(Posted online at www.boiseweekly.com, 9/15/2005, 1:07 p.m., by "Clownfeet," from Conneticut, in response to BW, NEWS, "Made in China," September 14, 2005).
I was part of the organizing committee that helped to bring His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Sun Valley. I have one question for you. Did you ask anyone who worked for the event about the wristbands being made in China or did you just assume that it was an oversight? I can tell you for sure that it was not a mistake. It was done on purpose. It was a gesture (small one to start for sure) by the Chinese to show some goodwill. His Holiness knew of them and where they were produced. He was more than willing to accept this, as he is a peaceful and compassionate man. Obviously he has gone through some extremely difficult times in his past, but his message remains loud and clear. Be kind, forgive, move towards a better future. While having the wristbands made in China is not going to make up for anything they have done in the past, it is a beginning ... it is a sign ... it is a start and will hopefully show the rest of the world that peace can happen ... and it needs to begin at its very basic roots. All of us can make a difference and it is up to us to do so. You took the very basic message that His Holiness was trying to convey and destroyed it. Your article should have focused on only the positives and not the "incorrectly perceived" negatives. I am sorry for you because in the midst of all this talk about peace and healing and compassion, all you could dwell on was the negative side. For so many others it was a the experience of a lifetime. So I challenge you to begin now.
After reading your article (BW, NEWS, "Made in China," September 14, 2005) I had to respond with a sigh of relief that someone finally had the nerve to identify those ridiculous rubber bands that everyone is wearing these days as the consumerist, hypocritical garbage, destined for a landfill, that they are. I've found them offensive since they debuted. Do we really need some piece of crap, made from petroleum products by cheap, foreign labor, to express ourselves? You nailed it on the head with this one, pointing out the discrepancy between the sentiment and the means by which it was produced. I hope that your message reaches the committee who brought the Dalai Lama to Idaho. I'll continue to practice compassionate tolerance toward the masses who follow blindly, but I do appreciate your thorough, thoughtful commentary. I'm sure some will see you as a naysayer, but to me, you're a hero.
--Blake Sherlock, Boise
I was glad to read Nicholas Collias' article (BW, NEWS, "Made in China", September 14, 2005)
No matter what anyone says, handing out "compassion" bracelets made in China during the Dalai Lama's visit is just plain wrong. China's brutality is not diminished just because the Dalai Lama behaves compassionately in response.
China's occupation of Tibet is wrong. The Chinese government's treatment of its own citizens is wrong. The true cost of products made in China is much higher than anyone of us, compassionate or not, can even begin to understand.
You can find out more at www.boycottmadeinchina.org.
--Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director, Students for a Free Tibet International, New York City
To Kiril Sokoloff: Who in the hell do you think you are? Just like rich people: Because you have a million dollars to blow, enough to grease a few palms and get your favorite religious leader to come to town, you think you are personally responsible for providing all of humanity with "the tipping point in compassion."
Where do you get the hubris? One cheesy speech by a political leader in broken English is not the turning point in my history--and I fancy myself quite a fan of both Buddhism and peace. Keep your enlightenment to yourself, inside that giant, private estate of yours, Sokoloff. You make me sick. Your galling ego is about the least-Buddhist thing I can think of, other than the introduction your buddy Kempthorne gave you on Sunday.
--Mary Shepherd, (location withheld at request of author, fearing retribution by the richest Buddhist in Sun Valley)
"Censored!" (BW, Feature, September 7, 2005) calls to mind the World Trade Organization's goals for Seattle in 1999. From Paul Hawken's diary (at http://www.thomhartmann.com/hawken.shtml):
"If the as-yet unapproved draft agenda were ever ratified, the Europeans could no longer block or demand labeling on genetically modified crops without being slapped with punitive lawsuits and tariffs. The draft also contained provisions that would allow all water in the world to be privatized. It would allow corporations patent protection on all forms of life, even genetic material in cultural use for thousands of years. Farmers who have spent thousands of years growing crops in a valley in India could, within a decade, be required to pay for their water. They could also find that they would have to purchase seeds containing genetic traits their ancestors developed, from companies that have engineered the seeds not to reproduce unless the farmer annually buys expensive chemicals to restore seed viability. If this happens, the CEOs of Novartis and Enron, two of the companies creating the seeds and privatizing the water, will have more money. What will Indian farmers have?"
Monsanto contaminates farmers' fields with genetically engineered seeds, then demands "Technology Fees" to grow their products, forcing small farmers off their lands. The Web site http://www.organicconsumers.org/monlink.html lists Monsanto's misdeeds and links to the Bush Administration.
On an optimistic note, Reuters reported on September 6 that "World trade talks are teetering on the brink of collapse ... at risk of becoming the next Cancun or Seattle." Also worth noting is that the people of Bolivia fought water privatization and won. After bloody street battles, the Bechtel Corporation was driven out of the country. See http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/wbimf/Shultz.html and "Top Reasons to Oppose the WTO" at http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/wto/OpposeWTO.html. By knowing what goes on behind WTO's closed doors, we can end the exploitation of the poorest of the poor.
--Rosemary Sneeringer, Boise