every whim. Nor does it mean being painfully priggish.
But one imagines no one will pretend any more that the Olympicxs are or can be politics free

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