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Montreal:- The majority of pro-Tibetan politicians in South Africa are either in the opposition party or have some other vested interest. Elsewhere, many world leaders use the Dalai Lama's limelight or the Tibet issue to show off their own ethical values.

6 october 2011 002Montreal:- The majority of pro-Tibetan politicians in South Africa are either in the opposition party or have some other vested interest.

Elsewhere, many world leaders use the Dalai Lama's limelight or the Tibet issue to show off their own ethical values.

In reality, when politicians actually come into power, none of them seem to honor their promises, aside from issuing a few statements - perhaps in attempt to appease their own consciences.

The decision to ban the Dalai Lama from visiting South Africa for the second time in three years is a huge political misstep and an insult to the basic democratic values for which South Africans have stood.

It is appalling to think how this historic nation can commit such injustice. South Africa suffered under British colonial rule for the longest time, then under Apartheid - a system of legalized racial segregation, with white minority rule, from 1948 to1994.

South Africa's current president, Jacob Zuma, spent ten years on Robben Island with former president Nelson Mandela and other notable African National Congress activists. He does not need to be reminded how it feels to be penned, thrown into exile, humiliated and treated as a second-class citizen.

Less than 20 years ago, South Africans were battling oppression, inequality and lack of political freedom. Yet Johannesburg appears to have forgotten those experiences too quickly.

It is mind-boggling to find South Africa stooping so low and surrendering her fundamental values and ethical principles to some economic interest. A nation that successfully overcame inequality, repression and racial segregation has now failed to uphold the pride and dignity earned by the heroic sacrifices of Nelson Mandela and other activists, including President Zuma.

I am sure the department of home affairs will justify the denial of a visa to the Dalai Lama on the same ground they did in 2009: 'polictical implications'. But that excuse is no longer valid, as the Dalai Lama has recently devolved all his political power to the democratically elected Kalon Tripa (leader) Dr Lobsang Sangay.

Last year, China overtook the US as South Africa's largest export destination. With growing trade ties between Beijing and Johannesburg, it wouldn't surprise me if President Zuma is slowly misleading South Africa into becoming a communist state.

I urge all the South Africans and the international community to be mindful of President Zuma's future political decisions and his diplomatic ties with China.

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com