Dalai Lama distances himself from Brexit poster

The Guardian reports: The Dalai Lama has distanced himself from a poster circulated by Brexit campaigners that suggested the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader was in favour of the UK leaving the EU.

Leave.EU, the unofficial Brexit campaign run by the Ukip donor Arron Banks, tweeted an image of a quote attributed to the Dalai Lama stating: “The goal should be that migrants return and help rebuild their countries. You have to be practical … It’s impossible for everyone to come.”

Underneath, the tweet written by Leave.EU said: “The Dalai Lama favours a more balanced approach to migration. Let’s reclaim democratic control on June 23rd!”

A representative for the Dalai Lama, who is a refugee from Tibet, said no permission was given to use his words as part of an anti-EU campaign.

“We are not aware of any campaign using His Holiness’ image in regard to the issue of the UK leaving the European Union and would certainly not have given permission,” said Tenzin Taklha, secretary to the Dalai Lama.

Though the Dalai Lama has not taken any official position on the EU, Thubten Samdup, his former representative in northern Europe, said he thought it highly unlikely that he would support Brexit.

“In fact he has always mentioned highly of how EU has come together for the benefit of the people of Europe,” he said. “He felt it made lot of sense and encouraged others to do the same in this rapidly changing and inter-connected world.” [Continue reading…]

The Dalai Lama, having lived in exile from the country of his birth, Tibet, since 1959, understands the plight of refugees.

Those who see refugees as a threat and who are more broadly opposed to immigration — treating non-natives as intruders — overlook the sense of loss incurred in every form of exile. The immigrant is viewed in terms of the things to which he might lay claim rather than that which he left behind.

Irrespective of the national identities we immigrants might lose or adopt, the loss of ones homeland is mostly experienced on a more granular level.

Home is made up from so many tightly woven threads of familiarity — relatives and friends, food and music, abodes and terrain. Plants, birdsong, weather patterns, sounds, and smells — each contribute to a sense of place once known in intimate detail as a sensory world and now confined to memory.

This is what gets left behind and the sense of loss must be so much more acute when it’s clear that what has been lost has been destroyed forever.

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