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An open letter to Sharon Stone

29/05/2008

This is in response to this article from SFGate.com

Dear Ms. Stone,

First of all I admire your stance against the Chinese government’s actions in Tibet. I generally like to see celebrities use their undeserved status in society to raise awareness about important issues. However, you have made a grievous error in your recent statements about the tragic earthquakes in China.

Do not fall into the trap of blaming the Chinese people for the brutal policies of the Chinese government. Was hurricane Katrina “karma” for the U.S.’s involvement in Iraq? Was the cyclone in Burma “karma” for the military junta’s treatment of political dissidents in 2007? The citizens of these countries are not necessarily responsible for the actions of their governments. In fact, many of them are victims themselves of their government’s unethical practices.

You’ve stated that the Dalai Lama is your “good friend.” Well let me tell you about my friend, Lama D. He was a monk in Tibet. There are strict rules for the practice of religion in Tibet, including a ban on images of the Dalai Lama, who is seen as a terrorist and a threat to the government. My good friend Lama was arrested and tortured by the Chinese government for having a single picture of his spiritual leader under his bed. He managed to escape to Nepal and move to California, where I worked with him in a warehouse. He was no longer a monk, but still very spiritual and an admirer of the Dalai Lama. When he told me his story he was very careful to say that the Chinese people were good, the people were not to blame, but the Chinese government was “very, very bad.”

You have done a disservice to yourself by saying that these innocent people deserved their tragic circumstances. It’s as bad as saying a woman deserved to be raped because she was “asking for it”. Your callous remarks reveal your ignorance not only about politics but about the very concept of Karma itself. 20,000 children for 16 protesters. Is it a fair trade? The Chinese people did not deserve this misery any more than anyone else. Nobody deserves to have their lives destroyed, their homes turned to rubble or their children killed, whether by a government, a fringe military group, a war or an act of nature.

To show real compassion, you must transcend your hatred for nations, and love the people within them. I respect your opinions about the rights of the Tibetan people, but your hate filled comments sadden and anger me. If you truly cared about relieving suffering, you would open your heart to all who suffer, not just your favourite pet group. We are all human, after all.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth McRae

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