29 October, 2020

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Dog-Whistle Racist Electioneering: Why Is The Nation Still Elusive To This Danger ?

By Lakmal Harischandra –

Lakmal Harischandra

If we are surprised today that Gotabaya’s camp is racist, we haven’t been paying attention. Even before they started their campaign, they have been proving it repeatedly. In fact, bigotry has been a part of SLPP’s public persona since their formation. The open embrace of racism as a political strategy is, however, a natural progression from the days of Post-war Rajapaksa regime. While this bigotry campaign against the minorities was then instinctive arising from MR’s attempt to project himself as the champion of the Sinhala Buddhist masses at the cost of the ‘other’, riding a continuing tide of Sinhala-nationalistic rhetoric as the man who won the war, it also served a political purpose. If one wants to see what happens when a political party unites around foul language and racist hatred spewed from the mouths of bigoted and opportunistic politicians, then follow the Dog-whistle racist political election campaign of the Pohottuwa camp. Sinhala Buddhist grassroots appear to fall for this line of campaigning, when the racist card is properly played. 

Today, the tradition continues, making the minorities both Tamil and Muslims weary and fearful of Gota’s possible election victory, while at the same time emboldening the die-hard racists like Gammanpila, Madhu Madhava, Eraj and Wimal Weerawansa to subdue the ‘other’. With Hiru and Derana openly advocating a ‘Pro Gota’ racist line, distorting the election speeches  of particularly the Muslim politicians (recent examples of Mujiber and Fawzie), Gota’s punch line is clear: win at any cost even if  a divisive nation is the ultimate result! 

In her 2006 book, Voting for Jesus: Christianity and Politics in Australia, Academic Amanda Lohrey writes that the goal of the dog-whistle is to appeal to the greatest possible number of electors while alienating the smallest possible number. In the Sri Lankan context, these opportunists are playing raw racist tunes to the Sinhala Buddhist gallery, with scant regard to the sensitivities of the Tamils and the Muslims. Dog Whistle racist politics however,  is not only limited to Sri Lanka.. In April 2016, Mayor of London and Conservative MP Boris Johnson was accused of “dog whistle racism” by Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and Labour MP John McDonnell when Johnson suggested U.S. President Barack Obama held a grudge against the United Kingdom due to his “ancestral dislike of the British Empire” as a result of his “part-Kenyan” heritage, after Obama expressed his support for the UK to vote to remain in the European Union ahead of the UK’s referendum on EU membership. In the 2016 London Mayoral Election, Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith was accused of running a dog-whistle campaign against Labour’s Sadiq Khan, playing on Khan’s Muslim faith by suggesting he would target Hindus and Sikhs with a “jewellery tax” and attempting to link him to extremists. During the 2016 US presidential election campaign and on a number of occasions throughout his presidency, Donald Trump has been accused of using racial and anti-Semitic “dog whistling” techniques too. If racism is the new line of American politics, in what is considered the world’s largest democracy, why should it not be the policy of other democracies too? 

Where majority racism is the rising slogan of White America, the slogan of the MR/ Gota campaign appears to be ‘Make Sri Lanka Hate Again’ by taking a lesson from President Trump to ensure majority dominance in the country. During MR’s time, there was growing concerns over the widespread corruption and nepotism of his rule and his assaults on judicial and media freedom  as well as the apparent culture of impunity, appeared to dent his popularity. This does not mean that Sajith’s election will ensure a racist-free regime. With Champika Ranawaka’s influence bearing upon his campaign, and Yahapalana’s track record of allowing impunity to continue for racist attacks on Muslims and not fulfilling the promise to solve the Tamil grievances , there is no full assurance of a racism-free Sri Lanka. But, comparatively, Sajith Camp is a lesser evil. It is only the NPP camp of Anura KD which has persistently and consistently advocated that religion and race will not be part of their governing politics. Other two main contenders Gota and even Sajith will not give such an assurance. 

Both Mahinda and Gotabaya have been ramping up the unashamed Sinhala-nationalism rhetoric: the claim that they freed the nation from the tyranny of the Tigers. The duo’s message to the Sinhala majority has been designed to reinforce their conviction that Sri Lanka is a Sinhala nation, indivisible – and that the Tamils of the north and east must accept that, or have that forced upon them. The “national question” is the single most important issue facing Sri Lanka in Post war time. Yet it is the one issue on which you cannot find a sliver of difference between Rajapaksa and the Yahapalana duo – Maithri and RW. After the defeat of the Tigers, both let loose a string of Sinhala Buddhist extremist forces under various names and began to traumatize the next biggest minority-the Muslims. Even since them, Muslims have been undergoing immense suffering – hate attacks under the Yahapalana government which promised to punish the offenders of previous racist attacks. Comparatively, Gota’s camp calculates that the climate of Sinhala triumphalism following the war cannot be questioned if they are to win the key Sinhala vote. Thus the need for them to engage in racist politics more in a dog whistle fashion while appearing to appease both Muslims and Tamils by giving hypocritical assurances.

In the Post –Easter period, the realities have changed where anti-Muslim hate has become the new normal. The election campaign, therefore has to turn into a contest on who is tougher on Muslim militancy, putting the largely peaceful Muslim community under pressure. With the stature of Rajapaksas as the saviours  of the ‘Sinhala Buddhist people’, the post-attack situation has been creating a demand for their style because Sinhala Buddhist nationalists are going to say they need a dictator or a strong leader who can handle the national security threats. This is exactly what has been happening, if anyone is interested in observing the styles of electioneering. Earlier the Tamils were the targets, but now in the aftermath of the attacks carried out by suicide bombers who have been identified as well-educated local Muslims, the Muslim community have been facing the heat in the elections. The anti-Muslim racist card thus appears to be played in a subtle way as the main election campaign strategy of particularly the SLPP. 

Since Independence, the majority political class and their affiliates by their myopic political visions, parochialism and self interest have taken the country down the abyss leading towards a failed state. Communities have been disintegrating on racial and religious lines hitherto non-existent, militarizing society even in the absence of war. Today, the bankrupt political class having exhausted all the democratic options of coming to power by show of achievements and civilized means of meritocracy is thus using the racist card and racism as a political tool to gain power and to rule and squander the wealth of the nation in the name of race and religion. Buddhists and others must understand that the current conflict amongst them is orchestrated by the stooges of power that wishes to carve its own space to be in perpetual power. It is the responsibility of all communities not to be provoked by these manipulations and not to be distracted from the existential issues that they are suffering from due to political mismanagement. It is useful for the majority community to realise this truism and ensure  the long-term survival of Buddhism as a value based philosophy by saving the country from the scourge of racism and prevent Sri Lanka sliding to become an apartheid state.

A CPA study of hate speech on Facebook surrounding Sri Lanka’s Parliamentary Election of 2015, looked at the role of social media in racist political campaigning. It states, ‘The General Election in August 2015 saw the strategic use of social media as a tool for political campaigning and election related activity in Sri Lanka, with Facebook emerging as the most used social media platform used by candidates and political parties. Visible also was the phenomenon of supporters, friends and detractors of candidates openly posting material online via Facebook, in addition to the candidates themselves. The relatively greater freedom of expression found in social media as opposed to traditional media proved to be a double edged sword in that it also opened the door to individuals posting negative, defamatory and objectionable material targeting candidates and rival political parties. This included accounts and pages on Facebook set up for different purposes, which had previously posted or featured hate material targeting various minorities or groups. These accounts, groups and pages afforded a ready-made following of members who were arguably receptive to hate speech thinly veiled as political content. This phenomenon of existing Facebook groups, pre-dating the General Election, being appropriated for party political campaigning and propaganda couched in hate speech is a new development in Sri Lankan social media and politics’.

In that study, questions such as ‘Is the proliferation of online hate speech in Sri Lanka a slow ticking time bomb?’ and ‘What is the significance of election related online hate speech? “What role (if any) did social media play in the recently concluded Parliamentary (General) Election on 17 August 2015?, are posed by writer Nalaka Gunawardene and answers the question. ‘Many are asking this question – and coming up with different answers. That is characteristic of our new reality: there is no single right answer when it comes to multi-faceted and fast-evolving phenomena like social media. In the present analysis, hate content and their receptacles demonstrate that what drives these hate movements is the primary objective or cause of the page –which is essentially ultra-nationalist or racist’. 

‘The hate speech generated targeting a particular political party or candidate is a by-product of the existing biases of the Facebook group. The appropriation of these pages for party political or election related hate mongering is a temporary phenomenon, exploiting the opportunity (the election) to further the cause of the group, maximizing their effect as echo chambers for perpetuating hate. It is noted that some posts when viewed in isolation do not amount to hate speech. However, such posts harmless though they may appear at first glance, when viewed in the context of the purpose or cause of the Facebook group, the tone of posts and surrounding content, are clearly hate motivators. It must be noted that online hate speech is a growing menace and with time, has the potential to influence and radicalize youth’.

Perhaps, effective ways to tackle hate during election campaigns needs to be worked out by the government, the Elections Commission, political leaders and candidates both in respect of both online hate as well as hate used during campaigning as they did in the 2015 elections. CPA report specifies, ‘During the 2015 General Election, the Elections Commissioner established strict guidelines for parties, candidates and the media with regard to election campaigning. His office also established election complaint centres75and even a mechanism for lodging complaints of election law violations via SMS. Establishing reporting mechanism where candidates or the general public can report online abuse and hate speech where the Elections Commission can in turn investigate and report the offending Facebook page to be shut down, by Facebook itself. Political parties too can be vigilant and report offending pages. However, the fact remains that often Facebook pages which promote hate are shut down only to re-emerge under a new account name, seamlessly transferring the offensive content and their followers to flourish on a new page. Nevertheless, intervention of this nature can discourage hate speech mongering to some extent, sending a clear message of zero tolerance’

‘….Given our turbulent history, cultivation and protection of tolerance and mutual respect between ethnic, religious and other distinct communities is a herculean task, but not impossible. ‘Certain utterances achieve terrifying power, in the right context. In a climate of ethnic animosity, statements of ethnic pride are indistinguishable from insults against one’s opponents. And the converse is also true: Even the most hateful or incite-ful speech remains benign, if it has no audience or if its audience is firmly and explicitly determined to keep the peace’. Shrinking online space is not the answer; expanding the space for respectful and peaceful engagement is. It is a valuable lesson for Sri Lanka’

Sri Lanka’s religious minorities face violations of their constitutional right to religious freedom in many forms, including hate speech, discriminatory practices, threats and intimidation, destruction of property as well as physical violence. Ensuring the full rights and protections of all religious communities in the country is essential if Sri Lanka is to move forward from the traumas of its past towards a more peaceful and sustainable future. This therefore requires a clear commitment from the government, religious leaders, law enforcement and local communities to respect religious diversity and equality before the law. 

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Latest comments

  • 5
    2

    This government has done lot of work during the last 4 1/2 years with all the obstacles from within the unity government SLFP ministers , The president , natural disasters and MR supporters unannounced continuous strikes . UPFA and Maitree as president ruled the country for more than 25 years is it fair to compare the work done in 25 years vs 4 1/2 years , Yahapalanaya government record is much better , present government took over a country with huge foreign and local debt invested on useless project borrowed 8% or more interest rates still these loans are not settled and with tarnished image of our motherland by Rajapakse regime.Under yahapalanaya we gain our lost rights and freedom which the nation lost during under Rajapakses ruthless and dictatorial family rule .
    Rajapakases sold the country to China including Army HQ , 15000 hectares of land , port city project and many more we have to understand the difference of selling our national wealth and leasing Rajapakses did this to robbed and accumulate wealth outside Srilanka mainly in USA ,UAE and many other countries final Srilanka as a nation got poorer and poor Rajapakse got richer and richer .
    Finally Namal Rajapakse while addressing a rally in Everur in the east has told they are forming a sinhala government , where are we heading division and violence against UNP supporters , Tamils ,Muslims , Burgers and Malays we can see already extremist forces are with Goatabaya ,if Gotabaya wins on 16th November we will loose our rights and freedom which we are enjoying now and very valuable to us which we cannot loose under any circumstances cost of living and other issues are secondary . Under this government security was under the president unfortunately the attack on 21st April security was under control with all the freedom we were enjoying Gotabya is directly involved in 21st April attack NTJ was started under UPFA government and sponsored for their political achievements

  • 8
    1

    That is the ground reality in lanken society today.
    :
    People are misled by their blant lies. I wonder if costs of essential items remain further cheaper than prior to 2015, and with people being offered pay hikes as no other govt did, why the public opinion is other way around ?
    .
    The reason has been, whatever achievement they earned, they never give the ´publicity as was the case under tyrant govt of Rajapakshes. We perfectly know how they introduced toilets or a small school building with the direct mediation of Rajakashe and then minister of education. They spent billions in order to polish their image which were wasteful events beyond all ethics and morals. This reminds me to that of some tribal leaders in rotten african countries.
    There are african leaders, spend for church building while the destitute let fall from frying pan to fire.
    Likewise, Rajakashes with his bandit family members, they ruined it to all ends.
    No matter, every unborn would be indebted for ever.
    People are not fed with the facts yet today, since MEDIA instituttions and their race is only based on their commercial gains not about feeding the public with FACTs and figures of ground realities of lanken politics.


    Universty experts such as Dr Dewasiri et al remain further mum not coming out of their cocoons so how can people be well aware of the truths.
    :
    Untruths lead this country, just because of people and BUDDHIST monks being held as their human shields.
    The place earned by BUDDHIST monks in the society is being abused to manipulate the masses in remote areas. These are just calculated VOTER winning tactics. They are well at hoodwinking the very same poor people.
    :
    Just imagine, how much they spend today for their CAMPAIGNING….. how come Rajakshes own this much of wealth to celebrate their sons weddings with the gathering sizes of 35 000 of people ?
    Please wake up….. and be aware of the truths about these multi criminals.
    Thank you.

    • 5
      1

      Why people tend to support the criminals more ?
      .
      What do the sociology experts and psychology experts have to say about lanken mentality of the average ?.
      .
      Is that common to south asian mentality filled with supertition from dawn to dusk ?.
      .
      They are now used to or made used to wear PIRITH NOOLE also around their penises, but from the day dawn to the end of the day, most of them are deceiving the very same audience or not ?
      .
      We know how they killed people even their cabinet ministers (Sajitha Vass, Mervin De Silva, Mahinda Samarasinghe) all have the same opinion, with others being shut their mouth pieces yet for their own selfish gains, how they ruled this nation right.
      :
      Constitutionally it is no right BASIL Rajakashe to engage in lanken politics, while he is US citizen, but this being not captured by MEDIA in the country, or burried intentionally by them, having paid millions to the press,, he still continues active politics inthe country.
      Mics are focused on him, why ?

  • 7
    0

    Most of what the writer has written might be true. How best to handle this situation? We need a bold, honest and upright individual as the Leader.

    The current Government did not have the mandate in August 2015, to rule the Nation as it wished. It was a minority Government needing the support of other Groups to stay in power and advance its policies via legislation. To that extent, they were shackled (Latterly the President and PM did not see eye to eye). We need a strong Leader as well as a strong Government of the same ilk. MS had his own personal agenda and was a total disappointment to those who chose to extend support to him in Jan 2015. It’s good he is not seeking re-election.

    Until the Rajapaksa clan exits politics, unfortunately one cannot expect much progress as they will continue their brand of divisive and racist Politics and thus be a thorn in the flesh. It’s unlikely they will be prosecuted for all their criminal activities of the past due to various exigencies, inspite of many promises given during the time of elections by his Political opponents.

    To mitigate the adverse effects this dastardly family can have on our motherland, the need of the hour is to ensure the airhead, vermin and demon from that family (NGR) is not not elevated to a position of power and authority to cause more havoc and destruction in our motherland. He can go back to USA and do whatever he wishes there (perhaps a petrol station attendant?).

    Voters, please use your franchise wisely. Realistically, only SP or NGR will be the ultimate winner. Let’s hope saner minds will prevail!

    • 7
      2

      Not to allow him to go back to USA, but to jail him would be a reality.
      :
      The bunch of allegations levelled at them are beyond all levels.
      :
      The problem is MEDIA in the country, does not seem to take the side of the PUBLIC but their pay masters.
      :
      Media TV channels, are on their race to fish in mud no matter , general public would be misled to all edges.
      Danger before us is not explainble by words. It is a decision, for a murderous man or not.
      In that case, we have only choice that is SAJITH.
      No matter, did not make wonders during last 4 years, but DEMOCRACY is restored and what damaged was ironed out including UNHRC issues.
      And there are lot more road and construction iunder the current govt than the previous one, but they did not give it a publicity.
      People are far from facts and figures.
      Justice is being addressd 1000 times more than prior to 2015.
      However, some cases have been taken slow, becasue of authorities being that delay and abusive.
      Entire systems are abusive for such a long time.
      That you cant put on the current govt.
      They took over a garbage heap of the size of a pyramid… but they have done a lot during the short peirod.

      • 5
        2

        Lakmal writes: “The open embrace of racism as a political strategy is, however, a natural progression from the days of Post-war Rajapaksa regime”. No, not really. There was a time when the UNP was even more racist than today’s Pohottuwa crowd. It was Ranil who turned it round. Even earlier, there was SWRD , who was eventually murdered by his own acolytes. And then there was Dharmapala the Anagarika.
        If we haven’t learnt anything in 70 years, we never will. Much of the blame can be laid at the feet of this Anagarika and his imitators .He was a successful rabble-rouser, and
        Sri Lankans are nothing if not great imitators. If not, how come Dharmapala is a “National hero” . And pygmies like Soma Hamuduruwo ( remember him?) or Gandasara and Madu Madhava Aravinda are recommended to Daham Pasal kids as patriots ? Does anyone dare to question these role models who are used to brainwash impressionable kids who grow up to be anti -minority crusaders and of course the imbecilic “journalists” in electronic, print and social media.
        The system has to be reformed. Sadly, there is no politician with the necessary b…ls to do it unless he wants to commit political suicide.

        • 4
          0

          Old codger

          ditto
          ditto
          …..
          …..
          ditto

          How would you prevent people such as Mahinda, Gota, Basil, Gamani, Mathew, Nalin, Udhaya, Dinesh, ….Dayan, Windbag Weerawansa, …. Channa Jeyasumana, …. Svandra, Jegath, Gallege, most saffron clad thugs, ……………………… Fonseka, Weerasekera, ………………. are being lionised and officially declared patriots?

          • 1
            1

            Native,
            The tree will die if you cut the roots.

            • 1
              1

              Old codger

              “The tree will die if you cut the roots.”

              Where are the roots hidden?
              Is it hidden in the bottomless Alcyonian Lake at Lerna guarded by Hydra, or in various black holes, or inside Assgiria’s Amude, or inside every Sinhala/Buddhist fascist, ………………………… ?

    • 4
      1

      Gamini,
      I agree with you that the voters should use their right wisely to protect this nation, people and democracy. It is important to tell the people who blindly believe the racist fear mongering propaganda of MR group to see what they have done to the country during the past ten years during their and was there any change now. The same group is no joined back. For Basil is the master of commission based corrupter. Kauna is the man who attacked Dalada Maligawa and central bank, white van abduction. and murder are his expertise, Another one Douglas from North, abduction and bribes his expertise. Hisbullah is the mastermind of the Easter Bomb blast. Weerawansa is the master of racist propaganda and fake passport producer. Gotabaya is the white van abductor, murder instructor and another fake passport producer and USA agent. These are facts and cannot be forgotten and if they come to power what will be the result. Dictatorship, corruption, white van return, no rule of law, no independence of justice, no freedom of speech, write and mobility. This land need peace, harmony, democracy, rule of law and justice.

  • 7
    1

    For those still under the illusion that GR is going to be their savior, and will unite this country, and make sure the minority will be safeguarded, look back at his history and record. When this man was our Defense Secretary, the BBS raised their ugly heads and flourished, and the top terrorist in saffron robes was given the green light to terrorize the minority, spread fake news, anti Muslim propaganda, hate speech, and did not lift a finger to clamp down on the violence, nor condemned these crimes. Instead he arrogantly defied all, and opened the offices of the BBS, sending a strong signal to the country that he was going to support them. His brother and he could have easily dealt with the racial tensions, but chose to be mute and look the other way for political reasons. The Sinhala Buddhist vote is always far more important than keeping peace among the various ethnicities. To Hell with the minorities. An attitude that backfired when they lost the election.

    Do we want a murderer to lead this country? How many unsolved murder? Why were journalists and activists only murdered, kidnapped, or missing, during the Rajapaksa government? We have had a few years of no murders, and journalists were safe.
    Why are we asking for trouble once again?
    Be careful what you wish for Sri Lanka, don’t say you were not warned.

  • 2
    2

    Why is it that almost all Sinhala political parties are against power-sharing, except the socialist party under Jayatunga? But Jayatunga is unable to muster adequate support from the Sinhal people and therefore the Tamils too are reluctant to support him as they consider it be a ‘waste’ of votes, which may not bring in the desired results for the benefit of the Tamils/Muslims. Thus they select one of the ‘apparent’ lesser evils, which may become more dangerous with the passage of time, to prepare themselves for the next elections. If the Tamils/Muslims put together is about 40% of the Sinhal population, the chances of tilting the results in favour of the socialist party may be feasible with the votes of socialist-minded Sinhalese.
    It is not known as to why the Sinhalese voters (not all) are fearful of the Tamils and the Muslims, despite their numbers. The fear appears to be politically motivated.
    The Sinhalese should think of their own children, who leave their families one by one, after marriage or when they reach adult-hood. This situation doesn’t bring in resentment but more and more cordiality. None of the children wants creep into their siblings’ houses by force. Similarly, if fear is not ‘created’ life in Srilanka will be wonderful.

  • 7
    2

    Sri Lanka is a Sinhala nation, indivisible – and that the Tamils of the north and east must accept that, or have that forced upon them.
    ————
    It is being forced on them!
    Illegal land grabs by Sinhalese is rampant in the north and east. I say illegal because they are not purchasing land but stealing it, with the help of the armed forces and ‘archaeological fraud’ department.
    Just remember that minorities in the south have to purchase land and show documentation proving they followed the proper legal paths to obtain land.
    The sumanarathna thero in batticaloa got caught facilitating land theft. Then on camera he said Sri Lanka is a sinhalese buddhist country and that they can take whatever land they want for free. And that he would wipe out all minorities if they continued to get in his way. He basically admitted to his crime and that video was shown here on CT. Not only is he walking free, he is a very popular monk among the sinhala community and got public endorsements from Lasith malinga and Iraj Weerarathna.

    • 3
      0

      The politicians dare not condemn, nor penalize, ANY Thera in saffron robes, because they are cowards afraid to lose the Sinhala Buddhist vote. These radical Buddhist monks are emboldened by that, and continue their racist agendas, causing ethnic strife, burning of businesses, homes, and places of worship. In other words, they call the shots.

  • 2
    7

    The writer is cherry picking from the US and UK to justify his approach to Lanka. Obama had no business to talk about Brexit. Obama is a man who would not call Middle Eastern terrorism by its real name, Radical Islamic Terrorism. The American voter fixed that by electing Donald Trump who will wipe out the legacy of Obama for ever. In Europe too nationalism is on the rise, Angela Merkel who allowed a multi-million Moslem horde invasion of Europe will be soon sent home. In Lanka, inept and weak leaders have created the environment where radical Jihadi Moslems have joined ISIS and returned to Lanka to carry out the evil Islamic practices. Without a strong leader Lanka saw the unspeakable horror of Easter Sunday when Moslems fanatics feasted on the blood and flesh of innocents, and rest of Moslems were gleefully waiting for the riots to start so that they too can join in the Jihad. The killer Zahran and the Moslem terror network of mosques had already informed the Moslems about it. And they were ready with swords, guns, explosives to turn hell loose on the Kaffir.

    In this situation Lankans would be fools to not elect the strongest man to lead them. And they seem to have that man, a man who gets the respect of the military, a man who can handle the fallout if there is collateral damage. And above all a man convinced about his role in destiny to bring order, discipline and courage to its people, especially to the youth. Lanka needs all of that and I wish Lanka would make the wise decision to give the man a chance.

    • 0
      0

      Gas C., how can Obama call them Islamic extremists or radicals since his CIA and Mossad created this group for their benefit of perpetual war in the Middle East.

      Just because all of Europe, USA or others hate the minorities don’t make them right. They are just another nation who has been brainwashed by the likes of GR s and JOHNSONS, and TRUMPS.

      If a nation or a people hate another of their own it says a lot about who they are.

  • 2
    0

    there is also a danger of political correctitude: the majority in the country are Sinhalese Buddhists and that is the mainstream culture. Any candidate who wants to capture power at the center, which is what a presidential election is all about cannot discount the mainstream community. that does not mean that minorities should be marginalized but their issues tend to be peripheral to those of the larger mainstream group of society.

  • 2
    3

    It is not racism, it is nationalism. Racism is when there is active discrimination against a particular group of people, based on racial origin/skin color, etc. In Tamil majority areas, the government conducts its official business in Tamils. Tamils are not prevented from going to universities, owning businesses, or owning land. In fact, they never were. Some Tamils got carried away with the special privileges given by the British to their colonial lackeys. They could not accept the idea of being a minority. They still can’t. This refusal to accept basic facts then leads directly to the ideology of separatism, which puts them at odds with Sinhalese nationalists. The author says “Sri Lanka’s religious minorities face violations of their constitutional right to religious freedom in many forms, including hate speech, discriminatory practices, threats and intimidation, destruction of property as well as physical violence”, but does not give specific examples. He does not mention that the law protects Tamils to the same extent as all other groups, which breaks down his argument.

    • 0
      0

      Lester, how did you not see the discrimination???? I know because you are NOT the minority

      • 0
        0

        Roman Leslie,

        Where is the discrimination? The Tamil diaspora claimed refugee status in the West, but had no trouble visiting Sri Lanka on tourist visas. Let us be clear, there was an economic migration from all communities, not just Tamils. The Tamil proportion is higher because the war was largely in the North and East. We should not confuse “migration” with “discrimination.”

        • 0
          0

          Lester, you must be living in alternate reality. I did not refer to the migration. Though migration of Tamils was an effect of the war, real Tamils who were in the war zone never got the opportunity to go away but withered with the war. If the Tamil minority was given language rights etc. And implemented chelvanayagam pact we would not have seen 83 July.

          The majority is afraid of giving any rights to anyone because they think it will effect their right. But the rights of others does nothing to interfere with yours.

  • 1
    2

    Lakmal,
    There is a simple answer to your question of why people fail to see the danger of racism: B’cos racism is only one of many tools humans use to discriminate others, a trait that is carved into instincts by evolution. It is no different from the caste system that existed for thousands of years within Indian cultures Discrimination on skin color is another variation of same general tendency. Pitting social classes against each other is another form. Most people fail to understand the fact that altruism, a highly valued human character, is deeply related with discrimination! That is why racism, class-consciousness, etc become easy political tools.

    Race, religion, language, class etc are used as criteria to separate in-group from out-group which is generally viewed as potentially hostile. That is why people fail to see racism as dangerous. I don’t believe that this behavior can be eliminated completely. The most can be done is to find ways to keep such tensions as neutral as possible. Possible tactics may include enforcing a fair justice system, creating equal economic opportunities, eliminating language barriers, etc.

  • 0
    1

    Speaking at a function held at the Hindu Cultural Center in Bandarawela with the members of the Workers’ Congress, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the Presidential candidate of the People’s Alliance (UPFA) said.

    When I was mentioned Mr. Thondaman’s support to me, I told him my plan for the estate people. It is not advisable to take care of the tea economy alone. We always talk about how to increase the wages by Rs.50 or 75. I’m not talking about it.

    These youths need to go to other universities and get a job as a young person. When I talk to these young men, they say they go to Colombo and work in wine stores, shops, and as drivers. It is important to go beyond that and get a good job. You need to go beyond that and solve your problems. As in other parts of the country, the family should have the opportunity to live at a home. Opportunities for higher education should be created. We will set up a university in Tamil for you. We also provide you with a vocational training institute.

    Is this racial electioneering?

  • 0
    0

    Fellow doesn’t have an iota of an idea of love for the nation as against racism.

  • 0
    0

    Lester,
    You want specific examples? Really??
    Which rock have you been pretending to live under?
    Just three:
    Dr Shafie gets arrested for unexplained income but not the even richer Sinhalese specialists.
    A Buddhist monk can grab a Hindu temple and be cremated there defying a court order.
    Another monk can build a temple in the middle of a busy road ( opposite the port entrance in Grandpa’s) but no action.

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    Lakmal – Tell me specifically the grievances Tamils and Muslims have and Sinhalese do not have – All these Tamil only grievances are bull shit crap created by racist Tamil and Muslim politicians – who keep on drumming these crap repeatedly to rouse Tamil and Muslim nationalism – purely to remain in power — If some idiot thinks it is racism to talk about the right of majority Sinhalese either Buddhist or Catholic he should get his head checked by a doctor – UNP government allowed Jihadist to plan and kill 300 innocent people (majority Sinhalese) which badly damaged trust between Sinhale and Muslim communities – UNP government allowed the LTTE terrorist to rule over and Sinhalese started suspecting each and every Tamil as a LTTEer – again ruin the trust between communities

    Under Gota both the extremist were either kept under control or completely and the trust between communities were established – So the real racist are not Rajapaksas

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