19 March, 2019

Blog

Building Inter-Ethnic ‘Social Capital’ For Reconciliation

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

An association unites the energies of divergent minds and vigorously direct them toward a clearly indicated goal.” – Alexis de Tocqueville

The need is true even in the case of the recent student clash at the University of Jaffna. Both Sinhala and Tamil students in the Science Faculty sat side by side, perhaps in two groups, in lecture halls and in science labs, interacting with their teachers vertically. But they hardly had horizontal connections among themselves. As Pratheep Kunarthnam writing on the subject asked, “Can any of the authorities explain why except in one or two faculties Tamil-Sinhala students do not even smile at each other even when they walk past one another?” (Colombo Telegraph, 20 July 2016). He also raised the question of ‘deteriorating relations between Tamil and Muslim students.’

It is normal when people enter school, college, university or workplace, they tend to interact with their ‘own people,’ unless one or two ‘enlightened souls’ take a special effort to break the ice. In the case of Sri Lanka, most of these places are mono-cultural (not multi-cultural) spaces, most often purposely created that way. Even then they find reasons to group with their village or caste people. I am not touching on the gender issue here because of its ‘sex-complexity,’ although for a healthy society, healthy gender relations are necessary beyond marriage or partnership.

Even if we consider humans as utterly ‘autonomous’ individuals, they do need grouping, socialization, interaction and net-works. When this happens within their own group or ‘in-group,’ it is generally called ‘bonding.’ That is how a society builds up ‘social capital’ for its survival and beyond. But in a multi-ethnic and a multi-religious society, there is something necessary beyond ‘bonding’ and towards ‘bridging.’ I am here borrowing simplified terminology and a conceptual framework from Robert Putnam and others on ‘social capital formation’ (“Making Democracy Work,” 1993).

A Conceptual Framework

How many ‘mono-ethnic’ societies or countries do we have today? The number is less than the number of our fingers. This is the reality in most countries that people have to face, whether you like it or not, and however much you argue about the predominance of your own group in your country or region. The building of ‘social capital’ is about networking for your personal and collective wellbeing, whether it is a funeral society, neighbourhood association, temple/church organization, drama society or lending association. This is important as building physical capital, financial capital or human capital. At a higher level, you may have to build student associations, women’s organizations, trade unions, human rights organizations, citizen’s committees or even more politically overt social justice movements. These are important for an efficient and an effective democratic society. This may be accepted without much controversy.

In general terms, the maturity of any democratic society could be judged or measured on the basis of the nature, the quality and the functions of these networks and associations which could also be called the civil society. If we wish a definition or an authoritative explanation on the matter, we can get it from Putnam, who was not the first to identify the phenomenon or process, but who was the first to elaborate, classify and use it as a criteria for assessing the maturity of democratic societies. As he said:

“Of all the dimensions along which forms of social capital vary, perhaps the most important is the distinction between bridging (or inclusive) and bonding (or exclusive). Some forms of social capital are, by choice or necessity, inward looking and tend to reinforce exclusive identities and homogeneous groups. Examples of bonding social capital include ethnic fraternal organizations, church-based women’s reading groups, and fashionable country clubs. Other networks are outward looking and encompass people across diverse social cleavages. Examples of bridging social capital include the civil rights movement, many youth service groups, and ecumenical religious organizations.” (“Bowling Alone,” 2000, p. 23).

In the above work, Putnam was talking about the American situation (‘The Collapse and Revival of American Community’ as the sub-title), and his examples might not be the best for Sri Lanka. He did emphasise the importance of ‘bridging’ over ‘bonding,’ however the importance of ‘bridging’ is much more than he talked about, particularly in the case of Sri Lanka or any transitional or developing multi-cultural society. I am using the expressions ‘transitional’ and ‘developing’ both in economic and political terms.

Present Context

As generally accepted, there has been a resurgence of the civil society organizations (or networking) in Sri Lanka that led to or accompanied by the democratic change in 2015. This was not exactly the case five ten years ago – first due to the bitter civil war and then the authoritarian regime that emerged after the end of the war defeating the LTTE. In heralding the authoritarian development, there was a different or a ‘primitive’ kind of social capital or networking that emerged based on the ‘kith and kin,’ ‘friendship alliances,’ ‘provincialism’ and ‘patron-client relations’ that in fact effectively overturned the democratic fabric. This is popularly called the Rajapaksa regime. Primitive kind of social capital emerging out of traditional sources is also something anticipated by the social capital theorists. There can be several other forms of ‘social capital’ that could be inimical to justice and fairness.

What made the democratic system barely saved was the resurrection of the nearly moribund civil society organizations (of lawyers, academics, professionals, journalists, students, citizens) and the emergence of new ones inspired largely by the international influence and civic consciousness. Two of the key objectives of the political change and thus the civil society were (1) the resurrection of democracy and (2) reconciliation of the ethnic conflict. I am not undermining the role of the political leaders or the political parties in the change, but emphasising the importance of the civil society organizations for the purpose of this article.

The above was possible because of the long standing traditions of civil society organizations and networks in Sri Lanka although they became disrupted and degenerated during the period of the war and even before. First to breakdown, due to the ethnic distancing and antagonisms of the post-1956 period, were the processes of ‘bridging social capital’ in the country. Then came the disruption of even ‘bonding social capital’ primarily due to political interventions, war and demoralization of the civil society actors since 1983. The new forms in fact had emerged. Jonathan Goodhand, Hulme and Lewer (2000) have investigated some of the transformations in different zones.

Even if we now assume – based on the democratic changes of the last year (2015), and still the vibrant activities of some of the organizations – that ‘bonding social capital’ is on track again, this article argues that ‘bridging social capital’ is still lagging behind which is much more important for the objectives of both ‘resurrection of democracy’ and ‘building reconciliation’ in the country.
Important Organizations

It might not be too arbitrary to identify the following organizations playing a major role in the recent democratic change in the country. They are listed in the alphabetical order.

  • Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL)
  • Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)
  • Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA)
  • Free Media Movement (FMM)
  • National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ)
  • National Peace Council (NPC)
  • People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL)
  • Purawesi Balaya (People’s Power)

Among them, while the NMSJ and the People’s Power are new, or rather spontaneous, the others have had fairly a long standing existence in the country. The question which needs to be posed here however is whether they are only for ‘bonding’ or whether they have an objective for ‘bridging.’ ‘Bonding’ and ‘bridging’ or ‘bonding social capital’ and ‘bridging social capital’ are two different things particularly in terms of reconciliation after a conflict or war. While ‘boding’ tends to create networks within an in-group – within a particular ethnicity in this case – ‘bridging’ particularly means conscious efforts to transcend these barriers as a primary objective. No need to overemphasize such a need in Sri Lanka’s context today, whether in the South, East or the North.

A quick glance at the composition of the office bearers or the active leaders of the above organizations reveal that the CPA and the NPC undoubtedly have this ‘bridging’ quality at least at the decision making level. But both organizations are primarily located in Colombo, of course playing an advocacy (vertical) role. The BASL gives a symbolic prominence for the ‘other ethnicity’ and its office bearers understandably are elected ones. The PAFFREL is fairly represented in the Board of Directors but not in the Secretariat.

Being a past member, I can be more critical of the situation of FUTA only having a Vice-President at present from Jaffna! There cannot be any doubt that the academics could play an active role in ‘bridging social capital’ in theoretical terms, and through academic solidarity and cooperation. One way might be to resurrect the University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR) also for Reconciliation (UTHR&R) island wide. The FMM is also primarily in the form of bonding. While the potential of both the NMSJ and the Peoples’ Power (Purawesi Balaya) is so enormous in creating social capital in the country, transcending ethnic and religious divide, the present situation is almost completely confined to ‘bonding.’

Another important organization is the Citizens’ Movement for Good Governance (CIMOGG), although its role in recent political change in practical terms is not readily verifiable (at least for me). However it has noble objectives very much similar to building ‘social capital’ even with a People Empowerment Programme (PEP).

Some Obstacles

While most of the obstacles that the civil society organizations are facing in moving beyond ‘bonding’ towards ‘bridging’ can be historical, there are certain ideological as well as practical reasons for the situation. When new organizations like the NMSJ or the Peoples Power are formed, it may be natural for them to begin within their known terrain. However, there should be some conscious efforts to move beyond. The past historical developments in the country, the state policies, terrorism and war have created enormous divisions even among the academics, professionals and social activists. There are unconscious inhibitions preventing joint work. These may be higher among the Tamils and the Muslims.

A seemingly ideological reason for the situation seems to be that most of the organizations that recently sprung to oppose authoritarianism, or to bargain based on their demands, whether FUTA, NMSJ or Peoples Power, work on vertical lines trying to influence the new government and the leaders. Their demands may transcend ethnic or religious lines. They may also be fully committed to reconciliation in theoretical terms. But their ‘vertical’ approach trying mainly to ‘influence the government’ not only betray the purpose but also represents a compartmentalized elitism unless they venture to build most necessary ‘bridging social capital’ in the country. Another mindboggling question is ‘why the hell’ they don’t coordinate each other and work together in achieving their seemingly similar objectives!

The task of building reconciliation is multi-faceted and require different track level interventions. The task of ‘bridging social capital’ is a task primarily for the civil society. It cannot be expected from the political leaders. Political leaders of any country are strange animals. They changes ‘colour’ after power like chameleons. The formation of ‘bridging social capital’ in society entails not only networking or forming multi-ethnic organizations. It is also a task of education, attitudinal change and building necessary skills.

One practical difficulty, among others, is the language barrier between the Sinhala speakers and the Tamil speakers. The promotion of English as the link language has not progressed well even in university education. However, to reach the broader sections of the people, the civil society organizations have to work both in Sinhala and Tamil, apart from English. This should be followed as a cardinal principle. That is the only way to attract ‘the other’ and create conditions for ‘bridging,’ whether your present base is Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim. This is something terribly lacking in the present popular organizations.

Given the fact that most or almost all prominent organizations are Colombo based, and the emergence of such organizations in Jaffna or in the North/East were largely inhibited due to the war devastation, the failure of the present organizations to work in Tamil has been a major setback for ‘bridging social capital’ formation even after a democratic change last year. This is a major obstacle for ethnic reconciliation in the country as at present. The formation of social capital in Sri Lanka, linked to economy and polity and also in the context of ethnic conflict, is undoubtedly an area that needs new research by young academics.


Some Preliminary References

  1. Goodhand, Jonathan et al. 2000. “Social Capital and the Political Economy of Violence: A Case Study of Sri Lanka.” Disasters 24 (4).
  2. Halpern, David. 2005. “Social Capital.” Polity Press.
  3. Putnam, Robert et al. 1993. “Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy.” Princeton.
  4. Putnam, Robert. 2000. “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.” Simmon & Schuster.
  5. Putnam, Robert (Ed.). 2002. “Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society.” Oxford.

(There is another known study on a different dimension on Sri Lanka by Uphoff, N. and C. M. Wijayaratna. 2000. “Demonstrated Benefits from Social Capital: The Productivity of Farmer Organizations in Gal Oya, Sri Lanka.” World Development 28)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 9
    9

    How does one expect Reconciliation etc. when State Officials resort to stupid
    actions, under cover of implementing the Law! Here is a new development evolved
    by the I/E (trust Hon. Navin Dissanayke is aware?), that has never happened in
    the past. The Overseas Consulates have been instructed NOT to accept passport
    applications of those who were born Overseas and apply for a new Passport if
    they are in the 20-21-22 yrs. age category. THEY HAVE TO CALL OVER AT THE CITIZENSHIP DIVISION of I/E PERSONALLY for it !! They have to be given a
    one-way EMERGENCY Passport (at a cost) for this purpose on production of an Air Ticket. Leave is not the concern of these Officials, and the cost of the accompanying parent – much so if it is a daughter travelling for this purpose for the fist time. There is no guarantee that a Passport will be forthcoming for her/his return.
    In a world of advanced technology, even matters of digital photo and finger
    prints can be organised at central point in Europe – easily accessible and
    that office coordinate with the Hqs. for processing the Passports anywhere in
    the world, if this the excuse for the unprecedented act.
    Apparently, the Gota-mentality has crept into the Cit. Div. to adopt a mode of prior clearance for passport issues, when the Cit. Certificate granted
    clearly states about renunciation before attaining 22 yrs. The Dept. is pushing youth to obtain foreign passports, to avoid this hassle. Was it created with the ulterior purpose of “harvesting bribes”? Foreign youth will apt to bribe the
    way out for quick action, a taste of which I/E is well acquainted is a fair guess.
    The Consular Div. of MFA has to act urgently, before youth from USA/UK/Europe
    etc are confronted with a step that has NEVER occurred in the past, but now
    under GG – the Change?

    • 5
      2

      anyone with dual nationality is aware how easy it is to evade taxes at both countries. Boat people whether sinhalese muslim or tamil should be refused.

      There are high ranking civil servants boat people (diaspora) who still hold stretches of land at sri lanka and have not applied for european nationality but retain their original SL passports as permanent residents of the european nation they live in.

    • 4
      1

      You tamils are small fry in the world. take for example the mainland chinese living in the west with big time enterprises. They hold a single chinese passport have their babies delivered at mainland china keep the kid there until they are 5 years old. They are proud to hold permanent european residency.

      The 7th richest man of UK Hinduja (chemicals) a sensational tax evasion case both ways. India withdrew his nationality.

    • 1
      0

      Great Expectations,

      Heard today’s German news they plan to Ban Dual nationality.

      Practical solution.- folk from terror nations.

  • 6
    4

    Jehan and Paikiasothy are two individuals. Camouflaging them with NPC and CPA are not going to help. Paikiasothy is a UNP agent and Jehan is a “Kuzhukkum Padi Kangikkum padi” He knows in which sky in a certain times the the dollar bills are flying. He openly praised Brother Prince during Chitanta Goverment Period and changed it when the government changed. He will change as many times as needed, while UNP Puppet Paikiasothy will remain there and defend UNP.

    BAR has not done anything, but Upul worked for the UNP election and got a handsomely paid job. It has turned out to be another Nishantha Wickramasinghe of UNP.

    FMM is not working to build Social Capital. It has a known objective. It is travelling on a straight path on its cause. It was given trouble by both Yahapalanaya and Chitanda Governments. PAFFREL is similar one. A percentage of it can be for the Social Capital. Still not good enough to bring into a discussion stemming from “Jaffna University Tamil students” expression of the fear of wiping Jaffna culture through government funded radicals named as students.

    The entire North is now inundated with government funded Indian-Greek period Buddha statues. Buddhists who do not know who Buddha is, inundating North with Greek sculpture is double insult to the Tamils. Goverment do not fund any Tamils social events in North, then forget about in in South. Openly and provocatively Buddhism is made as government religion in the constitution. Again not one Sinhala Intellectual is prepared to talk about it, except two CT’s women writers named Tissaranee Gunasekara and Sharmini Serasinghe.

    Ranil intentionally refused to sign Rome Statute to protect Sinhala army and refuse the justice to Tamils. None of the Sinhala Leaders meet Tamil civilians when they go to North. They exclusively meet the Army and Sinhalese there.

    Jaffna University unrest is taken by Sinhala Intellectuals as a loophole in the plan of Sinhala-nization of the North. It bothers them day and night.

    Portrayal of the reconciliation effort is a unified attempt by all Sinhala Intellectuals to keep away the IC’s interference out of Lankawe. Not one Sinhala rowdy is punished for raping a Tamil woman before or after the war, while UN has categorized Lankan army as one of the 22 rapist armies in the world. If the rapist is Tamil but connected to Sinhala army, then just for that crime he receives impunity like a Sinhala rowdy. Even the Vidya’s case has been suppressed by UNP, where Rosy staged an eye catching protest in colombo against the Tamil rapist of that child. Diverting and covering up Dramas and Talks of Sinhala Intellectual are limitless.

    The following is a posted somewhere else which talk about the master plan the Joint Comedians, UNP and SLFP engaged to defeat the IC’s effort in bringing justice to Tamils. Like an electronic auto control works, the Sinhala Intellectuals jobs is constantly watch the developments in IC’s moves and all 24 hours adjusts them accordingly.


    Recently Mangala rushed to praise Condoleezza Rice based on a premature US’s poll numbers. Right after the RNC, Trump surged on polls. Ivanka was a shining star against Hillary, who is no long younger, has lost appearance majesty. It is (poll surge) usual to happen after major party’s convention. Then came the DNC. Hillary recovered what she lost. Trump reacted with his jealous nature. Polls plummeted for him. Now Lankawe is in Thirisanku status. That is, it is in between China and America’s tugger war. Old King’s manipulation is differed from this, but did not have assurance for continued success for ever. He worked with 32 Nations to win the war, hoodwinked them, abandoned them and associated with China for personal favors. This forced Secretary Kerry to chase him out of Temple Tree House. Then Secretary Kerry believed Ranil to take America’s side. But, Ranil could not do after taking power what Old King did after the war. That is hoodwinking the West. Though Secretary Kerry said he had turned around Lankawe the same way Rangoon was turned around, the diplomats who worked for Secretary Kerry, like Nisha Biswas, used different terminology. She talked about American Lankan Relationship and Lankawe taking America’s helping hand. Her talks sounded like she was having lot of expectation but did not see anything as solid achievement of Lankawe that it cannot back off from it. Having failed on their acting that was already over used by Old King and the IC has been already warned of it, Ranil and Mangala fell back on their preparation of welcoming the new administration to come. Now they have some assured situation the coming team would not follow the path of Secretary Condoleezza. This where the Old King was let down and forced him to take his final decision to walk with the Joint Comedians in the Pada Yatra. When he was running away from Temple Tree house, he had obtained Ranil’s assurance of saving him. Ranil kept his promise the at any cost. “Our sailor oft could scantly shift To find a dinner plain and hearty; But never changed the coin and gift Of Bonaparte.” – Thomas Campbell. Ranil had beaten the sailor of Thomas Campbell on keeping promise on all his demises. But, by the same coin, he has failed to assure the protection to Old King anymore. That overdoing of the sailor has earned fame for him but Ranil’s overdoing has raised a suspicion on him for IC. Had Ranil loosed a little bit of his tight hold and had taken the help Secretary Kerry offered him, Kerry might have solidified the hold he put on the investigation. Now that hold is on limbo. Even there is chance the OISL Report’s criminals’ names coming out, not by reissuing the old report, but pursuing the criminals on the ongoing investigation. Every time when the OISL was progressing to the next step on its investigation, Old King has been monkeying around on hanging ropes or jogging half nude on the beaches. He had faith on Ranil’s ability to protect him and he was showing off no fear(struggling to show off no fear is showing fear). Now, he sees no point is letting Ranil on the power; One- Ranil appears have lost the ability to protect him by his overdoing, second – Secretary Kerry is leaving, so he needed not to have run away from the Temple Tree House. So, with his usual manner, he is starting his sabotages against Ranil. It was already there in hidden manner even before the CEB Transformers failed or Army’s Tamil informant from Chavakacheri put the suicide Jacket in his house and his wife called army to complain about it. But openly acting in challenging in this manner has not happened from the time when he left Dayan to read Dayan’s own manuscript in Narahenpita. Now Old King wants to take the power on his hand to protect him, but not want to depend on Ranil anymore. This may bring a split in SLFP, induced by Ranil’s intransigence and for the first time running out of luck from the time of freedom when Don Stephen had successfully bought Soulbury to the fake promise of Naval base in Trinco, a value less than a cup of coffee, the coin he used to buy Tamils like GG, Suntharalingam and other upcountry Tamils. Now, what is going to come out in March 2017 UNHRC is everybody’s guess. But Old King is seeing his pictures in his scary dark-room negatives. So he wanted to walk his Pada Yatra. In fact, he wants to walk ahead of UNHRC or IC. He wants to open up a new chapter on the long gone mega series, “UN Electric Chair”. He travelled on his chariot like cars until the Sinhala Modayas start to believe that his legs have boils. He wants to reestablish his image as that he is the ultimate sacrifice-r for the Motherland the Wild Life Sanctuary – SinhaLE Lankawe. UNP-Yahapalanaya down played the walk. Joint Comedian up-played it. SLFP is struggling to straighten its back from the breakage it suffered by this walk against the Yahapalanaya Government, with it, it is a partner. There is chance that this breakage may become permanent and bring a sore on the bloodless revolution Solomon West Ridgeway Dias brought in the 1950s. Whether the walk was success or not, it is has brought once more a reminder that there was war crime committed by Lankawe government. The Entire Sinhala Lankawe and Muslim Lankawe were together on hiding that and defending the Old Royal Chitanta Government. But, now they are split on how to protect the criminals. The Old Royals Regime closed the door for witnesses; wiped out bodies by bulldozing them; blamed LTTE for human shielding; Toppled the UNHRC process in May 2009; and claimed still it is zero casualty. They went against the West; Worked with China for bribes and commissions; Paid for American PR firms to defeat Susan Rice hoping Secretary Kerry working with them. Secretary Kerry worked with Lankawe, but isolated singularly the Old King. This created the most complicated process in politics, which was not seen since the time Solomon West Ridgeway Dias left UNP. Now there is a multi-prong power contest. From SLFP alone, Old King, New King and Chandrika are on their power wielding. Ranil is on his own way. When Mahendran was fired by New King and Chandrika brought her tail Coomaraswamy, Ranil brought Mahendran again though back door. Communist clique of the Joint Comedians are following their usual “Blind and dead Opposition against UNP”; Champika and Udaya Gammanpila are stretching the Buddha’s preaching to bring pogroms against the minorities. (JVP and TNA are away from these main comedies, nevertheless with their own sub comedies.) The end to all these is swinging on the hand of Ranil who tightly holding the Napoleon’s Gold Penny. Ranil went against Chandrika on signing the ICC accord and took his first point to have his government dismissed by her. But he cannot let loose his coin. He cannot go against his election promise of “No Leader, No Commander and No Soldier” investigation. He had a chance to conduct an internal investigation and put the guy for two or three years in and let him go out with all his pride. This might have put an iron coating on Old King and defeated all the IC forces. Ranil did not do that. Now everything and every option are open. He is aware that anything he could not achieve in Secretary Kerry’s time is not going to be easy to achieve in Hillary’s administration. Unless something unexpected happens, she is going to be there. Ranil blamed Old King that he gambled the Country’s economy and sold the sovereignty to China for his protection and pride. But he has not done anything different from Old King; but repeated it on a larger scale than Old King. It is not for the same protection. But to maintain the pride name of most adamant, arrogant and obstinate politician Lankawe has ever come across.

  • 8
    0

    another political scientist living off a capitalist world income and preaching socialism- Stalin, Mao parradi!

    The free education for all was a creation to maintain conflict, divisiness- suddha ta gahamu.
    SWRD died on his own sword.
    Have you guys produced anyone of international stature in the sciences or technology??
    Once systems that work well are abolished for political aspirations the nation never gets back glory but stagnates.

    The murder of Lumumba, in which the U.S. was involved, in the Congo destroyed Africa’s major hope for development. Congo is now total horror story, for years. Noam Chomsky
    LKY and Choo were two people who observed the flaws of newly independent nations and stopped the continuation of it.
    SirMao take overs and destructions means no Gas Pipe Lines at Colombo but send the the women to Medieval Middle East Kussi.
    You will never come right again- have fun in the blood and gore of trade union education.

  • 5
    0

    dear prof.
    i am an admirer of you.so i would like you to clear a few doubts. tamils fought for their legitimate rights re. language, autonomy. identity etc by negotiations, peaceful protests and finally using arms. once there were 36 groups fighting against the SL army and then among themselves. they ended up with killing their own unarmed leaders and finally defeated by the SL armed forces with thousands of their people getting perished. my main point is , is it possible to talk or do something about promoting reconciliation among various ethnic groups without touching any of their problems? apart from their problems articulated for several decades and supporting sirisena-ranil govt.
    still there are new complaints about land grabbing, army domination and fresh
    settlement of sinhalese in the north and east by the govt. which could cause demographic change…there are complaints about buddha statues emerging where there are no buddhists.. i think you know about all these developments. against this background do you expect the tamils to join the reconciliation process without any reservation? may be you will have other ideas to make things clear.
    -dayal

    • 4
      0

      Dear Dayal,

      For your direct question, the answer is: ‘it is not possible to talk or promote reconciliation among various ethnic groups, more particularly among Tamils in this case, without addressing their problems.’ I have formulated my above answer according to your question. Both addressing problems and reconciliation can go hand in hand in my opinion. In addition (1) There should be frank admission of offences committed against the Tamils since citizenship acts etc. (2) There should be meaningful devolution with adequate funding sources. (3) There should be comprehensive justice to what happened to them during the war. (4) The military presence in the North/East should be minimal and in barracks. (4) The other issues should be discussed amicably through proper mechanisms. I have addressed many of these issues in my past articles, as far as I understand and according to my opinion. The purpose of my present article was on something new as you would admit. There is no point in repeating the same thing again and again, and we need to find solutions in multitude of ways. For example, inter-ethnic civil society organizations (i.e. building social capital) could also address most of the above issues and also promote reconciliation. All these are interlinked.

      At the same time, I also believe that demands coming from the Tamil community should be and should have been more realistic also taking into account the concerns of the Sinhalese and the Muslims. More important is political realism and justice to all. Particularly, (1) There should be admission of violence/terror committed by the LTTE (2) There should be cooperation even in implementation of devolution and (3) The Tamil community in general should be in a position to accommodate and unite with the other communities.

      Have I ever said that I also lost a nephew (Samadhi Peiris) in July 1996 due to the train bomb blast at Dehiwala? You may read an account from the following link.
      http://www.sundaytimes.lk/160724/plus/blast-from-the-past-201988.html

      However there is no bitterness in the family. The following was what my brother-in-law Sirimal Peiris said about the incident.

      “That day’s terror has nothing to do with innocent Tamils. War and terrorism are futile and there has to be a political solution to the Tamil grievances to ensure that what happened to our son will never happen to anyone else,” says Sirimal.” (Sunday Times Plus, 24 July 2016).

      I am sorry to bring this personal matter. It is not at all aimed at anyone, but to reveal different aspects of our common predicament due to violence.

      Laksiri

      • 5
        1

        Dear Prof Laksiri,
        Thank you for your views to solve grievances of Tamils. I hope you may be aware that in a meeting with NGO groups in Colombo, Ranil Wickremasinghe said Sinhalese seem to be not interested in a political solution. In a seminar in Colombo Ruwan Wijewardene said government has failed in reconciliation with Tamils. When these two stalwarts of the government have lost hope, how do you expect there will be justice to Tamils.

        • 3
          1

          “When these two stalwarts of the government have lost hope, how do you expect there will be justice to Tamils. “

          Hope?? like Obama they have not lost hope in themselves but they never asked you for the vote.

          “Ranil Wickremasinghe said Sinhalese seem to be not interested in a political solution.”

          The old royalist rouges advantage of lying low until the floods arrive.

        • 2
          1

          Iyo this guy Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam is a real puss vedi.

          He does not know where to fire a vedi. He is firing upon himself now.

          Is there a psychiatric doctor reading his comments in the CT?

          Pl. give him an open overdose.

      • 2
        0

        I doubt about sincerity of the persistent talk of “Solution” for Tamils. This is only a cover up to avoid any possible action by IC for the war crime. The non-outspoken, hidden meaning word “solution” undeniably means to find a new way to rule Tamils without IC’s frowning eyebrow. There are 100 of thousands Tamils lives displaced. Sinhala government has formed a coordinating committee only to colonize the North and East with Sinhalese and Muslims. There is no provision at all for Tamils to be rehabilitated. This is outrages. Salawa people have been immediately resettled. This is apparently happening only because UNHRC High Commission agreed to delay in submitting the due report in March 2015. It is high time to the High Commissioner, Prince Zeid to accept his mistake and resign. He must remember that UN accepted that it failed to safeguard Tamils during war. He has repeated it again only on Tamils sufferings. Without things go to that extent of another 145,000 Tamils being murdered, High Commissioner Prince Zeid should accept his failure and quit the office. Sampanthar should open his mouth and ask UNHRC High Commissioner to resign.
        (1) There should be admission of violence/terror committed by the LTTE (2) There should be cooperation even in implementation of devolution and (3) The Tamil community in general should be in a position to accommodate and unite with the other communities. “

        Recently a child fell into a Gorilla enclosure in Cincinnati Zoo, while parents accompanied it. There are no actions against the parents. There are no questions about the parenting responsibilities. Gorilla, a wild animal, born to live only freely roaming in the Wild, not the Town is murdered because it has no voice in the government it ruled it. It was forcefully put in the enclosure because that is how the British government created Soulbury constitution. Gorilla did not jump into Child’s play place. Child fell into Gorilla enclosure. Parents failed to take care of the Child. But the gorilla received the punishment. Gorilla took the Child; did not harm; in a protective manner, went to hiding place. The intention and behavior of the gorilla was confirmed by scientists and naturalists. Zoo keepers did not argue the gorilla might have hurt the child. The Judgement issued to the Gorilla was death. LTTE stayed in the North and East and protected its people. It did not mass murder the Tamils the way JVP or even the Rapist Army in 1971 and 1989 did the Sinhala people. From 1956 it was the Tamils got killed by the Sinhala rowdies and Rapist army. Even with all injustice, Sampanthar promptly and openly issued an apology when the call came out and that is posted in CT. But neither New King nor Ranil Mahata has apologized for the 145,000 people death which they claim zero casualty and insist it happened because of LTTE. But in his apology Sampanthar did not condition that it happened because of Indian Pakistani citizenship act or Sinhala Only or 1958 or standardization or…..anything at all. So the Sinhala Intellectuals repeating hobby talks of Tamils have to apologize is only to divert attention of the IC only until March 2017, when, Rajitha Senaratne claims that IC investigation call will be fully thawed. If you look at the death the Gorilla received when the Child fell into its enclosure, it is no worse than the Saudi’s Sharia law punishment of simply cutting off the head for a woman for falling in love with a man. That is not what the Tamil kids received in the hand of the Rapist Sinhala army. Years and years of rape and torture until they die and if they survived that torture they received debilitating brain wash with poisonous injection to suffer with dangerous disease and die by that. 11,000 youngsters are crying no avail to investigate the poisonous food they were fed with forcefully and poisonous injection injected into their bodies while they were kept in restraint by the Rapist Army.

        Tamils’ case has to go to ICC and then they have to go alone. To beg for cover up word “solution” and for that repeated slavery apologizing are not for Tamils any more. They have suffered enough.

        On the question of building more of Jehan’s NPC, Upul Jayasuriya’s BAR and Saravanamuthu’s CPA is only same old toddy in the new Monthai. The Wildlife Sanctuary SinhaLE Lankawe has reached astronomical success in building a democratic government from the time it received its freedom in 1948, now it is setting out to set examples in building Social Capital. The Asian miracle in democracy is slipping into the “Mirage of the World” in building Social Capital. How can you make chocolate with a milk if it is spoiled to make cake with it? Who is building these fraudulent NGOs? Aren’t the same old crooks associated with the barbaric government? If these Modayas are not able to build a just and fair democratic government how can they deal with NGOs money? Didn’t the ICRC give the coordinates of the hospitals in Mullivaikkal, again and again, when the army wanted it to bomb the hospitals? Didn’t it give the luxury vehicles to Old Queen to use in murders? ICRC was accused for demanding sexual favors to allocate the Indian houses to widows. Tell me another country’s name where these world famous organization’s members got involved in murders and rapes but not actions were taken on that. You may cut a diamond with a diamond, but can you clean dirt with filth? With the same Old Modayas who built the barbaric government to build new Social Capital? Comedy Thamai!

  • 8
    1

    The Jaffna University incident took a central point of discussion and outrage in Srilankan politics because the victims were Sinhala speaking (majority of the country). Over the seven decades, this island had massive sacle of number of violences,riots,wars,genocides murders, robberies, corruptions, coups, destructions etc. where victims were Tamils did not touch the hearts of the majority. You cannot bring reconciliation where the government of the nation is biased and the rule of law & justice system is biased. As long as you are not prepared to accept the truth, reconciliation is only a meaningless word.
    Today, President of this ntion invites Southern sinhalese students of Jaffna students and assuring that they will be given protection by Sinhalese police in civil and uniform inside and outside Jaffna University. If it is a true recociliation protection for Sinhalese student should be given by Tamil police and Tamil security cards. In otherwords, tamils protecting Sinhalese in the North East and Sinhalese protecting Tamils in the South is the real and true reconciliation.

  • 2
    11

    Prominent Detractors of Sinhala-Buddhists

    Recently, we have noticed Non Buddhist-Sinhala and Non Sinhala-Buddhists writers have started a campaign to present reconciliation options in Sri Lanka. This gang has been the sworn enemies of Sinhala-Buddhists. If one carefully analyzes the propositions embedded in their message, all of their arguments revolve around the notion that Buddhism is evil and Sinhala-Buddhists are the problem in Sri Lanka. These fellows come in different shades and disguises; some as constitutional experts and others as political scientists. Sometimes they have been the “concealed weapon” of certain devious politicians in Sri Lanka. Some of these writers seem to believe they are “more catholic than pope” and others believe they are “more Islamic than grand muftis or grand ayatollahs”. The writer is no different from this group.

    The writer has said;
    “Even if we now assume – based on the democratic changes of the last year (2015), and still the vibrant activities of some of the organizations – that ‘bonding social capital’ is on track again, this article argues that ‘bridging social capital’ is still lagging behind which is much more important for the objectives of both ‘resurrection of democracy’ and ‘building reconciliation’ in the country.
    Important Organizations
    It might not be too arbitrary to identify the following organizations playing a major role in the recent democratic change in the country. They are listed in the alphabetical order.
    • Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL)
    • Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)
    • Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA)
    • Free Media Movement (FMM)
    • National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ)
    • National Peace Council (NPC)
    • People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL)
    • Purawesi Balaya (People’s Power)”

    All bloody humbug simply shows your analytical skills are so poor. You seem to be good on borrowing from other scholastic works applicable totally in other jurisdictions with no relevance to Sri Lankan society. My dear fellow, the organizations quoted above united to defeat one of the dirtiest and dreaded dictator; Mahendra Percy Rajapaksa and his family rule. The objective did not even border the requirement of reconciliation between various ethnic groups in the country. Whom have you tried to bamboozle this time with a twisted theorem. Individually, the above groups were driven to protect their vested interests, some have been attacked physically or psychologically, others have been denied of certain professional rights or a few have purely to settle some score with Rajapaksas. None of the above groups, came together to bring reconciliation between ethnic groups.
    The main reason for lack of reconciliation is that the great pendulum of social justice has swung to an extreme to accommodate the wishes of Minorities in Sri Lanka, inflicting heavy injuries to the founders of the country Sri Lanka and the religion of Buddhism. This has happened to the Buddhists since the arrival of Portuguese in 1505. The reconciliation efforts launched by D.S.Senanayake were derailed by the mentors, teachers and grandparents of present sworn enemies of Sinhala-Buddhists of Sri Lanka.

    The reconciliation will NOT take place in the hands of dubious, “PROFESSIONAL- POLITICIANS” of Sri Lanka and it will also not happen under this bogus unification of various so called “Vibrant” activists. There is hardly any difference between these “Vibrant Activists” and the corrupt politicians”

    My dear writer: The reconciliation can be achieved only through:
    1) Restoring the birth Rights of Sinhala Buddhists taken away by the colonial rulers and the governments of 1953-2016).
    2) Acknowledging the Sri Lanka is the Country established by Sinhala People
    3) Buddhism is the STATE RELIGION
    4) There are no fiefdoms or regions demarcated on the basis of ethnicity or religion in Sri Lanka
    5) Above all, Electing a true Buddhist leader not masquerading rascal to lead the nation. (Shall I say, “Sri Lankan MODHI”)

    The other requirements (or content) willconcept of building of inter-ethnic “Social-Capital” as another ploy to keep Sinhala-Buddhist divided forever.

    • 3
      0

      “all of their arguments revolve around the notion that Buddhism “

      Sanskrit- Buddhu means wisdom and Puddhu means Stupidity.

      you accept gautama was an indian and his philosophy was called wisdom. When I speak to the chinese in the mainland (who follow wisdom) where the most number of wisdom statutes are present in the world they all like the fat happy wisdom nothing else because it brings wealth. Even the Indians do not see a God Buddha therefore they are free people.
      Gautama philosophy was presented to mainland china during Dao period and they discussed because they felt man had two faces- Tao (man of the mountain) and Confucius man of the shore).

      You are a puddu fascist settler in the island who has come either via hora oru or carted by portugese. Go get flushed without preaching kuddu supply via pakistan.

    • 2
      6

      “My dear writer: The reconciliation can be achieved only through:
      1) Restoring the birth Rights of Sinhala Buddhists taken away by the colonial rulers and the governments of (1953-2016).
      2) Acknowledging the Sri Lanka is the Country established by Sinhala People
      3) Buddhism is the STATE RELIGION
      4) There are no fiefdoms or regions demarcated on the basis of ethnicity or religion in Sri Lanka
      5) Above all, Electing a true Buddhist leader not masquerading rascal to lead the nation. (Shall I say, “Sri Lankan MODHI”)

      The other requirements (or content) will follow automatically and fall into proper places establishing true reconciliation between various communities in Sri Lanka.

      The concept of building of inter-ethnic “Social-Capital” is another ploy invented by this author to keep Sinhala-Buddhist divided forever.

      • 8
        2

        Ranbandu!

        You have spoken about ”Buddhism is the STATE RELIGION,” “Electing a true Buddhist leader not masquerading rascal to lead the nation.” etc.

        Could you tell me about what Buddhism you are talking about?

        Theeravaada Buddhism or Mahaayaana Buddhism or Sinhala Buddhism?

        Please conduct a scientific study on history of Buddhism in Lanka and then write your comments!

        Well Mr. Ranbandu

        Though you talk about having Buddhism as the State Religion, you have not spoken about having Buddhist flag as the Lankan National Flag!

        The Article – 9 of the Constitution gives “foremost place” to Buddhism!

        What does the present National Flag of Lanka depict?

        I am sure that you have written all these without conducting a scientific study.
        [Edited out]

        @Abimanasigham – Please write instead of recommending web links – CT

        • 2
          6

          “The Article – 9 of the Constitution gives “foremost place” to Buddhism!”

          Are you kidding , this was the “Hoodwinking” statement of the dirty Sinhala politicians – They are damn scared to say “Buddhism is the State Religion” and Sri Lanka is a Buddhist State, fearing that minorities will not support them. The politicians have made us (Sinhala Buddhists) to compromise our birth rights by dividing entire Sinhala Buddhist Community alone party politics . (UNP Members and SLFP members). Right now, UNP is conducting an island wide membership drive. The real objective of this membership drive; To divide the Sinhala Buddhists’ vote.

  • 0
    3

    Yahaplana PM Batalnda Ranil’s two Big Ticket items of the UNP Government are.

    # 1 Hold War Crime Trials against Sinhala Buddhists.

    # 2 Give Federal Homeland for the Vellalas to be run by TNA leader Sambandan from the Megapolis.in that order.. .

    But, Bodhi Sira has scuttled Batalanad’s Number 1 and forced him to settle for no 2 only..

    I didn’t make this up guys.

    That is what Vellala Wiggy told the Jaffna inhabitants last week,according to our future major English Daily Hindian Express..

    Will the next Padha Yatra from Matara to Megapolis force Bodhi Sira to scuttle Batalanda Ranil’s # 2 too ?????

  • 1
    4

    Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL)
    Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)
    Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA)
    Free Media Movement (FMM)
    National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ)
    National Peace Council (NPC)
    People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL)
    Purawesi Balaya (People’s Power)

    Why no names of CIA, RAW, MI-? or any christian organizations are here ?

    • 3
      1

      jim softy!

      “Why no names of CIA, RAW, MI-? or any christian organizations are here ?”

      Dear!

      All the Sri Lankan organisations that you have mentioned here are actually either funded or influenced by CIA, RAW, MI- or international christian organizations!

  • 2
    0

    Dear Dr.
    I am happy for your knowledge and your concern for reconciliation. It could happen in any other part of the globe but not in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan politicians are the power wielding and final decision makers unlike any other Country where there is no racism exhibited by power yielding Administrators. If for the last 7 years even a single item was not done for the oppressed minority to get some relief who is going to believe your “Social Capital” can take shape in Sri Lanka. It is a deeply entrenched racist Country and has to be only dealt with another big show down to bring about any change from the policy of racial genocide which is taking place and continues taking place in the North and East. The Government change according to you is Democratic, but in reality it was done to safeguard the Rajapaksha regime and the war criminals because they killed Tamils and therefore not criminals. There is no Sri Lankan politician who will honestly bring good Governance. If he brings good Governance he cannot come back to power again.

    • 0
      0

      Dear Richard,

      I can fully well understand your frustration. As you say, it is possible that some may consider, based on (an episode of) Mahavamsa, killing a Tamil (at least in combat) not a crime. But I frankly don’t think that is the view of the average or the majority. Please read my reply to Dayal. I think it is better to keep hope. After all a country cannot be totally different to another country in our day and time.

      Laksiri

      • 3
        0

        “But I frankly don’t think that is the view of the average or the majority. “
        After all a country cannot be totally different to another country in our day and time.”

        you are just sucking up on the western spin that has engulfed us all. The irony is 70 years is still young but is still blood and gore because of religious crusade Wisdom is God.When there is no humour and sensitivity how can Wisdom exist? forget about God none have seen.

        With russell square attack the same day that 2 protest `black lives matter` the folk are getting frustrated and are thinking in terms of big boy small boy – logical not a hum in 70 years but working wonders in R&D.
        So many things are being hushed up and no photos etc. Folk await Trump
        His promise in november regarding syria iraq.
        watch the space.

        1983 Colombo only colombo 7 was spared though the mobs and military was on the border and the navy kept them all away. Even foreigners were not spared and most of them are in the west with families that are bitter.

        if the west can ban hitler paraphernalia then its right to ban a book of philosophy called mahavamsa for the good of a nation. this does not mean that tamils or muslims or christians etc should get the upper hand but anything that is wrong is wrong even koran which says kill and cannot be left for lankans to gloat as the english do – only uk does not have ID’s but now it must come. English culture is great for the decent self respecting but UK has eroded as much as Canada has.- its all to do with refugees who arrive with no cultural links and politicians taking advantage of it. Trump planning a wall and shutting the door to find out what is wrong is very technical and enterprising.

    • 1
      0

      Dear Dr.
      I thank you Sir for your reply. I also read your reply to Dayal. Of course we all live with hope where ever we are and whatever we do. We also know who is dependable and who is not in making a non biased judgement. It is from all what happened to the Tamils in Sri Lanka after Independence, the struggle of Tamil politicians followed by armed conflict and the war. Again from the war to the rejection of the Rajapaksa regime and the formation of the good Governance. Co signing the UNHRC resolution and not adhering to the undertaking. The President refusing to commit to international judges. The real criminals known to the international community taking part in politics and administration are all discouraging and contradictory to what has really to be done for a successful reconciliation. What is the reason you believe the Tamils to have any confidence in whatever is said after taking for rides over and over again and now again. Don’t they have to see something done than said after a long and cheated experience. Thanks.

      • 2
        0

        His “Social Capital” is like Animal Farm that Putin has created.

  • 4
    0

    Do it until Muslims become majority then they will cut off our heads t

  • 4
    2

    Hey Laksiri;

    You have stated;

    “The building of ‘social capital’ is about networking for your personal and collective wellbeing, whether it is a funeral society, neighbourhood association, temple/church organization, drama society or lending association. This is important as building physical capital, financial capital or human capital. At a higher level, you may have to build student associations, women’s organizations, trade unions, human rights organizations, citizen’s committees or even more politically overt social justice movements. These are important for an efficient and an effective democratic society. This may be accepted without much controversy.”

    This is what we say “Preaching to the choir”, isn’t this the same social experiment that SWRDB tried and failed in Sri Lanka. You have said nothing new, a failed experiment carried out by SWRDB that ruined our Buddhist nation. Unsuspecting Sinhala Buddhists were sucked into his devious plan. The objective was to destroy Buddhism and Sinhala Buddhists. Your idea is no different from that. I, also as a University Student leader (Unlike you and way before you) believed in Banda’s project; supported and scarified as a youth. Have I seen any improvement since then in any aspect of students’ or citizen’s lives. Nothing, Nada and they are today worse off than in 1950’s. Some Sri Lankans and dual citizenship holders like you have mastered the art of hoodwinking unsuspecting Sinhala Buddhists.

    Or by the way what are you trying to achieve by attempting to label that Sinhala-Buddhists are trying to create a “Mono-Ethnic” state. You even do not have guts say it directly. In our Sinhala-Buddhist land, we always welcome others belonging to different faiths and ethnicities; due to our nature and culture driven by the Buddhist values.

    Laksiri guys like you are the hidden hand of the conniving dirty anti Sinhala Buddhist politicians in Sri Lanka. Reconciliation between various ethnic groups in Sri Lanka will happen only when Birth rights of Sinhala-Buddhists are fully restored.

    • 6
      1

      he won’t answer you because he loves being called `doctor` like DJ the school teacher of political `science`(when it is an art and arts subject). Most top class surgeons in the west are not even bothered with the `doctor` term but Mr since it has been hijacked arts graduates into politics.
      these politicians (doctors) also have `surgeries` for voters because `doctors practice`at their clinics.

      they are in reality `spin doctors` who have spun this world into chaos with their `social engineering`(they don’t know the difference between slab and beam when both are of the same size) as that is all they know for survival

      • 2
        4

        I do not expect him to answer my questions, but I am dead sure he reads my responses and get the message. For nearly forty years, I have been very silent on direct and indirect derogatory comments made by the enemies of Sinhala-Buddhists. I have noticed this writer to be one of the guys taking the cover of a Sinhala name and attacking Sinhala-Buddhists and their heritage. You are absolutely correct saying he is a “spin doctor”.

      • 0
        0

        chico chicki
        From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        The liberal arts (Latin: artes liberales) are those subjects or skills that in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free person (Latin: liberalis, “worthy of a free person”)[1] to know in order to take an active part in civic life, something that (for Ancient Greece) included participating in public debate, defending oneself in court, serving on juries, and most importantly, military service. Grammar, logic, and rhetoric were the core liberal arts, while arithmetic, geometry, the theory of music, and astronomy also played a (somewhat lesser) part in education.[2]

        In modern times, liberal arts education is a term that can be interpreted in different ways. It can refer to academic subjects such as literature, philosophy, mathematics, and social and physical sciences [3] It can also refer to studies in a liberal arts degree program. For example, Harvard University offers a Bachelor of Arts degree, which covers the social and physical sciences as well as the humanities. For both interpretations, the term generally refers to matters not relating to the professional, vocational, or technical curriculum.

        • 0
          0

          “Sisira Weragoda Engineer by “qualifications”
          lanka uni trade union??
          “From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”
          anyone can edit so it does not stand alone.

          ” For example, Harvard University “

          If you have had the privilege of visiting the 8 foundation ivy leagues you would notice that at post graduate level they permit journalist, lawyers etc to join general science qualifications like bio chemistry.
          I asked a couple of present day students and they laughed loud and said they are good at batting and fill ton’s of garbage in answer while we see it from a scientific point of view and can bat too so we score the over 90% while never come close.
          Now you figure out how they fit into the civil service?
          clue – you heard of teams and malfunction so take it from there.

          Sri lankan graduate Engineers come out like newspaper boys and the basunna has to teach them what he is doing not him showing the basunna better practice. therefore your craving for foreign talence.

  • 4
    0

    Should the title be “Building inter-lingual ‘Social Capital’ ………..?”.

    Ethnically there is no difference between Sinhalese (although they call themselves Aryans), Tamils (Dravidians), Up-country Tamils and Muslims (calling themselves Moors).

    The Jaffna University Science student brawl – Oh No not again.

    “Can any of the authorities explain why except in one or two faculties Tamil-Sinhala students do not even smile at each other even when they walk past one another?” (Colombo Telegraph, 20 July 2016).
    The explanation is obvious – there is no common language! The students may learn to speak in each other’s language in due course. The artificial line must cease to exist.

    • 2
      2

      Dear Mr Pillai,

      I think you have a strong point in highlighting the language imperative.

      But to my knowledge and opinion, there is a relative difference between Sinhalese and Tamils in terms of ethnicity. The language difference is an ethnic difference. You are right however to say that there is no racial difference between them although some Sinhalese call themselves Aryans and Tamils Dravidians.

      Ethnicity is a sociological phenomenon based on language, culture, customs or sometimes religion. Race is considered a biological phenomenon based on colour and some physical attributes although quite fuzzy as criteria. Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims are not races, but ethnic communities with relative differences.

      Laksiri

      • 5
        0

        looking at your family name you should know the composition of your sinhala identity like anglo-saxons know where they came from and how its known as anglo saxon. it is definetly north indian DNA of India Pakistan Afghanistan but south india which is vaste. Tamil Nadu was ruled by the maratha dynasty (they fought portuguese, dutch, british muslims) from Thanjavur until the British (welsh Clive) defeat in 1818.(the details are known as london treaty and available at somerset house hampstead heath london.
        Similarly you should be aware the composition of sinhala language like we know the composition of the english language.

        Do we need the dead language Latin Yes but it was taken away by the church in 1960. yet most middle class anglo saxons study latin privately for the advantage like knowing sanskrit for sinhala or Sanskrit for hindi. Almost all south indian languages are classical except Tamil which is stand alone like greek.
        Do we need classical language for all?? I don’t think so because we have being moving into commercial versions acceptable to all. Just like present day mandarin from traditional chinese.
        nothing is permanent – gautama.
        We don’t even know what our living grandfather is thinking but to believe that Gautama said this reported speech after 500 years is plain stupidity. The japanese export scientology and mindfulness not god buddha.Even Thailand is aware of it and the relationship to the king and family- nothing like sri lanka buddha god and begging bowl hypocrisy.
        Dalai Lama was correct when he said sri lanka is not buddhism. He can afford to say it because they live that life meditating from 6 am to 10 pm at all their monasteries. While SL monks are a shame to the very people who live in the island. (i have know great monks of lanka who spent all their time mediating like lamas but they are sadly dead and gone.)

      • 7
        0

        Dear Laksiri

        Please allow me to quote you “….although some Sinhalese call themselves Aryans…” I am sure you are with me an ethnic entity does not become something merely because they “call themselves” as belonging to a specific favoured group. As a man of learning, you will not deny most Sinhalese came from the adjoining South Indian States (present Tamilnadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh etc.) If Vijaya and his truant 400 friends were banished by sea and they landed in the Island over 2,000 years ago, this small number too does not make them Sinhala Aryans. The description Aryan itself is subject to much debate. The commonly accepted one is the fair skinned escapees came from the Persian border to the Western borders of India.

        Vijaya and his friends, coming from Bengal or the present U.P. could not have been fair skinned. Names such as Vijay Singh (Wijesinghe)Vikram Singh (Wickremasinghe) Jay Singh (Jayasinghe)
        Amar Singhe (Amarasinghe) are all suggestive of a strong U.P. Orian, Biharian flavour. None of these dark-skinned groupings claim any Aryan origin – as far as I know.

        Even today many ordinary rural Sinhalese believe Gauthama Buddha is also Sinhalese. They are strangely convinced they are of Aryan stock. It is up to the more educaed Sinhalese to free themselves from this illusion. If the Buddhist religious hierarchy has the strength of character to re-write the errors in their popular belief, perhaps the Sinhala nation can be made to move towards reconciliation in the foreseeable decades.

        Backlash

        • 4
          0

          Backlash,

          (based on the 2010 world population of 6.9 billion)

          487,540,000 Buddhists (7% of world), of which half live in China.
          China considers Buddhism (wisdom) as a philosophy and respects it So appropriately the maximum no of buddha statues in the world are there.

          2,173,180,000 Christians (31% of world population), of which 50% are Catholic, 37% Protestant, 12% Orthodox, and 1% other.

          1,598,510,000 Muslims (23%), of which 87-90% are Sunnis, 10-13% Shia.

          1,126,500,000 No Religion affiliation (16%): atheists, agnostics and people who do not identify with any particular religion. One-in-five people (20%) in the United States are religiously unaffiliated.

          1,033,080,000 Hindus (15%), the overwhelming majority (94%) of which live in India.

          Unlike Lanka with no monarchy Thailand a country that has never been invaded they never refer as Buddha but appropriately `Gautama`.

          Lanka is hypocrisy of culture/sinhala and faith.
          (we all know the meaning of ethnic and race from American constitution and how other whites were invited)

    • 2
      1

      Mr. Pillai,

      The title should be; building social capital or how to nurture a “CAT”S PAW TO KEEP SINHALA BUDDHISTS DIVIDED. Have you forgotten what happened to Venerable Sobhitha Thero. Isn’t that a mystery.

  • 0
    5

    professor…Building Inter-Ethnic ‘Social Capital’ For Reconciliation
    to be done with BRICKS when there is a Chief Minister who has done nothing for us todate but engaged in Politics for the IC from Provincial Council level.

  • 3
    0

    Well I believe one of the main obstacles for reconciliation is the superior mindset of Sinhalese Buddists. People are possessive of this identity and obsessed with it without analysing the back ground reqlities. True enough this a majority Buddist country.However why should that identity hinder leading a peaceful coexistence with minorities. Buddha acknowledged equality when treating all the citizens of the country. He has given clear instructions to King Lichchavi’s how to rule a country respecting the democratic wishes of the people .Sadly our Sinhalese Buddists are so engrossed with their supreme identity and they convientinetly ignore the teachings of their own noble religion.I belive being born to a Sinhslese Buddist family and getting a proper Buddist education is the biggest fortune I had in my life as it gave me a moderate balanced perspective to my life .It is extremely sad to see the so called gaurdian angels of this great philosophy are acting quite contrastly ignorantly and disgracing their own religious teachings.
    Why cannot we give rights to minorities.Why cannot we accept them as equal citizens to us.If Mandela who is a non Buddist can forgive for the crimes done by Whites against blacks in the name of reconciliation why cannot we do the same.
    We always highlight what we went through with Tamil Tiger terrorism .Yes they were ruthless and barbaric.Whole world knows that. How about us.
    Didn’t we burnt their library in Jaffna.Didnt we massacre innocent Tamils during 1983.
    There are serious war crime allegations against some of our armed forces.We all had the bitter share of the pill hadn’t we if we are honest to ourselves. Isnt it the right time to engage with more open dialogue recognising each other’s rights and plight.I belive if we initiate this as majority Tsmils will follow.I heard president has given a lunch to Jaffna students who were involved with the recent brawl.This is a good precedence for reconciliation but sadly South can misinterpret this gestiure .He mist have invloved Sinhala students as well and open the dialogie with both groups.We need some one with a vision to bridge to vast gulf between the two communities. Journalists should do lot to educate ignorant massess but politicians should do their part as well in an open transparent manner.No one will be able to bring changes if people are not educated adequately .Opportunists are waiting to grab the chances to create ethnic tensions in qny given chance and historically this has been the story. We need public seminars to educate people of democratic rights of citizens and about devolution.of power to keep the country together.Without education nothing will materialize efectively. Thank you.

    • 0
      2

      Priya,

      Thanks for your frank and positive contribution. It might be good for you to write in the future revealing your identity. As far as I (also) understand, there is a world of difference between what the Buddha taught and the misuse of Buddhist identity in Sri Lanka. If the people can be educated on these matters, there can be change. I myself came to understand the futility of ethnic conflict or even rigidity of identity by reading Dr. E.W. Adikaram explaining the Buddhist perspectives on the subject in 1958 itself when I was at a very young age (13). There can be illusions or myths even on the part of the Tamils on superiority or exclusiveness and I trust that the Tamil intellectuals undertake similar education that you have proposed while we recognize and address the grievances of the Tamil people.

      Laksiri

      • 4
        0

        “what the Buddha taught and the misuse of Buddhist identity in Sri Lanka. If”

        The day you come off your political shell and define what is `wisdom` in algebraic equation which is very simple for an honest educated man you won’t beat about the bush using the sanskrit word buddha. All chinese love the fat chow buddha (fat chow wisdom= prosperity)

        here is a clue old man
        Wisdom is = Humour + Sensitivity +……..

        Once you understand that you would realise why the human figure is recluse seated under a useless tree which is never cut.

      • 0
        0

        Dear Dr.
        What Priya says is full of common sense and is also possible to do. Where as when the Tamil intellectuals even when they are appointed to do similar good teachings are you sure it will be appreciated by the bigotry Buddhists of Sri Lanka? It is again common sense they will be ridiculed by Sri Lankan Buddhists. It is best for educated Sinhalese Sri Lankans like you to get them educated in the priorities good for the Country and motivate them positively for reconciliation. The big question is will there be an honest undertaking by the majoritarian Government?. The Tamils will not get a chance to do it in the South or anywhere there is Sri Lankan Buddhists. No one has brought up any such supreme bigotry existing among other religions in Sri Lanka.

      • 0
        0

        Thank you Dr Laksiri.Yes our silence on this matter is paving the way to the hands of extremists.I believe power sharing is the only way forward as one country.If we stick to our guns with extreme views country might be fragmented in future.We escaped Tamil Tgers from doing that as world did not recognize Prabha.However if some charismatic leader campain for seperation.in future highlighting our reluctance to share power we will have little answers .What happened to East Timor is a good example.Our leaders will have to tread carefully and trumpetting war victory to hoodwink massess will be detrimental to the country in the long run.
        All the best.

    • 0
      0

      Dear Priya

      We need more Sinhala Buddhists like you – liberal, learned, free of bigotry and prejudice – to take our country out of the many deep troubles we are in. Fortunately, it appears to me more Sinhala Buddhists are overcoming the widespread racial prejudices in the Sinhala Nation. Such criminal mischief as the one preached by that unprincipled political maverick lawyer S.L. Gunasekera (late) “Every Tiger is a Tamil and, therefore, every Tamil is a Tiger” is a position unworthy of a leading lawyer he was. He should have been charged and sent to prison, when he alive, was for encouraging division, dissension and treason.

      The lead to the hoped for dispensation must come from the Sangha itself – sadly, often the chief offender. I agree there are now some in the Sangha willing to see matters in perspective. The trouble, however, are the “Career communalists” among them such as the much hated BBS, the several Ravayas and so forth. In brief, if Sri Lanka is to get out of the rut and move towards early and meaningful nation building, reconciliation and unity the lead must come from within -soon.

      Backlash

  • 0
    4

    Very simple:::::>>>

    The Tamils want to practice the BHUMIPUTHRA concept in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

    So let them.

    We will practice our BHUMIPUTHRA rights in our part of the country.

    We will repatriate any Sinhalese living in Northern Province and certain parts of Eastern Province.

    By agreement or otherwise we will get Tricomalee district and the harbour.

    We will claim our Bhumiputhra rights in Nuwara Eliya and other areas where so called Indian Tamils live…By the way there are ONLY Sri Lankan Tamils Sri Lanka. THAT IS IT….

    So see what happens.

    ALL NON-BHUMIPUTTHRA TITLES should be turned to leases of 10 years….

  • 0
    0

    No one has the patience for a phased approach :

    Phase 1: UN sponsored human rights resolution, after all MS RW agreed to this one. Also implemnent all actions agreed to- resettlements etc.

    Phase 2: Economic development

    Phase 3: Constitutional change. Not urgent unless we want to make RW the Executive PM.

    I still do not see any meaningful dialog on real issues. Homelands is irrelevant, it’s about justice for all Sri Lankans according to our existing laws.

  • 4
    0

    Agents of deceptive politics and political schemers- Is this a pure coincidence?

    On August 7th Laksiri Fernando comes-up with his proposal about the role of Civil Society Organizations Under the caption of “Building Inter-Ethnic ‘Social Capital’ For Reconciliation , He states “…..Two of the key objectives of the political change and thus the civil society were (1) the resurrection of democracy and (2) reconciliation of the ethnic conflict. I am not undermining the role of the political leaders or the political parties in the change, but emphasising the importance of the civil society organizations for the purpose of this article. The above was possible because of the long standing traditions of civil society organizations and networks etc…”

    The very next day August 8th Jehan Perera has compiled a report under the caption of . “Prime Minister for expanding the role of civil society “and it says among other gibberish “Civil society members from all parts of the country walked into Temple Trees last week to meet with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.etc……”

    Is it a pure coincidence that these two were playing to the same tune of Ranil? Readers please read both articles by these two spin doctors and specifically read between the lines. As I have said many times Spin doctors are well sponsored.

    By the way, this question is for Jehan and Laksiri, why don’t you promote much deserved an electoral reform that includes “FIRST PAST THE POST” to elect qualified and suitable persons as members of Parliament? Do not bring some “toothless” civil societies to fix the national issues.

  • 1
    0

    Prof. Laksiri,

    We have to understand the illegitimate tactics deployed in the wars between the armed forces, the LTTE and the JVP. This is a necessary prelude for all communities to understand that they have been treated in extremely uncilized manner by the State and those who claimed to be their redeemers. Unless, all communities understand this aspect of the calamity that befell them, the blame game, holding one community responsibile for the woes of the other, will continue, undermining reconciliation.

    All communities must understand that they are victims of extremely bad governance and the results there of. All communities should also ununderstood the ‘dirty tricks’ their politicians and liberators have played in polarizing them to retain and attain power, while enriching themselves with filthy lucre and/or filthy power.

    Dharshana Bastian in an interesting article, has objectively analysed the diametrically opposite roles Mahinda Rajapakse has played during his political career, to explain this phenomenon. Was his original avatar an opportunistic act to reach out for political power or was it a reaction of a decent human? Was his later transformation, from an apparently decent person, to a glutton for power ,wealth and self-glorification the unveiling of the real person he was, behind the mask? Mahinda Rajapakse symbolizes our politics and politicians better than anyone else- Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim or other.

    http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/47769

    Unless our politics is transformed by a visionary constitution and laws that can resist being ridden by politicians, reconciliation would be difficult. Our new constitution should identify the problems with our politics and democracy and address them, head on, boldly. It has to be innovative, while also being consonant with international norms. The public should be educated on the need for doing so. Difficult but necessary, if we are to heal ourselves and progress.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 1
    0

    First of all, Goldi thank you.

    As a silent observer, I always enjoyed reading opinion expressed by our Sri Lankans. Since “Goldi’ have exposed the role played Jehan Perera, all the other learned ones; Doctors, Professors and Anti-Sinhala Buddhists have been very quiet or gone into deep slumber during last 24 hours. So I have to believe that Jehan Perera and Dr. Laksiri Fernando as the agents of Ranil Wickramasinghe.

    By the way at least they should have courage to say “yes” or “no” to the question raised by Goldi: Do you believe in much deserved electoral reforms that includes “FIRST PAST THE POST” to elect qualified and suitable persons as members of Parliament?

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.