(TibetanReview.net, Jul04, 2015) – Former US President George W Bush has on Jul 1 said he had told the Chinese leaders that given their concern about their country breaking up, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, was the best guy for them to deal with but that they don’t listen. The occasion was when the Dalai Lama was speaking to a group of Burmese students who were taking part in a Liberty and Leadership Forum at the George W Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas.
Mr Bush had said he recognised the young visitors as future leaders and invited the Dalai Lama to speak to them. His intervention came when the Dalai Lama said Tibet was historically an independent nation but that the Tibetans, along with others such as Mongolians, could be part of a larger, more economically developed state, so long as they had the opportunity to preserve their language, culture and environment.
“Sadly, Chinese leaders are more concerned that their country will break up, but I told them this is the best guy for you to deal with, but they don’t listen,” Bush was quoted as saying.
Earlier, Mr & Mrs Bush took the Dalai Lama on a private tour of the Center’s Museum. And Mr Bush, who had taken up painting, showed to the Dalai Lama a portrait he had done of him. The latter declared himself impressed but thought, with a laugh, that “the eyes could do with a bit more work.”
The Dalai Lama and Bush share a common birthday: the former will turn 80 and the latter 69 on Jul 6. During luncheon at the centre, the two blew out the candles on a common birthday cake as everyone around sang “Happy Birthday” to both of them. And President Bush said, “I am the only US President who has stood up with His Holiness in public. He is dealing with forces that seek to undermine his basic sense that everyone should be free. It’s an honour to have you here.”
Before leaving the Bush Presidential Center, the Dalai Lama met briefly with Congressman John Radcliffe, Congressman Peter Session and members of their families.
Next door at the Moody Coliseum of the Southern Methodist University, Margaret Spellings, who previously served the Bush Administration as Secretary of Education, introduced the Dalai Lama to a sold-out audience of 5000. Students of the Tibet Club at the Booker T Washington School presented to him a string of prayer flags they had designed and printed.
It ended with the audience singing “Happy birthday to you” to the Dalai Lama as white balloons were released from the ceiling and drifted down towards the many upturned smiling faces.