I would like to point out the hypocrisy of the South African government when they deny the Dalai Lama's visa to attend a Desmond Tutu sponsored World Cup peace conference.
The official explanation is that the SA government feared that the Dalai Lama would use the conference as a platform to advocate Tibetan sovereignty which would distract from the World Cup and its apolitical message.
Thabo Masebe, spokesman for President Kgalema Motlanthe, said now was not the time for such a high-profile visit from the Tibetan spiritual leader and added that South Africa hoped to avoid being "the source of negative publicity about China."
China is SA's biggest trading partner and it is widely believed that the Dalai Lama was denied his visa because of pressure from the Chinese government.
This is rich coming from a country that suffered the brunt of sporting sanctions for more than four decades as a political tool to force them to renounce apartheid. That it comes from the ANC controlled government, the organization that fought for equal rights and free speech is even more troubling. The World Cup was awarded to the SA government to showcase their place in Africa and the world as a country that had buried that ugly part of their history and was ready to move on.
I have been one of the biggest advocates of the SA World Cup and have been very critical of other countries efforts to cast aspersions on their preparation citing its high crime rate, unchecked AIDS epidemic, and lack of infrastructure. This however gets my goat. A country that should realize more than most the liberating power of political self expression is bowing its head to a country that takes it away.