20 July, 2024

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Nathasha Edirisooriya: Comedian Or Social Commentator?

By Vipula Wanigasekera

Dr. Vipula Wanigasekera

Nathasha Edirisooriya, a stand-up comedian known for her humorous performances, recently found herself at the center of a national controversy in Sri Lanka. Her performance on the show ‘Modabhimanaya‘ led to her arrest following several complaints by groups consisting of Buddhist monks and ‘Sinhala Buddhist patriots’ who accused her of insulting Lord Buddha. This incident sparked a significant public discourse about freedom of speech, social norms, and the role of comedy in addressing societal issues.

Nathasha’s arrest drew widespread attention and criticism, highlighting the sensitive nature of religious nuances in Sri Lanka. The complaints against her were rooted in the belief that her jokes about Lord Buddha were disrespectful and harmful to religious sentiments. Consequently, she was remanded in custody for several weeks, a period during which her arrest and the subsequent legal proceedings became a focal point of national debate.

Nathasha Edirisooriya

The Sri Lankan courts eventually granted her bail and questioned the validity of her being placed in remand custody. The court later, not only exonerated her but also questioned those who misinterpreted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) law, which they cited in the case against her.

The judgment underscored that Nathasha had not committed an offense, effectively defending her right to free expression. However, the larger implications of this case, particularly the societal issues she aimed to highlight through her performance, were largely overshadowed by the legal battle and the noise made by media who acted to be protectors of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

At the heart of Nathasha’s controversial performance was a sharp critique of a pervasive issue in Sri Lankan society: the relentless competition among families to outdo each other in various aspects of life, particularly in relation to their children’s achievements. Through her repertoire, Nathasha sought to shed light on the unhealthy pressures placed on children to excel in academics, sports, and extracurricular activities, often driven by the desire of parents to showcase their success to friends, relatives, and neighbors.

In her act, Nathasha imitated the hypothetical behavior of mothers if they were living in ancient times, drawing parallels to the present-day competitive zeal seen in many Sri Lankan families. Her intention was to highlight the absurdity and the detrimental impact of this societal obsession with outdoing others. By doing so, she aimed to spark a conversation about the need for a more balanced and supportive approach to child-rearing, one that prioritizes the well-being and individuality of children over social status and external validation.

For instance, It was mentioned  recently that some parents discourage their children from sharing their school or tuition notes with classmates who missed classes due to illness etc. Such actions hinder children from developing a sense of altruism, both in school and in the broader society.

While the court’s decision in Nathasha’s favor was a victory for freedom of expression, the incident has had a chilling effect on independent thinkers, writers and artists in Sri Lanka. The fear of legal repercussions and social backlash may deter many from engaging in open and critical discussions about sensitive issues. This self-censorship is a significant concern, as it stifles the very discourse needed to address and resolve societal problems.

Nathasha’s case serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between respecting religious sentiments and safeguarding the right to free speech. It also highlights the crucial role of comedy and sarcasm in reflecting and challenging societal norms. Comedians, through their unique lens, often hold a mirror to society, prompting introspection and dialogue. Nathasha’s performance, though controversial, was an attempt to do just that – to encourage Sri Lankans to reflect on the pressures and expectations they place on themselves and their children.

The arrest and subsequent exoneration of Nathasha Edirisooriya not only brought to light issues of religious sensitivity and legal interpretation in Sri Lanka but also underscored the vital role of free expression in a democratic society. Her commentary on social competition within families is a conversation that needs to continue, free from fear of retribution. It is therefore essential to protect the space for writers, artists and thinkers to question, critique, and inspire change, ensuring that society can grow and evolve in a healthy and inclusive manner.

*The writer is former Diplomat, Head of Tourism Authority and Currently a lecturer for ECU Perth and Meditation Teacher

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Latest comments

  • 12
    12

    … protectors of Buddhism.
    Does Buddhism need protection?
    How do you protect Buddhism?
    Who should be protecting Buddhism?
    I do not believe that I live in a Buddhist country!
    .

    • 5
      12

      Buddhism is a philosophy.
      That philosophy needs adherence.
      That is the best way to show reverence to Buddha.
      Obviously, the responsibility is with the people.

    • 3
      0

      Buddhism explains nature of existence and the illusory acceptance of the notion of ‘ self’ . So the philosophy is more subtle than deep. The saying that ‘ when the student is ready teacher appears’ subscribes to the answer that Buddhism does not need protectors. The true and honest seeker will find a way out no matter whether he hears the message from the teachings of Buddha or Jesus or the Environment. Thank you for your comment

      • 3
        1

        Hello Dr Wanigasekera,
        After 3 years of living in a Village in Central Province I am fairly sure that Buddhism as it is practiced here is neither a Religion or a Philosophy. It is more a way of life with ancient customs and practices that people here in the main do not question. The integration of Buddhism with Education ensures the unthinking acceptance of children, which for most continues throughout their lives. There are exceptions, but like my Muslim friends ( who accepted much of my criticism) they cannot go against the grain to renounce what is a way of life for their families and friends. Many of the younger ones and those that have spent time in the Middle East and other countries question much of the things that are taken for granted here. Women reject the pressure put on them to get married by their families. Maybe this is what scares the older generation into thinking that Buddhism needs protection. They are right in their thinking, but they are wrong to think that they can stop the younger generation from joining the rest of the world’s access to a different way of thinking.
        Best regards

        • 8
          1

          LS,
          .
          “Buddhism as it is practiced here is neither a Religion or a Philosophy”.
          .
          That is another brainwashing tactic to keep them as slaves. Sinhala Buddhist monks are not knowledgeable enough to feed their adherents with Dharma. They just live up their hidden 🫥 propensities abusing the social status they earn/privilege as ” so called budhist monks”. Truth is there is no greater difference between those monks and the Buddhist lay people. I stopped myself respecting them after studying their hypocrisy since 2016. 🙃.
          The culture in Thailand and Myanmar is no different. Gullibility of the innocent people is targeted.
          True buddhism lies aside. I myself got to know true buddhism in Europe, Japan and California

    • 11
      1

      Does Buddhism need protection?

      If Buddhism is practiced according to the True Buddhist teachings, there is no need that heals one with its proper principles. This is the truth about non-violence led buddhism.

      However, Sinhala-Buddhism is a crude version praised by 70% of Sri Lankans who live in a country full of criminals, from political leaders to temple leaders.
      :
      Mahendra became “Mahinda” to millions of gulliable islanders because the people’s untruths about their buddhist practises.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahinda_Rajapaksa

      As many know it, Mahinda is the term of the first person theor to have brought buddhism to the island nation. This was merely introduced for their political survival.


      Term MAHINDA misled “innocient easy targets” in order to allow him his political greed/melchcha politics and turn this land a bankrupted state. Thsi was deliberately extened by mlechcha srilanken media. Those innocient prey turned out to be ” PRO Mahinda Voters”:

      To me, our people are like guinea pigs in laboratories.

      • 4
        0

        I am speechless after watching the video below. There are lot more slaves in the country than appeared to be.
        .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-J_FMWhWIlc

        • 0
          1

          Dear “leelagemalli”,
          .
          In what sense are you “speechless“?
          .
          You are for ever saying things which cannot be verified by people?
          .
          Panini, etc.

      • 0
        1

        “leelagemalli”!
        .
        Showing once that you know that the guys full name is “Mahendra Percy Rajapaksa” may be a display of humour, but thereafter, when you say it fifty times it becomes irritating.
        .
        Actually, the name the guy wants to keep hidden probably is “Percy”.
        .
        You have certain habits that make it impossible for anyone to tolerate you for long. I did! It was your lack of ethics – mendacity – that made me realise that I’d better not have you as a friend.
        .
        However, you then make out that I’ll be a cruel and treacherous enemy. No, I’m usually tolerant.
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V) of 51B, Golf Links Road, Bandarawela, Sri Lanka

        • 6
          2

          “However, you later confirm that I will be a cruel and treacherous enemy. No, I’m usually patient”.

          Good Old School Teacher@,
          .
          I did not. But many commenters on CT saw it and asked me not to ignore you. I generally dislike poisonous creatures of all kinds.

          Oh my god…are you suffering from dementia now? Aren’t you the SM person who revealed my whereabouts last year after I came to Sri Lanka for my annual visit?
          SJ, OC and others will remind you how poisonous you were .
          .
          Moreover, not everyone you knew back then wanted to be associated with you. My dear Manel Fonseka did not want to receive any email from you. You knowingly or unknowingly caused trouble to many.. You are the best example of Sri Lankans suffering from high grade amnesia.
          Enough, please focus on your usual work!.
          I have no interest in knowing anyone like you for the rest of my life. God bless srilanka!

        • 4
          6

          SM,
          “Showing once that you know that the guys full name is “Mahendra Percy Rajapaksa” may be a display of humour, but thereafter, when you say it fifty times it becomes irritating.”
          What about this, then?
          “Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V) of 51B, Golf Links Road, Bandarawela, Sri Lanka”
          Et tu, Panini.

          • 1
            0

            Hello OC,
            Did he reply “mea culpa”?
            Best regards

          • 4
            0

            .OC,
            .
            .”What about this, then?
            “Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V) of 51B, Golf Links Road, Bandarawela, Sri Lanka”
            Et tu, Panini.”.
            .
            Clowns /psychopaths simply don’t care 😴 what they are talking/writing.
            .
            Anyone would join him bashing RW, he or she is heroworshipped as ” brilliant”.
            .
            What is actually wrong with this guy [frogs in a well mentality].
            .
            😳😳😳😳😳😳😳.

            • 6
              7

              LM,
              Give him some leeway. Some people suffer from dementia at 60, some at 70, some at 80…..

          • 1
            4

            Dear oc,
            .
            Clearly indicating my identity
            is not meant to entertain.
            .
            There could always be a new reader coming in and getting confused by all the pseudonyms, including yours.
            .
            Your comments usually are excellent; “leelagemalli”‘ are not.
            .
            You can’t be unaware that I’m not making desperate efforts to find out exactly who you are.
            .
            It doesn’t take me more than a minute to put my identity on, clearly and unambiguously. My putting that on probably helps ensure the credibility of Colombo Telegraph.
            .
            Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V) of 51B, Golf Links Road, Bandarawela, Sri Lanka

            • 4
              0

              provide us with any good thing that u have sacrificed for the sake of srilankens since u entered in ur retirement at the age of 60.
              [15 long years, where Medamulana Devil sucked the last blood drop of the vulnerable with the support of JVP racists]
              .
              LankaS is just 3 years, spent in Sl and trying his best how he could best help the youth in sl.
              .
              But u?
              .
              U or the like mentally ill locals stay 🤧 criticising / heroworshiping/ gossipsing about the others..how can lankens ever come close to their economic dreams?
              .
              I always ♥️ retired individuals of Manel and LS nature..
              .
              None of them are hunting for the ID cards of the anonymous 😒 commenters either.
              .
              Get well soon!

            • 7
              4

              Sinhala_Man,

              Some people try to hide their identity. Old Codger is a Muslim, in case you didn’t already figure it out. He is trying to play you against Leela. Good luck.

              • 2
                0

                SM,
                “Some people try to hide their identity. “
                I think you are aware that snakes bearing gifts are not to be trusted. Especially snakes who claim that a degree in English has no value…

            • 3
              0

              SM,
              “Clearly indicating my identity is not meant to entertain.”
              But repeating it every five minutes might cause hilarity in people who aren’t as serious as you….

    • 4
      2

      Nathan

      Buddhism needs protection from thugs in robes liuke Gnanasara & other uneducated monks who have interpreted Buddhism for their personal benefit & gullible Buddhists who support them. With all the corruption, racism, thuggery & criminal activities that take place in SL, I wouldn’t call SL a ‘Buddhist country’ or even governed by Buddhist principals. It’s just a country with a majority Buddhist population, which is not the same as a country where citizens practice true teachings of the Buddha to be known as a ‘Buddhist Country’.

  • 12
    13

    “At the heart of Nathasha’s controversial performance was a sharp critique of a pervasive issue in Sri Lankan society: the relentless competition among families to outdo each other in various aspects of life, particularly in relation to their children’s achievements”
    Yes, this was at the heart of Natasha’s skit. It was humourless paranoid idiots who turned it into “an attack on Buddhism “. If a Buddhist cannot criticise a Buddhist society, who can?

    • 3
      0

      Yes Sir, that was my point which went unnoticed in this whole episode

    • 4
      0

      Hello OC.
      I asked my nephew why many children attended extra tuition classes he said there were 2 main reasons. The first was to show off to the neighbours and second was because the Teachers either couldn’t or didn’t teach what was required to pass the exams. When I queried this he told me what local Teachers actually earned and how they made more by teaching extra tuition classes. I asked one of my neighbours who teaches in a large school in Gampola if this was correct. He shrugged his shoulders and explained that this was how things had developed over the years.
      If they are both right, it is a sad state of affairs.
      Best regards

      • 7
        0

        Dear LS,
        .
        Tuition has become a lucrative business in Sri Lanka today. Most of those teachers are like parasites, some of them sow sinhala_Rasicm.

        I came to know some videos of a man called “Jananayake” who turned some of the youth to the pro-Rajapaksa only in the last few years. This man jananakya spearheaded hate mongering projects against that Dr Safi.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQIdMbYv2IU
        .
        Many of these tuition vendors exploit the youth mentality. They are just BSC graduates who started their teaching business to become rich people. Due to lack of knowledge of parents, people are helpless in front of such parasites but send their children to those tuition houses.
        I didn’t go to tuition in my childhood (that was in the 80s). So teachers in normal schools automatically think that no matter what they teach, students will gain more knowledge from their tuition classes. In this way, the quality of teaching in normal schools has reached the level of deterioration. These issues should have been addressed by politicians for a long time, but they have done nothing. Even the JVPs have preached but done nothing against the scourge of tuition. In my mother country we do not have proper law and order. Busta.

        • 4
          0

          So much so I was told some parents have pulled children out of schools and going ahead with tuition only. Only the school registration is kept. Being a lecturer my self, students are grooming with no analytical skills but simply worshippers of their tuition masters

        • 0
          2

          This comment is a bit of a curate’s egg.
          .
          And how did that expression come about?
          .
          https://dingdong887180022.wordpress.com/2021/06/20/the-curates-egg/
          .
          Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V) of 51B, Golf Links Road, Bandarawela, Sri Lanka

      • 8
        12

        LS,
        “I asked my nephew why many children attended extra tuition classes “
        It’s quite true that tuition is a lucrative business. I know of parents who send even primary kids for tuition, mostly “to show off to the neighbours”. That said, there are serious deficiencies in the upper grades, even in supposedly good schools, making “free education ” a sham at best, like its twin “free health services”. The biggest contributor to all this, is, in my view, the pernicious Year 5 scholarship scheme, which in effect condemns low-status schools to even lower status by removing the few good students they have, and prods parents to send primary kids to tuition classes.
        On a personal note, I never sent my kids for tuition except for AL, and it worked, to the astonishment of the neighbours.

        • 6
          0

          OC,

          “On a personal note, I never sent my kids for tuition except for AL and it worked to the amazement of the neighbors.”

          That is the culture of Sri Lanka today. If something is done in denigration of the living image, others should also be shown. They don’t use their brain before doing anything. My niece didn’t attend classes all day but she finished you at university.

          This is the reason why I believe that it is not children who should be “tutored” to grasp “right from wrong”, but their parents. They only emulate the other.

          People’s general knowledge is much less than it appears. Sri Lanka is said to be a state with more than 95% literacy, however that is only reading and writing skills. Most people don’t have the wisdom to see what’s going on. So their own children can’t be better.

          • 6
            0

            My niece didn’t attend classes all day but she obtained her degrees at a local Uni with flying colours.

            • 1
              7

              “leelagemalli”!
              .
              I’m totally against private tuition myself,
              but we don’t have to put on a superior air every time we say something.
              .
              I must give you this bit of very serious and sincere advice. You are so insufferable because you think of devious ways in which to show off your supposed superiority. You had that habit, even during the two years during which we exchanged 2,000 emails, or whatever. I then thought that although you always try to be a smart aleck (even I lapse into that habit, occasionally) you were sincere.
              .
              Now I find that you have other complexes, and this hatred of the then JVP. I will explain in another comment (in case the moderators don’t allow this in, although this is well meant).
              .
              Despite your genuine generosity – couriering chocolates! – you are insufferably contemptuous of most of our hapless citizens.
              .
              Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V) of 51B, Golf Links Road, Bandarawela, Sri Lanka

              • 5
                1

                SM,
                I strongly believe you are suffering from a mental problem of rarity.
                . I am against JVP because they killed a dozen or more of my close friends and associates while you were out of your motherland in the late 80’s to early 90’s.
                Anyone with any sense of dignity and respect for human life can understand my shock, unable to understand why the JVP barbarians took their lives. However, estranged beings like your nature would never pay attention to the truths. It is just you dont respect the truths.

                Btw, you are repeating that you have exchanged more than 2000 emails with me. The truth is that you misused my e-mail and Manel’s e-mail in your correspondence against the Church (Banadarwela your old school). This hypocrisy is disgusting.
                Almost everyone in CT knew it, but most ignored your absurd comments.
                Now please don’t repeat all this because CT readers are fed up with your lies.

                • 1
                  4

                  “leelagemalli”,
                  .
                  You have said this: “I strongly believe you are suffering from a mental problem of rarity.”

                  I’m sure that you are suffering from Oedipus Complex.
                  .
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oedipus_complex
                  .
                  What does this mean?
                  .
                  “The truth is that you misused my e-mail and Manel’s e-mail in your correspondence against the Church (Banadarwela your old school).”
                  .
                  I grant that you may have a point to make about your email address. But Manel’s email? Who the hell has told you anything about your being Manel (Fonseka)’s guardian?
                  .
                  I have also seen you referring to “Manel Akki” and “Uncle Nathan“. Or was it “Nathan Uncle”, the way village kollas refer to “gentlemen”?
                  .
                  Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V) of 51B, Golf Links Road, Bandarawela, Sri Lanka

                  • 3
                    1

                    Sinhala man or the like ultra modayas became even more poisonous after they were brainwashed by JVP hypocrites 🙄 😒 🤣 🤔 😏

          • 10
            13

            LM,
            “People’s general knowledge is much less than it appears. Sri Lanka is said to be a state with more than 95% literacy, “
            That doesn’t mean that they can count.

            • 5
              1

              OC,
              thanks.
              Btw, please read above ! This estranged man is persecuting me again. … He has mentioned chocolate for the 1000th time.
              If I had known that the man had never received a gift from anyone, I would not have made that mistake.
              That proves to me that vicous common nature is something Sri Lankan. Now I have learned a lesson, not to trust anyone in Sri Lanka unless I know him or her well.

              • 0
                2

                Dear oc,
                .
                What a strange comment from “leelagemalli”.

                .
                You are in Sri Lanka, aren’t you?
                .
                Given the comment that appears above, we must conclude that LM doesn’t trust you. Now, what have you done to the guy to deserve such treatment. OTOH, he appears to trust everybody who lives outside this Paradise Island.
                .
                Yes, I think that almost everybody knows that he trusts and worships all “foreigners”, especially white Europeans. Does that include LankaScot?
                .
                No! He probably hates all living beings.
                .
                May he have a nice day, notwithstanding!
                .
                Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V) of 51B, Golf Links Road, Bandarawela, Sri Lanka

                • 5
                  1

                  Dear OC, don’t be misled by SM. He is trying hard to hunt down all those who stand against the JVP killers. Once criminal is not life long criminal, but I dont trust JVPrs. I now believe every word Hanchopancha described about SM some time ago. Hancho Pancha #Wisdom is indeed superior.
                  People no longer believe in AKD’s magic lamp – it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

                  And this man seems to have nothing else to do but to persecute “Leelage Malli” ????????????… has he infected it from his JVPrs ?
                  what really happened to him? My mother said to me once, bad association could destroy someone easily. Since SM is close to JVP murderers, he is no longer the same SM we knew some years ago.
                  I’m sick and tired of this guy of today.. I really dont think he would grow up.
                  Venomous reptiles masquerading as humans are undoubtedly the bane of the nation. Never has he been able to comment in compliant to the topic which is being discussed in CT.
                  Not long ago, we thought next ” mental break down” will be dawning in next days. I see some signs of that today.

                  These guys dont know how to separate pvt and public … so how can we ever dream of a change ? So called educated sinhalayas ?
                  :

                  • 0
                    3

                    “leelagemalli”,
                    .
                    The problem here
                    is that none of us knows the name of the person writing as “old codger”, and not many know who “leelagemalli” is, either.
                    .
                    I know who “leelagemalli” is, but I’m not revealing it here.
                    .
                    However, “leelagemalli” knows who I am, and has my email and WhatsApp number.
                    .
                    Therefore, there is no “misleading” by me. I am a “Sinhala Man” who knows two languages well – English and Sinhala. I selected that handle because I don’t know any Tamil, but I wish we could all be united in Sri Lanka.
                    .
                    If you also wish to see two photographs of me, you will find them here:
                    .
                    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-thomian-pharisees-are-unrepentant-why-this-matters-to-all-sri-lankans/
                    .
                    The photograph meant to identify the writer of that article is obviously rather dated, but not misleading. However, although the other photograph, showing me and both my mother (I had to be carried by her when I was only a few days old), and my father (of whom only half is shown) is not much use in identifying me today!
                    .
                    I don’t think that I have ever called myself “an educated man“.
                    .
                    Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V) of 51B, Golf Links Road, Bandarawela, Sri Lanka

        • 1
          13

          old codger,
          I abhor tutors. I detest the parents who encourage it.
          I understand that not every school has capable teachers. What is important is capable students, not capable teachers. A capable student will learn even from an average teacher.
          Storytime:
          My advance Level maths teacher had his idiosyncrasies.
          He would say, ‘Open Chapter 1. Try to do each and every problem, in order. You’ll learn. If you get stuck, move on to the next problem I’ll help you with the ones you get stuck, tomorrow’.
          The following day.
          Who got stuck with problem 1? Raise your hand.
          No one did.
          Problem 2? No one did.
          … … .
          Problem 11?
          I put up my hand.
          The teacher looked at another student and asked, ‘Can you help this man!’
          He moved on.
          Problem 12? No one did raise the hand.
          (I had not attempted past problem 11).
          …. …. .
          Problem 18.
          My friend who was supposed to help me with problem 11, raised his hand.
          Quickly, I said, ‘I can help him, Sir’.
          The teacher moved on.
          ____________
          The next morning, my friend approached me. ‘Help me with # 18’.
          I said, mockingly, ‘You don’t have to help me with 11. I don’t have to help you with 18. We are even’.

          • 4
            12

            Nathan,
            That teacher of yours must have been running a tuition class after school. Even I had one like that.

        • 5
          3

          “On a personal note, I never sent my kids for tuition except for AL”

          Did you take them to the “dana” to beg food from monks?

          • 1
            0

            No, but I did take them to Sigiriya to show them a 300 psi invisible water pump being operated by a fake programmer.

      • 1
        3

        Dear LankaScot,
        .
        Many thanks for your input
        ; it’s always good to see what an outsider thinks of our society.
        .
        I feel that we’re right now at the cross roads. I mean that the next month will force all our people to face up to the fact that we need to make fundamental changes to our society. Far too many of our people are running away instead of staying here and putting things right.
        .
        I’ve just made a very long comment here:
        .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNSvegWoVx4
        .
        Too many are trying to implement piecemeal solutions, and they give vent to their personal frustrations, and don’t realise that we’ve got to look at the bigger picture.
        .
        I’m hoping that I you will take a look at the previous article by Dr Dr Wanigasekera:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-choice-on-the-way-to-the-polling-booth-sajith-vs-anura/
        .
        Comments are over there; I think that I made some significant comments there; vipula’s feedback helped me to clarify my own thoughts.
        .
        I will get back here about six hours hence. The time in Bandarawela now is 10:12.
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V)

  • 10
    2

    The media which publicised the private performance to a few hundred people should be charged under ICCPR laws as they are the ones who are culpable in committing these offences. However, like in numerous cases to do with wanda koththu, junghi and fallopian tubes etc, the hoi polloi are only aroused by the absurd and false narratives by a largely hypocritical society. Most do not follow the Buddha’s teachings but carry statues of him around, on car dashboards, wear the Dhamma chakra around their necks and blare pirith from loudspeakers while sodomising young male children in their custody. The dumb people in Sri Lanka unfortunately determine the fate of agents who work for social change and look up to their real enemies who they worship and adore.

    • 2
      0

      Yes Sir, Sadly you are right. That said, in future there will not be anything called ‘ Private’ performance with the social media coming into play in a big way though legally publisher is responsible.

    • 6
      0

      “The dumb people in Sri Lanka unfortunately determine the fate of agents who work for social change and look up to their real enemies who they worship and adore.”

      That is why a social revolution is needed to reset society from the top to bottom. It is like a whole blood transfusion to save the life of a blood cancer patient in the last stadium.

      Even Buddhist and other religious leaders have not been exemplary in recent times and should be prepared to change. Reverend Malcom Ranjith has deliberately supported the Rajapakse clan over and over again.
      Today he cannot say that they are deceived. As religious leaders should have thought earlier.
      Not only the politicians but also the religious leaders are responsible for the complete mess in Sri Lanka. The people are also not pure, they never used the head but their feelings are like ignorant tribes.

  • 4
    4

    SL is probably not familiar with stand up comedians. The whole purpose of a stand up comedian is to make fun at the current social scene. In fact, current comedians even use bad language as it has become quite normal in everyday speech. The term ‘Mary with the cherry’ in reference to Virgin Mary is quite common & those who have seen the comedy series ‘Father Ted’will know how the Catholic church is ridiculed for its rigid rules & even hypocrisy but that’s all in a ‘lighter vein’. The Catholic church wisely refrained from kicking up a fuss because that would make them look stupid, as in a democracy, such attempts to litigate would never succeed.

    • 3
      0

      Sri Lanka is definitely not ready for such humour. This incident will further prevent younger generation from expressing their open views on anything, leave alone religion. Thank you for your comment

      • 6
        0

        Vipula,
        Don’t you think the mainstream media needs to change if people are to advance in their knowledge?
        Tele-dramas and all other Indian scripts have infected the Sri Lankan media, and they have become the number one cheaters who are abusing people’s evenings.
        The mothers don’t seem to be doing their job properly, but they are hawking like mice injected for lab experiements.
        They are trained to imitate others, but there is nothing like learning to train their brains to solve their own problems of the day. If you walk down south, young boys and girls will kneel before you, even if you don’t know them beforehand. Only their parents want them to do so The new type of Buddhist rituals have been introduced by RAJAPAKSHE doctrine…

      • 1
        4

        Dear vipula,
        .
        This is a serious comment, which I liked yesterday. Funny that nobody else has given it a like.

  • 4
    13

    Nathasha is lucky that her audience receive her humour well. She is fortunate that the Courts saw the unnecessary harassment in her arrest.

    • 7
      13

      Nathan,
      “Nathasha is lucky that her audience receive her humour well”
      It was a private show for, I think, a school OBA. They were paying for it. The mistake was in putting it on YouTube for idiotic monks to see.

      • 0
        0

        Thats true Sir. But someone from the audience would have uploaded it. So the problem had to be resolved in this way to prevent such abuse of ICCPR

        • 5
          13

          Vipula,
          Here is Natasha last night on Fae to Face:
          https://www.youtube.com/live/rQhZ3HudKlU?si=ci7YirBoH02hjaoA

          • 2
            11

            old codger,
            Thank you for the Clip.
            The innocence of Nathasha oozes thru the exchange.

          • 3
            0

            Hello OC,
            I know that the Interviewer was probably very constrained by what he could ask, however he was not Jeremy Paxman. The poor woman was jailed for 39 days for telling a joke!! How can you detain someone for 39 days without charging them? There are people in Europe that would refuse to visit Sri Lanka if they knew this. Luckily for Sri Lanka many of their visitors are Russian. Sri Lanka is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The incarceration of Nathasha Edirisooriya is a Criminal Act.
            I wonder if Sinhala_Man could remind Ali Sabry of this – “On this Human Rights Day, I reaffirm Sri Lanka’s commitment to continue to promote and protect human rights and reconciliation in a spirit of cooperation and constructive dialogue as well as in line with the human rights obligations voluntarily undertaken”. https://mfa.gov.lk/human-rights-day-message/

            Ali Sabry, PC
            Minister of Foreign Affairs
            10 December 2023
            Best regards

            • 7
              13

              LS,
              I don’t think the interviewer wanted to court being locked up.

              • 1
                1

                Yes, oc. He was cautious, and allowed it to be a not very impressive video.

            • 10
              9

              ” The poor woman was jailed for 39 days for telling a joke!! “

              At least all of her limbs are intact. She wouldn’t be so lucky in Riyadh.

              • 6
                2

                Hello Lester,
                She is not in Riyadh – she is in the Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka .I know you don’t understand oxymorons, but surely you can identify the one in this sentence.
                Best regards

                • 12
                  7

                  Hello LankaScot,

                  So you are saying Germany should repeal its blasphemy law?

                  “Germany: Section 166 of the German Penal Code prohibits defamation of religions, religious societies, and ideological groups, but the law is rarely enforced and usually only in cases where public peace is disturbed.”

                  It looks like such a law is being used to prevent pro-Palestinian protests: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/DNyCGAZamho

                  There is a strong bias towards Israel in Europe, as we can see from this video and many others. How do you weight that relative to the single “religious law” in Sri Lanka? Or do you prefer to pretend that democracy exists in a vacuum, e.g. only in Sri Lanka?

                  • 4
                    12

                    “So you are saying Germany should repeal its blasphemy law?”
                    What blasphemy law?
                    .
                    https://www.tiktok.com/@oliverthomas_cmdy/video/7355524653953060128
                    Are these guys in jail for performing this in Munich? There is a limit to deliberate lies.
                    Some will do anything to win arguments . How childish.

                  • 4
                    0

                    Hello Lester,
                    Instead of answering my criticisms of the Sri Lanka Law and the misuse of it, you engage in a bout of “whataboutism”.
                    Address the issues, condemn this woman’s arrest and jailing for 39 days. I condemn the use of this Law in Germany for whatever reason. The common laws of Insult or Defamation can be used to protect people not some ephemeral ideology. It is rich that the Country of Martin Luther has a Blasphemy Law.
                    It is right that Countries have laws that protect the right to practice your Religion.
                    So if I take issue or make fun of Exodus 21:20-21 “20 Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.” then I should be prosecuted?
                    Best regards

                    • 7
                      4

                      Hello LankaScot,

                      What is your definition of democracy? Mine is free and fair elections, women’s rights, and freedom of religion. I’m not including “freedom of expression” because that’s a grey area. You must be aware by now that numerous people (such as university presidents and MP’s) have been forced to resign for criticizing Israel and to a lesser extent, supporting Russia. I used to watch a Russian program called “CrossTalk” on YT. After Russia invaded Ukraine, this channel was “cancelled” (banned with content deleted) by Google. In addition to the channel called “RussiaToday” (RT). Meanwhile, “some 41 of Labour’s 197 sitting MPs have accepted money from the Israel lobby, amounting to over £280,000.” Even as a supporter of Israel, I can see the agenda here – hint: it does not favor “freedom of speech.”
                      Regarding oxymorons, a proposition is either true or false, but not both. So if the colonialists were not apathetic (indifferent) towards Buddhism, then you are claiming they actively suppressed it, which is not true. There was no Inquisition. They let people like Dharmapala go about. What the colonialists did is undermine the foundation of Buddhism by altering the economic structure.

                    • 4
                      12

                      As usual, Lester engages in half-truths, concealing the actual situation, which is that the German state is strictly secular.. The law against religious defamation is actionable ONLY if there is likelihood of public disorder, which rarely happens. Even Christian religious propaganda is banned on state media.
                      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_religion_in_Germany#:~:text=the%20Bremen%20clause.-,Blasphemy%20law,public%20peace%2C%20defamation%20is%20actionable.

                    • 9
                      4

                      “So if I take issue or make fun of Exodus 21:20-21 “20 Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.” then I should be prosecuted?”

                      If someone draws a cartoon of Muhammed or says the Virgin Mary engaged in salacious activity, with the express intent to offend members of these communities, and does so publicly, then they should be prosecuted, yes. This kind of “satire” does not serve any useful purpose. Even if a given doctrine is nonsense, there are more polite ways to express disagreement.

        • 0
          0

          Vipula, You have said “But someone from the audience would have uploaded it.” I think it was the organisers of the show thst uploaded it. The show called “Modabhimanaya”.

    • 1
      0

      True Sir, Thats why this is reckoned a land mark verdict

    • 1
      1

      Among the YouTube comments is this.
      .
      @indikakumara1685
      23 hours ago
      English standup comedian yet with a poor English vocabulary?
      It’s really funny
      5
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      The 5 is for “thumbs up”. I had added mine.
      .
      I was non-plussed by this Nathasha’s performances.
      .
      This South African guy’s performances were brilliant:
      .
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trevor_Noah
      .
      “were?” – he’s probably still performing. However, after some time I grew tired of them.
      .
      But, I can well imagine his being able to make a living out of it.
      .
      Shows how average Sri Lankan middle-class audiences accept even the third rate, provided it is in English.
      .
      That explains why some are more impressed with Ranil than with AKD.
      .
      However, don’t run away with the impression that I find nothing positive in Ranil. The real problem with him is that he’s evil.
      .
      But he’s not an outstanding scholar.
      .
      Panini M. D. de A. Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V) of 51B, Golf Links Road, Bandarawela, Sri Lanka

      • 0
        1

        Here’s a Trevor Noah performance:
        .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJa9EZHAlI4
        .
        Panini

        • 0
          1

          Mature and intelligent readers ought to ask themselves how that comment, leading you to a Trevor Noah performance is one that anybody could possibly dislike.
          .
          Well, it may not be to the liking of Nathasha Edirisooriya, but I’m sure that she wouldn’t plumb such depths.

          .
          This is why I have been complaining about trolls who try to prevent intelligent discussion of a subject.
          .
          It is not easy to prove what I’m saying!

      • 4
        13

        SM,
        It is unfair to bring in her English competence.
        Natasha performs mostly in Sinhala. Her spoken English vocabulary is good, but has vestiges of the Sinhala “ball-bowl” syndrome.
        https://m.youtube.com/shorts/P2Diyhl6cCE
        https://m.youtube.com/shorts/2QIiNmVVZk8
        Her humour is not the sort that uptight Sinhala Buddhists tolerate (in public at least) , but it is based on totally irreverent British humour from the 80’s:
        https://youtu.be/asUyK6JWt9U?si=FyafyYmb7Sg5cWlw
        https://youtu.be/eJELPktT2mU?si=7h3nhjNrkhzmWJbu
        Brilliant 1980s sketch show with Rowan Atkinson, Mel Smith, Griff Rhys Jones and Pamela Stephenson.

        • 1
          0

          Hello OC,
          Brilliant links, but you have given Sinhala_Man more clues to your identity. Now he has a good idea of your age bracket.
          We used to watch (religiously?) “The Secret Policeman’s Ball” every year if we could. Rowan Atkinson is a very clever Comedian. The TV Series “Blackadder” was wonderful comedy and at times filled with pathos. Some of the script has gone down in History, like ” I AM the baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wells!”. Could you say that in Sri Lanka?
          Best regards

          • 0
            2

            Dear LankaScot,
            .
            This comment of yours is probably going to get a Red thumbs Down from me! I have co-existed with old codger much longer than you have.
            .
            The occasional new readers who ask me about this Colombo Telegraph icon, having been impressed with his wit and intelligence are provided with a fairly detailed profile of oc.
            .
            I have healthy respect for oc, but not for “leelagemalli”.
            .
            Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V) of 51B, Golf Links Road, Bandarawela, Sri Lanka

            • 1
              0

              Hello SM,
              I am fairly sure that OC will have seen the humour in what I said about guessing his identity after you said “The problem here is that none of us knows the name of the person writing as “old codger”.
              I try not to offend anyone if possible, however my sense of humour could be misconstrued as an ad hominem attack, which is not intended (mostly😉).
              Best regards

          • 3
            6

            LS,
            I am not sure SM would have recognised the future Mr. Bean, who is more famous than Rowan Atkinson in these parts.😁
            I haven’t seen the baby-eating Bishop. I must dig it out in YouTube.

        • 0
          1

          Thanks, oc.
          .
          I enjoyed the two bits of British humour.
          .
          The problems that I have with Nathasha (I haven’t listened to all the excerpts. They are so puerile!):
          .
          1. It is my view that AKD is the one man who can save our country. That position was getting undermined by people saying that the ability to use English was a sine-qua-non for governing the country. The crude jokes of Nathasha and Sepal Amarasinghe had the effect of making people believe that.
          .
          2. I’m not proud of my inadequate knowledge of Sinhala, but I don’t want it debased by allowing English words to stray into Sinhala speech. When stuck, I allow English words into what I’m saying in Sinhala.
          .
          Unless we can find a way of teaching the effective use of English to all our citizens, we ought not to encourage the bastardization of the Sinhala language. Please note that I’m not saying that we ought to pass legislation on that!
          .
          3. The Monty Python makes people think. The Nathasha brand of humour makes people smug and self-satisfied; they feel themselves superior to others around them.

  • 11
    7

    Vipula,

    These laws are not unique to Sri Lanka. They are common in most Asian countries. Also, such laws do not favor only one community. A group like BBS cannot mobilize as they did before.

  • 5
    2

    Buddhism proclaimed by buddha is in the Pali Cannon. The so called buddhist will never understand the pure dhamma set out in the thripitaka. The whole purpose of getting into robes is to shorten samsara. What some of the monks practice is just the opposite getting involved in politics etc prolonging ones journey due to pure ignorance and delusion.
    Let the comedians play their part in society so that people at large can enjoy the comedy and have a laugh without the mongrals attacking them in the pretext of protecting a religion which they do not understand.

    I wash my hands!!!

  • 6
    2

    I don’t find Natasha funny, ay all. She tries hard though – to be funny that is. On the other hand, when I first heard Pastor Jerome’s utterances that got him in trouble on television news I laughed out loud. Perhaps the two should exchange their roles – Natasha & Jerome. That said why isn’t Natasha pressing charges against the police? For unlawful arrest and reputational damage? The police should realise that wearing a uniform does not give them a free pass to do as they please with country’s citizens.

    • 3
      0

      Hello Ruchira,
      In many countries the Police are constrained by the Law and subject to the “Independent Judiciary”. In most cases the Police can only detain a person for a maximum of 24 hours without charging them. They also have the right to have a Solicitor present when they are questioned. If the Police are sure that a Crime has been committed, but don’t have enough Evidence they can release the suspect on Police Bail.
      Best regards

      • 0
        0

        The conduct of the Police if I’m not mistaken ia governed by a code called “Police procedure”. There is a procedure for anything, which has not been followed. Just because person A makes a complaint against person B to the Police, doesn’t mean the Police has the right to ho an arrest Person B. They suppose to investigate the merits if the complain within a legal framework- that is to determine whether a crime has been committee or not. For that they need to know the law. Correct interpretation of the law. In the case of Natasha from what I’ve gathered there hasn’t been any investigation and her arrest is based on errorneous interpretation of the law. Therefore she should not have been arrested in the first place. The police has acted in an arbitrary manner that has resulted in violation of the comedians rights and also caused her reputational damage. No lawyer here, but I feel there’s a strong case for an FR application.

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