4 December, 2021

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For Those Who Pooh-Pooh The Anti-BBS Protestors

By Gaya Fernando

Gaya Fernando

The streets of Colombo have seen worse sights.

That sentence deserves to stand on its own. It is an epitaph on a city where too much violence has been vented by too many. It is a sentence on a people who rarely get on the streets and make a fuss. But on Friday 12 April a mixed bunch of people gathered to hold a candle-lit vigil outside the venue of the hate-speech BBS. For strategic reasons they may have chosen the venue in order to provoke a response from the BBS which would expose their hate-speech and intolerant attitude. Nonviolent protests are nearly always strategic and their dynamics are not always agreeable to all participants. However, when I read an article by a friend on how he ‘saw’ this candle-lit vigil it urged me to write a response. Instead of objecting to any dynamic of the vigil he objected instead to the composition of the vigil-holders in no uncertain terms.

I came to stand with a certain group against the BBS. Had I come earlier, I am pretty sure I would not have lit a candle, because people make the cause and that too is something I take into account. I would have gone away.”

Oh right. So if we were to look around and say oh please, the Colombo elite is here and facebookers, … oh oh I am so disappointed. I need more Buddhists, more middle class people and I don’t like to see people who worked in NGOs, lived overseas or who are in the upper middle class of CMB in this protest cheek by jowl with me, that’s a position that smacks of bias and prejudice as to WHO should be protesting and even further who has the moral right to protest. It’s saying “I wanna support the Sri Lanka which excludes the types I do not identify with because I suspect everyone of having an agenda and this will stop my supporting the cause of an inclusive Sri Lanka for all. I need ‘my people’ to support all this!”

Get over it.

Who has the moral right to protest ?

The CMB upper middle class has walked the talk in the streets and maybe you are a mite surprised to see your bedfellows? Well that’s how it is. While I empathise with the concern of this writer that a peaceful Buddhist vigil was as he saw it hijacked as a strategic nonviolent protest by a mixed bunch who may have varying reasons beyond mere peace and compassion for being there, I was urged to draw out this pooh-pooh streak in us and take it up cos it’s not just the writer and his thoughts that is at stake but a ‘streak’ in our society to pooh-pooh whoever and whatever is done just for the sake of so doing.

Why is Colombo strategically a part of this protest? What the Colombo society did and did not do during the war as ambassadors of the peace both at home and abroad deserves kudos, only those efforts are largely ignored. The upper middle class ‘Colomboans’ dug their feet in and continued their professions and businesses when some of them had options to leave and set up shop elsewhere in the world. As a lawyer I saw the stoic continuation of professional relationships between the ethnicities in the main professions in Colombo. When the bombs fell in the heart of the capital city, the heartbeat of our nation one of the main reasons for foreigners not to pull out their investments from Sri Lanka was the good friendship and relations they enjoyed with the families of the Sri Lankans whose livelihood depended on these investments. The entire economic health of the nation depended on such relationships.

The ‘Colomboans’ continued to work and play in a peaceful manner in an inter-ethnic life which has outlived the storm and now are fighting for the multi-ethnic society they love. They keep their school inter-ethnic friends, their work colleagues, even yes, their nightclub friends from many faiths and jog on. So what? They are holding a candle today to save the society I love. I was born and ‘bred’ there and have insider experience of what it’s like to have such a rich life and belonging among diverse faiths and races. My friends were there on Friday the 12th, were yours?

Even as I write this in a personal vein, as a researcher and author of a book on Nonviolent Coexistence undertaken as a contribution to the peacwe education of Sri Lanka and was translated into the national languages in Sri Lanka, I wish to stress that this is not a counterattack on the writer of the linked article at all. It is an opportunity to look at the pooh-pooh streak in us, from the Diasporans who pooh-pooh ground initiatives, the un-Colomboans who pooh-pooh the Colomboans and the list goes on. If we are to launch a peaceful protest and united stand to save our society from bigotry and prejudice, hate speech and incitement to violence on the grounds of religion by extremist groups whoever they are and whatever their robes are, we will need to shed the pooh-pooh and stand shoulder to shoulder with diverse types and unite for once. This is our hour of need and we can do more than pooh-pooh. Long Live multi-ethnic, multi-faith Sri Lanka !

Eka mavakage daru kela bewinaa …

yamu yamu vee nopamaa,

prema wada sema bedha durera dhaa …

namo namo matha… !

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Latest comments

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    Some Harvard educated writers write rubbish.They appear in various guises.At times critical of the Establishment but favouring it in a different guise.So don’t take much notice of these pseudo intellectuals.

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      Sunila,

      Are you refering to you?

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        Malinda Seneviratne is [Edited out]

        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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          The facebook protestors should learn from their mistakes and next time be more organized and have the protest in day light hours and advertise the protest properly – many more people would then join and there would be a proper protest!

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            Try to take as many as deacent BUDHISR’S monks! With you next time! Good Luck!

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          Next time The facebook protestors should learn from their mistakes and be more organized and have the protest in day light hours and advertise the protest properly – many more people would then join and there would be a proper protest!
          As it is this was not a very auspicious beginning but we learn from our mistakes..
          LONG LIVE THE LANKA SPRING!

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            Have protest marches ever achieved the desired result? And I mean a Peaceful Result, for who knows what the desired result was, when such a big cross section of the public was involved?

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        Bravo! The LANKA SPRING IS ON THE WAY!

    • 0
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      . .?.? Educated. ..? Harvard

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      Educated – Can Sperak English
      Intelligent – Can talk

      The set protesting against BBS spoke English, and they spoke. So they can easily call themselves Educated and Intelligent, and can add Harvard because not many people know what that is !!

      These handful of people protesting against BBS are only BOB (Bunch of Bastards)

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    A very relevant piece. If it is really true that middle-class Colombo took to the streets it is a welcome change from the apathy of yesteryear. There may have been people with hidden motives; but there must not be blanket classification.People have left their comfort zones to protest against ‘hate-mongering.’ We need this change.

  • 0
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    Isn’t it fashionable to be pro-American/British then it’s bound to be anti – Islam.
    The truth is not for all, but only for those who seek it.

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    —Apey Sri Lanka. Period.
    Bravo lady.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      You said it Doc!
      Apey Sri Lanka!
      This can only Snowball!!

    • 0
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      or obey srilanka!!!!

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        Sorry Opey Srilanke!!!

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          I support R2p and actually I do believe that’s what exactly BBS is doing, nobody ‘ none of those FB revolutionists ever protested and took to the streets about Muslim behavior! does anybody even talk about that other than those so called “racist Sinhalese Buddhist hatemongers” ?Sinhalese Buddhists have a rel good reason to be scared and panicked. but those people should have allowed to protest just like BBS is allowed to protest. one thing that is pretty observable in Sri lanka is that the ignorance and intentional ” selective” blindness of “humanitarians/ “progressive groups” which makes them easy targets. there is nothing to pooh pooh about it. there are a lot of them.and as long as they protest only against “Sinhala/Buddhist” and do nothing about “oh so innocent Muslims and their organized take over”‘its going to be like this. like it or not.and if you believe you can overthrow the “regime” with this. I’ve got some bad news for you. world is in love with anti Muslims.

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            correction :- “should have been allowed to protest”

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    On the face of it, this “Colomboan’s” response has many valid points.

    Extremism in any guise needs to be challenged.

    However, I did not see any vigils from these “Colomboans” when extremist terrorists were trying to destroy this country by violently breaking it into pieces killing thousands of innocent people in the process. The bombs the “Colomboan” refers to were stopped by largely rural youth of this country (from the majority community and the majority religion that many of the writers here seem to despise so much). Those rural youth sacrificed there lives & limb to stop the bombs and create a peaceful atmosphere for the night clubbing “Colomboans” to enjoy!

    Similarly, I did not see such vigils from these “Colomboans” when thousands of rural youth were dissappeared or killed not so long ago (& now seem to be appearing in skeletal form from Mathale for example). Was it because those who died and dissappeared were not “Colomboans”? Was it that those youth were infact a challenge to the lifestyle of the “Colomboans”?

    Sorry to be skeptical…..

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      Hela,

      Progress should always be welcome and be welcomed. The past seems to have taught some lessons.

      Dr.RN

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      how wrong you are. Look at the % of soldiers who died as hero’s and who came from leading schools in Colombo. I myself know several who sacrificed their lives in the war in action. how many commanders were from the “elite” schools of Colombo.

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        Ann,

        I am not sure where you get your %. Please check with MOD who will have the numbers (of dead and wounded by resident township) and they will attest to what I mentioned though it is headed by a past student of a leading Colombo school.

        Yes, many commanders are/were from the “elite”schools (and many of them are my friends too). However it is the foot soldier who faced direct enemy fire and sacrificed their life & limb in large numbers. Without them (the numbers of foot soldiers), the commanders would have lost the battles like their predecessors.

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      Exactly, so what do you propose Hela dear.. that the Colomboans relinquich the fifteen minutes they enjoy with a scotch and a chat to march against all causes from Mathale to god knows where. This is not a strategic argument you present. Nonviolent protest always involves people whose interests are at stake. BBS is threatening something that the Colomboans have sought to preserve. Result: They have now sacrificed their trips outta CMB to be there on the 14th. They have options. They have the most to lose. Respect em Sir for getting out there and putting their neck on the line. Thanks for the appreciative comments btw.

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        edits above: (Sorry – kids interrupting at elbow … ) relinquish, on the 12th.

      • 0
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        gaya dear….,

        Though you have not directly responded to what I said, thanks to share the “Colomboan” strategic thinking and mindset.

        What it( the response) reveals to me is a more parochial mindset. The two now historical scenarios I mentioned had a direct impact on the lifestyles of the “Colomboans”. Yet your response suggests that the absence of vigils (after a scotch of course) then was because they (i.e. the separatist project and the violent crushing of Southern youth uprising) did not imperile “Colomboan” interests.

        For me, the debate around BBS has a much wider national dimension than a parochial “Colomboan”centric sectarian one.

        I respect your right to desent.

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    I THINK THIS IS THAT MONK IN THE PIC

    https://www.facebook.com/saranasiri.delwala

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      seems to be.. good investigation.. care to work for me? I am FBI? ;) kidding…

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    If the colombians had their way there would have been no war and no LTTE and Sri Lanka would today be the center of East Africa, South Asia and Western South East Asia and developed the way colombians love to develop to boot the super Singapora/Taiwan/Japan and what have we of South Asia. The rest of us of course want to have a fight, in fact as many fights as possible with as many people as we can find who are willing to fight us. We fight with our spouses, with our children, with our neighbors, with our teachers, with our politicians, with our priests with anyone we can pick a fight with and we are the greatest fighters of the Indian Ocean and we wrongfully claim to be the only bunch that ever “eradicated terrorism”.

    “Eka mavakage daru kela bewinaa”
    If that means what I think it means then whoever wrote that bit was obviously not in touch with reality or was intentionally bent on mischief. Diversity must be recognized if there is going to be anything like unity.

    Apey Sri Lanka?

    Let us get this straight. This land does not ‘belong’ to anyone not to you and not to me and not to anyone else either and the sooner we get this clear the better for us all.

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    This is far the best article about y day ^s incident in CMO. We dont need to bother with that Editor^s remarks – that are nothing new from his part – he is one among the million blind villagers that are brainwashed by GOSL.

    Millions of peace lovers including me hat off to you Gaya :)

    Just listening to Boston lanka – a speech of one of the Muslim academics, it is becoming clearer… that Muslims are not at all happy the way that the SLGO is not doing the due against any form of unprecedented violence vented on Muslims by hate-Speech BBS. Over nearly 70% Muslims are unhappy the manner BBS ^s terror against them.

    In order to achieve sustainable peace in the country that academic further pointed out the followings are imperative:

    a) People have to avoid playing nasty politics
    b) SLGO has to solve these problems looking at them properly
    c) If SLGO would tolerate hate speech holders BBS – there will be no peace in the country

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      One of my key questions were focused by him and also by a large majority of Muslims why the Muslim politicians in the ruling coalition are dead silent in these brutal attacks by BBS or others against Muslims…

      As lately commented by me, minister of Justice – is deadly silent whatever injustice is the case against Muslims, Sinhalese or Tamils – is still unanswered by anyone…

      In comparable issues like that of yesterday and the previous attacked made by BBS to the Muslim shop keepers – EU country ministers of Justice would react immediately but ours ? …. can anybody explain me why ..

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        A short and not so sweet response! It is the “Kumari” file which is under the custody of Hitlerpaksha??

  • 0
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    Spot on !

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    Colombo is a good example of coexistance and harmony. Colombo is a place where you make or break. Thats why all communities come to Colombo. Thats why BBS has located in the heart of Colombo, a property gifted by the Govt (all taxpayers money including non-Buddhist) and given them 300 Mn to build (courtesy UDA and MOD. All taxpayers money).

    A good first for the Sri Lankan middle cast who contribute to the development and economy by way of hard work, taxes, income, employment etc. BBS and the like are leeches who do nothing but suck the blood of the community and slowly destroy it. Time for Colombians to show the Govt their strength. Remember Tahrir Square.

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      Colombian should bring the plague and infect the Bloody BBS jokers starting with the Kiram joker, the fat pig and the Balluge

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      For years I was under the impression that that tree covered empty site at the end of Lauries rd, on the Havelock Rd, belonged to a Tamil (SL) businessman, temporarily abroad. WAS I wrong? If so, to WHOM did it belong all these years? If I am right? how was it removed from the SLT Biz man’s ownership?

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      A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU

      Sri Lanka has protected and preserved the Noble Teachings of Lord Buddha for over 2500 years. The Buddhist Cultural Centre has been instrumental in spreading the message of Buddhism across the world through the publication of many Buddhist books and literature which have been protected and preserved as the Noble Teachings of Lord Buddha through the years.

      To commemorate “Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi” which marks the 2600th year of the Enlightenment of Lord Buddha, which will be celebrated in the year 2011, the Buddhist Cultural Centre has taken the responsibility of building the World’s Largest Buddhist Publication and Information Centre which will consist of a Conference Hall with a seating capacity of 600 Nos., an Information Centre, a Language Laboratory, an Audio-Visual Studio and a Separate Unit for Buddhist Research and Missionary Activities.

      It is our intention to have this centre completed by May 2011.

      The cost of this building is estimated at Rs. 330 mn [US$ 3 mn]

      Towards this meritorious cause, His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse, the President of Sri Lanka has very generously donated a state owned land in the heart of the City of Colombo, for the construction of this multi-purpose building.

      In this connection, The Buddhist Cultural Centre appeals for your generous contributions in order to make this Project a reality.

      All donations can be made as follows:

      • Sampath Bank Plc, Nugegoda Branch, Sri Lanka Account No. 0003 6000 1601
      (if you are Sri Lankan)

      • HSBC Bank Plc, Nugegoda Branch, Sri Lanka Account No. 055 096268 040
      (if you are not Sri Lankan)

      • All cheques/bank drafts to be drawn in favour of the Buddhist Cultural Centre
      crossed “Account Payee.”

      • Credit Card Payments to be made through our website: http://www.buddhistcc.net

      For further information.

      Please contact:-

      The Director,
      Ven. Kirama Wimalajothi Thero.
      Buddhist Cultural Centre,
      No. 125, Anderson Road,
      Nedimala, Dehiwala.
      Sri Lanka.
      Tel – 0094 011 2726234, 2734256, 2738468
      E-mails – bcc456sltnet.lk, director@buddhistcc.net, info@buddhistcc.com

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      Even Muslim and Catholic Schools have been asked to contribute. The impression given is that this will be a center for harmony amongst the people of the country.

      Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi Mandira under construction
      Priyanka KURUGALA

      Fifty percent of the construction of the 2600 Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi Mandira has been completed. To complete the other part of the structure about Rs 200 million is needed, said Buddhist Cultural Centre Director Ven Kirama Wimalajothi Thera.

      The Thera was addressing a press conference at the building premises in Tunmulla, Colombo Wednesday.

      “We expect to complete the other half of the building by Vesak Full Moon Poya day 2011,” the Thera said.

      Numerous individuals and organizations have funded Rs 102 million for this memorial. The organizers expect that all people will help in the constructing of the 2600 Sambuddha Jayanthi Mandira.

      The organizers had launched a flag week among 2,000 schools to collect donations for the construction of this building. Apart from Buddhist schools, Muslim and Catholic schools also have donated money.

      Fund raising program for this purpose will be implemented among Government servants under the aegis of the Public Administration Ministry and the Buddhasasana and Religious Affairs Ministry, beginning next week. It is expected that Government servants will support this program.

      “The Sambuddha Jayanthi Mandira will be a Buddhist information Center accessible to people the world over.

      This program will help build harmony among all people of the country. This center will act as a major point for the delivering of the Dhamma worldwide,” the Thera said.

      Organizing Committee Member Yadamini Gunawardhana said President Mahinda Rajapaksa laid the foundation stone for this building. With the blessing of President Rajapaksa we hope to inaugurate the building next Vesak.

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    What we see now is something that will make Malaysia’s widely despised Bhumiputra Project look like a Sunday School picnic – in the coming months. It is said the regime has already imported large quantities of tear-gas canisters, barbed wire and so on – carefully calculating the future need for it. The storm-troopers of the Vermin variety are clearly in intense training for the Peoples Vs Regime showdown soon.

    Senguttuvan

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    I wonder why you are soo worried about a kids article ? Doesnt like any questioning ? Or cannot tolerate such comments ?

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    Dayan, I agree with the following above everything:

    “Quite apart from the question of whether ‘Nightclub Buddhists’ who aren’t guilty of hit and run drunken driving of a lorry (a greater vehicle?) are somehow less Buddhist than the “Bay-badu Bala Sena” ones, what precisely does Malinda mean by ‘raises questions of social status, class lifestyle’? What questions? Of course clothes do mark but how do “clothes mark and [they] mark well”, in relation to Buddhism and the issues at hand? When once again Malinda says ‘this was no Buddhist cross section, that much was apparent to me’, how was it apparent, why is what is apparent (the result of sense impressions) taken to be the truth – which doesn’t sound much like the Dhamma—and what does any of it has to do with Buddhism, still less the legitimacy of a protest against religious fanaticism? “

    And from what I read from the few articles sofar including yours, I believe this could just be a FB gathering of western sort – to peacefully protest against hate speech-BBS and their continue violent vented on many these days.

    Composition of the gathering has HOWEVER been the focus to that estranged Editor Malinda S than to anyone else because he has to score his bonus leaving the truth aside, but by any means.

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    While it’s important to engage in protests and other form of expressing dissent to injustice we must remember that public opinion is important to champion any cause and to defeat discriminating forces, we must remember that Sri Lankan society does not have enough facilities to access information about these protests online in English. Therefore it is important to reach the public to change public opinion. If we fail to do that not only would we fail to champion justice we would also undermine it. Engaging with the Sinhala speaking rural public is essential to make sure that racism against Muslims does not spread like a wildfire. They might be stupid and racist in yours and mine point of views but they are the public. Communicating the truth to the public is the challenge of the moment considering the bias in mainstream media and organizing protests via FB targeting English speaking urban classes in the least successful way to educate and enlighten the public.

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    Oh nice to see the bhikkus are a moderate lot. not many have shaved arm pits…So it goes on to prove these lads are not from remote villages but lapdogs of Norway… ummm…

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      lol

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    You are missing the whole point in that article. Not sure if you misunderstood the main fact or deliberately ignore that this vigil was organized by “Buddhists Questioning BBS”. The writer claims that the majority of the participants of the vigil were non-Buddhists. As the title of the fb page, the organizers it must be consisted of majority of Buddhists who disagree with BBS vision & propaganda.

    Of course even other people in different ethnic groups and religions can stand against BBS’s fascism. But the vigil was was to show the Buddhist monks the right way. So the issue rises here. What’s the point of when group of non-Buddhists try to teach the Buddhist monks “the right way”? Isn’t it just ridiculous? It only multiplies the tension between BBS followers and non-followers, leading it to a worse condition.

    Finally, if they wanted to gather everyone who stand against BBS thug monks, they should have changed their name to “people questioning BBS”.

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    There seems to be a general admission that this was a Middle Class Colombian demonstration against the BBS.
    But, since when have candlelight vigils been part of Sri Lankan Buddhist culture? Is this a reflection of the evolution of globalized protest, i.e., a “spring” a la Libya, Egypt, etc. OR, since the group calls itself the BQBBS, does it really have some Buddhist religious significance?
    It seems to me that the distress call from the BQBBS is for Buddhists to cease being temple-going sorts, but instead, they should only resort to carrying their religion in their hearts and minds.
    I am not a regular temple-goer myself, but I sense some discrimination here between the tolerance accorded to Christians and Muslims who attend their Churches and Mosques; a practice suddenly now becoming unacceptable from temple-going Buddhists.
    Would Christians and Muslims also be better accepted among Colombians if they carry their religion in their hearts and minds alone? This carrying of Buddhism in “hearts and minds” has been articulated several times over in comments on the BBS issue by those objecting to temple-going Buddhists.
    This is a country that has accorded recognition to several world religions, giving all of them due respect. But the reality also is that the great majority of the population in the island practices Buddhhism, have done so for centuries, and should be allowed the freedom and the dignity to worship in the ways they wish.
    If reform is to be, it must come from within their own temples, not through pressures exerted by a motley group of public demonstrators in the style of Trade Union activism.

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      you say “If reform is to be, it must come from within their own temples, not through pressures exerted by a motley group of public demonstrators in the style of Trade Union activism”

      Then how do you call those rascal monks inciting violence against the muslims now (see the Dambulla and Fashion Bug video) is that normal behaviour? let alone coming from the so called clergy from a reliogion that preaches tolerance.

      Mahesh we know your type,the sort of people who incite others hiding behind a mask,go take your points and put it across to donkeys (the kind of which are not found in CT readers apart from you and few others!)

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    Dear Ms.Fernando
    Colomboians only raise a voice when something affects them directly. It would be nice to see an article by you regarding what you think about the burning of the Uthayan Newspaper office in Jaffna.

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/uthayan-office-in-jaffna-set-on-fire-again/

    …the attack on the same newspaper on 3rd March 2013.

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/tna-condemnes-todays-uthayan-newspaper-attack/

    …the attack of a TNA meeting in Kilinochchi by GOSL thugs.

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/photograph-evidence-tna-meeting-attack-attackers-had-cid-identity-cards/

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      I hope you were at the protest, Shehan ;)

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    This candle light protest is a deliberate attempt by a non-buddhist’s to provoke BBS members and then let them assault by BBS members. So that then they can scream to the world that,”Here BBS thugs attacking peaceful protestor’s, there is no freedom to protest in SL or Gota’s police attack peaceful demonstrator’s etc….”.

    If they want to protest,why not they protest somewhere else without coming in front of “Sambuddha Jayanthi” building. And any protest organise by anybody or an organisation, need to get prior approval from police. Police must investigate who’s behind this activity and who’s funding it. A foreign embassy[who openly acting to change regime here or eagerly waiting till it happen] definitely behind it.

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    Gaya,
    You seem to have forgotten the country has been run (into the ground) by Colombans except for Premadasa and Rajapakse. Even the Tamil leaders were also Colombans, SJV Chelvanayagam and GG Ponnambalam. The leaders were making calls for Swabasha be it Sinhala or Tamil while educating their kith and kin in English.

    The Sri Lanka cricket team also used to be exclusively Colomban. It was only when the rural sector became part of the cricket team did Sri Lanka win a test match.

    Whoever decided to organize a protest on New Years eve and at night was not thinking clearly. How would the average person who travels by bus get back even if they did want to forgo nonagathe and other customs.

    There are also many Sinhala blog. I dint see any that were promoting the candlelight protest.

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    Gaya,
    You seem to have forgotten the country has been run (into the ground) by Colombans except for Premadasa and Rajapakse. Even the Tamil leaders were also Colombans, SJV Chelvanayagam and GG Ponnambalam. The leaders were making calls for Swabasha be it Sinhala or Tamil while educating their kith and kin in English.

    The Sri Lanka cricket team also used to be exclusively Colomban. It was only when the rural sector became part of the cricket team did Sri Lanka win a test match.

    Whoever decided to organize a protest on New Years eve and at night was not thinking clearly. How would the average person who travels by bus get back even if they did want to forgo nonagathe and other customs.

    There are also many Sinhala blog. I dint see any that were promoting the candlelight protest.

    The issue all the blogs seem to avoid asking was this protest public gathering authorized. i.e. Did they have permit.

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      Which rewritten version of our history are you quoting mate? Your friend Rajapasses’s?
      Regarding the timing. Precious customs amount to nothing when balanced with standing up for the right. Besides new years eve was tonight – not the 12th.
      In a democratic country (?), there is no question about permits – how does this even fit into the equation in this instance.

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        I believe the majority of the folks are not well informed. Peoples thinking should have been improved.

        The situation today is totally different with those of prior to 2009 in the country. They the average are trying to see it always excusing the war victory. They are not seeing beyond the war victory. In the post war episodes, have the rulers made genuine efforts in rebuilding the society ? If it is the case with them, why to pay blind eye towards and CRIMINAL GANGS to mobilise BBS or any other violent segments etc are the questions that majority raise today.

        There are a large numbers of the buddhist monks with high capacities seem to stay silent for unexplainable reasons. Perhaps Gota^s involvement in BBS parades may have made people believe if SLGO backs the BBS, others would have no chance.

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          Samuel,

          When you see the big Evangelical Christian organizations in the US criticize the US invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan and support for attack of Libya then I will start wondering why the Mahanayakes are not criticizing the Govt.

          Big Religion and Big Govt are big Establishment. You want to change that better get into a trench, forget about family and start fighting.

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    Are we creating another class of people in Sri Lanka, don’t we have enough already based on cast, race, religion, ethnicity, language etc. The candle light peaceful vigil is a strong positive action by a group of concerned citizens, it does not matter if they are face book fans, or educated elites of Colombo. It showed that Sri Lankans who for a long time have been ignoring all that was happening around them have woken up, this is a positive symbol that Sri Lankans irrespective of their cast and creed believe we are all children of Sri Lanka. We are Sri Lankans, not Sinhalese, Muslims, Tamils or Burghers. I strongly support such moves by the civic societies. The face book move should spread all over Sri Lanka not just restricted to Colombo elite.

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    I read Ms. Fernando’s article twice and still had difficulty grasping her point of view. I would expect there to be one! You see aney, a simple act of turning up to stand,by,in front of, observe.. a protest is a major development by Sri Lankan standards. We are an apathetic people who trusted there was Rice in the Moon and colorful 2″ tall rubber slippers will make up look bigger than we really were a-la JR.

    However, I believe the ‘facebook’ aspect attributed to this protest is interesting. It is interesting because facebook, twitter and other instant media were used extensively during the Arab spring protests and maybe some of us feel that is one way to get people moving. I guess one needs to have data service to use any of this, and by extension be able to afford it. That leads to the assumptions made about the socio-econo-intellect composition of the protestors. And, there are always going to be those who are there for their own purposes. Especially, with youtube,facebook and blogs available to post their selfless commitments.

    What I want to know is why the protest happened in front of the BBS hq and not in front of MOD? Enough has been written about the hidden hand behind the movement to make that quite clear is’nt it?

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    Well, next time when you organise or call for people to come for anything, if you are truly driven by buddhist philosophy please organise these events at a Temple. Organising these to provoke another in a location that could create further trouble is not acceptable. What you need to prove to the world is that BBS is not driven by the Buddhist philosophy. That’s the only way that you can protect Buddhism and image of buddhist. If your intentions are sincere you don’t have to rally people for vigils but rally people to protect peace in society and to respect others of different nationalities, races, religions and etc. Rally Buddhist for equal rights of all ethnicities that live in Sri Lanka.

    Fanaticism or extremism in any form should not be harboured in any society. Any protest to antagonise another party or public stuns by publicity craving (in robes or not) should also not be entertained. Just because one is against the behaviour and anti social activities of BBS it also does not mean that they should be on the side of others that work with ulterior motives. Stand for the right cause.

    Prove to the world that One being proud of the race and religion of which he/she belongs to can also be a person that accepts and a proponent of a multi ethnic and multi religious society.

    I too vehemently disagree of rhetorics and the unruly behaviour of BBS. But don’t play in to the hands of other unscrupulous powers that is eyeing to destabilise our Country.
    Stand for the Country and stand to protect the reputation of the Nation. It doesn’t mean that you need to agree with those who act with blind faith in the name of the country, race, religion or any other cause. Stand against those who wants to brand the nation based on unruly few.

    Do what is right for the Country and what is right for the Society, then you will not be causing any harm to the rightful living of anyone.

    What is important is to agree to disagree with respect and coexist. I believe this is what is needed for a multi cultural, multi ethnic society. I stand to be corrected.

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    Looking through a recent issue of a ” HI” ( wonder why they ommited “FI”) magazine, I was amazed at how far these Night Clubbing Buddhists among the “Colomboans” who claim to to be Buddhist Philosophers,have come in a matter of less than 5 years , since these same Coloambians were nearly obliterated by Diaspora funded Airforce.

    25 course International menu, without even one “curry”, in an Elite Hotel,good looking lads .pretty lassies and their wellheeled aunties and uncles tapping away to top bands are a sign of good living to the max.

    This is even without Spa treatment and soft touch masssages by Thai chicks.

    Reading a few names in the photos on these glamor events, it is evident that there are a few of our villagers too, who have made the cut to play in the Big League of our traditional Colomboans.

    And I am exteremely happy for that.

    But one thing they ought to realize is that this new found fun loving life style was given to these Facebooking, Night Clubbing and IPad wearing Sinhala Buddhists by non Colomboans.

    These non Colomboan parents sacrificed young lives of their loved ones to the tune of thirty thousand plus.

    There is no sweat about holding any vigils with or without candles.

    But,these Colomboan Budhhists ought to realize if they haven’t already done, that there are big time Vutures hovering around to grasp any opportunity to make mischief.

    Surely these Fcebooking Buddhists don’t need details of the aims of these mischievous activities are.

    When they get a break from facebooking, they should also Google to see how much damage their counterparts in places like Syria have done to there fellow citizens.

    And believe me, if the “outsiders” and their local stooges wriggle through these vigils,and roll this Govt,it will be worse than Syria.

    And our village rural poor whom ,they used to call Yakkos will get the rough end of the stick yet again.

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      K.A Sumanasekera

      Haven’t you heard of wife swapping parties and Kandyan hospitality among the pious Sinhal/Buddhists in the country?

      Haven’t you heard of a woman who is closely related to a key JVP member running a brothel?

      Haven’t you senior political masters frequenting brothels run by classy Madams?

      Haven’t you heard pious monks abusing women and children in town and villages?

      Whats wrong with Colombans enjoying themselves in expensive waterholes?

      The appropriate question would have been how did they make all these wealth? Follow the money trail you will find much more than you expected.

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        Native.

        You seem to have a lot of experience in these fields.

        Wht can we say except, “Good on you pal”.

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    I watched this candle light vigil through UTUBE. I am writing this email from Australia. I am not a member of BBS or any organisation. But I do observe what is happening in Sri Lanka. I have lived and worked in Australia for ten years.

    This candle light vigil is a “boru show staged” by some colombeans who does not understand the true Sri Lankan spirit or any cultural values. I have noted that people who staged this protest do not belonging to the Sri Lankan working working class or village people. They are stylish bunch of men and women who hang around in coffee shops in Colombo. They do not have any true Sri Lankan cultural values. The candle light vigils are not part of Sri Lankan culture. It is a part of the western culture. They should have held a “Mati Pahan” vigil instead of candle light vigil to get their message dilivered.

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      It is not right to put them down in that way.

      Alone their motive to hold a peaceful candlelit vigil against any form of violence vented by BBS should be commendable by peace loving people in and out of the country. There are a significant number in the country stay as if they are scared still doing nothing but just observing whatever is being practiced by anyone today. This kind of vigils and peaceful parades can only open the eyes of those masses – and people in and out of Colombo areas are becoming clear that BBS represented by hate speech holders that nobody guess could be normal Buddhists. They are not the buddhists that the IC have named as peaceful buddhists for the decades. Letting them to destroy the Buddhism in the country, not doing the due is very irresponsible from the side of the SLGO at this critical juncture.

      What a joke, you yourself should have known handling MATIPAHAN – on such parades are not practical. How can you just hold them while walking ???^’ It is sad to see that many like you interpret this kind good tasks in that way. :( and those stylish bunches from your wording could definitely help educating the majority masses.

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    No BBS that time, it is an old news – CT

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    Live and let live!
    Some home truths for all those who are waxing eloquent.

    1. No country belongs to anyone – live in it
    2. All of us are here on a short stay visa – live with that
    3. All of us are born free – live it up
    4. Your religion is your religion keep it that way and live like that
    5. Your race is your race keep it that way and learn to live it
    6. You are born into what you are born into, country, religion, race, colour, creed whatever – live with that.
    7. Remember you are mortal and that you wont live forever, so let live
    8. Not even you are infallible so live without accusation
    9. Trust begets trust try it
    10.Love one another ( that’s not idealistic, believe that it is realistic!)
    Live and let live! otherwise we die; we all die!

    Choice is ours. Time is now. Forget the rest.

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    Dear Ms.Fernando,

    Where were you and your fellow Colombians when the Islamic fundamentalists bulldozed ancient ruins in the East of this country and cut into two an ancient stupa? These historic sites are not just sacred to Buddhists in this country but are part of the world’s heritage. Why didn’t you think of protesting about these acts of violence and many others committed by Islamic fundamentalists? Are these not acts of extremism and deserve highlighting in papers, opinion pages and in western style candle lip vigils? Or are you and your fellow Colombians who are drunk on foreign wines only interested in highlighting acts perpetrated by BBS because that’s the popular trend these days?

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      I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHO THESE ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISTS ARE.

      WHAT WERE THE LAW ENFORCING AUTHORITIES DOING WHILE THIS WENT ON.

      WHAT ACTION WAS TAKEN AGAINST THESE VANDALS.

      IN ANY CASE THEY WERE RUINS.

      CONTINUE TO LIVE IN YOUR GLORIOUS PAST.

      BLOODY BULL SHIT

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    Even as I write this in a personal vein, as a researcher and author of a book on Nonviolent Coexistence undertaken as a contribution to the peacwe education of Sri Lanka…

    Interesting words from someone on whose blog, isrilanka we can find the writings of a certain war criminal. When I pointed this out to Gaya on her blog (the danger of hosting the writings of war criminals), in the comments section, it was conveniently erased. Clearly, Gaya has her own agenda to follow.

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      YOU TOO HAVE YOUR OWN AGENDA

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