"I am encouraged that the American people have chosen a President who reflects America's diversity and her fundamental ideal that any person can rise up to the highest office in the land.”
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
By Phurbu Thinley
President-elect Barack Obama last met the Dalai Lama in 2005 at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee event. Tibetan leaders have congratulated him on his historic victory Tuesday, becoming the first black president in U.S. history.
Dharamsala, Nov 6: Exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Prime Minister Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche and Parliament Speaker Karma Chophel have sent letters to congratulate Barack Obama on his historic election win to the post of the president of the United States.
In his message, Dalai Lama said he was encouraged to see that the American people have chosen a President who “reflects America's diversity and her fundamental ideal that any person can rise up to the highest office in the land”.
“This is a proud moment for America and one that will be celebrated by many peoples around the world, the 73-year old Tibetan leader wrote in his congratulatory letter.
“The American Presidential elections are always a great source of encouragement to people throughout the world who believe in democracy, freedom and equality of opportunities,” The 1989 Nobel Peace laureate said.
In the letter the Tibetan leader commended the “determination and moral courage” Mr Obama had demonstrated throughout his long presidential campaign, and the “kind heart and steady hand” that he had shown when challenged.
Recalling a telephonic conversation, earlier this spring, between the two of them, the Tibetan leader wrote “these same essential qualities came through in your concern for the situation in Tibet”.
“As the President of the United States, you will certainly have great and difficult tasks before you, but also many opportunities to create change in the lives of those millions who continue to struggle for basic human needs” the Dalai Lama said, adding “You must also remember and work for these people, wherever they may be.”
In the letter, the Tibetan spiritual leader offered his “prayers and good wishes” for Obama during his term as the 44th president of the United States.
Prime Minister Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, who himself became the first directly elected PM of the Tibet’s Government in exile in 2001, commented Thursday that electing Senator Barack Obama, who won a decisive victory Tuesday to become the first black president in U.S. history, “reflects the strength of American democracy”.
The Tibetan PM rote: “The prayers of the Tibetan people are with President-elect as he confronts the abiding issues of war and peace. My own prayers are with the President-elect in his efforts to make America and the world a better and happier place.”
Tibetan Parliament speaker Karma Chophel, while congratulating Obama on his historic victory, expressed hope that he will render greater support to the Tibetan cause.
“During the course of the electioneering, we have noted with satisfaction your interest in the Tibetan issue and your growing support for the Tibetan cause,” the Tibetan speaker said.
He wrote, “Your distinguished predecessor, irrespective of their party affiliations, have supported the Tibetan issue strongly and have had a close and friendly relationship with our leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”
“We hope that you will not only maintain the tradition but give an added thrust in view of the strong resentment shown openly by our people living under the Chinese rule in Tibet,” Speaker Chophel added.
Obama last met the Dalai Lama in 2005 at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee event.
In the midst of his presidential campaigns, Obama routinely expressed concerns over the situation in Tibet and assured support to the Tibetan leader in his struggle for Tibetan people’s rights and freedom.
In July this year, even at the height of his campaign, Obama sent a very personal letter assuring the Dalai Lama of his highest respect and support for the cause of Tibet.
“I will continue to support you and the rights of Tibetans. People of all faiths can admire what you are doing and what you stand for,” Obama wrote in the letter