22 September, 2020

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Geneva And The Anti Muslim Campaign

By Harim Peiris –

Harim Peiris

It fell on IGP N.K. Illangakoon, at a recent press conference to uncharacteristically speak out against those that sought to create social disharmony and incite violence on ethno religious grounds. The maintenance and promotion of social harmony is generally a task of a country’s political leaders. However when the political leaders fail, managing and dealing with the ensuring violence and social upheaval becomes the responsibility of the security forces, particularly the law enforcement agencies and accordingly such agencies are sensitive to situations that exacerbate conflicts and promote violence.

Sinhala Buddhist push back on the hate campaign

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce last week, brokered a compromise on the issue of the Hallal logo on products. This compromise, was given its blessing by leading members of the Maha Sanga, who made no bones about their opposition to a hate campaign against other the practice and adherents of other faiths. In fact Buddhism and Buddhist leaders have been historically very tolerant and indeed accommodative of other faiths and practices.

What is interesting from a political analysts’ standpoint is how much against the mainstream of the current public mood and popular sentiment, the current anti Muslim campaign is. This is not a campaign that has the backing of either the majority of the Sinhala community or of the UPFA government’s support base. Unfortunately though, what we have is a situation that those promoting communal disharmony and spreading a hate campaign have all the space and opportunity to pursue their bigoted campaign at will. Eventually if not challenged and countered at every turn, through a monopoly of the public debate, opinion may begin to shift. What is unclear is exactly what the Rajapakse regime hopes to achieve for itself or its key personalities by being enabling Sri Lanka and her society to be a fertile breeding ground for ethno religious violence and conflict. Are any in the ruling elite nostalgic for the war years?

The UNHRC resolution on (not against) Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka continues to be under international scrutiny for its lack of progress on human rights and reconciliation. The absence of any progress on implementing the excellent recommendations of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has meant that the international community to whom undertakings of post war reconciliation was promised, seeks to hold the government to its word. The UNHRC resolution is on Sri Lanka. It is not against Sri Lanka. To some extent it may be against the actions or rather inaction of the Rajapakse regime on reconciliation and implementing the recommendations of the LLRC. There is nothing anti national or anti government in the LLRC report. The LLRC is a Presidential Commission, its report is a government report, the pledge to implement it is a voluntary government pledge (anyone remember Nimal Siripala’s speech when tabling it in Parliament). Accordingly the UNHRC resolution to implement the LLRC recommendation is very pro Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans. Not implementing the LLRC is quite anti an Sri Lankan actions by the ruling Rajapakse regime. As for exercising international options and Geneva agencies of the United Nations, none other than President Mahinda Rajapakse, when an opposition MP, fighting against the human rights abuses of the JR Jayewardene regime was the first to activate the Geneva option and go the UN human rights organizations with complaints about the then UNP regime’s abuses. What MP Rajapakse can do in yesteryear in defense of human rights,  President Rajapakse’s present day  administration cannot fault, demonize and legitimize. Today it falls on the families of Bhartha Lakshman, Prageeth Ekneligoda and the TNA’s MA Sumanthiran to take the case for human rights and reconciliation in Sri Lanka to the UNHRC, to an international community which by and large resonates with the need for ensuring human rights safeguards in Sri Lanka. It has been one of Sri Lanka’s tragedies in the past that dissent and redress for grievances was taken out of the non violent and democratic space and released violently and extra systematically. In our globalised and inter connected world, in the domestic context of an impeached (chief) justice system, Sri Lankan can and must have recourse to international forums, when the local domestic ones have failed and fallen.JHU and LTTE on common platform

It would quite shock the ultra ethno religious nationalists of the JHU that they share a common policy platform with the rump LTTE (the non fighting Diaspora types who were not willing to die for the cause, just fund the killing) and those nostalgic for a separatist agenda in Sri Lanka. Both the JHU and LTTE sympathizers reject the LLRC recommendations and oppose the UNHRC resolution. The JHU oppose on the grounds that no reconciliation only reconstruction is needed, while the LTTE oppose on the grounds that no reconciliation is needed only separatism. Unsurprisingly the two extreme ends of Sri Lanka’s political spectrum, mercifully both marginal in terms of popular support but very influential amongst its community, the JHU tail wagging the UPFA dog and the international rump LTTE doing likewise to the Tamil community led post war democratically and moderately by the TNA and R. Sambanthan. When two extremist elements both reject something as being unacceptable, in this case the LLRC recommendations, which is perhaps its biggest endorsement, that it is in fact moderate, centrists, fair and commendable.

*Harim Peiris‘s column may be accessed online at http://harimpeiris.com

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Latest comments

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    The JHU (read BBS, Sinhala Ravaya as well too) tail wagging the UPFA dog just as the Diaspora LTTE rump tail still wags the Tamil Community dog!

    So it is apt for the Sinhala extremists to understand that the LTTE felt the same was happening to their community and they had to save it from the Sinhala State.

    I hope these extremists therefore understand the though process involved in their actions, and why these actions can in the long run be harmful to society.

    Only if the Sinhala extremists understand that it is them who seek a fight, and therefore offer a state terrorism alternative, that they should check their enthusiasm for their agenda, which is only going to create a backlash and we know with enough experience what the consequences of that are.

    Is that what they want?

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      Patta Pal you Sinhaese Racist Scum Bag you are a typical U Puttha. How dare you call the Tamil Community a Dog and if any one needs proof as to why there cannot be any reconciliation in Sri Lanka with people like you in the majority and wielding the axe you have amply demonstrated it.
      You have been killing the Tamils for the last 63 years and you will never stop becauuse you have an animal instinct. What you uttered is a real life representation of the vast majority of your countrymen.
      Get your facts right before you speak as your mind is twisted which I know you will deny.

      • 0
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        It’s wrong to make generalizations.

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          KLM

          Your are right it is wrong to make generalizations but sadly it is true. But let me know what practical steps have been taken by the silent majority ( if there is one ) to disprove it. Frankly NONE and you are the odd one out.

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    “Are any in the ruling elite nostalgic for the war years?”

    That was a good rhetorical question, but there are other obvious dynamics at play in this communal brouhaha.

    Harim, we all know that SL lost the vote even before the Geneva meetings began. All these media commentaries are really of academic interest only.

    Semantics of language for the final Resolution, tilting at windmills against the super-powers and Navi Pillay, and all the diversionary drama of India and Tamil Nadu are all bit parts in this big play.

    The SL delegation will come home after the vote from Geneva, duly chastised and with tails between their legs.

    Of course the pretentious and self-promoting Dayan J who is consumed with his own “genius”, will be smacking his lips in glee, though the result would not have been any different even if he rode the SL Lion in Geneva this time round.

    Our thick-skinned regime should, post-Geneva, decide quickly and clearly on the way forward.

    Do they wish to play to the bigoted communal gallery to win the so-called Sinhala-Buddhist vote, or make sincere and genuine efforts to honestly and transparently resolve the long-outstanding ethnic issues.

    It is still not too late, and if the Rajapaksa regime takes the more rational road, SL as a whole is bound to benefit socially, commercially and financially, both nationally and internationally.

    If the regime does otherwise,then as our Great Legal Luminary once famously said “God only knows” what will be our fate!

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    We have religous leaders, the chambers of commerce, leaders of society speaking on this issue. But not a noise from the great leader of the nation other than a general statement that could be interpreted either way. Then we have the SOD giving his support to the cause of these bigots.

    In contrast people are arrested and locked up for far lesser offences. The IGP making a general statement means nothing if action is not taken according to the laws of the land.

  • 0
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    Dear Harim … [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/

  • 0
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    This [Edited out]man of Chandrika is speaking as a born again thinking people have forgotten his past… give us a break

    and people clap and cheer him… OMG

    What crap

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    Srilankans are greatly influenced by the chinese and israelites;in face both those countries detest muslims;suppress their rights;eventually the muslim countries supported srilanka؛muslims are very grateful and tolerant to the buddhist;as we are aware that this is a buddhist country;jwe comprise only 9percent ;we can endure any hardship;as our faith is strong and we are brought into this world mainly to worship Allah and live like simply and amicably;

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      The reason that Muslim counties support Sri Lanka is because of their Anti-West feelings.Currently the Arab world and The west are not the best of friends.Please take some time to read foreign news!! And you will learn how much subtle hate towards Muslims there is.

      SOME Muslim politicians and SOME Muslim community leaders invite bureaucrats from Muslim countries to their premises(mosques, schools,etc)and talk bad about Buddhists.

      • 0
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        Well Sri Lankan politicians and Buddhist Monks speak bad about Muslims in public

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    The chinese and the israelites play a crucial role in srilanka؛these two countries despise and suppress the muslims;this is a buddhist country and we muslims are very much aware;we need only to co exist;eventually the muslim countries supported the geneva convention;muslims of srilanka are patient;tolerant;humble and our sole purpose in this world is to worship and obey Allah;fame;wealth;pride;greed;power are all satans behaviour;we are a minority and we are all aware of it;please treat us humans

    • 0
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      China and Israel could care less about the Muslims in Sri Lanka. Especially the Chinese; they will [Edited out]. You must have missed that Russell Peters episode about Chinese, Jews, & Indians competing for cheapness:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kSgaSoULKU

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    Sri Lankans dont have to be influenced by anyone to be Anti Tamil or Anti Muslim. It is in their gene and they are born with and if anything the other nationalities can learn from the. Thay have been killing the Tamils for the last 63 years and the Muslims were fortunate up to now but not any more. Becaues they have Leaders both Civil and Military who give comfort and support to them for ethnic cleansing

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      The reason that Muslim counties support Sri Lanka is because of their Anti-West feelings.Currently the Arab world and The west are not the best of friends.Please take some time to read foreign news!! And you will learn how much subtle hate towards Muslims there is.

      SOME Muslim politicians and SOME Muslim community leaders invite bureaucrats from Muslim countries to their premises(mosques, schools,etc)and talk bad about Buddhists.

      • 0
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        Dear JJ

        According to you the other Muslim countries think “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”. Interesting thought.

        Perhaps Muslims support our country, not because Sri Lanka is besieged by bogus resolutions, but Muslim countries must oppose any resolution from the west”.

        Nice own goal! :)

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        JJ let me tell you something. The only two Muslim Countries who support you are Pakistan ( because they hate India) and the pariah state Iran because they dont have any friends other than you. So get you facts right.

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      Have you been to TAMIL Nadu where the original homeland of Tamils is? I heard that Sri Lankan Tamils are discriminated because the Tamils from Sri Lanka have a different accent and the fact that they are from Sri Lanka.

      The ethnic Tamil and Muslim minorities have no respect for Sinhala-Buddhists nor do they acknowledge the main culture is Sinhala-Buddhist nor do they learn the history of Sri Lanka.But they want the same share of power as the majority have. The last king Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe was a tamil who respected Buddhist culture and customs. And have you noticed how many Sinhala-Buddhists are going to Hindu temples(kovils)? A LOT.

      It’s better to be an ethnic minority amongst Sinhala-Buddhist majority in Sri Lanka than to become a minority group amongst ethnic majority anywhere in the world.

      Sri Lanka is a small island which will never be devided!!!Stop conspiring against Sinhalese behind closed doors. This is a tropical island and a blessed island where we can live in peace and harmony.

      • 0
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        “Sinhala-Buddhists are going to Hindu temples(kovils)? “
        Because they lost faith in the Sri Lankan form of Buddism and they are well respected and received well in the Hindu Temples.the monks you know what they do and what they are up to.

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          You said the truth here Lanka Liar. The Buddhists, particularly the youth, are increasingly not becoming serious about their religion and are fast aping Western culture in all their behaviours while their elders enjoy even the poya-day holidays polishing bottles of arrack. The Buddhist clergy is unable to stop this as some of them themselves have been found to be involved in anti-social and corrupt behaviours by which every other Monk is losing his respect. The few Buddhist Monks who are involved in the BBS, etc. fear that lesser the number of people patronising their temples is greater the threat to their existence enjoying the facilities provided to them. Their ill-conceived method of safeguarding their interests is to attack other religions and communities with the false accusation of other destroyings their Buddhist religion, when they themselves are the cause of the deterioration. When will the innocent Sinahla Buddhist realise this fraud of their own preachers?

      • 0
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        Agreed dear JJ

        and that is why we are all here debating how best we can make this a better country.

        I also agree that the minorities in this country are treated better than some countries in Asia and Africa. In the West they do their best to be multicultural, their law don’t recognize and discriminate based on race and other differences.

        We must cherish and protect individual liberty, irrespective of the size of the race religion, community whatever.

        Sri Lanka needs to get there, and that my friend is a long arduous journey!

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