The Dalai Lama has again been refused entry to South Africa, this time for the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, the Cape Times reported on Thursday
The Dalai Lama’s representative in South Africa Nangsa Choedon said officials from the department of international relations had phoned her office in the past week to say the Tibetan spiritual leader would not be granted a visa. The office had yet to receive written confirmation.”For now the Dalai Lama has decided to cancel his trip to South Africa,” Choedon was quoted as saying.
The summit, an annual gathering, is being held in Cape Town next month, with arrangements being made by a local organising committee formed by the foundations representing four South African laureates — Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk, and Albert Luthuli.
And this happens in the year when we are supposed to be celebrating 20 years of freedom and democracy. Our “freedom” is beginning to look a bit tattered around the edges.
In 1968 the South African government excluded the cricketer Basil d’Oliveira from coming with the MCC team on a cricket tour, and the result was the exclusion of South Africa from world cricket for more than 20 years. Now it seems that the young dog is learning the old dog’s tricks.
It means that, as in the bad old days, South Africa is not a suitable place for international gatherings, because people can be barred from attending by arbitrary government decisions.
If the people arranging the gathering of Nobel Laureates have any integrity, they will move the venue to a free country (Botswana for instance), which will all ow all those invited to attend.
If the organisers of the gathering are not willing to do that, then the other Nobel Peace Prize Laureates should refuse to attend. Their attendance in such circumstances would make a mockery of the Peace Prize.