21 September, 2020

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Ethnic Divisions On Rise, In Once Paradise Isle 

By Lucien Rajakarunanayake

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

There is an increasing cause for worry in Sri Lanka as the ethnic and religious divisions are deepened by the politics of electoral gain.

Politicians, both in government and opposition, are calculating the votes they will gain from the increasing divisions in the national electorate. The partitioning on ethnicity and religion is vastly spreading, giving increased opportunities for the success of divisive politics. Sri Lanka is rapidly moving away from unity to a country divided on race and religion, caste and creed, faith and belief – and away from the search for peace, truth and justice.

Buddhism, the religion of the vast majority, has acquired the descriptive ‘Sinhala’ adjective, rapidly moving away from the teachings of Gautama Buddha, who gave the philosophy of Buddha Dharma and not a Buddhist Religion. There are members of the Sangha – the Buddhist clergy – now prohibiting a Buddhist, with political differences, from entering temples where Buddhist rituals are observed, and teachings of the Buddha are preached.

The socio-political divisions, rising in the post–Easter Sunday tragedy of Jihadist Terrorism, bring a reminder of the bloody reality of the island’s post-colonial history. In the seven decades since independence, there were many situations of bloodshed on issues of ethnicity, religion, and equality? Such bloodshed and its divisive consequences have taken place almost every decade since 1948 when freedom from colonial rule came.

Just a decade later, saw the first ethno-bloodshed in 1958 directed at the Tamil minority. A little beyond a decade, in 1971 came the first JVP – People’s Liberation Front – Marxist revolt on socio-economic disfavour and lack of equality, a bloodshed killing thousands, especially youth. The United National Party’s (UNP) massive victory in 1977, under JR Jayewardene, saw another bout of anti-Tamil violence. In 1983 saw the next phase of anti-Tamil ethno-bloodshed that paved the way for the Tamil separatist war, which went on for three decades. Amidst this was the second revolt of the JVP in 1987-89 with a more massive bloodshed. All this was in a country once poetically described as Paradise Isle. It is a harsh reality that each decade of freedom has been stained with the blood of humans?

With all that bloodshed behind, there are no signs of moving to the progress of peace and understanding, or even today’s much bandied word – reconciliation.

In the peace that followed the defeat of the terrorist forces of the LTTE in 2009, efforts at peace building, accountability, and reconciliation have been overall rejected.  Tainting any search for genuine peace, against bloodshed, have been the anti-Muslim riots in Aluthgama and Beruwala in 2014, the later attacks on Muslims at Ampara, in Digana and others areas of Kandy in 2018, as well as rival inter-Muslim attacks in Kattankudy, attacks on Buddhist temples by Muslims at Mawanella; and the recent Easter Sunday tragedy of Jihadist terrorism in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa- targeting Christians and the Tourism Industry.

Following the recent Fast to Death action by Buddhist monk Member of Parliament Athureliya Rathana Thera, and the consequential resignation of all Muslim Ministers of Cabinet, State and Deputy Rank, and two Muslim Governors of Provinces, the country remains in trepidation over expectant reality of bloodshed in ethnic clashes. The Muslim community, largely engaged in business and commerce, is facing both open and hidden boycotts, and threats arising from unconfirmed and non-investigated allegations on surgical attacks on the fertility of Sinhala women. The faster any such proper investigations are done with scientific accuracy and honesty, and not responding to demands of the yellow robed fraternity of ethno-religious enmity, will help reduce social tensions that prevail.

The evidence being given before the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on the background to the Easter Sunday Tragedy is certainly revealing much more than what those in governing authority would like to be known by the people. Such knowledge is no threat to the national security (that was not carried out before Easter Sunday), as made out by the President and those supportive of such secrecy in the Opposition. Former Governor of the Eastern Province, Mr. Hizbullah, says he (like other Muslim candidates in the last elections) was glad to obtain the support the National Thowheed Jamath’s (NTJ) leader, who planned and participated in the Easter Sunday attacks, because he was “not a terrorist” in 2014,and what he preached was only another thinking of Islam. This long time politician, so involved in Wahhabism and Saudi funding, did not know that Jihadism did preach violence and terror, as against Islam and the Holy Quran? He also says this NSJ leader supported President Sirisena, while he (Hizbullah) supported Mahinda Rajapaksa in the polls, showing the deep political divisions on extremist support.

The other resigned Western Province Governor Mr. Salley, says – (with documents, too) that he had given information about the NSJ, its leader and leading members, to the Police, the IGP, the Secretary Defence, and to the President himself, through several years, and very close to the Easter Sunday attack, too. But nothing was done by anyone. This is an appalling revelation. No wonder those in high places, such as President Sirisena, who is the Minister of Defence too, don’t like the PSC.

Bloody Sri Lanka is now caught in a crisis of non-governance. The President who is head of the Cabinet – does not attend Cabinet meetings, He is against the PSC. The rivalry and clashes between the President and Prime Minister, are now rapidly threatening the very core of governance and the rights of the people. Politicians who wallow in the chaos of crooked governance are delighted at how these divisions will help their vote bases in future polls.

This land of repeated bloodsheds, that has never had a decade of peace since independence, is hugely threatened by the purveyors of divisive politics, with no leader with a commitment to peace and justice anywhere it sight.

How long can this remain the bloody, divided land it is today, and worsening too; without the blessing of Buddhist Teachings for peace, not soiled by today’s increasingly popular taint of Sinhala Buddhism?

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Latest comments

  • 2
    14

    Lucian Rajakarunanayake: I have read your name so many times in the news papers. So, I think you are mature journalist and is a prominent one.
    You are just describing the present situation in thun-sinhale and there after you accuse Sinhala buddhists.
    Do sinhala buddhists deserve their culture and do they have to be Assertive, nationalistic about it when there is a cultural -genocide of Sinhala buddhists who cannot go back to India or to any other country.
    You just desrbie the problem in a political view. Other than that, you a disgrace to your half sinhala name.
    It looks this is the best you have to say. what crap.

    • 3
      0

      This what Jahawarlal Neru said in the good old days;
      “Communalism of the majority is far more dangerous than the communalism of the minority”
      “When the minority communities are communal you can see that and understand it. But communalism of majority community is apt to be taken as nationalism”
      I only hope that you won’t ask who Nehru is? and what right has he got to Speak about Majority Communalism( rampant in Srilanka).

      Why should you migrate to another country when you can live in harmony in Srilanka. It depends on you. As long as you don’t Colonize the Tamil areas and Muslim areas and plant poor lord Buddha’s statues forcibly in Hindu Kovils you can, my dear, you can.

    • 4
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      JD:
      Your reference to Lucien R’s name being “half Sinhala” is interesting. Why don’t you have him reveal his ORIGINAL name which is even more different!

      • 1
        0

        What is in a name? The Sinhalese have no original names. Most of their names are Tamil names. Portuguese, or English names, Indian
        Names with slight variation at the end. Of course there are Sinhala sounding names like Piyadasa, Premadasa, Somadasa Jinadasa. But only half of it- Which half is any bodies guess.

      • 1
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        K. Anaga:
        to answer your question: “what’s in a name:” Very little except when people begin to change, quite significantly, the names their parents’ gave them in order to appear more “nationalistic.”
        Check on the question I asked and to which you responded and you’ll know what I mean.

    • 2
      0

      It is high time to differentiate and separate racist/fanatic Sinhala-Buddhism from True/Civilized Buddhism. We have observed for many years that the Buddhism practiced in Sri Lanka, better known as Sinhala-Buddhism is not only Intolerant but also Violent and Barbaric in nature. Instead of practicing what Buddha preached (Ahimsa/non-violence, Karuna/compassion, Metta/affection, and Maithriya/loving-kindness towards fellow humans), the Sinhala-Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka engages in un-Buddhist practices such as in racist politics and also promote Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism and hatred against the minorities. Today it has reached to the extreme.
      It is tragic to see that Buddha’s philosophy/teaching (Buddhism) is dragged down to such a low level by non-other than the members of the Sinhala-Buddhist clergy. These Sinhala-Buddhist monks (hora ganayas or cheevaradharis) are exploiting the respect that the Buddhist society has for the yellow robed Sangha and not only misleading the gullible Buddhists but also betraying Buddhism and insulting the Buddha. They are hijacking the Buddhist religion with their anti-Buddhist activities and disrupting the peace in the country.
      As responsible leaders, not only the government but also the moderate Sinhala media personnel, educated and intelligent Sinhalese people and moderate religious leaders/Buddhist clergy should educate the Sinhala masses to think rationally and differentiate real Buddhism from racist Sinhala-Buddhism and also differentiate between a genuine Buddhist Bikku and a Sinhala-Buddhist Cheevaradhari (rogue monk).

      • 0
        0

        Real Buddhist,

        Of course there are different versions of Buddhism.

        1. Pristine Buddhism which Buddha Taught, that is a Philosophy, not a religion.

        2. Buddhism that is a Religion, with references to afterlife.

        3. Para-Sinhala-Para-Buddhism, that is actually Mara-ism, that Buddha warned against, generally practiced in the Land, being white washed with Buddhism, to keep the ignorant low 79, masses fooled. Just go to The Temple of the Tooth (canine tooth?) in Kandy, or the Sri Maha Bhodi at Anuradhapura.

        Sinhala Buddhism is like Wahhabism. Both follow Mara, Devil, Satan in their own way claiming to follow their respective religions.

  • 3
    6

    Since the ancient times, It is Thun Sinhale and Siv Hele. Now, sinhale is a Racist word, Sinhala Buddhists are prohibited words. bhikkus can talk only if NATO/MCC/EU approve it and when they want. Every where in the world, there are minorities. where in the world, Minorities are recognized separately as Tamils, Muslims, Malays, Eurasians and why Christians are not included. They want something else. All 225 are in the game. Probably 225 are sent thorough training in order to brain wash. so the 225 Stupid Hyenas always talk about National quotation, Reconciliation, Human rights and rights of minorities and Democracy means majority should shut up and let the minorities run it. Where in the world, at least those countries which force human rights into UNHCR agenda address
    Minorities and their rights separately. In every country they are just numbers to submit the TAX RETURN. Other than that they worship the queen or they rally around the flag. Most do not have time to talk these nonsense instead keep on earning to pay taxes and live your dream life.
    Sri lankan media is disgusting. Simply naked. would die for a few coins.

  • 7
    1

    Killing fields of Sri Lanka!

    We have moved back to the time of Raavana, and his “arakkar” or “raadchather” – meaning demons – as described in some books.

    • 3
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      Thiru

      “We have moved back to the time of Raavana, and his “arakkar” or “raadchather” – meaning demons – as described in some books.”

      On the contrary , some Tamils claim the ten headed Raavana was a Tamil king of this island, a Brahmin, the greatest devotee of Shiva, most learned scholar, a poet, musician, owner of a fleet of flying machines, a good pilot, who was thought to have composed Gambodhi Raaga, a good Veena players, ……………

  • 9
    2

    You and the rest of the Sinhalese always call the LTTE terrorists but the biggest terrorist and war criminal is the Sri Lankan state and armed forces that was and still is responsible for 95% of the killings and most of their victims were innocent Tamil civilians and now Muslims. The Sri Lankan state had killed more than 300000 Tamils from the time of independence , made 1 million Indian origin estate Tamils stateless and forcibly deported them after living in the island for more than 8 generations and producing most of the wealth. Ethnically cleansed another million indigenous Tamils from their lands, largely to the west and committed horrific war crimes on them in May 2009 , killing around 145000 Tamil civilians and brutally incarcerating more than 300000 in the Vanni in Nazi concentration camps. Even now the Sri Lankan state encourages Buddhist Fascists and Muslim extremists to steal Tamil lands in the north and east and destroy Hindu temples and turns a blind eye. The president recently visited the Mullaitheevu district and gave lands to out of area Sinhalese settlers in an ancient Tamil village named Amai Kulam where many Tamils legally own land . This has now been renamed in Sinhalese to Giri Epana and made a Sinhalese village out of nowhere, and the Tamils now allowed to settle on their lands. The LTTE came because of this State sponsored Sinhalese terrorism that was encouraged by Sinhalese racists like you. If you call LTTE terrorist call the Sri Lankan state a Sinhalese Buddhist Fascist terrorist state , Understood Sinhalese racist.

    • 2
      0

      Hello Siva,
      Thanks for a very robust piece of writing!
      Sri Lankan forces exist to protect the country both from foreign forces (almost zero capability) and insurgencies. JVP and LTTE can’t complain because they took arms and suffered the inevitable defeat.
      ISIS, if it takes hold in Sri Lanka, will be a formidable terrorist organisation. The defining difference is that Sri Lanka will have international support to fight ISIS whereas with LTTE, there was no such support.
      ISIS will also suffer the inevitable defeat and such a defeat will be used by future generations as an argument to support the view that Sri Lanka is a Sinhalese Buddhist Fascist terrorist state.

      Wonder what evidence would support the proposition that Sri Lanka is a Sinhalese Buddhist Fascist terrorist state.
      Would welcome an equally robust argument to support such a view, not just a litany of incidents as arguments.

    • 1
      1

      SSS any more verbal diarrhoea from you and you will be a dehydrated moron. All that hatred you spew out….most likely a heart attack in the near future (and rebirth as a Sinhalese Buddhist).

  • 4
    1

    1. I completely agree with the concerns expressed on increasing divisions and conflicts on ethnic, religious and other grounds. The situation is a total mess. These are exacerbated by the politicians for electoral gain although they are not the only culprits. Religious preachers of all sides also contribute a lot.
    2. I do have reservations, however, on the PSC. It is true that so far nothing damaging the security is revealed. Perhaps AG’s cautioning is working. If the PSC sticks mainly to investigate the political background, and the failure of the political authorities i.e. President, PM, State Minister and Governors it would be more appropriate. All have political responsibilities for security that they have not fulfilled in my opinion. I was surprised why when the two former Governors appeared before the PSC, they were not asked about these questions. Do the Governors have security responsibilities regarding the respective provinces? They do. What actions have they taken themselves other than saying they informed such and such persons including the President? Of course the President is the main responsible person for security failures. Governors relations with the President should be official and not personal.
    3. PSC however should be careful not to interfere with the ongoing investigations of the specific Easter attacks. Other than that, the confidentiality of the various security establishments should be preserved. Supremacy of Parliament should not be misinterpreted to allow the PSC to pursue political ends. There is something fundamentally wrong in the resolution passed to form the present PSC. Objectives appear mainly political and others ambiguous.

    • 4
      1

      Laksiri Fernando

      “Do the Governors have security responsibilities regarding the respective provinces?”

      Is the good doctor trying to blame ethnically different governors for breach of security? I have know idea what the president, prime minister, ministry of defense, police, security forces, respective intelligence operative, ………………. were/are responsible for?

      “These are exacerbated by the politicians for electoral gain although they are not the only culprits. Religious preachers of all sides also contribute a lot.”

      Not to mention closet racists, “intellectuals”, academics, analysts, columnists, ……….. voters, …..

  • 2
    0

    paradise yes. sinhalese JVP and tamils1983 and after were sent to paradise. unwillingly. now time for the the muslims.
    Naim

    • 5
      0

      dayal

      Not sure of JVP but you really sent the Tamils to paradise after 1983.
      Sinhalese made the Tamils refugees and to leave the country but did they really get affected or pay a high price? It only took them a very short time to bounce back and become millionaires in their host lands. Within a matter of thirty years the Tamils have become one of the most powerful Diaspora in the world. They have become experts in everything good as well as bad, jack of all trades. The Tamil Diaspora will do anything and everything in the West to earn money and establish themselves. Today there are more than a million Sri Lankan Tamil (Diaspora) around the Western World right from North America to Australia/New Zealand doing extremely well. All their children are attending the top class universities in the World. Their children have achieved what they could have never achieved in Sri Lanka. Most of them are top most professionals in their chosen field, whether it is medicine, science, engineering, IT technology or even space travel. Tamils have become an important partner in the development and the progress of their host countries. Today, with their money and vote bank, the Tamils can, not only influence and lobby the western politics/politicians but also enter politics and contest elections. They have become rich and strong, just like the rich Jews controlling the American politics, the rich Tamil (Diaspora) are now capable of financing election campaigns in the West.
      So who paid the actual price heavily? Who suffered for 30 long years? Who has gained during the 30 years?

      Thanks for sending them to paradise while you suffer in the hell hole and your women folk have to slave in the Arab countries to bring food on your table.

    • 2
      1

      dayal

      No need.
      Just return all the converted descendants of Kallathonies back to their country of origin, South India.

  • 3
    1

    Ethnic divisions started in 1948; made severely worse in 1956 ; and has continued since then at a rapid pace. So what are you talking about Lucien now ??

  • 2
    1

    Dear Lucien,
    A very analytical and comprehensive article on the state of affairs we Sri Lankans are undergoing presently. A pathetic and disgraceful situation. As a nation don’t know when we are going to understand how we have to move forward shedding the labels of majoritarianism, linguistic, religious, caste, creed etc. We need to be Nationalistic as Sri Lankans and the rest are all secondary.
    I would wish to give one clarification regarding the term JIHADIST. The proper meaning of Jihad is STRUGGLE or EFFORT, and it means much more than holy war. A Muslims daily life is a Jihad too.

    • 2
      0

      Mohamed,

      TheWahhabi Jihadisam, is for the Devil, Satan, Iblis, mentioned 11 times or so in the Quran, and presciently predicted by Prophet Mohamed in the Hadith of Najd. Just Google, where the Horn of the Satan came from. Riyadh Saudi Arabia.

  • 1
    0

    As it has been said, the past is another country – and we can safely and sentimentally idealise and so falsify it.

    Given human nature, was there EVER a paradise ANYWHERE in this world?

    And for whom? Remember: Paradise for some can mean hell for others! I mean the poor, those of a different skin-colour; religious and ethnic minorities etc.

    Sagittarius

  • 2
    1

    Sri Lanka has been a land of blood bath, post and pre-Independence Sri Lanka tell us that thousands of innocent people have been killed in Sri Lanka. List of riots, unrest, and killing goes on.. who cares about it? western world make weapons, they need markets, our stupids people want to fight. wait and see when 75 Million Tamils from Tamil Nadu made a revenge on Sri Lanka as they did it in old days, Wait and see history repeats itself. Now, Sinhalese are arrogant after killing of some 50.000 Tamils: Who knows what history hold for them in future? How long China will keep protecting Mahinda and Goata families.? How long Sinhalese could depend on China for its protect? what is guarantees about India will keep its policy like this for a long time. It was Indra Ghandi who created Tigers, who gave arms to them? who trained them? who know what will happen next in coming decades. Sinhalese people suffer from memory lost? they do not have historical nostalgia? they do not read news from Tamil Nadu? Tamil politicians are boiling with anger in Tamils Nadu.All Tamil political parties in Tamil Nadu do not like Sri Lankan politics. It is centre in India keep this Sri Lanka in peace. Once centre changes it policy on Sri Lanka, Sinhalese will have been on run or beg China to come to save them..Now Tamils have to wait and see. Tamil politicians do not accept any ministerial posts in Sri Lankan parliament because of this. They prefer to sit on opposition till they get their rights and dues. I think Sinhalese politicians have messed the future of 15 million Sinhalese: they never made peace with Tamil Nadu, they never made peace with Tamils in North? now they create problems with minorities. let us wait and see how Sinhalese karma changes? how fate befalls on Sinhalese political leaders.

  • 0
    0

    This article shows the mentality – particularly hatred, and jealousy, religious intolerance – of a Mature and old Journalist who seems to be a Prominent person in his discipline. Yet, his Western version of Journalism seems to be disgusting. No need of other explanations. How beliefs have made dumb and stupid humans are very clear here.
    Anyway, Ammer ali says the same. It is Tamils killed for 30 years. It was sinhala People who were wrong. Now, Educated and rich muslims who blew up. Against sinhala buddhists are wrong even though they do not have any involvement except living in the same country.
    It is Very clear cultural -genocide and presecution of Sinhala buddhists.

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