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Daily Connect: Update: Amnesty Int'l Removes HHDL Pic

Amnesty International's new campaign to bring awareness to torture included altered photos of HH the Dalai Lama, Karl Lagerfeld, and Iggy Pop.  However, it's been so distressing to many to see His Holiness represented as a beaten and bruised victim, that Amnesty International has removed his photo from their ads, and issued this statement: 

For the launch of our latest campaign against torture, the image of His Holiness the Dalai Lama was used by our section (Belgium-french speaking) and was widely shared on the internet. Although the Dalai Lama was not the target of the campaign, we understand that this image has caused particular concern in some quarters. We have therefore chosen to remove this picture from our digital material in order not to cause any further upset and ensure people’s attention remains focused on the real aim of this campaign: to stop torture.

Sadly, more than 36% of people think that torture is justified in some cases, and over 141 countries practice it, though there is little evidence that it is fair, justified, or prevents crime. 

Indeed, it is very upsetting to look at HHDL's altered picture, (you can view it here), and when promoting our blog story about it last week, we deliberately didn't post it to Facebook or Twitter as we were afraid it would be taken as authentic.  But maybe that's the point. 



For more information about how you can get involved to help stop torture, please follow this link.



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Upsetting but perhaps necessary

This reminds me of an anti-domestic violence campaign in India that used inages of Hindu goddesses with bruises an other injuries.


I've seen the images of the campaign you refer to. They are disturbing. They also raise valid questions about skillful means. But it's not beyond inagination to visualize the Dalai Lama tortured, as many of his people suffer the same *right now* and he himself narrowly escaped that fate.

For many of us, torture and other forms of cruelty are abstract; we know that they happen but find it hard to visualize it really happening to people not unlike us. Like a parent, a friend, a lover, a coworker, a fellow practitioner on the cushion...

To get a conversation started about torture or other subjects, sometimes one has to be bold, just to crack open the shell of fear and taboo we encase the subject with. The challenge is to channel our fear and revulsion into compassion and action and changing hearts and minds. After all, as you pointed out, many people still think torture is justified and effective...

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