By Jagath Asoka –
I am writing this article to find out whether the Sinhala-Buddhists in Sri Lanka would elect a well-educated, suave, Sinhala-speaking Tamil—someone similar to Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar—as our President in Sri Lanka. Whence comes this hatred; this mistrust? To an outsider, most Sri Lankans—unless your ancestors had intimate relations with the Europeans—look the same: dark-haired, dark-skinned, talkative curry-munchers. Sri Lankans do not hide their racist and bigoted remarks. Some of my friends have told me that they do not want their children to marry African Americans, Tamils, or Muslims. We always label Whites as racists, but what about Sri-Lankans: the proud members of our Sinhala-Buddhist clan and the forever-suffering Sri Lankan Tamils? Once upon a time there were Tamil-Buddhists in Sri Lanka. If we were to find out that Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ancestors were Tamil-Buddhists, would our BBS zealots continue to support him? Relax! Mahinda is not a Moses-like figure. He is not going to take the Tamils and cross the Indian Ocean and settle down in Tamil Nadu. We have killed our Sri Lankan Tamil Hitler; where is our Sri Lankan Tamil Obama? Would the Sri Lankans who support African American Obama, support a Tamil Obama in Sri Lanka?
Until Obama was elected in 2008, I never thought an African American would be President here in the USA; my feelings were based on my own experience that I had had in the Midwest while doing my graduate studies. In 1992, one of my friends made a facetious remark: She said to me, “You are a sand-nigger.” Two months ago, I was having dinner with my Sri Lankan friends. A middle-aged Caucasian woman who was sitting at the adjacent table said, “These Blacks are so loud.” Thanks to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, a dark-skinned Sri Lankan like myself can go to any restaurant here in the USA, but it does not mean that I would get the same treatment as Caucasians. So who is worse, the lady who called us Blacks or the Sinhalese who do not want their children to marry African Americans, Tamils, or Muslims? I will let you figure that out.
We have killed Prabhakaran, his wife, and his children—I hope Prabhakaran did not have any children out of wedlock, because I do not want to see a movie similar to Da Vinci Code in 4000 CE. We have killed Prabhakaran, but have we killed the dream of Elam? If you are a Tamil, would you say that you have given up the dream of Elam? Based on the events in our history, can we blame the Tamils for dreaming of an Elam? The good thing about this website is that you can be anonymous and express your virulent, blistering opinions openly and honestly. I do not mind your poor syntax, but be gentle with your diction; nobody is going to send a white van to pick you up. So don’t worry; say whatever that comes to your mind, but be gentle with your words. I do not know anything about you, but my ten-year-old son reads your comments to me.
Recently, the Tamils cashed a check: Tamils elected Tamil politicians who are not associated with the ruling party or the leading opposition party in Sri Lanka—Sinhala Buddhists are the majority in both parties. So, if we were to hold a referendum, would the Tamils in Sri Lanka say no to Elam?
I have the luxury of asking questions because I do not live in Sri Lanka. I sincerely understand that people are scared to ask questions. Not only the hoi polloi but also our ex-ambassadors and intellectuals who live in Sri Lanka are scared, especially of the bogeyman that sends white vans to pick them up. People would openly mention names of virulent monks such as Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara thero, but they would not openly accuse Gotabhaya Rajapakse, let alone Mahinda Rajapaksa, even when they firmly believe and convinced that Gotabaya Rajapakse is the person who is behind their miseries and privation: Gotabaya Rajapakse, the man who can make you disappear in a jiffy. God, what has happened to our country? The current regime would have given Navi Pillay their white van treatment if they could have gotten away with it. Only the hapless get the white van treatment in Sri Lanka. I salute Navi Pillay for her courageous spirit. If I were Navi Pillay, I would come to the following conclusion: The current regime will always pretend to cooperate while using henchman to ridicule me—you can hire a henchman in Sri Lanka for less than ten dollars a day; all you need to do is to give them a bottle of local liquor and a packet of rice and curry, and they will even curse their own mothers and their children while eating milk-rice. I think our artists have to figure out a way to make fun of these untouchables in Sri Lanka: What is common to all dictators is that they hate parody, because they think it makes them appear namby-pamby.
When you read or listen to people, pay attention to what they avoid. They have a tendency to circumambulate and avoid mentioning certain names and events. Basically when people talk, they talk about four things; these are the Four Noble Truths of our verbal and oral communication: Ignorance, Malice, Pride, and Love. When you read this article you will find that every statement that I have made comes under these four categories as well; every comment that you are going to make comes under the same four categories as well. If you were to combine pride and love, the Four Noble Truths of communication becomes the Holy Trinity of communication: Ignorance, Malice, and Pride.
My dear BBS zealots, stop treating our scurrilous politicians as if they were salvific figures, like the Buddha, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed. Dayasiri is a good example in our recent politics. What Dayasiri did was an anathema to people who would sacrifice their lives to keep their promises. What was the impetus? Is it money or the greed for power? Our politicians would say anything to get votes. Mahinda Rajapaksa declared Prabhakaran a hero; Wigneswaran added another adjective and called Prabha, a mahaveera (a great hero). People do not sell their souls for nothing. Remember, Judas did it for 30 shillings.