Global News Journal

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Poland fetes Dalai Lama

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  Forget the economic crisis, forget climate change — images of an elderly, bespectacled Buddhist monk in a maroon robe have dominated Polish newspapers and television screens all week.

  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.

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