24 June, 2024

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Once Bitten, Twice Shy; But It Takes Two To Tango!

By Mahil Dole

Mahil Dole

The age-old adage “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” is a well-known and frequently used phrase of admonition that many Sri Lankans, especially those from the middle and upper strata of society, have grown up hearing during their school years. This often-repeated saying typically forms the lower rungs of a disciplinary ladder” that, for many of us, ended with corporal punishment in the principals or headmasters office, depending on the title of the chief administrative officer at our respective schools.

However, in the context of this article, the writer uses this phrase with a sense of dread, applying its message to his co-religionists in Sri Lanka—the Sri Lankan Muslim community. Once again, this community finds itself entangled in domestic and regional political intrigue. Their cultural and religious practices, along with the supposed geopolitical implications attributed to them by external experts and academics, have been dissected, discussed, and occasionally maligned in public forums.

The Muslims of Sri Lanka, many of whom have risked life and limb (like the writer) to serve their country, have been left perturbed and shocked by the charges leveled against them by various segments of Sri Lankan society, particularly from sections of the political class and the press. The writer succinctly states: “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.” Members of the Muslim community must be keenly aware of forces, both internal and external, that might attempt to spread an alien and toxic brand of “Islamic Thought,” purportedly practiced in the Middle East. This so-called Islamic Thought” or IS ideology” is a deviant political experiment, the product of Colonial British designs against the Ottoman Empire. Like the virus in any good horror movie, this one escaped the “lab” where it was created and continues to wreak havoc. The writer asserts with the utmost confidence that this IS ideology is now public enemy No. 1 in the Middle East, where it was originally bred.

Unfortunately, the current wave of Hindutva-based ethno-nationalism sweeping India, coupled with a similar Sinhala-Buddhist-oriented ethno-nationalism embraced by a vocal minority in Sri Lankas political class and intelligentsia, has made the IS ideology seem like a counterweight to these forces. This is why all sections of the government, security services, and civil society must be vigilant. The writer emphasizes that a special onus falls on the Sri Lankan Muslim community, particularly its religious leaders and political representatives, to prevent anti-Islamic forces from planting this perverse IS ideology as a counterweight to the bigotry and blatant Islamophobia propagated by the Sinhala-Buddhist right wing.

It pains the writer to remind the Muslim community of the Easter Sunday attacks and the subsequent pain and subjugation they experienced. However, as the saying goes, “It Takes Two to Tango.” Recently, a well-known security studies academic warned of an impending resurgence of violent terrorism emanating from the Sri Lankan Muslim community. His latest article refers to the arrest of four alleged IS members in India, all of whom are Sri Lankan. Background checks indicate they have ties to the Sri Lankan underworld and have likely been engaged in smuggling from India for some time. A few weeks before this article, the same academic predicted a resurgence of IS terrorism in Sri Lanka. Whether this is clairvoyance, coincidence, or design, the writer leaves that judgment to the readers’ discretion.

Furthermore, the writer has consistently warned his former colleagues, especially this security academic, not to chase “Pink Elephants”—a metaphor for misleading or illusory problems. Such ideological dogma dulls the intellect and hampers the problem-solving skills of intelligence professionals. Moreover, the morale of the intelligence services suffers when they are compelled to sycophantically comply with politically motivated directives from senior officials, leading to lower quality intelligence gathering and analysis. In the long run, this could handicap Sri Lankan policymakers in making correct and timely decisions.

Objective analysis of the root of any matter naturally transcends human prejudice, stereotypes, hearsay, and old wives’ tales. In this context, one must question uncontested facts readily available in the public domain. When incriminating leads and leaks are processed using Occam’s razor principle, they often lead to significantly constructive conclusions and justifiable outcomes, unless explicitly proven otherwise. This reality will be etched into the annals of history and remain within the purview of critical minds. If you understand this, you will realize where and how your efforts and concerns should be focused and what lingers in the minds of men. This is the domain that is too often ignored.

In summary, this writer has the following messages:

● To the Sri Lankan Muslim community: Be on your guard! “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.”

  • To the rest of Sri Lankan society: Don’t let Islamophobic bigots hijack the narrative; “It Takes Two to Tango.”

● To his former colleagues (especially the mentioned security studies academic): Stop chasing “Pink Elephants” it will dull your intelligence!

*The writer is a retired Senior Superintendent of Police – Former Head of Counterintelligence – State Intelligence Service, Sri Lanka. Former First Secretary (Defense), Sri Lanka Embassy in Thailand. Presently serving as a member of the Sri Lanka Wakf Board

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Latest comments

  • 5
    8

    “Always getting bitten, never shy” is the motto when it comes to Marakkala/Mappila Muslem shenanigans in Sinhala Buddhist Sri Lanka.
    /
    –“It Takes Two to Tango”, the writer says.–
    Yes, it’s true. The two tangoing parties are J|hadis and power greedy Sinhala politicians who betray Sinhala Buddhist island for Muslim votes.
    /
    –“Stop chasing “Pink Elephants” it will dull your intelligence!”–

    Who do you mean by Pink Elephants? Musl1m terrorists in Sri Lanka?????

    • 4
      9

      This is an attempt to cover up Islamic extremism in Srilanka. As a past intelligence officer, he should know that National intelligence unit was working with Muslim extremists in eastern province since 1989 to give trouble to Tamils, whereas Buddhist attack on Muslims started only after the end of war in 2009. National intelligence played an important part in easter bombing by liaising with Islamic terrorists to carry out the attack. This practice of supporting Islamic extremists against Tamils is continuing. Four Muslims from Srilanka with criminal record were caught in India and had no explanation for their presence. Muslims going frequently to India and Dubai is for nefarious activities, and need to be investigated. These four men are only the tip of the ice-berg, and for the government to ignore with the aim of using them against Tamils and India will only boomerang on the country.

      • 5
        1

        “whereas Buddhist attack on Muslims started only after the end of war in 2009”
        When was the violence in Mawanella?

        • 1
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          All violence after 2009. First was at Aluthgama where violence followed after stone throwing on a Buddhist monk who was walking down Dharga Town. Mawanella was after beheading of Buddha statues and Digana was after killing of a Sinhala van driver. In all these instances, Muslims started the problem, and when retaliation takes place, they cry foul.

      • 4
        3

        Dr. G.S.

        You seem to be harbouring an endless hatred towards the Muslims because you believe that the Muslims should have joined hands with the Tamils in the separatist war.

        1. Should the Muslims have joined hands with the Tamils only because they spoke Tamil? What is WRONG in their taking an INDEPENDENT stand and stay away?

        2. The Tamils PUNISHED the Muslims in various ways during the war, the worst being

        a. Expelling about 75,000 Muslims from their homes in the North in 1990 at short notice with barely the clothes they were wearing. They are yet to return to their homes.

        b. Massacring more than 260 Muslims in Kattankudy and Eravur in mosques while they were praying, also in 1990.

        Isn’t it time for educated people like you to bury the past and get together to work for the country so that all citizens can have a better life in the future?

        • 2
          3

          Stop distorting the truth hiding under false name. Worst racism in Srilanka is Muslim claim to eastern province when they went there as refugees fleeing persecution by Portuguese. Is this not an act of ungratefulness by Muslims to those who gave them safety. Will any Muslim dare to make a demand at present that Buddhist perahera when passing the mosque should not beat the drums. So do not try to paint Muslims as innocent.
          1. Muslims can take independent stand, but it should not at the expense of denying Tamils their right. Muslims say they do not want to be ruled by Tamils, but are happy to be ruled by Sinhalese. Then they should move to areas ruled by Sinhalese, from where their ancestors came to east. Taking independent political view is different from joining Sinhalese to commit murder and ethnic cleansing of Tamils, and appropriating their lands. Several new pradesiya sabhas have been created for Muslims in the east, but when it comes to Kalmunai north pradesiya sabha for Tamils, Muslims are objecting. Is this not racism.

          • 1
            3

            2. Attack on Tamils started in 1985 by Muslim home guards. Again Muslims were the first to unleash violence. Since early 70s Muslims were functioning as spies to give information to government about Tamil activity. Violence and betrayal by Muslims went on unabated despite pleadings and warnings. Unable to make Muslims to stand to reason, Muslims were expelled from north and Katankudy massacre took place. In September 1990, massacres of about 60 Tamils took place in two places in Amparai district committed by Muslims. Strangely after Katankudy massacre took place, Muslims stopped killing Tamils. Your figure of 260 is wrong, the number being just over 100. The worst act of terror was committed by Muslims in killing 260 Christians in 2019. At present all Muslims who were expelled from north have returned with their properties intact, where as Tamils are being prevented to get their lands appropriated by Muslims in the east back.
            Let us forget the past and get on with restoration of land and power to Tamils, for which Muslims are an obstacle. Without that your concerns are hollow.

            • 1
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              GS

              Muslims in the East were under attack by the LTTE and/or LTTE supporters much earlier than 1985 for reasons only the LTTE knows. To learn more about the relationship between Tamils and Muslims in the East, I suggest that you read the UTHR Reports.

              As for the death tolls in the Massacre in the Mosque in Kattankudy, according to Wikpedia, 147 Muslims were killed in the mosque in Kattankudy. The Massacre in Eravur, not necessarily in the Mosque as I have stated, claimed the lives of 173 people, according to Wikpedia, bringing the total killing to 320 which I have stated as 260 in the two mosques. Sorry about that.

              What has the Easter Sunday killings by some Terrorists carrying Muslim names got to do with the Tamil-Muslim conflict?

              “At present all Muslims who were expelled from north have returned with their properties intact.”

              Really? Prove it.

          • 1
            1

            GS

            “………..Muslim claim to eastern province” ???? How and when?

            How does Muslims taking an independent stand turn out to be “at the expense of denying Tamils their right.”?

            “Muslims say they do not want to be ruled by Tamils, but are happy to be ruled by Sinhalese”

            What are you talking about? Can you explain the context when ruling by Tamils or Sinhalese arose?

            When and where did the “murder and ethnic cleansing of Tamils and appropriating their lands”, occur where Muslims joined the Sinhalese?

        • 2
          1

          Muhandiram,
          Even though it is not my turn, I do so in the name of sanity.
          … because of the belief that Muslims should have joined hands with Tamils in the separatist war.
          _ Any evidence?
          (There were Tamils who did not join hands with separatists.)
          … The Tamils punished the Muslims, expelling from their homes in at short notice.
          _ The notice was short; The requests prior to that to stop conniving with the enemy were long.

    • 5
      1

      Tony,
      If you can’t even find the “i” on your keyboard, this is not the place for you. 🤣🤣

      • 3
        1

        OC and Sinhala_Man,
        .
        Please add your comments on the article below where he has expressed the appalling levels of civil service in Sri Lanka. In today’s country where almost every service is in decline, we should praise the kind of articles that speak volumes. Thank you.

        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/rob-or-perish-a-grim-reality-in-public-service/comment-page-1/?unapproved=2492105&moderation-hash=71e47baa21b8caa0be1855a4b12641dc#comment-2492105

        • 0
          3

          Dear Mr Dole,
          .
          I don’t know you at all. Welcome to Colombo Telegraph. It’s a a respected forum.
          .
          I’m sorry; I haven’t yet read your article. I shall comment only after I have read your article.
          .
          I’ve just made a firm decision not to make a response to “leelagemalli” who has sent me more than a thousand emails, and we have talked to each other using WhatsApp. I don’t know what agenda he now has.
          .
          He even couriered chocolates to me, until it began to look as though the NPP is going to form the next government. Please see the sort of rubbish he has written here:
          .
          https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/quo-vadis-feeding-the-225-dont-wait-for-the-state-lets-act-on-our-own/
          .
          That article is by the brilliant Professor Kumar David. We don’t know who old codger is, but he’s a very sharp commenter. As for me, I’m disconcertingly open.
          .
          Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V) of 51B, Golf Links Road, Bandarawela, Sri Lanka

          • 0
            2

            This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

            For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

          • 1
            0

            Sinhala Man.

            Both Prof; Kumar David and old codger were taught by W.M.G.
            Psst.Including me.

            • 1
              2

              Plato,
              Shhh!

          • 10
            0

            “I don’t know you at all.”


            Mahil Dole ……… Consider yourself the luckiest man on earth! ……. You have no clue how lucky you are!! …… Phew!!!

            Hope it stays that way!

            You are just a bungling novice in intelligence: an Inspector Clouseau ……. when it comes to sniffing snooping around. :)))


            Playing school Rugby …… I used to know a Rugger player named Doole …… Maly, I think ……. he had a knockout sister …… Oh boy!

            Wonder what happened to her ……. perhaps I’m asking the wrong person …….. should be asking Old Codger

      • 1
        0

        Hello OC,
        Using non standard (non alphabetical) characters to replace certain letters is a well known way to pass through automated censors, or to evade Surveillance Personnel that are monitoring Emails for “key words”.
        On another topic – there is no such thing as an ex-Intelligence Officer. They can be retired or in another profession, but they almost always maintain their loyalty, contacts and methodology. Never take what an Intelligence Officer says at face value. Read what they say carefully and remember “cui bono”.
        Best regards

    • 5
      2

      Tony,
      .
      you or the diseased beasts in human disguise have been supporting sinhala-racists ever since they were conceived. Perhaps, your hatred is several volumes higher than the Israeli Zionists. This is the curse that destroys the Sri Lankan nation made up of Sinhalese majority and other minorities.
      Even if Prof. Nalinda de Silva or similar extreme racists die physically, they sowed in your mind to transmit evil thoughts to the next generation.

      In retrospect, what has divided this nation today is nothing but Sinhala-racism and hegemony.-
      The ill treatment of minorities as foreigners must be stopped today. ” The term Minorities – should be removed from our Sri Lankan vocabulary” and we should all be considered “Sri Lankans”. We must not allow some radical monks and SB fundamentalists to further divide our nation because they are obsessed with keeping their former monastic tendencies alive. Sinhala Buddhist monks in our temples all over the country are more or less confused by the lack of proper information about our concerns based on ethnic issues.
      Either they should refrain from speaking against minorities in public or study the facts about the long term threats to this nation.

      If We will not solve the long-standing problems by ourselves, the economic progress and we dream of achieving will not succeed.

      TBC

      • 5
        1

        Cont.
        Despite the loss of hundreds of human lives in the brutal thirty-year war, the rogue politicians of the South (Rajapaksa) chose the easy route of injecting the germs of sinhala-racism into the most vulnerable psyche. MR- like a drug addict is inseparable from his active role in politics which continues today.

        The truth is that his physical prowess is no longer in the eyes of millions. Some analysts question what is going through his head even after his totally evil politics has leveled this country at every level.

        Without their communal ties, they would not be able to hold power. Just like in North Korea and Iran, in Sri Lanka the criminals led by MR abused vulnerable people as human shields to show the world that many people support them but cannot escape their sinful politics. The mainstream media in this country is deadly silent on the most critical issues. Curse of the nation.
        .
        It will be clear to anyone with a sensitive mind that our Sinhala- Buddhists are not true Buddhists who “practice non-violence and righteous Buddhism”.

  • 5
    1

    Had the Muslims considered themselves FIRST as Tamil speaking Citizens of SL(TSC), [like the South Indian Muslims] & then as Muslims for the last 50 years the Singhalese would not have treated as second class citizens. Sinhala Buddhist Politicians not only divided the Muslim community but also the Minority Fighters too. GoSL’s Home Guards consisting the muslims were more nasty to TSC.
    MAWANELLA violence was to provoke Sinhala Buddhists just prior to the Easter Bombings. One Tamil and one Sinhala Policemen were sacriced by State Intelligence so that they can aid Easter bombings in order to benefit MR’s Brother politically.The BLAME these two killings were quickly put on the Ex-Tigers so conveniently.
    I don’t remember the Muslims in SL wearing headcoverings etc 30 years or so years ago.” When was the Islamic Thoughts or I.S. established in SL? As long as the Security Forces continue turning the blind eye on the violent acts by the lay Sinhala people , there is NOT going to be genuine

    • 7
      0

      Mr. Dole writes well, and enunciates his opinions logically. He is of an older generation of police officers, which has long since died out, replaced by political thugs like Deshabandu, Vas Gunawardena, and Anura Senanayake. He reminds me of two senior officers I knew, G.D. Weerasooriya and Anton Jeganathan.

      • 4
        2

        How can Mr. Dole be innocent when he was a member of intelligence service. If he is honest, he must expose the involvement of intelligence service during his tenure in promoting murder and ethnic cleansing of Tamils by Muslims in eastern province, and the failure to arrest Muslim perpetrators of violence against Tamils.

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