Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
The Dalai Lama has come to town and it seems everybody, from the president and prime minister to college students and housewives in this still-staunchly Roman Catholic country, want to meet and hear Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader.
Of course, the charismatic septuagenerian can bring out the crowds in many countries and counts among his worldwide fans heads of state and Hollywood stars. But he has struck a special chord in Poland, where some see in his decades-old campaign for Tibetan self-determination echoes of their own struggle against an atheistic communist government back in the 1980s.
Not by accident, the Buddhist leader kicked off his six-day tour of Poland in Gdansk at a party for another modern icon — Lech Walesa, leader of the pro-democracy Solidarity trade union which helped topple communist rule in Poland in 1989, the year the Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize.
By Emma Graham-Harrison
“Long live Chairman Mao Zedong” is scrawled on a thin strip of wood stuck into the ground where a peasant in tattered clothes is urging on a weary-looking ox. Near “Ploughing with Mao” are beautifully composed shots of young, fanatical Red Guards smashing antiques, and another group roughly tormenting a “counter-revolutionary” old man.
Even though I know they are coming, it is still a shock to move on and see pictures of flawless models lounging on a bench in Beijing, rich young kids drinking in a bar and a group of smiling old women in a technicolour riot of outfits holding pictures of their younger, sterner, revolutionary selves.