Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Each time I hear of Tibet in the Western press, and its relationship to Beijing, I wonder what an autonomous or an independent Tibet would look like. Or in particular, would have looked like had it not been liberated by the People's Liberation Army shortly after the revolution.

I'm strongly suspecting it would have looked a lot like neighboring Bhutan; just now creeping out of the middle ages, a feudal kingdom, social relations largely in the same place they were hundreds of years ago. (Note taken of recent moves, tops down of course, in Bhutan to bring it to the modern world...) Or perhaps neighboring Nepal, where a similar kingdom held sway until quite recently, suffering from severe unrest which makes Tibet's recent troubles look pretty tame in comparison; funny thing is, Nepal's troubles are never pitched, in the Western press, in quite the same politicized way as Tibet's minor troubles. I wonder why that might be ;-)

I also note that Tibet, unlike Bhutan or Nepal, doesn't have a heritary king, but rather, a spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, quite popular in many parts of the West and in south asia as well. It is hard not to avoid wondering, at least for me, why it is that theocracy is somehow not okay when it involves mullahs in Iran, but is perfectly acceptable when it involves a Buddhist who competes with one of our rivals on the world stage. I suppose it helps to be popular with Richard Gere as well...

One final note - the exile community is India is not all on board with the Dalai Lama's scaled back autonomy plans. I wonder if the folks doing the rioting in Lhasa are associated with the more hardline elements in Dharamsala and not the Dalai Lama himself. That would explain a lot. Any thoughts?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Mar 20th, 2008 at 01:16:02 PM EST

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