21 September, 2020

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Sri Lanka, Without Sri Lankans

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Are we so morally sick, so deaf and dumb and blind, that we do not understand this?” Ariel Dorfman (The Washington post – 24.9.2006)

Finally, in a cauldron of insanity, a few grains of sense!
The willingness to compromise displayed by the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) has opened a path away from a new war. We can now discard the bogus ‘Halal issue’, and focus on real problems, such as the ricochet-effect of fuel price increases; or Sri Lanka’s tumbling international reputation.

Champika: Hopefully he can find other, less deadly, alternatives to twiddling his thumbs than fanning the flames of religious disharmony

Faced with an incendiary campaign aimed at provoking a new conflagration, the ACJU has acted with mature good sense. Its proposal enables Muslims to have halal-meat and non-Muslims to have ordinary meat. It also opens the door to the introduction of humane methods of slaughter in most Lankan abattoirs.

Do Sinhala-Buddhist fanatics possess the sense to be appeased by the ACJU’s moderation? Or will they continue to insist on their maximalist agenda?

The initial signs are not hopeful. The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) is maintaining a stony silence while Minister Champika Ranawaka has declared himself dissatisfied with the ACJU’s moderate proposal. According to this Christian-basher of yesteryear, the ACJU’s position of differentiating between halal and non-halal meat smacks of ‘separation’.
The JHU-BBS types believe that Tamils, in order to be deemed anti-separatist, must oppose not just the Tigers and Eelam but also devolution. In their maximalist-eyes even limited devolution is akin to separation.

The same fundamentalist criteria are now being applied to Muslims. Muslims can be anti-separatist only if they abandon those parts of religio-cultural identity which Sinhala-Buddhist fanatics deem objectionable. Thus it is not enough to create a separation between halal and non-halal; halal must go.

Minister Ranawaka not only rejects the ACJU’s compromise; he is single-handedly striving to open a new frontier in the ‘war of the religions’. Marking a new inane-low (even for the JHU) he has stated that his ministry and the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress are discussing with the Sri Lanka Standards Institute to introduce “a new food quality certificate for non-Alcoholic food and beverages” (Daily Mirror – 23.2.2012). Granted, that his recent demotion from the important portfolio of Power and Energy to the inconsequential one of Technology, Research and Atomic Energy (there is already a Minister of Technology and Research) would have left Minister Ranawaka with eons of free-time. Hopefully he can find other, less deadly, alternatives to twiddling his thumbs than fanning the flames of religious disharmony.

The silence of moderate Buddhist organisations and leaders is distressing. If the moderates can speak out, step forward and accept the ACJU compromise, the hardliners can be consigned to the margins and prevented from imposing their deranged agenda on the country.

The silence of the regime about the ACJU proposal is equally puzzling. Will the Rajapaksas step forward to end the spurious ‘halal controversy’? Or will the Siblings permit their JHU-BBS-SR acolytes to feed the embers of religious-disharmony with more malevolent rhetoric and other spurious issues? Is this a way to make the Sinhala masses forget the bleak economic outlook?

The Human Rights Watch is to issue a new report claiming that Lankan forces raped/sexually abused Tamil detainees not only during the war but even afterwards. The HRW Report is said to “chronicles 75 cases of alleged rape and sexual abuse which occurred from 2006 to 2012 in Sri Lanka” (One India News – 22.2.2013). If true, this should be of paramount concern to the Sinhalese, not only for moral-ethical reasons but also in self-interest. If, as the HRW claims, “politically motivated sexual violence by the military and police continues to the present”, it can victimise Sinhala opponents of the regime too, ere long.

Do the Rajapaksas think that a new religious enemy will enable them to sweep even this outrage out of international-sight? And be welcomed at the White House, Downing Street and Élysée Palace, as leaders of the new frontier nation in the war against ‘Islamic Terrorism’?

Pro-Sri Lankan ACJU and Anti-Sri Lankan BBS-JHU

In the spurious ‘Halal controversy’, the ACJU represents the moderate centre while the JHU-BBS-SR combine occupies the destructive/self-destructive extreme.

The spirit of moderation displayed by the ACJU on the ‘Halal issue’ and about the impending removal of the ancient Sufi shrine at Kuragala exemplifies the politico-psychological attitude necessary for the creation of a Sri Lankan nation.
Because, a Lankan nation, though a good idea and a necessary idea, is still an idea. Sri Lanka is a politico-geographical reality, with a surfeit of Sinhalese, Buddhists, Tamils, Christians, Hindus and Muslims. Conspicuous by their dearth are citizens or leaders who can transcend their primordial identities and their particularist concerns to think and act as Lankans.

The Tigers were enemies of the idea of a Lankan nation; they regarded it as undesirable and impossible. The BBS-JHU-SR combine share this belief. The Tigers said Sri Lanka was a Sinhala/Sinhala-Buddhist country; that was their main rationale for a state of Eelam. The BBS-JHU-SR combine also believes that this is the country of Sinhala-Buddhists and that the minorities are here because of the generosity and the hospitableness of Sinhala-Buddhists; the minorities can either accept this subordinate place and take care not to cause ‘stress and concern’ for Sinhala-Buddhists – or get out.
According to this ‘Hosts and Guests concept’, Sinhala-Buddhists are the sole owners of Sri Lanka; the minorities are guests here on sufferance, rather than co-owners. This particularlist definition of ‘nation’ as the sole-property of the majority community is not a Sinhala-Buddhist invention. It is a belief common to all racial and religious fanatics. The counterparts of the BBS-JHU-SR combine range from Republican right-wingers (who hate Barack Obama because, in their racially jaundiced eyes, he is a ‘foreigner’) to European Neo-Nazis, from Hindu fanatics to Taliban and its many offshoots. These extremist elements are united in their hatred of variety and in their belief that a nation should be a homogenous entity which takes it hue solely from the majority community.

This vision is dangerously out of place in today’s world. Attempts to impose it, through discriminatory laws or violence, can lead a country along self-destructive paths, as we have witnessed in Sri Lanka.

Whatever we, Sinhalese/Buddhists, feel about the pluralist nature of Sri Lanka, the only realistic choice is to accept it, because that is the really existing reality. Whether we celebrate the plurality and the diversity of Sri Lanka or whether we fear and bemoan it makes no difference to its existence. The sensible thing to do is to accept the Tamils, the Muslims, the Christians and the Hindus of Sri Lanka as equal citizens and owners of this country. They are not guests living here on our grace; they belong; this is their country as much as it is ours.

A lasting peace can come only on that basis.

Sinhala supremacist politicians, monks and ideologues never tire of repeating that Sri Lanka is the greatest land in the world. Perhaps Sri Lanka has the potential to become one of the best, but only if it succeeds in creating a peaceful, compassionate and prosperous nation. A truly Lankan nation, which manages to achieve an imperfect but viable and dynamic unity of its many differences.

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Latest comments

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    Tisaranee,

    Your articles always have been brilliant. But this surpasses everything you have written. Mostly for the punch and hitting the nerve centre – The Tamils, Muslims etc are co owners and not guests of the Sinhalese. After all the Sinhalese are the guests of the Yakshas, Nagas and others. Away with this rot of extremism on all sides.

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    Sri Lanka’s politics and day to day lives are controlled by invisible Therevada buddhism which is practised only in poor SE Asian countries such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos etc…………..while Mahayana buddhism is practiced by Developped countries such as Japan, China, Korea,Mongolia etc….
    Please visit following veb.

    http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/snapshot02.htm

    By telling Sri Lanka is a Sinhala Buddhist country is the first racist remark and the Logo given to it inviourably telling all other races and religions are inferior and should stay below the Sinhala Buddhists. None other developped countries address their countries giving a racial and a religious face to it.

    This could be part of Racist Therevada Buddhist priests preaching to supress other communities and religions….or it could be only reserved to Sinhala race with an inferior complex..…..Visit following veb….
    http://buddhism.yoexpert.com/mahayana-buddhism/what-is-the-mahayana-buddhist-tradition-and-how-do-31942.html

    1)How come in Sri Lanka never appoint a President, Prime Minister,Most of the Ministers, commanders of any armed force,Police IGP, Ninetry percent (90% ) of diplomats et.etc..other than Sinhala Buddhist. Even USA a black man who come from slave ancestors became the President. Could you ever expect it in Sri Lanka.

    2)All Corporation Heads and middle management and minor staff (95%) are Sinhala people and most of them are Buddhist, when Sinhala population represent only 70% of the population.Tamil and minority population represent only 5% of strate and Govt. jobs.

    3)What kind of development you talk 65 years after Independence with a bunch of uneducated, uncultured, thugs running our parliament…….and 95% of them are Sinhala Buddhist……..while country, it’s economy and it’s communities, it’s development, it’s resources been gang raped by respective heads of the country’s rulers and it’s Sinhala Buddhist parliament goons continously 65 years after Independence.

    4)Why SWRD Banda who was a Christian and an Oxford educated…..came to Sri Lanka and Became a buddhist and changed national language to Sinhala in 24 hours…..which led the country’s distruction ever since.

    5)Why did Sir John Kotalawela said to SWRD BANDA not to unleash the yellow robe dogs that he leashed……….but Banda not listened to him and unleashed them and thereby paid with his life.Why Sir John said so……..

    6)Now MR doing the same Banda did and will get his as…s scr…..ewed also. Giving them luxury cars, unlimited land deeds, unlimited air tickets, dana, mega buildings, Buddha statutes,TV and media coverage, building pansalas in North East and other parts of the country, unlimited monies to pansalas are few of them…… and not to any other Minority religions in the country……..

    Don’t you see there is a clear difference between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist preachings…………and their rulers and citizens behaviour.

    7)BBS is nothing but an emerging racist Extrimist Therevada Sinhala Buddhist Cult geared to suppress all other Communities and religions in Sri Lanka. Also MARA using BBS to maintain his dictatorial dynasty in Sri Lanka.

    8) What happened to all our educated, cultured and respectable Burgher, Portuguese, Tamil, Malay and Sinhala Christian communities……other than leaving Sri Lanka to other countries ….leaving the Racist uneducated, uncultured Buddhist Sinhala envious and jealours racists who do not like other communities comming up in life.

    THEREFORE WHILE MOST OF THE COUNTRIES THAT FOLLOW THEREVADA BUDDHISM ARE POOR AND CONSTANTLY HAVE CONFLICTS WITH OTHER COMMUNITIES AND RELIGIONS………COUNTRIES THAT FOLLOW MAHAYANA BUDDHISM ARE MORE ADVANCE AND DEVELOPPED AND FRIENDLY AND ACCOMODATING TOWARDS OTHER RACES AND RELIGIONS.

    THEREFORE IT IS TIME SOMEBODY DO MORE RESEARCH TO FIND WHICH BUDDHIST SECT IS MORE HUMANE, FRIENDLY AND ACCOMODATING TOWARDS OTHER RELIGIONS AND RACES WHILE LEADING A LIFE TOWARDS PROSPERITY BOTH IN THIS WORLD AND THE WORLD AFTER.

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    The reason why the moderate Sinhala majority is silent is that the BBS and SR are supported by the regime and the Defense establishment. The report that they are given rent-free floor of the Sambuddhatva Building at Tunmulla which is owned bt the Buddhasasana Ministry, itself suggest tacit support of the government. Who wants “White Van”visitations? The majority Buddhists don’t and are reluctant to talk against BBS abd SR. The fear factor has silenced them.

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      Re ‘…they are given..floor of the Sambuddhatva Building at Tunmulla which is owned bt the Buddhasasana Ministry..’ CAN WE GET THIS CONFIRMED? There was an earlier claim to this effect on CT. Any investigative reporters out there? I get the feeling we hardly have ANY anymore.

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    “…prophet Mohamed wanted animals bled completely to ensure they were completely dead before people consumed its flesh….This was because in those days without refrigerators and meat getting spoilt quickly with maggots…” says reader M.C. Spencer. That was before 1,300 years ago. Since then much water had flowed down the river. Medical science and technology have made incredible advances in recent centuries one does not have to go to such savage lengths to check if meat, for human consumption, is fit for the table or not. The trouble is trying to run today’s world with the health standards of a millennium and half ago.
    Worse is abusing those who resist rationally. Equally deplorable is the obstinate insistence to go by the caveman’s habits under cover of a “clean, pure and superior” system.

    Senguttuvan

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      Senguttuwan, you write some try to ‘run today’s world with the health standards of a millennium and half ago’, and you also say ‘Equally deplorable is the obstinate insistence to go by the caveman’s habits under cover of a “clean, pure and superior” system.

      Are you trying to imply there is as a better form of killing that throat slitting? Slaughter by any name is Killing, and there is no such thing as humane slaughter. So called ‘Cave man practices’ was killing with bow and arrow from afar. Don’t confuse yourself with religious practices and other practices of slaughter that exist in the modern world. You can even put a chicken head between the the door and its frame and shut the door. Also may I remind you, whether it is mechanised, automated, bolt action stun gun, or whatever methods used to kill animal it amounts to killing. Islam teaches Muslims that taking an animal life for purpose of food is sacred, and to treat it with respect and recite a prayer to God before slaughter, thus making it Halal – permissible to eat. The cut must be quick, deep until the spinal cord severing all inbetween. It must be clean and least traumatic to the animal. Tests done in Germany have proved that throat slitting is the least traumatic, as against many other so called ‘modern methods’ which were tried out. It is true that convulsions do occue but these are impulsive, and occur after the carotis artiery (supplying oxygenated blood to the brain) is severed. The brain being oxygen starved will start shutting down instantly, and the heart will go into overdrive mode pumping the life blood of the animal which starts flowing out from the deep cut. Thus rendering the animal blood free, and fit for human consumption. Blood contains pathogens which are harmful to humans. In any case, consuming blood is banned (Haram) in Islam and all Muslims adhere to that. Not so in the case of fish and eggs which do not require such ritual and can be freely consumed by Muslims without restrictions. Not some ‘cave man theory’ but divine commandments. That was just to clear the air on any misconceptions, ideas put forward by probably animal worshippers. Ya! you get them too.

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    Between Adolf Hitler and Albert Speer there was a similar homoerotic affair

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    Native Veddah

    If The Brothers ask the Tamils in the North if they want Development or
    Eealam, the answer will be the former. It is good there has been some
    slow development and services there – but this has to move faster. It is not merely Roads and Bridges people there want. They want investment, jobs/economic opportunity and the conditions to run their day-to-day affairs in an environment of civilian peace. The steps in the direction of upgrading hospitals, railway, power are well welcome.
    It is time to upgrade the airport to enable landings of flights from Europe/North America via Chennai direct to Palaly. You will seen an explosion from the diaspora if the Govt has the good sense (economic as well) to get this done.

    Maya Kodnani is one of the multiple-thousands of journos/TV news readers in India’s resource of brilliant journos – whose is widely read. I am glad you are on the ball on Indian political affairs.

    Senguttuvan

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      Senguttuvan,

      I totally agree with you, but with this regime in power you cannot expect this kind of change. Regime know everything what’s to be done….but due to their political power grab coupled with Buddhist Sinhala fanaticism they will not agree to this kind of change.

      Only solution for Tamil peoples true freedom, self sufficency and betterment of their lives is a fifth force……..nothing else.

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      Senguttuvan

      I do speak to Tamils and Sinhalese and they tell me development is good provided it is

      Bottom up
      Inclusive
      Empowering
      ………..

      Both people reject the Sinhala/Buddhists idea of colonisation and eventual assimilation. Those people were never consulted in any of the development projects.

      They question state’s intentions although they are not happy with its judgement.

      Development alone is not the solution particularly when implemented with war surplus.

      The state still rule its people with iron fist. The only difference is that development is the velvet glove that hide it.

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        My Dear Native,

        Isn’t “Stupid Sinhalese ” your trade mark phrase?.

        Aren’t over 75 percent of the population who are poor rurals make up our inhabitant population?.

        What input do you expect from them for these mega Development projects?.

        What is the Development , and Human Rights records of the countries Iraq , Libya and Afganistan that were recently liberated by your mates who are forcing us to tow their line?

        After three decades of Terrorism and the affiliated Gangsterism do you expect any Govt to have “holier than thou democracy “in less than three years?.

        Isn’t it bad to build super infrastructures ,which even our first world want to do now to alleviate unemployment and renew their aging infrastructure ,but they don’t have money ?

        Glad .at least you are kind enough to acknowledge that there is development in our motherland.

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    K.A. Sumanasekera

    I have copy rights ove Stupid Sinhalese and Stupid Tamils or other way round when emphasis is needed.

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    K.D Stupid Sinhala Sumanasekera Ruling Clan would have stop stealing, nominating their cousins relatives to irrelevent positions, more than 400 relatives and cousing being employed from government after the idiotic leader became the president. You stupid SRI LANKAN IDIOTS still TELOERATE the ruling clan and the goons traveling to foreign coutries via Government owned non profit AIR LINES( billions of loss in rs/year) treating like the private jet. You stupid SRI LANKAN IDIOTS still tolerate, the idiopts leader encouring family dictatorship, 3-4 rajapassas controlling over 90% of the money, firing chief justice for protecting the cili rights of the citizens of sri lanka, giving police the power to lock up citizens up to 48 hours without court approval, still tolerate illegal jailing of sarath fonseka. And we are recovering rom wasr but we need to show the dman world that we can race cars. MERVYN DE MERVYN SON DRIVES A LAMBOGHINI. HOW DID HE EARN THE MONEY. HOW DID WIMAL MODAWANSSA BUILD A HOUSE FOR more than 79 million rupees. WHY GOTA BUILING SO MANY HOUSES IN SRI LANKA( PRIVATE). HOW DID NAMA EARN MONEY TO BUY A HOUSE NEAR THE MUSEAUM YO STUPID SON OF A B’S. SHOULD GO TO HELL FOR STILL SUPPORTING THE CORRUPT RULE. YOU DONT CARE ABOUT THE COUNTRY BUT I AM SURE YOU HATE ALL THE MINORIETES. Thank you. BTW I AM 100% SINHALESE WITH A BROAD MIND.

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    DAMN WELL EDUCATED TOO. SORRY FOR THE SPELL ERRORS DOE TO NEGLIGENCE.

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