About the Book:
The Western world has been trying to "free Tibet" for the last 30 years. It hasn't gone well. China remains predictably intractable towards any Western admonitions, and repression inside of Tibet has now increased to the point where Tibetans are lighting themselves on fire in desperate, fatal protest.
Arrogance has led the West to believe that its perspectives on democracy and Tibet will eventually lead to Tibetan freedom; yet, after three decades, the accumulated mass of governmental edicts, congressional legislative initiatives and verbal challenges to China has led to nothing more than a worsening of the Tibetan condition.
No one personified this arrogance more than Jim Rinaldi as he concocted wild and dangerous schemes to assist Tibetans as they traveled through Nepal on their way to India. For 20 years, operating on nothing more than a full belief in his American exceptionalism, Rinaldi worked with Tibet charities; helped Tibetans fleeing over Himalayan passes; and eventually saw his efforts dissolve into nothing more than a series of brand-enhancing exercises for the American Tibet lobby.
Saviors and Fools is ultimately the story of Rinaldi coming to terms with the realization that America and the West do not appear to have a clue on how to help Tibet. From his unique insider's perch, Rinaldi levels his fire on the mistakes, hubris, opportunism and imperious political posturing that has now brought any hope for effective Tibetan advocacy by the West to a standstill. The West blew it, and Rinaldi moves forward by arguing that it's now time for America and the West to get out of the way and let India take the leadership role.
Saviors and Fools is a humorous, challenging and insightful memoir that should compel all of us to step back and re-think how we approach not only Tibetans, but human rights issues in general. It begins a conversation that is long overdue.
About the Author:
James Rinaldi is the current Director of Himalayan Aid. He has been working with Tibetans and Nepalis for over 20 years, and still maintains an active role in ongoing field projects. He currently divides his time between India, Nepal and his home in the United States.