20 July, 2019

Blog

Ethno-Religious Provocations: Looming Possibility

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

President Maithiripala Sirisena (MS) has called on his supporters to prepare for an election next year. He has not indicated any timeline yet. However, one can understand his state of mind, which is still smarting under humiliation received in the aftermath of the infamous Fifty-Two-Day constitutional coup at the hands of the legislature, judiciary and civilian public at large. The Provincial Council Elections may come first to test the waters, and if he sees a positive swing to his side he may initiate moves for General Elections without much delay. One thing is certain, and that is, working relations between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe (RW) and MS, for the rest of this government’s term of office, are going to be anything but tumultuous.

The President is again in bed with his former divorcee Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR), who is also, understandably and equally, angry at the turn of events. Even his position as Leader of the Opposition is under challenge. MR strongly believes that he stands a good chance of coming back to power if an election is held soon. I believe that he is reading too much from the results of the last Local Council Elections. Immediately after that election, I contributed a piece to this journal titled, “Landslide does not mean Endorsement”. It was, in my view, more an overwhelming protest vote against the incompetency of RW Government than approval of Rajapaksa’s alternative. Whatever popularity that MR carried since then must have diminished substantially after his collusion with MS during the Fifty-Two-Day saga. There is no doubt that peoples’ anger at MS has also fallen on MR. Ultimately however, MS-MR victory or loss depends entirely on the performance of re-born RW government. Will this government deliver the goods? There is no use bragging about how well it did before being and how determined it is to do more. The government needs at least an 18 months plan of action to show to the voting public and must deliver on it before going to the polls. Most importantly, RW will survive or disappear solely on what his government is planning to do to bring down the skyrocketing cost of living.

Desperate situations call for desperate measures. If MS-MR alliance gets too desperate it may look for a trump card to play for victory. Historically, that trump card had been the ethnic card in the hands of political contenders since 1950s. Both parties, UNP and SLFP, had resorted to this dirty game in the past, and there is no guarantee that they will not do so in future. Given the way TNA, SLMC, ACPC and other minority ethnic parties had conducted themselves in the Fifty-Two-Day struggle for democracy, there remains a strong possibility that the losers may lit the ethnic fire as elections get closer. Reading between lines of published utterances from certain politicians and their so called legal and intellectual advisors one is able to detect an ant-Tamil and anti-Muslim tone. Recent events show that one or two monks and even elements from the security would join to add fuel to the fire. It is therefore imperative for a patriotic, progressive and inclusive party like the JVP and other civil society movements to forewarn the voting public against evil provocations. I wish to be proved wrong, but recent political history makes it too tempting not to float this warning.

Sri Lanka cannot afford to continue with this ethnic and religious divisiveness. The country has paid and still paying too dearly, both locally as well as internationally, for promoting ethno-nationalism as cure for its political, economic and social ills. All communities are equally guilty of resorting to this suicidal mania. We let emotions to rule over reason and falsehood to reign over truth.  How else does one explain that a country where four great religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam lived cheek by jowl and in total amity for over a millennia, deteriorated into an ethnic cauldron within little over fifty years? The blame should be laid entirely at the doorstep of power hungry politicians.

A humiliated MS and a power hungry MR have combined to recover their lost pride and power at any cost. To achieve that objective they are prepared to try anything. Before further damage is done, let the constitutionally enshrined executive powers of the President be removed, and allow the judiciary un-interfered with to tackle MR regime’s abuse of power and its successor’s financial malpractices. Does RW Government have the guts and stamina to do this?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 21
    3

    I am not surprised if they repeat the same old story to inflame the Sinhalese masses to anti-Tamil riots or even pogroms. This is the well tested short cut to power for Sinhalese leaders since the fifties.

    So much for the 2500 year old civilization they brag about.

    • 9
      0

      Dr. Ameer Ali,

      RE: Ethno-Religious Provocations: Looming Possibility

      “The President is again in bed with his former divorcee Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR), who is also, understandably and equally, angry at the turn of events. Even his position as Leader of the Opposition is under challenge. MR strongly believes that he stands a good chance of coming back to power if an election is held soon. I believe that he is reading too much from the results of the last Local Council Elections.”

      Thanks for the write-up The Para-Sinhala “Buddhist” politicos have used the ethnic and religious differences to gain the votes from the Para-Sinhala “Buddhist” masses , in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho They perceive that this will work to their advantage

      It was the same mindset that lead to the illegal and unconstitutional coup by Sirisena, Rajapaksa and cronies They want power for themselves, whatever ran possible, illegal democratic or not Te recent Mawanella incident of Buddha statutes being destroyed, is most likely a white-flag operation, even though the Devil following Wahhabi-Salfies and their clones may be possibility, as the mean IQ of the Para-Muslims are also around 79.

      • 7
        1

        “inflame the Sinhalese masses to anti-Tamil riots”
        .
        Ethnic discrimination is the worst factor among others such as low IQ, uncreativity, being bookworms, lethargy, corruption that doesn’t SL to move forward.
        .
        Best way to address this is to introduce a new subject in our school syllabus on this. At the same time, the numbers of pansals, kovils, mosques and churches must also be limited. One can argue that every religion preaches living in peace among others, but the same religions forget that they darken the dividing lines.

        • 2
          0

          Fathima, we have enough “subjects” in schools. What do we call this new subject?
          .
          Our problems stem from the outlooks which are passed on to each new generation as acceptable. What is required is credible revision of our History and Social Studies syllabi to make them more credible, and the ways in which they are taught.
          .
          There isn’t a huge private tuition industry in these subjects. I was going to say that there is no demand for this subject, but then remembered that exam results (the number of “straight As”) obsesses parents. Our obsession with exam certificates. These subjects must be taught with more emphasis on interaction.
          .
          Efforts to improve education through legislation will produce no result.

          • 1
            0

            Absolutely Sinhala_Man, you are right. If a subject to introduce, I would prefer calling it “Redefine SL”. Of course, if some countries could realize that Safe Sex was needed to be added into school syllabus, why can’t we realize something that is badly needed among our society for the nation, and add that into our syllabus?

        • 1
          1

          Religion is being weaponized again to set Sri Lanka on fire. This incident is organized to get Buddhists to attack Muslims.
          Soon as Washington-backed Bondscam Ranil is back in power religious tensions are on going to Divide, DISTRACT civil society and NGOs with religious conflictm and Rule and LOOT Lanka. Attacks on ethnic and religious minorities and conflict always happen when the UNP is in power – as with 1983 anti-Tamil riots, and the attacks on Muslims when the PCOI into Bondscam Report came out. Ranil is Trumpland’s neo con, neoliberal puppet, to push the US security and business interests and asset strip and sell of lands and destroy Lanka’s economy and food security. Ranil and his Royal College thieves work for America First and the Global 1 percent and not for the people of Lanka.
          Today with Trumpland’s Cold War against China in Sri Lanka and Indian Ocean, Religion is once again being weaponized by CIA -Peace Co. to Divide and Distract the people from the current Economic Crisis, crashing rupee caused by Bondscam Ranil’s Financial Crimes with IMF and MCC advice–in order to loot strategic lands, transport and energy infrastructure. .
          soon as Washington-backed Bondscam Ranil come back to power the attacks on religious places aimed at provoking anti-Muslims incidents to spark religious conflict are ongoing.
          Please read the book: Cold War Monks: Buddhism and America’s Secret Strategy in South East Asia published by Yale University Press.
          Attacks on ethnic and religious minorities always happen when the UNP is in power – as with 1983, and the attacks on Muslims when the PCOI into Bondscam Report came out.
          This is the pattern to DIVIDE, DISTRACT and LOOT the people of Lanka to advance the Security and Business interests of Trumpland in Sri Lanka in its Cold War against China through neoliberal economic “reforms” to crash the rupee, force sale of lands and strategic assets to US economic hit men to pay down sovereign Debt that is supposed to be the reason for the crashing rupee..

  • 9
    0

    Sri Lankan politics is gone wrong. there is no politics of moral, principle and doctrines. but politics of money making and politics of family rules and politics of selfishness. what a bad. politics is today. I still remember for SLFP MP Mr Ratnayake went he was defeated by Beligammana in Mawanella in 1977, he used to travel to Colombo by bus. Can you expect that today from any MPs. today politics is money making.

  • 9
    3

    It is not possibility, it is matter of fact. Already you see idols being damaged in South, flags and other tiger paraphernalia appearing all over North and East in most unexpected locations (beach side). Posters with tiger messages appearing overnight.Even here in CT there are sudden appearance of comments using tiger related pseudonyms. That means MS/MR are back in business. When everything fails in Lankan politics racial disharmony is the steroids to revive dead politics. SEEN IT ALL, HEARD IT ALL. No surprises here.

    • 4
      1

      An apt comment on an ominous piece, if analysis it is. If speculation they be, both prophesy the same gloom. From 1956 to 2018, the identical track is beaten again. List out the same work steps and results will be as evil as before. No need to repeat as article and comment have not failed to mention any. Stress may be on fast spreading flames, as the economic situation is perilous and financial prospects parlous.

      The backbone of the state – the armed forces and the police – which did not defect in 1971 or 1989 or in January 2015, will not break in 2019. Will they hold the scales evenly? If not, the likely temptation is to act at the behest of the illegitimate child of October 26, squeezed out by the polity, parliament and judiciary.

    • 2
      0

      chiv, two former ltte cadres who organized maaverar naal events in the east were framed for the murder of policemen and arrested under PTA. in other words, the change in government did not stop the surveillance of every move of former cadres, infringing their freedoms nor did they abolish the draconian PTA. memorialisation is criminalized if it did not fit the state’s narrative. stop propagating this myth of MR comeback. only power changed hands in 2015, nothing else changed, except for a little bit of breathing space.

  • 6
    14

    Oh yes, It must be Mahinda and Gotabhaya Rajapakse and the President behind the breaking of a Buddha statue in Mawanellaby a Muslim man of Delgahagoda Hingula, at 3.30 am, who was caught red handed and tied to a tree by the locals. This is the sort of act that creates a backlash.

    But dishonest Muslims like Ameer Ali are already preparing to complaint of racism when Buddhists react to such criminal extremism.

    But don’t go out when its lightening, Mossy.

    • 5
      3

      Ameer Ali, how did you know about this tension beforehand? Do you know any other plans and attacks currently underway?
      Mawanella attackers are two muslims and Minister Kabir Hasim has ‘instructed’ the Kegalle police to act. Is Kabir Hasim the IGP?
      What’s going on in SL?

  • 11
    1

    The vote gathering potential of the communal card is much much weaker than ten years ago.
    The terrorist threat is a thing of the past. Threat by minorities is not taken very seriously by most Sinhalese since the end of the civil war.
    Stirring trouble is always possible, but with far less benefit than earlier.

  • 5
    4

    Now we could expect this type of dirty politics in coming months. MR and Co will do all what they could to come to power…. They have learned nothing from the past… First of all Buddha would not be happy with this cunning politics

    • 3
      1

      L.
      Politics in good old SL has always been dirty and communal. Why should it change now?

      MR and RW are both crass opportunists and unlikely to change their “inborn” genetic code.
      JVP has young blood and sounds promising but very unlikely to gain power although the political ideology has changed somewhat to less militancy.

      The political climate at the moment is very unstable and the weather is not helping either and the country is broke.
      The future seems to be bleak and the instability is bound to continue for a long time.

    • 0
      0

      Lankan is a muslim. So, this answer is expected.

  • 3
    1

    Craving for ministerial portfolios is the be-all and end-all of Sinhalese politicians. Like the fish that cannot survive outside water so are the politicians. Every MP of the ruling party wants to be a Minister or at least half-minister. Even at 30 MPs and 40 State and Deputy ministers, Sri Lanka has a jumbo cabinet compared to our neighbouring countries like India and Pakistan. Politicians in Sri Lanka are the most pampered lot. Duty-free luxury cars, free fuel, telephone, computers, photocopy machines, subsidized meals at parliament canteen, minimum of 5 office assistants, Rs.100,000 to cover district offices, Rss.2500 for every of the parliament the list is endless. It is the voters who vote for them are stupid.

  • 4
    15

    Demalu (Hindu and Muslim) are the most selfish, self-centered and opportunistic lot in this country. Before the arrival of Parangi, Demalu who were in Sinhale were the remnants of invaders from Hindusthan. A large majority of Demalu in this country are descendants of slaves brought from Hindusthan by Portuguese, Dutch and British who colonized Sinhale. These slaves were illegal settlers in this country. But now these guys are trying to grab one third of the country claiming it is their traditional homeland forgetting the fact that this area was the cradle of Sinhala civilization destroyed by Demala invaders.

  • 3
    0

    Dear Dr Ali

    My respect always for the following sentiment

    ‘Sri Lanka cannot afford to continue with this ethnic and religious divisiveness. The country has paid and still paying too dearly, both locally as well as internationally, for promoting ethno-nationalism as cure for its political, economic and social ills. All communities are equally guilty of resorting to this suicidal mania. We let emotions to rule over reason and falsehood to reign over truth. How else does one explain that a country where four great religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam lived cheek by jowl and in total amity for over a millennia, deteriorated into an ethnic cauldron within little over fifty years?’

    However in your future writings………capture we are inclusive and most definitely Hon MR and President MS and all there support base are all part of the same journey and brotherhood too.. we need give choice to the people and let them elect and we follow??

  • 4
    7

    It is time for someone to punish these devil worshipping Muslim hoards (who are multiplying like rabbits). They are already plotting to accuse those who stand up for Buddhist rights when the backlash comes.

    All midlle eastern religions are based on ‘michcha dhristi’ and hatred. They should be wiped out for mankind to progress.

    • 1
      0

      Samma Dhitthi,
      You don’t seem to have understood the Buddha’s Dhamma!
      He wanted us to respect Others’ Beliefs, even if we did not agree with them!
      What is published in the Media, is sometimes intended to create Disharmony and Hatred!

      • 1
        1

        Dear Rationalist,
        It is really important to respect others. But it has to go very carefully. Buddha’s Dhamma should not be misunderstood. It is when outsiders come to respect them like we respect tourists. And illtreat like we did for ages to the lower castes.
        As for Islam, it is a different issue. All religions and philosophies don’t need another. If you take the world map you will see that Islam wipes out the host leaving no space to the host Philosophy. And Islamic countries don’t allow books of other philosophies to come in. See just Maldives, Indonesia, most part of Central Asia, Northern Africa. Where are the host Philosophies now.
        It can happen like in the beginning of 20th century, a Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao and others may come as things go unbearable to wipe away all religions. It worked, too.

        There is an Arabic Legend, too. One let the camel to come into the tent as rain had been softly falling. Later the camel had the tent and the host had to take to running away.

  • 0
    1

    Ameer Ali: I know you are not Wahabi. Even then you shlould nopt be allowed in Sri lanka.[edited out]

  • 1
    0

    Not sure if the CT moderators are still awake when your platform is being abused for making racist screams as extreme as for wiping out certain ethno-religeous groups. Please protect CT as a forum where average citizens of any ethnic group, religion or political party can go to for having an open, frank and equally importantly decent conversation without any fear of getting abused because of their ethnicity, religion or political persuasion. There are plenty of other websites for those, who want to go and vomit their vitriolic diatribes. CT, hope you understand that moderating hateful or abusive comments is not censorship. I think you have let your guards down in letting in some comments which can only be described as ‘disgusting’.

  • 2
    0

    People try and make it sound like “Tamils” are here as descendants of slaves and invaders…

    Even if this is true i’d rather be a descendant of a slave than a “Yaka” (Demon) which is what we Sinhalese feel so proud to be descendants of.

    Oh the irony……….

  • 1
    0

    tamils are no longer visible economically, demographically as much as muslims have become so it would only make sense if anti-muslim sentiment is on the rise. just because racial incidents are lying low, does not mean Lanka has suddenly become a tolerant society. racial incidents will rise to the surface, particularly, in turbulent times. saying these are a work of a few is rather a shallow thinking. just think how anti-tamil pogroms quickly spread out through the island. muslim leadership is spineless and purely opportunistic. will they call out racial acts or as usual hold onto sarongs of their sinhala masters?

  • 1
    1

    UNP dependence on 100% minority votes is the greatest threat to national unity. En bloc voting is a serious threat to democracy. Minorities should not be fooled by the UNP propaganda that the other side is anti minority.

    Soma

    • 2
      0

      somass

      “Minorities should not be fooled by the UNP propaganda that the other side is anti minority.”

      Oh, minorities are still awaiting for Mahinda’s home grown solution that he promised them and the Hindians.

      On 29 October 2018 the aspiring crown prince Namal Baby promised to visit those Tamil detainees who have been lingering in prison and make arrangement to release them. Well nothing seemed to have happened apart from his efforts to buy some horses from TNA and had limited success. Now he is seen loitering around North, probably looking for Pandya princess.

      “Vedda cries from Vakarai lost in the sound of sea”
      Firstly the Government has to give us prominence since we are the earliest inhabitants of this land. During the previous regime, we were asked to visit Temple Trees and we got an opportunity to voice our issues. But to date, the present Government hasn’t inquired about our well-being”

      2017-10-11
      Daily Mirror

      According to Uruwarige Wannila Aththo Mahinda promised to provide a corridor in the Mahaweli development area exclusively for “games”. Mahinda never fulfilled his promises.

      Please don’t be stupid all the time.
      I am getting bored when I read your typings void of substance.

      Did you have happy racist holiday?

  • 0
    0

    Mawanella Buddhist, dont be naive. In Lanka if you pay the right money and have influence any SHAM can be staged (we are not newborns to not to know this fact). MS did find a mentally ill patient from India for his game plan. If you have influence and the right money not just a Muslim you can even find an American to do a dirty job. By the way didnt you the one was accusing Diaspora,India and US for all untoward issues in Lanka including Tsunami.????? Thamizh I am confused with your umbrage at my remarks. I stated the same as you said, the only difference is I feel MR has more to gain than others by causing racial disharmony at this point of time. The UNP is in need of minority support to hold power. That dosent make them any better, because the havoc caused by UNP in past is still fresh.Most of these nefarious activities are staged by thugs, who are on payroll.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Mr Ali

    Sooner we stop the race/language/religious discussions we can move forward to having more important issues that matters to us all.

    What are the policies each party has as a Nation policy? No party is excluded nor is excused from having representation through out the country is a must. They should all travel the breath of the country and stand amongst the population and make their case. If they are scared to do so then the parties should be removed from the democratic process.

    The time has come for us to see each political parties explaining their manifestos to people through out the country. The representative/party foot soldiers lovingly having town hall meetings to explain the master plans for the respective constituent as each part of our Nation locally/regionally has something to offer be it agricultural/small cottage industries/sea food and products etc ready for national and international distribution/consumption.

    Our focus should be about how we can use the historical healthy foods/products such as Seasami/Coconut/healthy brown rice/other herbal nutrients can be retained within the economy(not exported unless is surplus to local needs) such we take care of our nations health/wellbeing.

    We all know our history and we need is very many article/comments proposing new/advanced innovation around the world connecting our locality via a controlled GOSL mechanism. Diaspora (Sinhala/Tamil come back and spent our pension funds/savings to generate local economy so we have a steady caring industry connecting the locals for generations to come. Each SL consulate overseas to promote this………………..

  • 0
    0

    Dear Sir

    We have been playing politics with peoples life from day one is due to lack of experience since 1948 / or some misplaced agendas by us all/selfishness.

    Anyone who had sincere intent would have learnt on the job and passed on the capability to our next generations since 1948 to administer our Nation progressively meeting all the demands nationaly and internationally?

    Started wrong and we continued the same to date. Infact all our problems were compounded by our solution to our previous solution/problems/blunder so it continued until 1970’s then all our sins caught up with us started eating into our childrens life. This was the generation should have gone to the Universities and become the investment for our future……hence the government at the time even prevented professionals from leaving the country to greener pastures after their education.

    Do not go far just from the chicken and egg arguments in the comment section shows all the flaws that is with our mindset/thinking process………hateful/vengeful/misinformed/all about picking on someone else/no grace/no humbleness/no humility even when a beautiful technology provided for due care and exchange of thoughts for better tomorrow by building bridges that we did not have then. What are we proving to each other exactly??

    We are really prevented from knowing each other is what causing all the issues even with this tehnology………I suggest school exchange programs where we send Children on a regular basis for a week from east to west and north to south from now on with their teachers is something our Education Ministry should consider please.

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.