Dalai Lama to meet Tutu – from a distance


Dharamsala : The Dalai Lama will come face to face with Desmond Tutu after all. The long-time friends and Nobel laureates will converse through a video link even though the Tibetan spiritual leader called off his South Africa trip due to visa delays.

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“His Holiness Dalai Lama and (retired archbishop) Tutu will hold a conversation Saturday morning through videolink,” Tenzin Taklha, joint secretary at the Dalai Lama’s office, told IANS here.

The Tutu’s Peace Centre has announced that “the inaugural Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture will proceed Saturday at the University of the Western Cape, with His Holiness, the XIVth Dalai Lama joining the event via live videolink from Dharamsala”.

The Dalai Lama and Tutu “will engage in a moderated discussion on the topic, Peace and Compassion as Catalysts for Change. This is the topic that His Holiness was to have spoken on had he been allowed to enter South Africa by the authorities,” the centre said in a statement.

The Dalai Lama called off his South Africa trip earlier this week after continued visa delays from Pretoria. He was invited for former archbishop Tutu’s birthday celebrations.

The birthday celebrations began Thursday inside St George’s Cathedral, where Tutu rallied for all-race democracy as Anglican archbishop of Cape Town. His birthday is being celebrated Friday.

“His Holiness has sent a video birthday message,” Taklha added.

After the Nobel Peace winner called off his visit to South Africa visit, Tutu was quoted as saying in Cape Town: “Our government is worse than the apartheid government because at least you were expecting it from the apartheid government.”

Two years back too, the elderly monk was denied a visa by the South African government as it had close ties with China. But the Dalai Lama has visited South Africa three times before – 1996, 2000 and 2004.

The Dalai Lama, 76, has lived in exile in India since he fled Tibet during a failed uprising in 1959.

He favours “greater autonomy” for Tibetans rather than complete independence.

Chinese leaders have, however, called him a separatist who wants Tibet to secede from China.