By Vishwamithra1984 –
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” ~Helen Keller
The Colombo Magistrate’s Court issued on Tuesday, August 12, 2104, restraining orders on the Thawheed Jamath, Bodu Bala Sena and Sinhala Ravaya organizations preventing them from holding demonstrations and protests in Colombo and the Colombo Fort area. The demonstrations were scheduled for Wednesday, August 13. The Police making the announcement regarding the said court order stated: “The court order was issued by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court following information given by the Colombo Fort police that demonstrations were planned for today by the Thawheed Jamath, Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and Sinhala Ravaya (SR) organizations.”
What seems to be a victory for peace is in fact a dangerous alternative to the surrender of two fundamental rights, freedom of movement and freedom of speech assured to all Sri Lankans by our Constitution. Once again the Bodu Bala Sena and its fellow travelers have scored a point. And the Rajapaksas stand to gain at least on two fronts. Firstly, they give an ostensible reason why we must have peace in the midst of our City centers and secondly, they hide their hypocrisy in their Middle-East policy of backing the regime of Israel that is considered the world over as practicing ‘apartheid’, while portraying themselves as supporters of the Palestinian Liberation Movement. Running with the hare and hunting with the hound continues, even on the international stage.
This speaks more of the stranglehold the BBS and other related organizations have over the law and its so-called “keepers”. One might understand- but never justify-why and how the Police could be compromised on matters relating to preserving law and order and taking the side of the powers that be, yet for the Judiciary to issue orders to prevent the holding of peaceful demonstrations just because one party was threatened by another opposing party is inexplicable. The chain of events that were ignited about two years ago with the very formation of the ‘Senas’ and ‘Balakayes’- though they have their own right to be heard and listened to as an essential matter of promise enshrined in the Constitution- could have been checkmated, if not avoided, if the Police Department had the foresight to simply enforce the existing ordinary law in the country. When the Police failed in this fundamental duty and when they decided that applying the laws of the land irrespective of caste, creed and religion would cause displeasure among the powers that be, the design of the mosaic changed and assumed viciously distorted proportions.
The Bodu Bala Sena organization and its main loudhailer assumed heroic dimensions overnight. The whispering campaign picked up bit here and a bit there of newsy material and concluded that the BBS was in fact, a front for a very powerful person close to the Chief Executive in flesh and blood. Thereby, the BBS gained legitimacy by merely being mentioned along with the name of this powerful figure in the ruling clan; furthermore, the very alluring nature of the issues that they adopted for protest gave even more credence to the latent jealousies and hatred that quite a number of Sinhalese Buddhists felt against other non-Sinhalese Buddhist segments in the country. The anger and hatred so generated is so deep and powerful, an organization that is branded and identified as a vanguard of Sinhalese-Buddhism had to resort to actions sabotaging a very legitimate demonstration organized against the State of Israel, a foreign country whose origins and continuity is written in blood and tears of another oppressed people- the Palestinians. Contradictions are far too many and disregard of these contradictions by those who follow the word of the BBS is even more astounding. It really looks like a blind shepherd leading a blinder flock. Wherever these contradictions and anomalies lead, one does not know but it’s fairly certain that reversing a process that has been unhinged is almost impossible. Politics is a strange game, when one begins to play it. Real human beings are being assumed as mere pawns in the hands of a grand chess master whose moves cannot be read in advance as the very momentum of the game has overtaken the total persona of the player. He is not playing the game anymore; the game seems to be playing him.
This grand design which is being mistakenly identified and branded as ‘strategic-politics’ has become the undoing of a people and of a country. What renders these sinister merchants of power the very ingredients to manipulate and maneuver the subject people and exercise almost unquestioned control over them is mainly founded on a belief that they and only they -the present ruling cabal- have the right and privilege to govern. To facilitate this misnomer, the ‘cabal’ has unlimited resources of cash which primarily provides the tools, man and muscle power for the cool accomplishment of the task at hand.
One would naturally wonder whether all this has been carefully plotted and planed well ahead of time and put into motion by pressing the right button at the right time. No, it does not happen like that. Nobody can plan with such accuracy and foresight. However, when one is trained to ‘think on his feet’, then he can adopt fresh moves when other sub-plots take shape and threaten to direct the main plot away from the original one that was put in place at the beginning. One may grudgingly acknowledge that those who are controlling these Senas and Balakayes are so worthy of such credit- of being masterful in plotting and sub-plotting- yet credit must be bestowed where it is deserved. With the money and muscle power so vast and enviously unlimited, the resources that are available to those who rule today could engineer such a chain of events thinking that they could control it totally. This is where they make a decisive error in judgment. They may control to some considerable degree, but not totally. The flow is too fast and swift, one cannot provide for each and every contingency. When another such crafty plotter enters the scene, he or she should be able to get inside the skin of the main perpetrator and think and act like him and would be able even to go to the extent of forecasting the culprit’s next move.
We might not have among us such a competitive mind today. But as I mentioned in my previous column, if we don’t have one among us today, we should not close the door for a one who might materialize tomorrow or the day after. The need to keep looking elsewhere should not be foreclosed. Arguments and actions for a better alterative should never be foreclosed.
The emergence of Anura Kumara Dissanayake, the Leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) as a genuinely brilliant speaker with his usage of the vernacular diction to the utmost, his incisive skills in shattering the opponent’s lopsided stances, the sincerity of purpose that is emanating from his persona, his fearlessness in shredding the opponent to pieces and exposing the opponent’s vulgarity in politics and social ethos have contributed to the fact that Dissanayake enjoys among the free-thinking Sri Lankans a status as a very credible and worthy leader in the country. His ability to put across a very cohesive argument in a very convincing and brave manner has made him, if not the obvious choice for the elusive ‘Common Candidate’ of the Opposition, then at least one of the prime movers of the movement to be built to displace the incumbent from office.
Dissanayake has, on more than one occasion, asked for a halt on the maddening utterances and actions of the BBS and its chief spokesperson, Gnanasara Monk. His, Anura Kumara’s, active and total participation at whatever action program the Opposition undertakes must be secured at any cost, as he seems to be one of the two or three Opposition leaders that have not lost their credibility. One other Parliamentarian who could belong in that list is Arjuna Ranatunga but for whatever reason, he seems to have gone into a self-made shell.
Aside from all the commotion that was initially created by the BBS and its chief protagonist, Gnanasara needs the attention of all reasonably thinking men and women. The most drastic measure that was generated by his actions is not the Aluthgama riots or vandalism of non-Buddhist places of worship. Creating circumstances to obtain a ruling in favor of cancellation of a peaceful demonstration against the inhuman and barbaric military attack on Palestine and the Gaza by Israel in the last few weeks remains the most fundamentally dangerous act of the BBS.