28 September, 2020

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Gnanasara & His Gang On One Bank & ISIS-Backed Muslim Fundamentalists On The Other; Sri Lanka’s Rudderless Drift

By Vishwamithra

“Action cures fear. Indecision, postponement, on the other hand, fertilize fear.’’ ~ David Joseph Schwartz

When a ship is drifting without being steered and manned by an able and professional Captain, it is bound to go astray; its survival in stormy seas is doubtful and its crew, the rest of servicemen and passengers are in danger of losing their very lives and the temporary ‘gala’ they enjoyed have disappeared into the mist of the ashen and all-consuming waves that seem to have enveloped the ship. It’s not a good story to tell your young ones.

The current administration assumed office in 2015, President in January, Prime Minister and the Cabinet in August. A whole lot of water has gushed under the proverbial bridge since then. The President’s departure from the norm and his maniacal conduct since then has turned the country upside down. The effects of this behavior on the part of our Chief Executive has brought to light some serious deficiencies a holder of such a pivotal and fundamental office of power should not possess. He has proven to be just another politician: indecisive, self-centered and bordering on being dishonest. An extremely bad report card for any individual to carry. Yet the people seem to have come to terms with such disagreeable circumstances. What other option do they have?

The President has let down the side totally and that letdown has generated a chain of circumstances and effects that are unquestionably injurious to the socio-economic-political fabric of our very living; our very core of moralities, ethics and scruples which set us apart from the immoral, unethical and dishonest was being challenged; twenty five years of power and glory as Minister and President and then assuming the non-existent role of ‘lone arbiter of constitutional affairs of the country’ has plunged the nation into a status of laughable proportions. 

If such a person is given charge of navigating the national voyage on unpredictable and ferocious seas, the ship is bound to get, not only drenched in uncontrollable waves of water, it is certainly heading into the unknown depths of anarchy and chaos. That is what happens to a country when it is being led by an uneducated and untutored mind. Our country was more than once led by men and women of uneducated and untutored minds; each time it happened, she showed symptomatic reflections of a nation which is not so keen on the nuanced aspects of democratically sophisticated polity. 

With the dawn of the ‘common man-politics’ in 1956, the notion of the ‘common man’ was taken literally; its rhetorical insinuations were ignored and the ‘commoner’ became one who had not had any formal education, judicious capabilities of the averagely-educated and discerning abilities of a human being under trying circumstances. Our current President reflects all these adverse qualities of the human being. Being able to be elected or as ranked high on the scale of the modern notion of ‘electability’, does not automatically qualify a person as a capable government leader. Leading a nation requires not only the skills of electability, it demands the person of an aura of dignity, an immense capacity to bear the burdens of decision-making ability under the most trying conditions and duress. The arbitrary election of the ‘common man’ has decimated the dignity and honor of such a position and Sirisena is a personification of a man who should not be President of the country.

If the President is of such qualities, one would expect his chief mate, Prime minister to be of some value to the office of government-handlers. Unfortunately, it is of least significance to the people of the country. In addition to being at the bottom of the ladder of electability, Ranil Wickremesinghe has proven to be dangerously oblivious to the looming dangers of ethnic violence, societal discord and political chaos. 

For Sirisena and his Party, (SLFP/UPFA) to be in power for an unbroken period of twenty five years, there is one prerequisite that has to be fulfilled- the UNP has to be out of power for the same period. That indeed has been more than sufficient for its leader to be branded a ‘loser’. Our Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe cannot help but wear that shameful badge wherever he goes. One major component of the shame goes to some of his close lieutenants too. Holding ‘pandam’ (singing praise) to the leader without being constructively critical in matters of national and Party affairs does not only reflect collective subservience on the part of the subordinates, it also reflects a conspiratorial blocking of openness and transparence. 

Ever since assuming office of Premiership, Ranil Wickremesinghe has been drifting towards a lackadaisical form of governance. His selection of the Cabinet is below average. Trust in the younger members of Parliament was totally absent. For instance, when DS Senanayake selected his first Cabinet in Independent Ceylon, he selected the youngest members, Dudley, his own son and JR Jayewardene as Minsters of Agriculture and Ministry of Finance respectively. The most important portfolios were given to the youngest members. Then again in 1977, when JR assumed office as Prime Minister, he too appointed young Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmudali as Minster of Irrigation, Power and Highways and Minister of Trade and Shipping respectively. All these young ones, Dudley, JR, Gamini and Lalith went right to the top. That not only shed light on the abilities and drive of those who were promoted as Ministers but more so on the vision and foresight of the leaders, DS and JR.

It is, they say, not ‘cricket’ to compare Ranil Wickremesinghe with DS and JR. But the historical examples so set by his predecessors cannot be disregarded as not-so-important. On the contrary, they are crucial in one’s understanding of office one holds at any given time in history. Ranil Wickremesinghe has proven to be a very poor student of history.

Engineered in the midst of this background, release of Galagoda Atte Gnanasara from prison by a ‘decree’ of President Maithripala Sirisena now seems to be an outcome of a carefully strategized politricks. This is playing into the cruel and blood-soaked hands of ISIS-backed Islam fundamentalists in Sri Lanka. Galagoda Atte Gnanasara’s reputation and his appeal to average Sinhalese Buddhists is indeed blood-curdling. An alleged ruffian clad in the saffron robe, Gnanasara is now engaged in the same pastime he is so used to, and the political advantage that a crueler politician could draw Gnanasara’s pseudo patriotic postures is limitless. Unfortunately, Athuraliye Rathana Thera, elected on the UNP-ticket to parliament and the other megaphone of pseudo-patriotism, has fallen victim to the Gnanasara brand of patriotism which is bordering on outright racialism and tribalism which are more easily embraced by a great majority of Sinhalese Buddhists in the country. 

Legend says that when Prince Gamini (Dutu Gamunu before he became King Dutu Gamunu), as an extreme expression of dissatisfaction of his father Kávan Tissa’s appeasing attitude towards the Northern Tamil King Elara, was once found to be cuddled up in his bed by his mother Vihara Maha Devi, asked as to why he was so cuddled up, Prince Gamini replied: ‘Mother, on the North are Tamil pariahs and on the South is the violent Indian Ocean, how can I stretch my limbs and sleep?’ To telegraph our history from 2nd Century B.C. to present day: On one bank is Gnanasara and his marauding ‘un-Buddhist’ gangs and on the other are ISIS-backed Islam fundamentalists. What can the poor people who are in the middle can do? They are being led by two leaders, President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, who have chosen to play politics instead of practicing patriotic governance. Self-centered politicking has cost us dearly in the past and it’s being repeated today.                                

Gnanasara is now in the limelight, again. It is dangerous; Gnanasara’s appeal has its own inherent magic to draw into itself the attention of many an unthinking devotee; it has its own intrinsic enchantment to galvanize a placid populace into an army of riotous and unruly thugs. The government is in the middle and seems to be totally helpless and impotent. How can we stretch our limbs and relax? Indecision is our enemy number one.

The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com      

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Latest comments

  • 5
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    The American white male majority was extremely dissatisfied during the Obama Years ( 2008-2016 ) They correctly felt that they were losing their county to Latinos, Immigrants and Jews. ( who control Finance, media, wall street, Hollywood etc ) The blow-back from this led to the election of Donald Trump , who portrayed himself as hard core White nationalist. There are parallels between white nationalists , both in the US and Europe and Sinhalese Buddhist nationalists. Both have a worldview that minorities or ” the other ” cannot understand. Majorities seek to defend their turf. Minorities in Sri Lanka are still at point A in their history, Sinhalese Buddha are at Z. Built upon thousands of years of indigenous acumen. Apart from the well known example of ethnic Tamils converts trying to pass of as Arabian Muslims, there are the Catholics who built the world tallest artificial Christmas tress. The Christmas three comes from the Nordic/ German traditions and was incorporated by the Romans Church to covert them. It does not grow in the Middle-east , where and has nothing to do with the Birth of Jesus. ( as no such person ever existed ) The word Christ is derived from Krishna – the Hindu deity. Catholics and Muslims of Sri Lanka two sides of the same coin. As Orwell Wrote ” “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others ” .

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      The real Nero was caught fiddling. . Our fake Niro is openly diddling.

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      First of all, the American white male are not the majority, they never were – do the maths. But they had the majority power and under Obama, they were not losing “their country”, they lost a little of the power they always enjoyed. America, like Canada and Australia are immigrant countries, white people came from somewhere else too.

      Those from the majority community who turn against minorities do so, not to defend “their turf”, but because they cannot compete. Their hate and prejudices are built on seeing minorities doing better than them. In America, the lesser educated, lower income white nationalist types voted for Trump precisely because of this, even through Trump would most likely make them worse off economically. A lot of educated and affluent whites probably voted for Trump too, but because his policies will assist them, the rich and powerful.

      Whipping up false fear against minorities is an age old strategy used by majoritarian politicians to win and keep power. Racist nationalist politicians take advantage of this fear amongst some in the majority community, turning citizen against citizen.

      What has changed for the low income white American because of immigration? what has changed for the low income Sinhalese because of the economic rise of Muslims in Sri Lanka? The answer is nothing. Is that the fault of the immigrants in America and Muslims in Sri Lanka? absolutely not!

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        Richard Kaz,

        With all due respect I completely disagree with your view point. The while male in the US or the Sinhalese male in Sri Lanka can very well compete with the minorities as long as there is a level playing field.

        In the US that does not exist thanks to the ACLU and affirmative action where white males are openly denied admission to colleges and govt. jobs based on race and gender.

        In Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese male WAS denied the same privilleges during colonial times. But due to activism in post colonial SL, then PM SWRD Banadaranike reversed that dangerous trend. By dangerous trend, I mean if that discrimination continued, after world war 2 we would have seen the next extermination camps in Sri Lanka administered by a angered majority.

        People still blame SWRD for bringing Sinhala only act which was intended to reverse this discrimination. But people don’t understand without it the minorities would have been exterminated by now.

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          First of all, I said, those white males, those Sinhalese males who cannot compete are the ones blaming the minorities for their woes, those who can are far less prejudiced and far less anti-minority.
          As for the level playing field, the field is tilted in favour of the white male in America and Sinhala male in Sri Lanka, they have most of the power and Sri Lanka in particular, there is no threat of that changing. Which planet are you living in?? If a Sinhala male feels powerless in Sri Lanka, they need to hold their fellow Sinhala ruling class responsible for it, not beat up the minorities.
          As for discrimination during colonial times, all Sri Lankans (or Ceylonese as they were called then), Sinhalese. Tamils and other alike were second class citizens in their own country. That is the evil nature of colonialism. What SWRD did after independence was to make all Tamils who thought they were equal citizens at the time of independence, go back to being second class citizens. Your comment that if SWRD hadn’t proceeded with the “Sinhala Only” policy would have resulted in the genocide of minorities is shocking. Combine it with your stated military background makes your comment scary! You would have done well in Nazi Germany.

  • 1
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    Jihadis on one Bank. wearing Back Packs .. facing Gnnanissara pointing the rude finger with the Boys on the Opposite Bank.
    Nice Script for a Movie ” Sunday Morning in Kochikade”
    Good one Buddy..

    What amazes me is how Dr Ranil had given 30% of the Yahapalana Ministries to Politikkas who represent only 9 % of the Inhabitant Population.

    And how much wealth these Politikkas amassed along side their followers who are the second richest if not the Richest sector among the Inhabitant Communities.on a per capita basis.

    Still. it is the same community which destroyed not only their Holiest of Holy Places but also the moral of the Catholic Community.

    And how those Politikkas now have galvanized themselves together to deflect the serious allegations against them for supporting , nurturing , financing and even politically protecting the Islamist Jihadhis who Bombed Kochchikade and the Rest.-

    Now the UNP through theirr own PSC are hell bent on interrogating all and sundry who had any connection with the Intelligence gathering to put the blame on the opposition politikkas .

    And also to compromise the safety of what ever left of the Intelligence services which Dr Ranil and his UNP degraded from day one of their Yahapalanaya.

    When I looked at the photos of those Dudes in Dr Ranil’s PSC, I thought what a joke this is.

    In the PSC there are some biggest rogues of our Mahavamsa History.
    Then there are Politikkasas who took US Dollars to contest Elections to betray the Country to the Diaspora and the West.
    There are others who got our Tax Payers money to write Constitutions to remove Buddhism.

    I couldn’t see even one face there, which projected Honesty, Integrity and Love for the Country..

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    The curse Sri Lanka has, at the moment, are spineless and coward political leaders. Maithripala Srisena is dishonest and not fit to be a President. Having seen all these damages with sufficient evidence, they should have taken prompt action. The Muslim politicians have taken an upper hand in achieving their evil missions. Why can’t the President and the Prime Minister look for fearless young qualified people. Time and again I wish to reiterate that there should be a small cabinet not exceeding 20. For instance, there can be one Minister for Religious matters and Deputy Ministers for each religious affairs. Absolute power should be vested with the government officers and not with the politicians. The clumsy handling of the politicians have ruined the country. Finally Sri Lanka should be declared as a Secular State.

  • 0
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    A very thoughtful, thought provoking piece. Sobering in the extreme.

  • 0
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    Vishwa, It appears MS has again jumped ships in mid sea. This guy sure should go for paralymbics. He tried every way, to strike a deal with Rajapaksas, even suggesting he as President and MR as PM .. But they told him off. After multiple attempts and considering other failed options, he has now decided to go back to UNP. He told Indian Press he will not support Rajapaksas candidacy. He questioned the need for a bullet proof car to provide MR security. Reportedly he has made a conciliatory move by allowing UNP to appoint a state minister for “Low and Odor” .

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    Dear Sinhala friends

    Look at the two pictures and answer. Do you want this Gnanasara Thera as a symbol of Buddha and your religion? Do you want all non-Buddhist throughout the world to understand Gnanasara Thera as what Bhudha is and what he preached for? It is totally your choice. If you think that is what your God Buddha stood for. If you think that is the type of God you like to have. If you think that is the type of people you like to have in Heaven, then thank you. Then that is what you get!

    If else, you think Gnanasara Thera certainly does not possess any symbol of Lord Buddha, if you think Gnanasara Thera except for wearing the saffron robes does not practice anything that Lord Buddha stood for. If you think Gnanasara Thera by his actions is an insult to Lord Buddha, If you think he is abusing the name of Lord Buddha, selling the good name of Lord Buddha for his personal gains, if you think whatever Gnansara spoke and practiced is NOT what is written in your holy book, then throw is crook and his cronies out and save your religion being hijacked by this wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    The choice is yours, and we Non-Buddhist will make our opinion of what Lord Buddha is on your choice. Good luck

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      In our Buddhist culture No Almighty, No gods No divine powers No hell No heavens No creatures. You yourself is every thing of yours. That is the basic of Buddhism.Sins & Merits you collected determine your destinies. As such living with Punchaseala principles & Achievement of Nirwana is buddhists Target. No God to make whole world adhere to.Newton’s basic scientific theories is very much acceptable in buddhists living process.Actions generates reactions. Natural phenomena.Your mindset only can change natural occurrences.Venerable Gnanasara is reacting to actions in changing natural process.Nothing wrong with it as far as buddhists are concern.Your religions or beliefs is yours at the same time my religion & beliefs are mine. If your belief is killing all who are not adhere to your so called Almighty, it is upto us to react. Reaction process may varies. sometimes very soft, some time very hard as per actions.There government Machinery has process to be implemented to keep peace Like. Banning all the Evil belief like Islamism. .

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        Ranjith(SPRRW)

        You said I quote, “In our Buddhist culture No Almighty, No gods No divine powers No hell No heavens No creatures. You yourself is every thing of yours. That is the basis of Buddhism. Sins & Merits you collected determine your destinies. “

        Then nothing to worry about, as sins and merits are not going to be measured if there is no Hell or Heaven. You can do what is fit for the moment and not to feel bad. Now I understand what Buddha is. The jigsaw puzzle is over and now the picture is clear. Thank you so much for educating Non-Buddhist like me and I will spread the word.

  • 2
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    Dear Niro. You better to check your head with a good doctor.: the word Christ comes form Krishna.. what a lie is this? go and read about the Prophet ISSA. JESUS. in all new testaments.. see if there is any word for Krishna there. What kind of idiot are you.. You better to check about your dirty cast system before you speak about Christianity: Tamils are divided into cast. some are worst than animals.. what a joke is this?

  • 2
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    In 1959, when then PM, SWRD was assassinated the ex PM Kothalawala said: ” I chained the dogs, but Banda unchained them. This is the result”. That was the history. Will that “History” be repeated?????

  • 0
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    Vishwamithra starts with a quote, attributed to David Joseph Schwartz, “Action cures fear. Indecision, postponement, on the other hand, fertilize fear.’’
    ‘Fear’ is a useful tool under constant use. Few examples: The ‘Danger to Aryan Master/Super race’ fear, McCarthy used ‘Reds under beds’ fear, the ‘Bush/Blair WMD’ fear, the Australian ‘Yellow peril’ fear, the ‘Pro/Anti Climate Change’ fear, the ‘Islamic State (IS)’ fear.
    .
    We have had our share of fears.
    The Colonial Britain merged Tamil Kingdom and Sinhalese kingdoms and created Ceylon. Independence was planned for Ceylon to be governed based on the Westminster model. We started with ‘Invasion with Tamil help’ fear, ‘Separation’ fear and now the ‘IS’ fear.
    In short: We buggered.
    .
    The Lankan Elites sans political borders have taken over. Those on offer at elections are bad.
    If in doubt choose RW.

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    If the Muslims are on the bank across the Palk Straits from where most of them came from, I think Gnanasara’s on this bank will be happy. All of us will be happiest if the Muslims take their Tamil ethnic brothers with them and live happily ever after in their homeland Tamilnadu.

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      Punchi Point,

      Don’t forget the Sinhalese ancestors came from across the Palk Straits as well. In fact they came far further than Muslims and Tamils.

      Yes you believe that all of you will be happy if the minorities are not here but do you think this country would be any different? Based on the history of this country you will be killing each other and blaming each other and the country wont be any different . Now you have minorities to blame for all your shortcomings,insecurities,jealousy,greed and envy and use the minorities as cannon fodder for your blood lust. Your belief that you have lions blood make you act and behave like wild lions.

      Singha Bahu killed his father who was a wild lion because he was a menace to the humans. Wijaya might have had more of his grandfathers genes and acted like a wild lion and the humans wanted him kicked out from their country.

      And remember Kuveni has cursed the descendants of Wijaya that they will never live in peace in her island. History has proved that you cant live in peace either among yourselves or with minorities. This wont change whether the minorities are in this country or not.

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        Ancestors of any people coming is not the same as immigrant communities like the Tamils and Muslims coming. Even the ancestors of Vaeddas came the same way. The Sinhalese people evolved here from these ancestors who came from present day India. While the Tamils came here from the Tamil country, where your ancestors evolved and formed the Tamil nation. Hope you are capable of understanding the difference.

        Vijaya and Kuweni are both mythical characters as long as I am concerned – I am not going to remember anything what even the myth does not say. The only source for the Kuweni myth is the Mahavamsa, and it doesn’t state anything like you say. Tamils, Muslims and other foreigners and outsiders should at least have the decency to leave Sinhalese myths and legends alone. But even our myths and legends are highjacked and distorted by these invaders and foreigners who wants parts of our island.

        Minorities trying to transform this island into a place composing of enclaves of minority ghettos and run this country is the majour problem we have. Muslims who were just a few thousand, who just had loose settlements when British took over the island has grown to be 2 million and they want to assert Muslim ways of life and social norms. If Muslims remained as they were prior to British rule, then Muslims cannot demand and claim what you today. But now the Muslim population has grown exponentially. The growth rate of Muslims are abnormally high which is only second to the Tamils and the Sinhalese who are the indigenous population have problems finding our legitimate space to exist in our own island. Please understand that it is not a minority right to subjugate a majourity, specially not an indigenous majourity.

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