By Emil van der Poorten -
The title of this column is the final bit of an observation that goes, “The more you do what you’ve always done, the more you’ll get what you always got.”
The highest in the land are once more wallowing in the trough of pander to the racist elements of Southern Sri Lanka with a diatribe about foreign conspiracies and the need for “unity” to repel those elements seeking to “destabilize” that paradise on earth otherwise known as the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Incidentally, a whole column (at least!) will be needed to describe why the official title of our land constitutes the biggest oxymoron of its kind anywhere on planet earth. However, that will have to wait for another column at another time.
To return to the title of this piece, the mindless berating of “foreign conspirators,” “white imperialists” etc. etc. is so familiar now as a response to every mess created by those doing the berating that it has entered the realm of serious boredom with anyone with even half a brain operating.
The endless “anti-this” and “anti-that” diatribes are devoid of the entertainment value they once held even for the moronic hordes thirsting for the blood of some minority person as a means of assuaging a thirst for scapegoats to blame for messes of their own creation. However, it must be admitted that, by the looks of it that well of hatred has a long way to go before it runs dry. The reason for its survival is its constant replenishment with the bile that sycophants who have nowhere else to go after committing to the most corrupt and amoral government in our history keep regurgitating in order to maintain their protected positions with their masters. To place that old truism in a modern context, there’s nowhere to go but down after you’ve allied yourself with what are, truly, the unmentionables of Sri Lankan history.
This government has actively encouraged the most reprehensible behavior of bigots, chauvinists and racists of the most despicable kind. How else can one explain the fact that the Dambulla Mosque invasion has gone without even the charade of yet another “Commission of Inquiry?”
How else does one explain the inordinate delay in a Minister of the government being brought to trial after, allegedly, organizing the stoning of a Tamil judge.
How else can one explain the burning of churches and statues built for installation in them without so much as a peep from our so-called “law enforcement agencies?”
How else can one explain the destruction of a Hindu Kovil in the city that is viewed as the birthplace of Buddhism in this country?
How else can one explain the violent demands made to businesses owned by members of the minorities to put up their shutters and get the hell out before it’s, presumably, done for them?
How else can one explain the hysteria generated by the efforts to have food qualify for the “Halal” tag when such as the fast-food giant McDonalds has, for decades, acted sensitively to the religious prohibitions of the Muslims in the matter of food in their restaurants and Kosher food is a reality all over the world? What is driving this is only too evident when every Sri Lankan has to adhere to (alleged) Buddhist precepts/prohibitions with regard to the consumption of alcohol and meat, regardless of what OTHER faith they might subscribe to.
The thinly-veiled incitement to violence against the Anglican Bishop of Colombo by a stereotypical lackey of the current regime in a government-owned English-language newspaper is but the most recent of these reprehensible acts that an all-powerful government CHOOSES not to take any action against.
What are we waiting for? An assassination of a churchman in the manner that befell Archibishop Romero in another place at another time? A Sri Lankan Kristallnacht with the Muslims taking the place of the Jews eighty years later?
The government of this land, countenancing White Van Disappearances by pretending they don’t occur, is creating the climate for massive mayhem because, no matter how passive and afraid minorities of a religious, ethnic or other description might be, they are going to be FORCED to react violently once that threshold is crossed and they know their lives are on the line. To put it mildly, what we can expect, in good Sri Lankan slang and to seriously understate the case, is “one pol mess.” Remember, if it believes that its life is at stake, even a worm will turn. There will be little other choice for the “worms” of the minorities.
Of course the owners of casinos, drug-networks and ultra-luxury cars will continue to have state-financed private armies with even better weaponry than is now available to them within their current “security” arrangements.
And, for a time at least, the temporarily pandered-to minions from the peasantry who are being deliberately separated from their brethren by the bribes of enhanced salaries and perks will jig to the tune of their masters. The question that those setting up this scenario better ask themselves, though, is how long a brother is going to turn his gun against his sibling, how long are adult children going to ignore the plight of their less-fortunate parents or their children deprived of the necessities of life?
Rest assured, though, when violence is coupled with stupidity or a gross lack of intelligence or total ignorance of the lessons of history, this kind of thing will unfold in duly ordained fashion, no matter how tragic the consequences.
That appears to be the fate awaiting ALL of us, thanks to the combination of an electorate who, perhaps, received adult universal franchise prematurely, politicians who exploited that quirk of history to reduce governance to a sub-human, “might-is-right” exercise and a so-called “leadership” that is without equal in its capacity for maliciousness, caprice and pure, unadulterated greed.
Welcome to the rest of the 21st Century (or whatever we are going to be left of it) in the Debacle of Asia!