Sunday, June 04, 2006

Weekly Roundup: Week 22

  • Tibet better without independence”

China must have been furious last week, when Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama visited Brussels and met with key Belgian and European Union officials.

The Dalai Lama repeated his position that he is open for dialogue with the Chinese regime, which invaded and has occupied Tibet since 1959. In a meeting with Europarliamentarians he said that China is led by "a communist party without a communist ideology,” and that "in order to become a genuine superpower, China needs respect from the rest of the world, needs moral authority”. What he is seeking is not outright independence for Tibet, but an arrangement based on greater autonomy within China, like Scotland in the United Kingdom or Quebec in Canada. With China’s growing importance economically, Tibet can benefit from modernization, but only if the religious and cultural life of the territory and people are left intact, the Dalai Lama argues.

This may have raised eyebrows among more diehard independence activists, especially the younger generation. A few years ago I watched a documentary at uni about frustrated Tibetan youngsters who were born in exile outside of Tibet. Their strong desire to return to their homeland has started to turn to extremism, with several even warning of terrorist activities in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

And what do Tibet, Tintin, and Tutu have in common?

  • Opus Dei

Interesting opinion from an ‘insider’ of the religious demonsed by the Da Vinci Code.

“I knew early on that I wanted to pursue a deep communion with God, since that's what allows me to be truly happy. And I wanted to enjoy all the richness of the secular world. (All right, all except sex, which undoubtedly is one of the richest parts of living in the world.) This is where the adventure begins. Can one be totally focused on God, praying meditatively for hours a day, and also be totally focused on the world - making money, competing or collaborating with colleagues, going out with drinking buddies? The answer, for me, is yes.

My academic work has been in the area of consumer culture, specifically the fashion world and its impact on art. Can consumer culture be combined with contemplative prayer? For us in Opus Dei it can. Our ideal is the life Christ lived before his public life, his life of ordinary work in an ordinary family. God became a man and made human realities divine.”

Child labour: now also available in the UK

Shocking report in the Sunday Telegraph that hundreds of children from countries in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe end up in sweatshops or prostitution. Modern slavery in our midst.

China is no friend yet, but it shouldn’t become an enemy either.

Hollywood does it again with the dramatization of Flight 93

  • Football as the new war?

I was wondering about this a few years ago, and here is the answer. Sort of.

“What football really provides is a residual area of confrontation that allows for the controlled expression of animosity, leaving the most important areas of interaction between countries unaffected.”

  • AIDS Conference

It’s almost unbelievable, but believe it. Already more than 6 years into the 21st Century, and world leaders are unwilling or unable to mention the groups of people most vulnerable to the current AIDS crisis. Instead of drawing attention to the likes of prostitutes, homosexuals and drug users, these are lumped together under the term “vulnerable groups”—the same language used five years ago at the last AIDS conference.

Most opposition came from orthodox religious groups and conservatives who don’t want to involve interest from these “vulnerable groups”. Also the issue of sex and safe sex seemed to be sidelined at the conference, even though they were the main causes and preventions of the spread of AIDS.

As UK’s Secretary for International Development Hilary Benn put it:

“"I wish we could have been a bit more frank in our document about telling the truth [… Abstinence is fine for those who are able to abstain, but human beings like to have sex and they should not die because they do have sex,"

There were not concrete goals set, simply a non-binding declaration to continue the efforts to prevent the spread of the disease. Pretending there’s no problem and with silence and no discussion you cannot simply will the seriousness of a problem away!

Reporting by AP.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear David,

I fully agree 100% with the quote of Hillary Benn, don't you? Human beings are also sexual beings, and abstinence is not much of a real choice. Even Roman-Catholic priests have problems with it, doesn't that appear from time to time?