25 May, 2019

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Fragments & Fissures In State & Society – Post Easter

By Rajan Philips

Rajan Philips

The State of Ceylon embraces three ethnic groups and four religions.” ~ Pierre Elliot Trudeau, 1962 

Two meetings, two pictures. They say it all about the state of Sri Lanka’s political establishment following the Easter Sunday calamities. The first (The Island, April 26) shows Sirisena presiding over an all-party meeting. The President’s pathetic photo-up to cover up his incompetence and failure generally as President and especially as Defence Minister. In the second (Daily Mirror, April 29), Mahinda Rajapaksa is presiding over a para-state gathering of the former Defence Secretary and a handful of former commanders discussing the state of national security after the blasts on Easter Sunday. Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only person in both pictures – Leader of the Opposition in one, and head of para-state in the other. 

In any other country or under any other government in Sri Lanka, the second picture would have provoked howls of condemnation that it is a virtual show of treason. But the first picture explains why the second picture is even there. A government utterly divided and totally in disarray has given the gumption to the folks of the former government to pretend that they are in virtual power now and to assert that they will be in real power soon. There is no cabinet government even in name. And the parliament, for all intent and purpose, has become totally irrelevant. This is one side of the post-Easter reality. 

Sirisena’s all-Party meeting

The other side is the sociopolitical side – its fragments and fissures that have been brought into sharp relief by the targeted bombings of places of worship belonging to one religious group by extremist outliers of another religious group. This has never happened in Sri Lanka. Nor has there been a targeted attack on foreign tourists. The external impetus to these events is now well established and that too is unprecedented. There is understandably a dialectic between the global emergence of radical Islamic groups (not movements) like the Al-Qaeda and the ISIS, on the one hand, and the radicalization of Muslim politics in many non-Arab countries. 

In its genesis and its implications, the radicalization of Muslim politics in predominantly, or majority, Muslim countries from Turkey to Indonesia, is manifestly different from the processes of radicalization in countries where the Muslims are a minority. Even among the latter grouping, Sri Lanka has its own peculiarities. India, where the Muslims are a minority, is in a league of its own as it is in every socio-political phenomenon. The Muslim question in western countries is also different, given the different source countries for Muslim migration and the differences between traditional Europe and the immigrant societies of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US.   

Muslim Radicalization

The current radicalization of Muslims in Sri Lanka is the result of a sliver of Sri Lanka’s Muslim population coming under – what scholars on Islamic radicalization call the “narrow, literalist interpretation of Islam’’, against traditional forms of Muslim worship and religious practices. The main impetus for radicalization has been acknowledged to be the ‘Wahhabi influence’ from Saudi Arabia supplemented by Saudi money and messianic inspirations. Commentators have drawn attention to early warning signs that emerged as far back as 2006 and 2007: the proliferation of madrasas and non-traditional Mosques, Tamil translations of Osama bin Laden speeches, and attacks on Sufi shrines in the Eastern Province. To their credit, moderate Muslim individuals and groups have consistently and even loudly warned government and Muslim leaders of the dangerous developments on the ground. The factors that led to these warnings being ignored were also the factors that created a fertile soil for the process of radicalization to take root to the extent that we are seeing today.

Rajapaksa’s para-state meeting

No Sri Lankan government was ever going to do anything to displease any Middle Eastern government on whom Sri Lanka depended for importing oil and exporting primarily domestic labour. The way recent Sri Lankan governments operate, as we have come to know, it is unlikely that these matters would have been discussed at any policy level to develop an overall approach to dealing with the new socio-religious channels between Sri Lanka and the Middle East. Political leaders and government officials opted to turn a blind eye to the radicalization of small groups of Muslims, and turned a deaf ear to the large number of complaints from moderate Muslims. This approach also enabled the coterie of Muslim radicals to use willing Muslim politicians as their protectors from policing and apprehensions. 

To digress here for a moment, we saw the stunning culmination of these developments in the decision of senior Defence Ministry and law enforcement officials, as has been credibly reported, to ignore the pre-Easter warnings from India because acting on those warnings might annoy Pakistan. How can anyone make any sense of this? How can any sensible Sri Lankan believe that the President would not have been a party to this native strategizing? Even if Pakistan was a serious consideration, wouldn’t it have been a more sensible approach to contact and apprise Pakistan at highest level about the Indian information, while taking every step based on that information to prevent the calamity that eventually happened on Easter Sunday. In the end, no one contacted India, no one contacted Pakistan, and the perpetrators were given a clear path to go ahead and do what they did.        

The external impulses to radicalization found a favourable local environment over the last few decades. For starters, the dynamic of Tamil separatism played its own catalytical role in the radicalization among the Muslims. Although the vast majority of the Muslims were neutral in the conflict over the separate state, more than a few of them joined one or the other group of Tamil militants fighting for separation, while others became collateral victims in much larger numbers of LTTE vengeance for alleged collaboration with government forces. After the war, Muslims became an easy target for extreme Sinhala Buddhist groups who periodically attacked the Muslims with impunity. The irony was that moderate Muslims became victims of a double squeeze. On the one hand, the government ignored the warnings of moderate Muslims about their own extremists; on the other hand, the government abandoned them when they came under attacks from the extremists of other groups. 

What has also emerged is that in the cacophony of ‘Tiger cries’ (the new way of crying wolf) that drown out any other discussion in Sri Lankan politics, the police missed out on identifying the real killers of the two policemen who were killed in Batticaloa, in November last year. The police arrested former LTTEers on suspicion while those who were responsible for the killing remained free to plan for Easter Monday.       

At another level, what underpinned the process of radicalization was the regionalization of Muslim politics and the emergence political leaders especially from the Eastern Province, and also from the Mannar area. These new leaders challenged the traditional leadership of Muslim elites in the Western, Central and Southern Provinces and their co-option into the two major political parties of Sri Lanka. Even though the new Muslim political parties that emerged remained within the moderate matrix in politics, the regional dynamic gave another impetus to Muslim radicalization. Not surprisingly, East became the incubator for the process for radicalization. It may not be widely known now, but Eastern Province Muslims have traditionally shown a flair for oratory in Tamil. That flair too has been a factor in the spread of radicalization as is being now reported. It was quite inevitable that the global messianism of Islam would provide the spark that turned these local processes into quite a little fire. 

The State and society

To complete the circle, more than a spark flew in from abroad to ignite the Easter Sunday bombs. To many commentators on global terrorism, the local perpetrators really punched well above their weight. The commentary is also that the ISIS was not targeting Sri Lanka to become its new theatre, but it found a situation in Sri Lanka that had been independently ripened for exploitation. There have also been suggestions that Sri Lanka may have been looked upon as a base for targeting India, rather than the other way around as I alluded to last week.  While there have been worldwide commentaries and analyses of what happened on Easter Sunday, the government of Sri Lanka is yet to provide a cogent explanation of what went wrong and how it is planning to put things right. This is too much to ask from a government and its leaders who cannot even offer a coherent apology or intelligently participate in international media interviews. 

The self-proclaimed alternatives to the present government, the Rajapaksa family that is, are not offering anything qualitatively different except loads of bravado. They may take their cue from Prime Minister Modi who has just been doing that in his election campaign in India. After the Easter Sunday blasts in Sri Lanka, Modi has been campaigning that such a tragedy will never happen in India on his watch because the terrorists are frightened of him. It is quite possible that Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa will borrow that slogan from Modi for use in Sri Lanka’s presidential election. But how much will he be able to do within the fetters of the Rajapaksa political formation? That is the question about the Rajapaksa alternative to the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe zombie administration. Let us look at the pictures again.            

In the first picture, Ranil Wickremesinghe unsurprisingly cuts a lonely figure, stuck between the President and Sajith Premadasa, the President’s favourite UNPer. What you see in the second picture is more consequential. In contrast to Ranil’s lonely status, Gotabaya is caught in an obsequious pose, the perpetual apprentice to the all-powerful older brother – a taste of things to come even if Gotabaya were to become the next President of Sri Lanka. To add to the tamasha, Lanka’s most discredited law professor (GL Peiris) and its most discredited ex-revolutionary (Vasudeva Nanayakkara) are duly relegated to the sidelines of the para state. Perching over from behind in the other picture is Basil Rajapaksa, plotting as always to kidnap the country again for the Rajapaksas even if it means having his least favourable sibling occupy the most powerful seat in the country.  

My point is that even though it is normal to have expectations that after the next presidential and parliamentary elections things should get better with a new President and a new parliament, it is not going to be the case in Sri Lanka. For nothing in this country will change for the better so long as any or all of the grandees in the two pictures are the ones who are going to be in charge of the state and government again after whatever elections may come and go.  The two pictures say that better than all the words that we write can do. At least in 2015, there was on offer, a believable promise and in Maithripala Sirisena there was a credible candidate to ride on that promise. Ranil Wickremesinghe promised the sun and the moon and everything in between, and some of it in great detail. This time around even they know that they have neither the credibility nor the substance to offer any promise. 

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s situation is different. Just days after Easter Sunday, he paid a courtesy visit to Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith and then, with or without the scarlet blessings, we do not know, Gotabaya went on to proclaim that he is hundred percent ready to be a presidential candidate at the next presidential election. If that was a high point for Gotabaya after his California summons, and relative to the post-Easter pits that Sirisena and Wickremesinghe have slumped into, he was soon brought to earth by the para-state meeting shown in the second picture. If elected President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa will likely feel more constrained by his brothers than anyone in the new opposition. 

Historically, Sri Lanka had its best time for the brightest prospects at the time of independence, in 1948. The State was at its strongest and it looked strong enough to accommodate and manage its sociopolitical fissures to the point of drawing praise from someone like Pierre Trudeau, in faraway Canada, that “The State of Ceylon embraces three ethnic groups and four religions.” This was before Pierre Trudeau (father of the present Canadian Prime Minister) became Prime Minister, in 1968. He was an intellectual activist at that time and was in vigorous argument with French Canadian separatists in his natal province, Quebec. 

Unbeknownst to Trudeau and many others, however, fragments and fissures were already developing in Sri Lanka’s State and society. The State that was set up to cement the fissures in society has since become fragmented and even atrophied. The two pictures say it all. As for the society, the old fissures have given way to new cracks and the new cracks gave a bloody appearance on Easter Sunday. Tragic though the situation is, it is neither unfathomable nor unsolvable. But not by any one in the two pictures. They are more part of the problem than they can be part of any solution.      

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Latest comments

  • 12
    1

    Even one with little brains would see it that President should be impeached, not waiting a minute.
    :
    There are numerous sources of information to prove that President just ignored his responsibility both as minister of defence and law and order.
    .
    He had not appointed any acting ministers to do the job in his absence in the country. How come ? That alone proves, irrespective the warnings sent by country s intelligence, him to just left the country for his private trips ( on the cost of tax payers funds).
    :
    Can anybody of you please reveal me if President SIRISENA had been deadly sick and left the country for his treatments to Singapore ?
    :
    I have no idea why THE PEOPLE AND PARLIAMENTARIANS further wait to stone and remove most abusive man as the leader of the country. He already betrayed the manadate. We could appoint Julliampitya Amare or th ekin dof convicted criminals instead Sirisen, then we would have been happier by today. This man is a DEADLY cancer to lanken nation. May curse be with the man and rest his bunch.

    • 0
      0

      So whats UNP the government is doing ??
      Is this A Proper Acharu now??
      There’s a term called TOO MANY COOKS SPOILS THE SOUP?
      As long as these Rajaballas are there the country will be a ruin.

  • 5
    8

    The claim that Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cronies got to gether to discuss the security situation would “in any other country or under any other government in Sri Lanka, provoked howls of condemnation that it is a virtual show of treason” is about the most idiotic statement I have ever read in recent days .

    Similar meetings would have happened in almost every political group, and even among chruch groups, groups of friends who get together often to discuss national politics etc.

  • 1
    7

    Sinhala people are sinhalized Tamils. So, they carry that Tamil divide. Just tell us any other country in the world which has only one religion is practiced and only one ethnic group. Are those countries recognized as multi everything countries.Everybody is bullying Sinhala buddhists.

    • 0
      0

      And Tamils are sore clean and pure that when ever some invader came to Ceylon they were the first to become their servants and carriers of their “Piss-Pochchi”. In return they go land and the power to rule over the Sinahalese and Muslims

  • 2
    8

    Did Trudeau say that .
    But then things have changed since 1962.
    I really don’t want to digress, But there are certainly more than 4 Religions..

    After Dr Phillip’s own advice I was looking more at the pictures than his diatribe.

    What surprised me is why Sampathar is not sitting ,at least next to Keselwatta Kid who is supposed to be the next all UNP Yahapalanaya President….
    One may say Sampathar is not a card carrying member as the excuse.
    But he was more UNP than even Keselwatta Kid.

    All that Easter Destruction was because of Sampathar not getting what the UNP and Dr Ranil promised him,
    These are not my words, Mind you..
    This is what Sampathar’s Deputy , Abraham said last week at the BMICH. as the main speaker of the Talk Fest of the all powerful Human Rights Cabal in Colombo., after the Easter Tragedy in Kochchikade and elsewhere..

    Talking about Trudeau’s fissures, if Dr Ranil and Abrham had their way ,the Fissures would have become permanent now…

    I am not sure about the Zion Church , but would it have prevented the Ibrahim Boys doing what they did to Kocchikade and St Sebastian Churches?…..

    • 4
      1

      KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

      Why is your new mango friend Wimal …… Weerawansa is not seen in the public except to deliver a racist rant in the parliament?

  • 2
    8

    The Sunday Times political correspondent says “Rajapaksa said that he had commissioned a group of retired military officers to formulate a report identifying the causes that led to the carnage. He asked Sirisena whether he could come with them or by himself and hand over that report. The President replied that he would give him a time”.

    And yet this writer says “In any other country or under any other government in Sri Lanka, the second picture would have provoked howls of condemnation that it is a virtual show of treason”.

    It shows that this write is so prejudiced that he cannot think clearly. And yet, this type of person presents himself ans a “political commentator”.

    • 7
      1

      Bulner

      “It shows that this write is so prejudiced that he cannot think clearly. And yet, this type of person presents himself ans a “political commentator”.

      Forget the author for a minute.
      Most rational people with an iota of the gray matter would have formed an opinion about this unethical “council of war” a paralel, plotting a putsch.

      Had these men who are being alleged to have blood in their hands should have avoided these exclusive meetings. They are no longer part of the state machinery, looks like a private army, mercenaries, ready to do whatever the failed coup plotters want them to deliver. Perhaps one or two of them have lots of experience in fundraising.

      Are you one of them who benefitted from the 30 year war?

  • 3
    10

    One of the problems of Sri lanka is the fact that “political analysts” like this writer supporting incompetent Yahapalanaya leaders because of their visceral hate of the Rajapaksas because the Rajapaksas defeated the LTTE.
    The Yahapalanaya government, by aligning with the USA, and allowing free run to Muslim politicians with extremist links, has put the whole country in to jepordy.
    The Yahapalanya government paved way for the Rajapasas, or some group worse than them to come to power.
    If you look through the past columns of Rajan P, you see him claiming that there is no security threat to the North and so the security forces MUST BE REMOVED FROM THE NORTH. That too is in line with the thinking of those who denounced the Military against the LTTE, and wanted continued negociations with Prabhakaran. Please go back to 2009 and earlier Columns in the Sunday island.

    • 6
      2

      Bala, Bodin, Bakir, ……………….

      What are you really saying?
      Do you think Sambandan planted the Easter Sunday bombs all at the same time?

  • 5
    1

    These intellectual writings are a waste on Sri Lankans

  • 3
    0

    Rajan Philips has added one more, of the same, on the Lankan 2019 Easter Sunday.
    As if orchestrated, the topic is the radicalisation of Lankan Muslims but NOT about other radical groups In 2000 Sihala Urumaya (SU)was considered radical. Some Buddhist monks found SU not radical enough and formed Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU). In 2012, finding JHU not radical enough, Buddhist Monk Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara broke away and formed Bodu Bala Sena (BBS). Patronised and supported by the MR family, BBS was not averse to violence.
    BBS brought the Halal issue and alleged to have helped arson of Muslim owned businesses BBS hand behind the 2014 Aluthgama pogrom against Muslims is open secret.
    .
    Please be a bit even handed Rajan Philips. Did BBS exacerbate the Lankan Muslim radicalisation?

  • 10
    1

    WHO IS THE LEADER OF SRI-LANKA.THE ACTION OF MAHINDA CALLING FOR AN UNOFFICIAL SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING OF HIS OLD SECURITY FAITHFULS IS A SLAP IN THE FACE FOR MY3.By receiving a report of this nature is a bad reflection of MY3,S COMMAND OVER HIS OWN TRI-FORCES OPERATING UNDER HIM.

  • 0
    1

    Fragmentation extends to within the three ethnic groups and the 4 religions. We blamed the Brits for the divide and rule policy. Our politicians have mastered it all and have divided to rule, roost and destroy. There is nothing left but only to embrace the fragmentation which instills hatred, jealousy and the perverse satisfaction of the suffering of any one community or group. The generations to come will learn from it’s Masters leading to total annihilation. The marriage of convenience we see now and again among ethnic groups and religions are signs towards that. It was only a week ago the Eater bombing that a church was attacked by locals in Anuradhapura. We see a marriage now. For how long yet again for another marriage. Well written Rajan.

    • 5
      0

      Firzan Hashim

      Are you suggesting that we should convert/adapt to one religion, one language, one culture, one culinary choice, one dress code, ……………………. one party, one leader, ………… rather than believing in unity in diversity?

  • 7
    1

    What is there to comment. It is a comedy. It is a tragedy of mounting comedies. We also have now two governments? Ha..ha..ha..

  • 6
    1

    Ran Jan Phillips,

    Four religions,

    three ethnic groups and

    Two governments, one headed by the President and the other headed by the Prime Minister, and they do not communicate with each other.

    The Tauheed Jamat Satan following Terrorists have better communications.

    • 2
      0

      Amarasiri Bro,
      .
      entire blame should be put on BP Rajaakshes.
      :
      Since this govt came into being, BP Rajakashes never let them govern. So much of attention should have been given to them and their control. BP Rajakshes should have been made eternally silent, then things would have reached better for the nation. In that period, those extremists that poped up in the second term of Rajaakshes got mobilised. So, the threats that MUSLIM SRILANKENS then faced were beyond all bearing. BP Gotabaya and other men made every thing to stand against MUSLIMs… BBS rabid dogs and other shameless high criminals were trained by Gotabaya ballige puthas. Today they talk high .. about the security. but these men should be made very resonsible for all the human losses costed the state.
      May devine forces be on the side of the us the innocient and punish Rajaakshes and their kith and kin once for all, leaving this country in peace. BASTA

      • 2
        0

        Buramphisincho Sahodaraya,

        Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka should be made the Common and UNP presidential candidate, to clean up this mess. Will the ego of Ranil a;low for that?

        President Maithripala Sirisena is reported to have refused Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s request to appoint UNP MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka as the Law and Order Minister.

        A UNP delegation led by the Prime Minister met the President on Wednesday to make the request.

        The President flatly turned down the request saying it would have dire consequences.

        Ministers Lakshman Kiriella, Kabir Hashim, and Malik Samarawickrama accompanied the Prime Minister to the meeting.

        The UNP urged that Mr. Fonseka, a wartime Army Commander, be appointed the Law and Order Ministry which is currently under the President

        • 0
          0

          Bro Amarasiri@
          Why is that Lanken Meida stay stand still
          Regarding the appointment of FM Fonseka ? Media instead waits to mislead the nation. I think if media would have been doing the due, things would change for good of the people for sure.
          That says everything about the on going situation in the country right ?
          BP Rajaakshes are behind this. What kind of dire consequencees should be made clear to the nation ?
          All is clear that the most honest politician in today s context is FM Sarath Fonseka.
          Without him, we cant succeed anything in terms of NATIONAL Security inthis country.
          All these years, his ablities were underestimated. But today, almost 80% of people would agree with him be appointed as the minister for Law and Order (police).

  • 3
    1

    When we all know what is happening / has happened in the country with Rajapakses, Wickramasinghe and Sirisena and their political parties governing us, I wonder why we still talk about them as our future leaders. Why don’t we look for a new leadership which can get this country out of the present mess?

  • 2
    0

    The only sentence worthy of mentioning is, ‘They are more part of the problem than they can be part of any solution’.
    .
    Let me take the ‘they’ in that sentence. Is it just the few people in the two pictures. No. They are only part of the problem. The major part is the Hydra they have surreptitiously nurtured. The Hydra is the major problem.

  • 4
    2

    “A government utterly divided and totally in disarray has given the gumption to the folks of the former government to pretend that they are in virtual power now and to assert that they will be in real power soon…… They are more part of the problem than they can be part of any solution.” …..Because the majority of our population are kept ignorant about any coexistence of multiethnic multi-religious communities but alive and arrogant about their sovereignty and independence refusing to learn!

  • 2
    3

    “The President and the Prime Minister owe this Country an Explanation Beyond Their Asinine ‘I did not know’ Stories.” (Quoted from another web writer).
    When there is no government, what should the Opposition leader do? That’s what MR is exactly doing with his team, and this guy Rajan Philip doesn’t understand it because he too supported to bring this useless Yahapalana government to power. At least the picture of the MR team gives some hope to Sri Lankans who were forgotten by this government. Rev. Bishop Malcolm Ranjith did the same and people have hopes in him.

    • 4
      2

      Raj

      “When there is no government, what should the Opposition leader do?”

      Plotting another putsch?
      However he already had failed once following his coup in October 2018.

      “At least the picture of the MR team gives some hope to Sri Lankans who were forgotten by this government.”

      The picture should ring alarm bells.
      Would you like to see Ein Folk Ein Reich Ein Fuhrer (One people, One state, One leader) in this island?

  • 0
    0

    We have two governments in Sri Lanka MS government and MR government , tree forces ,police intelligence ,defense law and order are under MS , question here is why MR is preparing a report for MS on what capacity and using retired persons from armed forces . this shows the weakness of MS MR is trying to prove a point here and what about the current commanders of Army ,Navy and Air force and Intelligence is a insult for them why cant the president depend on them MS is still playing political games to achieve his political agenda he doesn’t care for the people he is only thinking of his second term what a pitty

  • 3
    0

    It is a good read and a good analysis. Politics in Sri Lanka has been a replay of a drama that has the same actors, their children or nephews stepping into their roles once they die. If you look at the picture, the children of the old rogues are Dinesh Gunewardene, the Rajapakses themselves, Wickremasinghe, and Premadasa. The story will be replayed in the future with Namal in the wings. We have the same thugs and rogues cheating the people with the support of people like the plagiarist professor pieris and the senile demented Vasudeva appropriately sitting in the outer line. So our poor country stumbles along but this time the bagpipes will be played by outsiders like ISIL, Indian RAW, the FBI, M15 and the now silent Chinese who will tell us how they keep the Muslims in Xinjiang in control in their education camps. So, our monkeys will dance to foreign music and get rich in the process. Internet shows MR to be the richest man in Sri Lanka. How come?

  • 2
    0

    Para-state meeting is mostly attended by Para characters who are hell-bent on re-capturing power. These chaps are no less a danger to Sri Lanka than the IS radicals who set off those bombs on Easter Sunday.

  • 0
    0

    Rajan Philips quotes what Pierre Elliot Trudeau said in 1962, “The State of Ceylon embraces three ethnic groups and four religions.”
    Then Ceylon, now SL, has only one ethnic group. Late forties the then leaders created two ethnic groups, Sinhalese and Tamils based on mother tongue. This is not recognised by Social Scientists. A third ethnic group was created in 1956 based on religion.
    Trudeau should have said: “The State of Ceylon embraces one ethnic group and four religions”.
    PS: The Quebec quest for separate statehood is for totally different reasons.

  • 1
    0

    the problem is that the unp cannot impeach sirisena
    they do not have the numbers without slpp support
    the slpp wont support as that will lead to ranil becoming president
    so we are back to square one

  • 2
    0

    Sri lanka’s biggest problem is ignorance.

    Buddha said that the root of all our problems is due to our ignorance.
    .
    Ignorance is a very difficult concept to understand, it is only high level of reasoning that can overcome ignorance.
    .
    The sole purpose of Buddhas teachings was to lift us and break us free from the visious cycle ignorance sucks us into.
    .
    Sadly not one single Buddhist seems to understand the very essense of Buddhism. We continue to reason from a primal instincts within us.
    .
    Its a pity that a most valuable philosophy is going to waste.

  • 1
    0

    The essayist has hit the nail on its head when he says…..
    …….No Srilankan Government was ever going to do anything to displease any Middle Eastern Government on whom Srilanka depended for importing oil and exporting primarily domestic labour……

    Very true. This is the basis on which the ISIS decided to focus their attention towards Srilanka.
    Well that means the Srilankan Govt:must go down on their knees and say Aney Samawenda!

    • 0
      0

      So the Tamils are for slaughter hand in hand with the Saudis for the Oil??so what would India and America do watch?? the Buddha / Allah dance or cohabiting ??

  • 0
    0

    The so-called columnists and scholars hide the fact that
    1. Easter Sunday attackers carefully selected their targets to kill maximum number of Tamils
    2. Islamic terrorism against Tamils was nurtured long before the formation of IS

  • 2
    0

    If Ranil Wickremesinghe really cares about and for the country he ought to resign and hand over the leadership to FM Sarath Fonseka immediately before another imminent disaster strikes. FM Sarath Fonseka has the gumption to put where the Gamarala actually belongs.

  • 0
    0

    hancho pancha.

    F.M.Sarath Fonseka will make him again a President! This time President of the All-Island Grama Seveka Niladhari association.

  • 0
    0

    If we can have two governments, two PM and two cabinets , I guess it is okay to have two crisis intervention meetings. I like the looks of the second picture which is more of a one way communication than the round table shit. See the arrangement of tables. Reminds me of the “situation room in White House”. The Don speaks and the rest just listen, where as in the round table except for MS , rest would have been highly vocal. The answer MS gave to foreign press still rings, “if French and US presidents didnt resign after ISIS attacks, why should I”??????. You a beauty MS.

  • 1
    0

    The writer notes that “No Sri Lankan government was ever going to do anything to displease any Middle Eastern government on whom Sri Lanka depended for importing oil and exporting primarily domestic labour.” The main Middle Eastern government alluded to here is of course Saudi Arabia, the sort of elephant in the room in the current context, that many would rather not refer to by name. Very simply, no Sri Lankan government can afford to act otherwise – beggars cannot be choosers. But neither are the US and the UK, although differently placed than Sri Lanka, inclined to displease the likes of Saudi Arabia, because they are the biggest buyers of their arms and military equipment. The US and the UK have seemingly convinced themselves that, in business, the guiding rule is that the customer is always right, never mind his conduct in other areas. Saudi Arabia’s export of Wahabism that sets about to undermine religious accord in the recipient countries, and its funding of mosques and madrasas that preach a subversive faith do not seem to matter. The fact that 15 of the 19 pilots who took part in the 9/11 attacks were Saudis does not seem to count. The US and the UK rarely, if ever, comment on SA’s appalling record of human rights abuses. And, so, it seems SA can get away with anything, even murder, not just metaphorically but also literally as we saw with the Saudi journalist who was abducted in Turkey and murdered. Talk of the almighty dollar, the petro dollar ranks even higher.

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    They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the two photos do say a great deal. But whatever the President may be saying, only the Prime Minister and his deputy seem to be in any way interested. MR is looking away, seemingly bored stiff, Sampanthan is in his own bubble, scribbling away, not even bothering to raise his eyes from his paper. Nimal Siripala appears to have fallen asleep and Dinesh has a blank expression as he looks straight ahead. In the meantime, the President is carrying on regardless. What an inspiring photo! Is this the sort to lift our spirits? The second photo is no better. At least more in the audience are looking at the speaker. MR seems to be saying nothing as is his brother. The ‘vacant’ look of a large table top with little on it reflects the equally vacant look on the faces of those present. And poor GL, the nominal leader of the SLPP seems even more insignificant than ever. The audience may well have been invited for a discussion but what the picture tells us is very clear – only two persons count, MR and GR and that as we know is what really matters in the world of Rajapakse politics.

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