By JA Sirajul Anam –
This is the three sides of the story of Roza Pasta factory that was set fire by racist mobs on 13 May 2019.
Story of Pasta Past
Now everyone knows a mob of 500 have vandalized, destroyed the machineries and set fire to the Diamond – Roza brand pasta production facility in Minuwangoda. The investment to the factory was well over 700 million Sri Lankan rupees. More than 200 were employed in the factory which had different shifts. Out of the work force, more than 75% are innocent, hardworking and peace loving brethren of fellow faiths. Which means more than 200 family’s main source of income was this facility.
Some employees had to run for their lives during the mob attack while they were working. It was even sad to note that the Fire Brigade never turned up to dowse the fire citing the Distance to factory from their premises and Waste of Petrol of their vehicles! Such is the pathetic situation of the state machinery.
Story of Pasta Present
As usual, we saw the fire still continuing (14 May 2019 till 11 a.m.) charring the remains of the factory. People in the vicinity and outskirts come with mobile phones and take videos to share in their Social Media. Few channels spent few seconds in their news to show footage in which police giving protection for destroyed goods. As usual, politicians visit the place, media gives wide coverage, each emitting different stories to safe guard their political agendas and interests. Government in its part, promise for compensation as usual while Insurance Agent will try to cut down the payment citing various excuses.
Story of Pasta Future
The owner has not made up his mind to re-establish the factory. The hardworking innocent employees are now jobless. Remember, life is not that easy these days in everyone’s life. There would have been a paralyzed father of an employee who could not go for work and depending on his son’s / daughter’s salary for home expenses. There can be a blind mother who everyday waited for her son / daughter return from the factory after the shift who brings food from a wayside eatery. There can be differently-abled child whose father / mother works at the factory and spend their salary for the well-being of the child. There can be a younger brother or sister who is following VT training course or going for tuition classes whose fees are paid by the earning of their brother or sister employed in the factory. There can be 200 untold stories of these families which me or you can’t simply fathom. Within an hour, the fates of over 200 families were changed into dark and painful by uneducated mob whose only ambition was to destroy the wealth or property of a fellow Muslim brother.
From May 13th, these 200 employees will struggle in their lives for big time till find a decent job. It can be one month or many months which cannot be guaranteed in the present saturated job market. Their whole families will suffer by the carnage of a stupid mob who were encouraged and entertained by Facebook Warriors. These families will curse the mob till the last breath of their lifetime.
Is that all? Being a massive production facility means high need of raw materials which produced, imported and supplied by a local producer / manufacturer and importer. Now, he / she lose their business as well. The owners of Lorries and vans that transported the products to all part of island will not have calls for booking for their vehicles anymore. Down the supply chain, many big or small shops in all part of island earned a profit by selling the pasta products now lose their income. The big-time AD Agency that received the contract on promoting the product will see their contract comes to an abrupt end. TV and Newspapers that featured the Ads of the products now have to keep hand in their heads and wonder how to find new business. Even the 3wheel drivers who took staff to their home after different shifts will not have hires anymore. Plus, no more revenue for the State that came from various taxes.
What is there for Dinner?
This painful and wrecking story of Pasta Future will not be known to others except who lost their livelihood in every angle. This is the total outcome of setting fire or destroying a business entity by enmity towards a fellow faith. The ones who did that will speak among themselves of the greatest adventure game they played live to protect the interests of their community, for a few days and forget it. I don’t know whether they have a decent face to tell this success story to their own children who will be suffering by the carnage in a bleak future which their parents have created.
It is sad some people of this country don’t realize how one stupid action can damage and destroy many people’s lives. Sri Lankan communities are interconnected strongly though they follow different faiths. If any segment keep its hand on the fellow faith to overpower, it will affect the whole Nation, be it coexistence, business, employment, leisure or peace, etc. Hatred and racism will never produce any good outcome. It only makes the divisions even bigger and brings more destruction. That drags to our beloved Nation to the path of peril in front of our eyes. If the religious leaders don’t come forward and guide us, if the educated come out from their deafening silence and speak strongly against racism and hate, our children will suffer more than us. Please note, I never spoke about the political game behind the scene as we all are equally responsible for electing the present rotten 225 gang!
PS: I was nine and half year boy during the 1983 riots. I saw the carnage, arson and pain through my child eyes caused to innocent fellow Tamil brothers and sisters by same type of unruly racist mob. The TV stations Rupavahini and ITN censored the riot of hooligans as same as the present regime and differently interested Media Channels. When SLBC played every time a particular frightening music for breaking news during my adolescent years, our heart beats went to sky to echo in fear. That was the fear we had. I also saw while growing up how the looters and mischief makers ended up dying as beggars and unwanted lot in the society. Karma punishes sooner or later, no matter what faith you belong to!