Obama meets with Dalai Lama (finally), monks back home celebrate


His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama met with US President Barack Obama today. China is not stoked. But the exiled Tibetan leader is. Departing the White House, he described himself as "very happy" with the meeting, saying Obama was "supportive." AP quotes him as having "urged a greater leadership role for women in the public life of nations." Back in the homeland, Tibetans in HHDL's native province of Amdo celebrated the meeting with fireworks and the burning of incense (sangson in the Tibetan language):

"We do this whenever something big, and good happens," said Losan, swathed in the vermillion robes of a Buddhist holy man, standing on a hillside above a monastery where monks were lighting fireworks in the early hours of Thursday.

"He's really going to meet Obama?" interrupted a monk standing next to him, sounding somewhat incredulous.

"I heard it on Voice Of America," Losan told him confidently.

The sound of conch shells being blown echoed around the valley as a group of monks burned an offering of flour and a ceremonial Tibetan scarf on a fire.

"I'm very excited about who the Dalai Lama is going to meet," said one Tibetan woman, who declined to be identified citing the sensitive nature of the topic. "But I worry about what measures the government could take against us in retaliation."

[Image at top: "In Memory of Tibet," a Creative-Commons-licensed photo from the Flickr photostream of "Breathtaking Photos."]