15 October, 2018

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Fasting & A Farcical Feast 

By Sarath de Alwis –    

Sarath De Alwis

In his ‘Theses on Feuerbach’ in 1845 Karl Marx wrote on the question of objective truth. 

“The question whether objective truth can be attributed to human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question. Man must prove the truth, i.e., the reality and power, the this-worldliness of his thinking in practice. The dispute over the reality or non-reality of thinking which is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question.”

Gotabaya Rajapaksa may or may not have read Karl Marx. But he is certainly proving that Marx is right about power and the reality of power.

He is in a quest for power. The people in general have a pretty good idea of how he would use power, if he gets it and when he gets it.  

The Muslims gathered for an Iftar event at Beruwela, last week, encountered firsthand, what Karl Marx meant in stressing that Man must prove the truth- the worldliness of his thinking and practice – relating power to reality.  

The Beruwela event demonstrates that Gotabaya Rajapaksa is not only as clever as the devil but is   twice as pretty.

Just as he reached out to the merchant princes at the Shangri-La, he has now made a convincing overture to the Muslim middle class. The intent was to repair and restore his ties with the Muslim community, disastrously ruptured by his early open and later clandestine support for extreme groups such as BBS and Ravana Battalion. 

The immediate goal was to allay any lingering Muslim apprehensions over his presidential bid. Beruwela was a masterpiece of political icebreaking. 

If progress is getting nearer to the place you wish to be in, we must be unidealistic and hardheaded enough to concede that he is making progress.  Knowing why he makes progress this fast and at this speed early enough may help us avert the catastrophe of a Gotabaya Rajapaksa presidency. It looks as if his best allies are in the current government.     

A video recording of Presidential aspirant Gotabaya Rajapaksa ushered to a grand ‘Iftar’ function at Beruwela has gone viral. Pundits who poo poohed his candidacy on the premise of his ill-favoured repute among Muslims are thunderstruck and stupefied.  

The sight of a saintly Gotabaya daintily keeping step with white robed Mullahs chanting panegyric poems in praise of the prophet was enough for the eyeballs of his detractors to pop out of their crevices. The pundits who poo poohed a Gotabaya candidacy on the premise of his alienation from Muslims are still busy adjusting their dumbstruck eyeballs.    

The Beruwela occasion has sent an unambiguous, perspicuous message to both Prime Minster Wickremesingha and President Sirisena. Their parade is pattering to its presaged expiry. The Muslim minority is not to be taken for granted.   

How did he manage the feat? The élan with which he pulled off the electrifying encounter attests to the man’s managerial nimbleness. 

Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the ultimate repository and authority on conceptual power. He is the kind of man about whom Antonio Gramsci wrote profusely while incarcerated by Benito Mussolini. He is the master of the art of manufacturing coerced consent.

More than a billion Muslims of the world observe the blessed month of Ramadan. It is the month when the Koran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad. During daylight hours, it’s a month of fasting, no food and even water. It is a process of purification and the month devoted to reflection both spiritual and materiel. After sunset the fast is broken.

This writer asked an eminent Muslim academic and an Islamic scholar to explain the meaning of Iftar. Is it a custom or a ritual? 

He responded “Iftar is neither a ritual nor a custom. You break the fast in the evening preferably with a couple of dates and porridge. Iftar is no more than an Arabic name for breaking fast.” 

Today, Iftar has become a high profile social event for the Muslim middle class. This is not a study of the evolution of Muslim Middle class social behaviour.  This is an attempt to understand how this present government  in the short span of three years has admirably succeeded in alienating a core components of the coalition that made 8th January 2015 change possible. 

 Beruwela -is a place of ineradicable remembrances with excruciating echoes. To the hosts, they remain gut wrenching recalls. Their honoured guest made no direct reference to the traumatic past. He exuded the bonhomie of a baron Munchausen.  

‘Muslims were grossly misled during their government. Many elements connived in creating distrust and doubt between Muslims and the Rajapaksas. Now they know better. Muslims have now realized that the rumours spread in the past were absolutely false. Muslims could live in peace and harmony under a future Rajapaksa led government. ‘ 

So, it is the Muslims who have been misled. The Muslims have been the victims of mischief makers who wished to drive a wedge between them and Rajapsakse led government. 

There is no expression of remorse. Only a matter of making the record clear and erasing misconceptions. The Muslim middleclass will buy his proposition because it is proposition they cannot refuse.  

In a velvet voice, he narrated his story. It was clever and imaginative. That it defied logic and commonsense is not relevant. The audience was ready to listen to his story. 

In human history story telling has always been a profound tool that allowed both the narrator and the listener to capture and live in illusions. The affair was arranged by a Muslim politician in the ‘Pohottuwa party. While the organizer had his own agenda, the participants were certainly in a mood for adjustments and reconciliation.

The Rajapaksa regime was always committed to the safety and wellbeing of Muslim people. When he was handling urban development, he rendered untold assistance to them. Today, the Muslims have realized that they were misled by conspirators and schemers whose only purpose was to alienate them from the then ruling family.  

He had a receptive audience. Violence unleashed by ethnoreligious prejudices in the central province and the eastern province has severely dented minority confidence in the current administration.

Indecisive governance usually provokes a yearning for non-democratic forms of authority. Amidst the chaos in Kandy and Ampara, the Muslim middle classes in affluent Beruwela have found non democratic authority not only tolerable but as a desirable alternative. 

Antonio Gramsci – the seminal Marxist thinker who focused on culture, while incarcerated by the fascist regime of Mussolini has beautifully described how we humans often unwittingly give our consent to be oppressed. When we perceive power as the capacity to instill fear, we become willing collaborators in the game of top down authority. 

The Gramsci thesis can be echoed in terms of present day compulsions. People are not routinely forced to submit. Instead, powerful actors with the right resources can manufacture consent. Caught in their grip people forgo their right and forfeit their ability to question. Then they turn in to willing collaborators of their own subordination. 

That is the essence of the fast and the feast at Beruwela.  

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  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 6
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    I do not care about who come into power but all what I care is about a corruption free Sri Lanka..
    Sri Lanka needs an iron man now.
    To punish all who break laws.
    Law and order is s must now .
    Sri Lanka become s law less country..
    Corruption is everywhere and every level and that is no good at all ..
    Sri Lanka is next to Pakistan and Nigeria in corruption. Soon it over take them ..
    Soon Sri Lanka will.decend into law less land but it needs s good leadership with mission and vision .
    First the leader needs to do is put Ranil behind the bar for his central bank scam as Malysiam PM did it ..
    No religion or friendship or no family should block this ..
    Law is equal to all ..
    Begin with PM…

    • 6
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      Does it mean that the most corrupt man in the country must come to power?

    • 2
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      Begin with PM and then followed by MS, MR,GR,BR
      We need a clean NEW Leader to take over in 2020

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    “……a saintly Gotabaya daintily keeping step with white robed Mullahs chanting panegyric poems in praise of the prophet….”.
    The Mullahs have a stranglehold on Lankan Muslims. There is an easier way. Gota can promise something he can deliver. He can promise to leave MMDA1950 as is where is. This will enable a burly old man to thrust his manhood on to a twelve year old girl child, then another and another and one more! This is what the Mullah wants.

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      K. Pillai, you had gone beyond reasonable writing to say, “MMDA enable old man to thrust his manhood on to twelve year old child”, a typical western style writing. Have you kept a count on it? But remember if a Muslim old man thrust it was under a law which give protection to the girl. What about your old people thrusting there manhood on to girls even as old as 5 years. May be those are irrelevant for you because done illegally. You can find these types of thrusting by non-Muslims by many thousands if you just hop to India, even in Tamilnadu. The way of writing shows you yourself a sex mania.

  • 1
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    Only problem is Gotabhaya Rajapakse supporters and those around him tell a lot about him. that govt will be not differentfrom that of the Chora Rajina,. Mahinda Rajapakse’s Sajin Vass gunawardana, Basil and the company and Ranil and Maithripala sirisena’s Bond Scam govt.

  • 5
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    A well written article by S A. This ruthless murderer Gota has made his first move with some pathetic Muslim pawns , what move follows and lets wait and see How is he going to move the saffron robed soldier Gnanasara to set strategic priorities in his strategic plan.

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    Sarath De Alwis,

    Re: Fasting & A Farcical Feast

    “The Gramsci thesis can be echoed in terms of present day compulsions. People are not routinely forced to submit. Instead, powerful actors with the right resources can manufacture consent. Caught in their grip people forgo their right and forfeit their ability to question. Then they turn in to willing collaborators of their own subordination. “

    “That is the essence of the fast and the feast at Beruwela. “

    Furthermore, the mean IQ of the Sri Lankan Muslims is 79. That also helps Gotabaya to manipulate.

    It is generally easy to manipulate a bunch of sheep. All it takes is one sheep dog.

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    taking a cue from him ranil has followed suit

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    How is it that it is so easy to brainwash people? Even reasonably well-educated persons? There is something wrong with the human brain. We will need another 10 million years or more of evolution for the human brain to develop fully so that it will be able to resist indoctrination, but by then it will be too late!

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      Estate Laboure,

      “How is it that it is so easy to brainwash people? Even reasonably well-educated persons? There is something wrong with the human brain.”

      Need a new Age of Reason and New Enlightenment Age to de-brainwash all those who have been brainwashed. Yes, it will take evolutionary time.

      Example: Mahavamsa- An Insult To The Buddha!, but the Para-Sinhala “Buddhist” are quite well brainwashed.

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/mahavamsa-an-insult-to-the-buddha/

      In this “wonderland” called Sri Lanka, and in this day and age, one still comes across ‘academically’ educated, and supposedly intelligent ‘Buddhists’, but sadly lacking in wisdom, who reverently believe, that the Buddha walked out of his mother’s womb, and walked seven steps, while lotuses blossomed, under his feet!

      Not much different for the others. Somebody else dying for your sins, 72 virgins ( with the mother in laws, in heaven) etc., reborn or ever?

      A child is not born stupid, but with the native intelligence, and then programmed/brainwashed by the parents, monks, priests, ulema, mullahs, imams , moulavis and many others, including the corrupt politicians.

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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      He….he…….Let’s talk about Gota’s pets then………….

  • 5
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    Muslim elite are different from the Muslim poor who simply cannot attend iftar. The Muslim elite are despised as turncoats (thopi turners) or as those who jump to the right side. They have rightly or wrongly concluded that the right man is Gota. So they dance with him despite the fact that he was responsible for killing so many, including poor Muslims. One day the poor Muslims well rebel. They are the many. I hope so. They have scoundrels for their leaders now. Time they changed.

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      Muslim elites are the most selfish, profit makers. Most of them have big businesses where mostly they employ Muslims under the name “Supporting own community”. But the reality is quite different, these businessmen employ Muslims to hoodwink the community and god, but when they hire Muslims, they compensate these poor Muslims much less wages and benefits and more works.

      And they feel keeping these sort of people around them is safer and the internal details don’t go out, and most of the time these innocent poor Muslims won’t go out of the lines defined by them.

  • 6
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    Gota is an asshole. If he is clean, he must face the courts and clear himself like SF. Compared to SF, Gota is a wimp. MM is doing his share.

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    Pillai, How many old men have thrust their manhood on twelve year old girls, hope you have a count, if that is your job.

    Just don’t generalise a practice you may be having, on a community. Besides, it is none of your business to poke your two cents on a law which is exclusive for a particular community. Let them do their bit and come to a conclusion and I am not the one to talk of the pros and cons, let us leave it to the Mullahs, as you rightly said.

    We have enough and more social issues which are more corrupt and murderous, plaguing our country, let us discuss them, not to mention the most corrupt judicial system of our country. Have a listen to the Ausy woman who has been swindled by our Countrymen to the millions, talk of our judiciary. Let’s talk sense, will you.

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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    Most of our politicians will do anything that is needed to get into power:
    …sleep with the devil
    …sell their mother
    …sell their wife
    etc,

    The question here is, are the Muslims of Beruwela putting on a brave face, and being genuine, or will they entertain Gota now but vote for someone else later? Time will tell.

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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    It is time Muslims to prove they have some dignity and are smart too. “Don’t be stray dogs to go behind left-over bones thrown by whoever”

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    Lankan No. 3 : “Sri Lanka needs an iron man”. No. I would say: Sri Lanka needs a man who could call a “Spade a Spade”. What does it mean, you would ask? Here is what it means: That “MAN” must be competent to SEE; PERCEIVE; clearly what is RIGHT & WRONG. Next diligently follow that PATH seen and perceived with all the EFFORT and being MINDFULNESS to tame the obstacles that could arise from within and outside exemplified by his own LIVELIHOOD. You also would ask me: Do you find any such MAN from among those in the present day political field? . NO……..No…. Then how can we find such a MAN? you would also ask? Yes, there are people who would measure up to those standards. It is time ripe enough to get “Organized” and build a BRAND NEW TEAM who could agree on a common platform – A National Programme on Social, Economic, Political and Law & Order fronts for implementation strictly based on “NO NONSENSE” for a period of Five Years. You would now say – “it is easy to say; but do we have such a MAN to lead such a TEAM? Yes. I would safely bet and rely on Mr. Nagananda Kodithuwakku coupled with a great successful Industrialist Mr. Pallewatta. Many more are willing and ready. Hope that “DREAM” will be a REALITY soon. Isn’t it time to KICK OUT this “CORRUPT/CRIMINAL” conglomerate that lives to EXCHANGE power from time to time? Don’t you think, you must support such a move is the ONLY ANSWER to solve our mounting miseries.

  • 1
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    somebody is right. yes, sarath de alwis seems drifting towards gota camp

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    We live in strange times. Sarath I’m not surprised if Gota is our President in 2020. How many white vans will be plying on roads then?

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    The country will be in the safest hands under Ranil Wickramaya. At least we know the brute rather than unknown quantities like gota or chamal or basil. See how much country suffer due to electing unknown quantity MY3.

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      Jimmy the Dimwit

      Why have you changed your pseudonym?

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      wannihami

      Excellent.
      Thanks for keeping it brief.
      Keep up the good work

  • 0
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    The title of Sarath de Alwis’ article “Fasting & A Farcical Feast” may be construed as one directed against Islam. It is applicable to all religions. Iftar has gotten commercialised but so has Dewali, X’mas and Vessak.
    Legend has it that Ravana fasted and underwent penance. God evidently rewarded Ravana with super-strength!
    The Burmese Junta are committing genocide of Rohingyas in defence of Buddhism.
    Remember the Crusades?
    .
    Sarath says ~ “…….The Beruwela event demonstrates that Gotabaya Rajapaksa is not only as clever as the devil but is twice as pretty……”.
    But then, the Devil never wears the ‘nool’ and the talisman blessed by Gnanasaro!
    We never heard of a clever Devil.

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    Sarath de Alwis’ article “Fasting & A Farcical Feast” I don’t think directed against Muslim but to the farcical feast accorded to this murderous beast in the holy month during breakfast. Beruwela population has nothing to do with this but it was a feast of selfish Muslim politicians. No Muslims will forget under which regime these racist organizations like BBS grew. Like you point out Pillai Iftar is not commercialized like in other religious festivals like Christmas, Vesak, Dewali etc.abound with all sort of thamashash. their only thamashash after the end of 30 days fasting is wearing something new, attend to festival prayers, having little extra special diet and visiting kith and kin and relatives.

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