December 10, 2009

Denmark: a farewell to Tibet

Do you remember what Barack Obama said soon after his meeting with China’s president Hu Jintao some three weeks ago? “We did note that while we recognize that Tibet is part of the People’s Republic of China, the United States supports the early resumption of dialogue between the Dalai Lama’s representatives and Beijing.” Well, now the “recognition” is running the risk of becoming a very popular motto in the language of international relations. And this is of course no surprise, because the U.S. is still the leading country in almost everything—except perhaps the fight for human rights, since the time that Barack Obama took office as President of the United States of America…

What I’m trying to say is that in a diplomatic note to Beijing issued by the Danish government it is said that Denmark—ruled by a center-right coalition—will oppose Tibetan independence and carefully consider China’s reaction before inviting the Dalai Lama again:

Denmark is fully aware of the importance and sensitivity of Tibet-related issues and attaches great importance to the view of the Chinese government on these issues. […]
Denmark takes very seriously the Chinese opposition to meetings between members of the Danish Government and the Dalai Lama, and has duly noted Chinese views that such meetings are against the core interest of China, and will handle such issues prudently.
In this regard, Denmark reaffirms its One-China Policy and its unchanged position that Tibet is an integral part of China. Denmark recognises China’s sovereignty over Tibet and accordingly opposes the independence of Tibet.

What shall I say about that? What about this (along with Soeren Espersen, spokesman of the far-right Danish People’s Party)? The Danish government “is going on bended knee before China.” Or this: “The government has given in to Chinese pressure” to “preserve the interests of its companies,” as political analyst Hans Engell told the TV2 News television channel. In both cases it’s a sad scenario, isn’t it?

Look to the Star...

Madonna di Fiesole, particolareThis post comes with a delay of one day (and some hours), in fact it was scheduled for the feast day of Immaculate Conception, which occurs on December 8. But yesterday something went wrong with my time management skills.., so I had to postpone the publication of this note. I hope She will forgive me for this as well as for my laziness in everything has something to do with my “contemplative life,” which is often sacrificed—in spite of what the Martha and Mary episode in Luke (10:38-42) teaches us—to the “religion of doing.”

But as they say, better late than never. So, I would like to share with you an inspiring sermon “In Praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary” by St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

After recalling the evangelist’s statement, “And the virgin’s name was Mary” (Lk 1:26-7), the founder of the Cistercian Order of monks continues explaining that “Mary” means “Star of the Sea,” which “seems to have a wonderful fitness to the Virgin Mother.” And then he says:

Whosoever you are who know yourself to be tossed among the storms and tempests of this troubled world rather than to be walking peacefully upon the shore, turn not your eyes away from the shining of this star, if you would not be overwhelmed with the tempest. If the winds of temptations arise, if you are driving upon the rocks of tribulation, look to the star, invoke Mary!

If you are tossed upon the waves of pride, ambition, envy, rivalry, look to the star, invoke Mary! If wrath, avarice, temptations of the flesh assail the frail skiff of your mind, look to Mary!

If you are troubled by the greatness of your crimes, confused by the foulness of your conscience and, desperate with horror of judgement, you feel yourself drawn into the abyss of despair; in dangers, in difficulties, in perplexities: invoke and think of Mary! Let not the name depart from heart and from lips; and that you may obtain a part in the petitions of her prayer, do not desert the example of her life.

If you think of and follow her, you will not go wrong, nor despair if you beg of her. With her help you will not fall or be fatigued; with her protection you will not fear; if she favorable, you will be sure to arrive; and thus you will learn by your own experience how right it is said: “And the Virgin’s Name was Mary!”

[From The Office of Our Lady, Vol. 2 (Summer) by the Monks of Encalcat Abbey. London: Darton, Longman, and Todd, 1962.
The picture above shows the early 14th-century
Madonna di Fiesole, a polychrome terracotta statue by Filippo Brunelleschi, discovered by chance by the restorers of the Museo dell’Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence, some three years ago. The statue was presented on December 12, 2008, after being under restoration for two years.]