25 September, 2020

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Public Appeal For Reason To Prevail Over Emotion

By Pabasari Ginige

Dr. Pabasari Ginige

I have been attending to all sorts of casualties since the April 21st bomb blasts. Some were children, some, women and some, men. Some were de novo anxious and fearful of their lives and those of the loved ones. Some have got their mental health conditions worsened. There is no difference in the suffering of them, despite the fact they belong to all affected races and religions. Even when it is covered by shawl or osari pota depression is depression to me. I too with my colleagues share the shock and national grief following these incidents which shook the foundations of our beautiful island nation. Months are passing since the tragic events and different politically driven “dramas are staged” with no assurance of stability for the peace loving Sri Lankan to settle his or her mind. As a citizen and also as a professional who is attending to the affected people now and will be attending to them unfortunately in years to come in the form of delayed post traumatic stress disorder etc. I believe it is my civic duty to speak up and contribute at least in a small way to make a positive change.

First I condemn my government of Sri Lanka for its gross inefficiency and negligence that cost the lives of its people. It is even more condemnable the way the government behaved in the aftermath not taking responsibility and lying shamelessly blaming each other. I hold the opposition also responsible for not warning the people of the imminent threat despite the fact the VIPs were adequately warned about their safety.

People have lost faith in law and flaccid authorities to curtail the situation. In this context an atmosphere of mass hysteria where hatred, fear and paranoia are being perpetuated by various politically motivated fractions with ulterior motives. The best example is the attacks in the North Western Province. Certain groups of people are being ostracized and discriminated without adequate evidence based on race and religion. The social media and other propaganda   are too quick to pass judgment on certain alleged incidents and a large number of people are rushing to endorse and spread these stories without verifying them. I urge we must curb such temptation to believe whatever we hear or read based on our racial and political affiliations. It should be left for the investigators to look into the truthfulness of the allegations though I too share the sentiments of those who believe the law can be bent and investigations will not be proper under any government present or past for that matter. Yet I like to remind taking law into our hands will only worsen the situation and we will be unknowingly played into the opportunistic politicians from any party.   It is a situation fraught with much danger. It is common knowledge that in mass hysteria, only mob mentality and ‘groupthink’ can thrive, leading to mob violence. Many scholars including Sigmund Freud have written about this herd behaviour. We must not let the present governments repeat what the 1983 government did to our country. Further, our behavior now will resonate for generations to come. Do we want our children to feed on fear and racism and perpetuate the cycle of violence for posterity and destroy our nation? We need to make wise choices now. Particularly when the people can not rely on at least a proper investigation against the accused extremists with high power it is easy for this herd mentality to take over our best reasoning and judgment.

While congratulating the majority of Sinhalese Buddhists of Sri Lanka for their patience shown despite being lured to be otherwise, I like to remind my fellow Sinhalese Buddhists that this is the time we should practice our meththa muditha karuna. The catholic community lead by their religious leader has been tremendously patient and showed the true meaning of love and forgiveness taught in their religion. I thank all those Muslim fellow citizens for trying to alert authorities for some time about Islam extremism in Sri Lanka to which a deaf and blind approach was shown  and the peace loving Muslims who have paid with their  safety for opposing the extremists.

As a nation, we need to be strong and rational in the face of adversity. Thinking critically and not being pawns of opportunistic and chauvinistic politicians is the need of the hour. My dear fellow Sri Lankans, It is when the going is tough that we need to tap our humanity most.

*Dr. Pabasari Ginige – Consultant Psychiatrist

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Latest comments

  • 4
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    Well said Dr. Pabasiri Ginige. We need more professionals like her to come out and speak up.

  • 1
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    You are very correct. Buddhists were Buddhists because of that they vanished in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Maldive Islands, Pakisthan (Paksithan still has the Buddha’s Begging Bowl I heard).and Malaysia and Indonesia. Some other countries such as Mongolia had been taken over by Evangelists. Ranil is an anglican converted Buddhists. Ven Ghansara says Ranil wife Maitirhi was very pushy in order to keep the bhikku in Jail. That is the situation in the Sri lankan Parliament. so, Srilanka needs to be mindful and we need Sinhala buddhists because there is no political Buddhism as in other religions which are political. Besides all these, Asian Theravada Buddhists are PERSECUTED because the west finds it is difficult for them to accomplish their needs. Muslims and Christians are connecting links.

    • 3
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      JD
      When did Buddhism appear in Saudi Arabia for it to disappear?
      *
      Buddhism lost out the day it began to rely on state patronage rather than mass appeal.
      Kings are not great intellectuals and are thus persuaded by all manner of cunning persons in robes.

      • 0
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        SJ: You need to read books. Even the MEcca is buddha’s Sripadas

        • 0
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          JD

          Before buddha to whom did people worshipped whom, GODS is ever living to prove this Coming of Jesus, He saw his miracles talking when infant curing the blind this is done with gods permission
          This is also derived from books.

    • 0
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      DR.Gingi!
      Despite your meaningful article JD continues to harp on race and religion. What about the Connecting link of Hinduism to Lord Buddha?

  • 1
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    Dr. Ginige., as a fellow human being, a country man, and a colleague, I salute you. Thank you so so much for speaking out, loud and clear.

  • 4
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    I’m glad you have come to your senses,. Unlike when you had the mob mentality of anthare students when boycotting exams and shouting on stage like a maniac…or the herd mentality of GMOA “harak” and cryied about SAITM and how it will create too many doctors when Sri Lankan people knew we had a lack of doctors and needed a way to fill it…. Looking forward to the day you write a letter and appologize for being caught in “group thinking” and ruined lives of 1000s of students by being a biggot yourself….

    Then we will know this article isn’t “Wadi bana”… Trying to redeem your self for the discussing way you shouted on stage with biggotry towards some groups.

  • 4
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    ..
    ..
    Religion is a way of life. If you aren’t religious then your religion in the birth certificate has no meaning.
    ..
    Myanmar, Bangkok, China, Cambodia, Japan and Sri Lanka are few examples for violent nature shown despite Buddhism is being the majority.
    ..
    Christian, Muslim and Hindu nations have far worse history. They are far more worse because they have more population.
    ..
    Clearly the issue is inside us and not inside any religion. We have tailor made the religious philosophy to support our greed.
    ..
    All of us are actively or passively supporting the cause to fulfill our own agendas.
    ..
    ..

  • 3
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    Thank you Dr Ginige for this voice of sanity. Sri Lanka has much hope remaining.
    Best wishes an keep writing.

  • 0
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    Thanks Dr Ginige. The following is what I agree most or like to emphasize.

    “I urge we must curb such temptation to believe whatever we hear or read based on our racial and political affiliations. It should be left for the investigators to look into the truthfulness of the allegations though I too share the sentiments of those who believe the law can be bent and investigations will not be proper under any government present or past for that matter. Yet I like to remind taking law into our hands will only worsen the situation and we will be unknowingly played into the opportunistic politicians from any party.”

    At the same time, prejudice, impatience, emotionalism, extremism and violence are some human traits all over the world perhaps as a result of ‘genetic’ distortions or disorders. I will call it ‘human aggression’ in summary. Some countries have managed to neutralize human aggression’ fairly, but not completely. While the world require overall scientific solutions to ‘human aggression,’ among some other problems (global warming, poverty etc.), I wish our scientists in Sri Lanka also would work on those lines. Particular socio-environmental conditions (value education, economic security, political cooperation, responsible media) might be able to counter ‘aggressive genes.’ This is apart from the proper application of ‘rule of law,’ the law being reasonable and rational. Natural scientists also might be able to come up with other solutions, perhaps an immunization!. Aggression also appears a disease!

  • 1
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    Dear Dr Gingi,
    There is no substance in this statement, at least there is nothing new; and the side which has the most media power could direct it where it wishes and use it for their own purposes.
    And the bland shameful attribution of the politically orchestrated acts of violence, i.e. state terrorism, aimed at all the people (all ethnic groups of our country) as “mob attacks” is too obvious.
    This is an instance where you psychiatrists abuse power to appear as experts where no expertise at all exists. This is no cheaper than a “Doramadalawa” talk show. The superior lot who believe that Freudian theories could be brought to explain what has happened in 83 or 2019 or in between obviously believes that they are above the “herd”.
    This government just repeated what JR did in 83. You are too late to prevent it madam!
    However, when hatred and paranoia are fundamental teachings of a certain religion, we fail to, or fear to address it, as we are to protect human rights- and it is a fundamental right to believe and behave whatever the way you want in the name of a religion. How do you tackle it psychologically? What is your defence against a group of people who do not pay taxes, support only their kith and kin (financially in order to do what is termed as “market sweeps”), use the bomb-of-population-expansion, and believe it is legitimate to kill the non-believers?
    One thing that you’ve correctly gauged is the imminent danger to the establishment. In that sense, you are correct.
    The usual age old attack on politicians seems to satisfy you as the tunnel vision of most professionals in Sri Lanka prevents you’ll from, forget about writing, even thinking of the extra-territorial forces which govern our situation. ISIS is a made in USA product.

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