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i'm so embarrassed

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I turned on the telly this morning for our daily dose of news and the first story I saw left me feeling mortified to be in this country. A feeling I don't relish, but encounter more and more I'm sad to say...

"South Africa Bars Dalai Lama From Peace Conference

South Africa barred the Dalai Lama from a peace conference in Johannesburg this week, hoping to keep good relations with trading partner China but instead generating a storm of criticism.
But because the Dalai Lama isn't being allowed to attend, it is now being boycotted by fellow Nobel Peace prize winners retired Cape Town Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former president F.W. de Klerk as well as members of the Nobel Committee.
An eclectic mix of Nobel laureates, Hollywood celebrities and other dignitaries are coming to discuss issues ranging from combating racism to how sports can unite people and nations.

But Thabo Masebe, spokesman for President Kgalema Motlanthe, said a high-profile visit by the Tibetan spiritual leader would have distracted from the conference's focus.
Tamu Matose, a spokeswoman for Tutu, told the AP that Tutu would not attend "because of the Dalai Lama issue." Tutu was quoted Sunday as calling the barring "disgraceful." "

The man who - whether you believe in Buddhist teachings or not - has been living his life as the 74th incarnation of the reverend Buddha, has been banned from our country. Banned from a Peace conference. Because it would distract from the focus of the conference. The Peace conference. I'm astounded. Ashamed.

Whatever your political reasoning, you've made a mockery of our country yet again. You've made it obvious we'll bend over backwards for anyone who'll give us money. That we're here to be bought. And that you have no real interest in a Peace conference of any kind - you're pandering to a world power, embarrassing your people and making it doubtful anyone will take us seriously. Pathetic. And yes, "disgraceful".

Read the rest of the story here and get a local angle here with News24's story "Dalai Lama 'very disappointed'".

Story update: the conference has been postponed, but CNN is broadcasting that it is unlikely to happen at all. Rather than invite his Holiness, they cancel a conference they've been planning since November 2008.

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