The Tibetan Spiritual Leader The Dalai Lama – Visa debacle
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 12:51pm
Let me start out by saying it is my view that the officials in the Department could have handled it better, here I am dealing with process and administrative bungling. An application for a visa was lodged, and such needed to be handled and responded to devoid of who it was or where it originated. The application of the visa should have remained from the onset just and application.
I hold it became murky when it became public as shared by Arch Bishop Tutu. This perhaps innocent sharing of ones wish to have a ‘friend’ attend your 80th Birthday, cannot be faltered unless the objective was to manipulate the process on a hotly contested issue.
The Tibetan Spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, has trouble travelling all over the world where China has a say or influence, hence this was not the first time that his application raised challenges and perhaps not the last time either. It therefore becomes imperative for Government to inform the public of its true reasons for not granting such visa application.
Having conceded to the process and administrative conundrum, I shall venture to take me challenge further and hone in on the Archbishop’s response to this bungling.
The Star carries it headline, “I will pray for your down fall” words attributed to the Archbishop. The article goes on to assert this government was worse than the apartheid Government. Perhaps the “I’ll” holds for us a key: for it may be that there is a misplaced identity as to who is God. It is the Archbishop who will invoke a God who is willing to do what the Arch demands.
I therefore am asking what could be the theological premise for such claim on the part of the Arch Bishop. Perhaps on the cuff it appears to be a rhetorical question, yet I think it tells us a story and shows us a picture of how some sees God. Often these see God as a ‘tool’ to deal with those who oppose me, these see God as an ‘instrument’ to threaten others with and to ‘scare’ them, in the name of ‘do not touch me’.
This latest ranting needs contextualisation for it advocates God according Archbishop Tutu is not pleased with this Government the same way He was not pleased with the Apartheid Government. The same is not explained nor made known.
I am struggling with the parallels notwithstanding all the errors of this Government, the existing Government’s humanitarian track record simply cannot be compared with an Apartheid illegitimate system. It is a story of day and night. Humanity as placed in tandem with environment for its existence proves from the Holy writ a critical and a cardinal theme and objective of God, this exemoplified in Salvations plan.
The biggest challenge with Archbishop Tutu’s threat for me resonates in this that he affords himself no right to be wrong on this one, he does not allow himself a sense of introspection to arrive at a different view and prognostication.
The Archbishop chooses to invoke God upon the Government as God has already decided in concert with the Arch its time for that. Also the context of this invoking of God, does not appear in a vacuum for the Arch never had respect or honour for the post Polokwane leadership notwithstanding the fact and truth that these were elected no different to all others before. The Arch was at pains to say in late September 2008, that he would be embarrassed to say who his president is if such was to be the ANC candidate Jacob Zuma.
He along with another theologian Prof. Barney Pityana was outspoken on a Zuma leadership when these attempted to dictate to the ANC a party they share no membership of that Zuma was the wrong choice. The Arch was covered widely, yet I seldom hear of the Arch being wrong, is it possible that at times there is confusion between the God of the Arch and the Arch as to who leads who?
It is my contention that the invoking of God in this instance as a God who can be blindly led by ones emotions, ego and even arrogance proves challenging. The threat of using prayer whilst a legitimate threat, constitutes a lob-sided interpretation of God. It advocates subliminally that God listens more to the Arch than his own people whose sins he chose to forgive informed by a less comprehended love for all of humanity.
This invoking of God as tool or instrument for me proves challenging, for the last time I checked God loves the people in political power today in SA no different from he loves the Tibetan Spiritual Leader. Matter of fact God loves those in power in SA today the same way he loves the Archbishop notwithstanding the shortcoming of both, which constitutes and defines the meridian of His redemption plan for all mankind.
The claim of praying for the government’s downfall is and must be seen as a prayer against people in power. This makes it for me much murkier when these are equally the object of God’s unparalleled love.
Unless God has abdicated his role, which we know he has not, nor will in the future, can we express our views on this His earth, can we argue and differ, can we respect one another and prove sensitive that both of us can be wrong regardless to our glorified roles in the cause of humanity for the God whom we claim to serve is not easily manipulated by our emotional ranting, when we have not afforded ourselves the contemplation and possibility of being wrong for we all have been wrong before.
In my final year as student at UWC attached to the Theological Faculty, Joe Slovo was invited to address as students and academics in a lecture on “Religion in Post Apartheid Context”.
Slovo the known atheist asked us if he could use our Bible to read a scripture. He than went on to read the scripture “then God made man into his image into His likeness” he stopped and said, “whilst as an atheist I cannot vet this statement, I shall venture to say, Man have made God into their image in our world today”.
I thought long and hard about this mouthful coming from this atheist, and conceding the atheist do not realise how much he preached on that occasion. Looking back now over 20 years later, and hearing the Archbishop make this threat, I think Joe Slovo was right, we have traversed a rugged terrain in which we have made God into our image. Just as some see him as ATM machine and Bank, in which he will make them billionaires.
In conclusion, I PRAY that the Arch like all of us, find it in his heart to repent of our own ego tripping and in humility embrace the things we cannot change for oft these remind us we have not arrived yet and may never arrive for that matter in a place where we can have it all the time our way.
Bishop Clyde N.S Ramalaine
Founder of “The Thinking Masses” and author of Through the Prism of My Soul, and Anthology of Contemporary Political commentary and Analysis in SA