By Greg Harman
Alex Chilton once crooned, “High in the hills of the Him-a-layas; There lives a cool cat they call the Dalai Lama.” ‘Course long before as he first penned this oddity, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was living in neighboring India, long since forced from his country by invading Chinese bullets and batons.
In an at-times profound and moving performance Saturday, traveling Tibetan monks performed a variety of chants, debates, and dances, reminding a small group of us clustered in a stark Mennonite church on South St. Mary’s that the struggle for human rights continues.
An hour of chanting, tonal singing, and dance fell into hilarity as the Dance of the Snow Lion began unexpectedly at the back of church and raised the room to its feet in surprise. With much ear-twitching and jaw-bouncing, the revered representation of the snow lion blessed the audience with a distended blue ribbon reading simply “World Peace.”
With the Chinese-hosted Olympics now passed, the world’s attention has drifted from the struggle in Tibet. But with Obama’s presidential victory, there is also renewed optimism in the Tibetan community that the United States may at last put Tibet high on its foreign policy “to-do” list.
For information about Obama’s positive Tibet track-record and find out how you can lend your voice to the push for positive action in this remarkable land, visit Students for a Free Tibet.
And enjoy the dance.