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Dalai Lama in Sweden. Photo: SVT

Dalai Lama in Sweden: ‘Europe belongs to Europeans’

The Tibetan Buddhist leader Dalai Lamas message is that Europe belongs to Europeans and refugees should return to their home countries as soon as the danger is over. Swedish journalists quickly changed from celebrating the peace laureate to suggesting the old monk is ignorant.

Published: September 15, 2018, 5:27 pm

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    Tibet’s spiritual leader Dalai Lama visit Malmö in Sweden as a first stop on his European tour. There, in one of the most multicultural cities in Scandinavia, he said that refugees should not stay permanently in Sweden or Germany, but ultimately return to their countries of origin and help rebuild them.

    The message was delivered at the press meeting ahead of Dalia Lama’s appearance at the Concert Hall in Malmö. The Buddhist leader himself brought up this topic, which panned out in a different way than the Swedish media had expected, the Danish Kristligt Dagblad reported.

    The Dalai Lama first said that Europe has a “moral responsibility” to accept refugees if there is a real threat: “Accept them, help them and educate them.”

    But he was also clear of what to expect next. “Ultimately, they have to return and develop their own countries and rebuild them,” said the spiritual leader, and explained that European countries must make this clear to the immigrants.

    The 83-year-old peace laureate went on to say that “Europe belongs to Europeans” in the same way as the Middle East belongs to people of the Middle East.

    The Dalai Lama has first hand experience of loosing his country. In 1959 the largely independent Tibet was invaded by Chinese forces. The communist regime under Mao Zedung was determined to end the resistance of the religiously governed province. As a result, the Dalai Lama and his government fled to neighbouring India, where he has lived in exile ever since.

    Since the takeover by Chinese forces, a large scale immigration of Han Chinese has been forced on Tibet, a move strongly criticised by the Dalai Lama. The influx of Chinese have meant that Tibetans have been turned into minority in their own land. This is possibly also an explanation of why the Dalai Lama’s has stated such strong support for Europeans and their right to their own continent.

    The politically incorrect message from the Dalai Lama led to an embarrassed debate in the Swedish mainstream media. The mood is maybe best characterised by Katrin Goldstein-Kyaga, a so-called Tibet expert, who in a column on the public service Swedish Television’s site, published an opinion piece in which she implied that the previously venerated peace laureate doesn’t know what he is talking about.

    Firstly she opines that it is unfair to expect the Dalai Lama to have opinions about a variety of topics “after a ten hours long flight from India”, although Dalai Lama evidently brought up this topic spontaneously.

    Goldstein-Kyaga added: “He has many times said that he is and wants to be a simple Buddhist monk, and that the only thing he really understands is Buddhist philosophy. I think we have to take this statement more seriously.”

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