By Emil van der Poorten –
Ever since the slaughter in Christchurch, we’ve had the usual line of self-righteous clap-trap from the (usual) self-righteous brigade of defenders of our national virtue.
Essentially, their contention is that such terrible events would never take place in a place that they have designated as the cradle (and last bastion) of pristine Theravada “Sinhala-Buddhism.”
The butchery that took place in this country during one of the world’s most brutal internecine conflicts needs to be dredged up and placed, again, on public view, in an effort, probably futile, to expose the humbugs and charlatans of this land.
The population of this nation needs to be reminded of the butchery of Sinhala men, women, children and Buddhist priests by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or “Tigers”) not to mention the eerily-similar to Christchurch massacre in a mosque on the East Coast.
This most tragic of parallels needs to be placed in public view again and placed in appropriate context, particularly because of the irrational racist diatribes that are a feature of “media discourse” in this country. One needs only to publish something, anything, under a name that sounds “foreign” to bring out the cretinous racist “commentators.”
As someone with proven “Sinhala-Buddhist” antecedents I have viewed, in my case, with amusement the idiocies that constitute rejoinders or responses to material I have published over the years, everything from “para-Suddha” to “Jewish intruder!” In my case such rubbish does not even produce anger, leave alone pain, simply disgust at what alleged humans are capable of regurgitating.
The sinister underbelly of this attitude, though, is the fact that its “ground realities” can be pretty awful.
The attacks on Muslim places of worship in Beruwala, during the Rajapaksa regime, and in the Teldeniya area more recently, both resulting in (Muslim) fatalities are a reminder, if such is needed, that the climate that led to those tragedies is very much alive and well in this country.
If one needs to be reminded of the fact, our local “ethnic/religious cleansers” employ the same rhetoric: “classic Sinhala-Buddhist civilization is at peril created by ‘outsiders’ and those ‘outsiders’ need to be removed, as the old CIA term had it, “with extreme prejudice.”
The constant propounding of a theology of victimhood of the majority population has and will continue to have the effect that is desired by those spouting it: attacks of some kind or other on a “minority” of some description. Those identified as of South Indian origin appear to have (temporarily?) been taken out of the firing line because of a fear that the racist across the Palk Strait, a practitioner very experienced in communal/linguistic conflicts of various kinds himself, wouldn’t hesitate to chop a few heads in our part of the world if it suited his immediate political ends.
Inevitably, our “pundits-by-default,” with and without PhDs, will trot out their baffle-gab to provide us with their self-proclaimed erudite analyses of why our Sinhala-Buddhist culture is so advanced that we would never permit such atrocities on our pristine Sri Lankan soil, adding just in case we miss the point, that it is our pristine, racially- and religiously-pure culture that would make such occurrences impossible.
One does not have to dig too deep to see the eerie resemblance between the culture of “victimhood” that drove the Christchurch massacres and what has become a virtual Sri Lankan tradition: denial accompanied by “enforcement” of a kind of “gospel” by “true believers.”
The reaction to exploitation in parts of the world such as the Middle East led to the birth of organizations such as ISIS that thrive, in all their abhorrent manifestations, in such a climate. One can but hope that the Mawanella-area desecration of Buddhist statues is not the forerunner of more of this kind of terribly destructive conduct that can have nothing but tragic consequences.
Have we learned nothing from three decades of the most un-civil of wars?
What has contributed very, very significantly to this terrible state of affairs has been the completely unprincipled conduct of many journalists, who, while they might be without skill, have no shortage of the ability to get their views published, in no matter how garbled syntax and grammar, in the daily and weekly newspapers, on the web and elsewhere.
On closer examination, this horde that has already proved that it can be bought for the price of a free lap-top, a scooter and interest-free loans will publish what can accurately be described as “crap,” except that that substance has, at least, fertilizer value!
These “guns for hire” need not only to be exposed for what they are but driven out of the public domain, particularly since they are bought and paid for by media conglomerates who themselves, very successfully, increase their bank accounts in a manner that can only be described as “exponential” by stooging to organizations and individuals fattening their purses with what is being taken from the poorest in the land in the form of poorly-hidden consumption taxes.
A radical, complete change in governance of this country is of primary importance but a cleansing of the media is not far behind in the matter of priorities, particularly since the latter drives up the corruption index in the former.