On Tuesday, 25 June, Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama spoke to the BBC in an interview about an array of topics, such as African migrants, Donald Trump and the possibility of a female successor.
Some of his answers, however, were rather controversial.
The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate had said in an interview last year, “Europe is for Europeans,” when asked about the growing number of African refugees and migrants who are entering Europe. He stood by his view in the recent BBC interview too. He said Europe would become an ‘Islamic’ or an ‘African’ country if the number of migrants remains unchecked.
When asked about the possibility of a female successor, his response was pervaded with sexism. In 2015, he had said that if his successor were to be a woman, she would have to be attractive and would otherwise be “of not much use.” When questioned further about the comment, Dalai Lama confirmed his view and said that people wouldn’t want to see a “dead face.”
‘Irony Is Knocking on His Door’
Twitter lashed out against the spiritual leader’s remarks. That he himself resides in India in exile and does not favour migrants, did not escape their notice. Professor Ashok Swain said that senility has taken its toll. “Dalai Lama is a refugee for the last 60 years – When is he going back to his home country?”
Another Twitter user agreed. “Dalai Lama who himself is a refugee is concerned about Europe turning into Islamic or African country if refugees are not sent back.”
“What if India took his advice and told him to go back to Tibet,” said writer Rupa Subramanya.
“Give this sermon after returning to Tibet,” said journalist Rifat Jawaid.
Others pointed out the irony!
Activist Kavita Krishnan considers his comment about Europe being for Europeans is both Islamophobic and racist. “He forgets that ‘Europe’ as we know it is a product of colonisation. People of African origin coming to Europe can say to white supremacists in Europe, ‘We are here because you were there.’”
One Twitter user even called him a “white supremacist”.
Twitter also had much to say about Dalai Lama’s sexist remarks about his female successor, who, according to the spiritual leader, has to be attractive in order to step into his shoes.
YouTuber Akash Banerjee said, “Atleast now we know why no one is looking at Dalai Lama today as he tries to champion the cause of Tibetans under Chinese rule.”
“Nothing like a touch of spiritual sexism to kickstart the day,” said one Twitter user.
Twitterati finds his sexist remarks “indefensible”.