October 4, 2011 § 4 Comments
It is beyond shocking that South Africa might deny the Dalai Lama a visa again. He was denied entry into the country the first time around just before the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Pretoria effectively admitted that it didn’t want to raise the ire of China by allowing him into the country. The press release should have read, “We’re chicken, and we’re really scared of China, so we’ll do what China wants because we’re China’s bitch now.”
We like to call China a friend, but only one-friend benefits while the other is screwed of their dignity. We’re pimping our moral grounding for Chinese money. Maybe I should have just called this column, “The whoring of a nation.”
It would be pathetic if we didn’t allow the Dalai Lama to visit South Africa in order to attend his friend’s birthday, Desmond Tutu. This Nobel Peace Prize winner is being treated no differently from your common criminal.
Our government has selective moral positions when it comes to matters of moral standing. One thing on Tibet, and another on Palestine.
The SA government doesn’t stand for what it believes, it stands for what China believes. We have no backbone. We have lost all moral standing we once had during the Mandela era. It would appear as if our foreign positions are dictated to us by foreign entities. We have committed a great treason against ourselves.
When Nelson Mandela was president, we had swagger. We knew what we stood for and what we stood against. We were direct and were respected for it. No one told us what to do, no matter the financial clout of the government we were dealing with at the time. Back in 1998, when he was president, we were even more desperate for FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) than we are now. Yet we never for a moment cowered to whims of powerful foreign nations.
What this tells us is that a country’s moral standing goes hand in hand with it’s leader’s moral standing.
Our moral authority was clear for all to see. Whether we were at fault or not. The Americans were completely uneasy about South Africa’s relationship with the “Axis of the Outcasts”, Cuba’s Castro, Iran and our relation with Gadaffi and made it very clear to us that this was not ideal and were unhappy. The message was effectively, “You can’t be friends with people we don’t like.” It was a very high school girl kind of affair. Which is what China is doing. Being a high school girl and we’re like the friend that’s desperate to be liked but is being bullied.
When then president Bill Clinton came to South Africa for a state visit in March 1998, Nelson Mandela said to the press, with Bill Clinton standing two metres away from him, “Those who feel we should have no relations with Gaddafi, have no morals. Those who feel irritated by our friendship with President Gaddafi can go jump in the pool.”
He said it with such certainty and moral conviction that it was clear that we are a sovereign nation that deserved to be treated with respect, and not dictated to, even though our economic clout was a mere drop in the ocean compared to that of the United States. He would not allow us to be treated as anything other than equals. Not only that, we had to behave as equals. Now we’re like a dog waiting for approval from its master so that we can get some breadcrumbs on the floor.
Some speculate that we fear losing out on our standing as a member of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, a group of developing nations that have formed a strategic trading partnership to give them leverage against the West). Well, India has given the Dalai Lama refuge and they are part of BRICS.
China needs us as much as we need them. China won’t drop South Africa because of the Dalai Lama. They need our minerals and we need their money. They need our resources for their rapidly expanding population, China is not going to react out of emotion and pull out. Our moral cowardice is disgusting.