MEETING MR. LAMA

A summary of views and commentary, and Jiang-a-go-go.

So we went up to this guy in the rally and asked him, "Do you actually know where Tibet is?" Without slowing down in waving his "Free Tibet" sign with all his energy, he looked puzzled but nonetheless shrugged, "It's somewhere in China, isn't it?" We continued, "Yeah, but where exactly is it and when did it first become, like, a country?" "I don't have to know that, but all I know is that Mr. Lama has personally..."

Excuse us, sir, the Dalai Lama is not a name but a title. Thus, the intellectual dimension and self-justification of the protest end right there. Tell us, seriously, what do you know about Tibet? (You are not thinking that all Tibetans are monks, are you?) Or, for that matter, China. (You are not thinking that all Chinese are red communists, are you?)

Jiang Zemin kept his cool, displayed his sense of humor and spoke louder--literally and metaphorically--than the noises from the rally. He did a good job educating his audience on China's pre-1989 history, which dates back, ahem, 5,000 years, and he proved himself a charismatic leader who respects Harvard and certainly deserves Harvard's respect.

But hey, this may not be over just yet. You want democracy, I'll give you your version of democracy. If Bill Clinton ever visits China some time in the future, we think we'll just follow him around and keep shouting "Free Texas! No Blacks, or Asians or Hispanics are safe!"

"But this is ridiculous! This is outrageous!" you might say, "Why the hell would you care?"

Well, this is exactly what we said after we watched last Saturday's rally outside Sanders Theatre.