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Interview 7 from 15

:: The Dalai Lama: "I’m going to return to Tibet"

The Dalai Lama: The financial crisis mainly teaches us that we have to learn a new modesty.

Franz Alt:       Holiness, dear friend – you are always optimistic – do you see an opportunity in the current global crisis?

Dalai Lama:    I am sure that there is also an opportunity in this crisis. This is a totally new situation in global politics. People have only been fixated on money for too long. This is the true cause of the crisis. Spiritual values, and especially values which make up family life, have lost out a lot. The financial crisis mainly teaches us that we have to learn a new modesty.


Franz Alt:       The 21st century will be a century of refugees. You yourself  are the world’s most famous refugee. You are travelling with an Indian refugee’s identity card. What has been the most difficult experience during your 50 years of exile?

Dalai Lama:    Undoubtedly the stubbornness, narrow-mindedness and fear of the Chinese government. Its short-sightedness also. In the six rounds of talks since 2002, my representatives have had to listen to the same argument time and again: - “There is no Tibet issue.” But there is torture and violation of human rights in my country every day, and there are thousands of political prisoners. The attitude of the Chinese government towards Tibet is simply unrealistic. This is the main problem.


Franz Alt:       You are now 73 – do you personally see any chance of going back to your country?

Dalai Lama:    Of course. I am quite sure about that. China hasn’t been a communist country for a long time now. From an economic viewpoint it is more like a capitalistic society. And this means that it is continuously changing. If China continues to be economically successful, there will also be political changes. Freedom is contagious. This is my hope. Above all, I trust in China’s youth.


Franz Alt:       What do you think about Tibet’s future?

Dalai Lama:    You know my country and you also know that several thousand years of Tibetan culture cannot be destroyed by 50 years of communism. Our culture, spirituality and our religion are our strength. The Tibetan people live from their holy writings. We Tibetans are very proud of that. It’s the spiritual element, not materialism which is our mission – a mission for the whole world. Today’s Tibetan youth also live according to our tradition and religion. I know this quite well, because Tibetan refugees tell me about it almost daily. Moreover, more and more Chinese are beginning to appreciate Buddhism. At the moment, we are experiencing a spiritual awakening and a renaissance of religion in China. I personally experience more and more solidarity for me and my cause among Chinese writers. During these last few weeks alone, I have received more than 300 articles by Chinese writers with a lot of sympathy for Tibet. Those changes in China’s thinking give me hope for the future.


I am also experiencing more and more solidarity in your country, Germany. The many TV shows we have made together in the last 26 years have been very helpful. Germany has practically become my second home. I love Germany. The attentiveness of the media is important for the survival of Tibet’s future. The more solidarity and respect Tibet experiences worldwide, the sooner the Chinese government will give up its present stubborn attitude and will have to change. I am sure that within the next 5 to 10 years China will change considerably and then we will have an entirely new situation. This is why the “Medienpreis” award in Baden-Baden has been so important for Tibet.


© Franz Alt 2009

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