Immigration authorities in South Africa have preemptively denied the 14th Dalai Lama from attending an upcoming peace conference to be held this week in Johannesburg, saying that it is "not in the interests" of South Africa to allow the spiritual leader of most of the world's Buddhists (pictured above at left in ironic juxtaposition with South African Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu) to attend. Why would South Africa object to the relatively benign presence of the Dalai Lama at an international navel gazing conference, anyway?
Oh, that's right.
Frankly, the world loses as little from his holiness' absence as it would have gained from his attendence. These conferences are a dime a dozen, and the Dalai Lama attends so many of them a year that I doubt even he can keep them straight anymore. South Africa's pre-emptive, apparently unprompted, collapse to Beijing's desires merely highlights the increasingly hamhanded beligerence with which China is demanding obeisance from its new string of African trading partners, and the lightning fast speed with which South Africa's ruling ANC party continues to squander decades of accumulated political goodwill and moral authoritity.