As opening day of the Beijing Olympics approaches, the Chinese government and official media have intensified their attacks on the Dalai Lama, blaming him for the recent violent demonstrations in Tibet. Pico Iyer, whose new book is "The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama," talks with Truthdig's Jon Wiener about this intercultural conflict and about the Dalai Lama himself.
The governor of Tibet has denied reports that Chinese security forces fired on the civilians and monks who have been demonstrating in the capital city of Lhasa and neighboring provinces. Opposition leaders say 80 or more protesters have been killed and witnesses have reported Chinese soldiers shooting at monks.
Remember when the world turned its attention to Burma and promised to no longer ignore the suffering of the people there? Truthdig contributor Sarah Stillman sat down with Burmese democracy organizer Maung Maung to check in on the Saffron Revolution and the brave men and women who continue to resist oppression, whether anyone is watching or not.
If the combined power of thousands of Buddhist monks staging a nonviolent protest isn't enough to oust Burma's oppressive junta, one American hero (cue movie trailer voice-over) is coming to fight for democracy in a faraway land -- or at least stick his nose in another nation's business.
Burma's military government has intensified its crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, abducting people from their homes in the middle of the night. U.S. Embassy personnel have found some Buddhist monasteries completely deserted while others have been closed off by soldiers.
The barbarous military regime depends on revenue from the nation's gas reserves and partners such as Chevron to buy bullets for the guns it points at monks, a detail conveniently ignored by the Bush administration.
For decades Burma's ruling military junta has governed through terror, determined to meet dissent with intimidation, detention and murder. It is because of the military's particular cruelty that the story of the Buddhist monks of Burma is so compelling.