1 December, 2021

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The BBS ‘Buddhists’, ‘Nightclub Buddhists’ And The ‘Vigil’ That I Saw

By Malinda Seneviratne –

Malinda Seneviratne

‘Buddhist Questioning Bodu Bala Sena’

Those who participated or wanted to participate in the candle-light vigil organized by a set of people calling themselves ‘Buddhists Questioning Bodu Bala Sena’, those who witnessed what happened or part of what happened, those who saw images and footage, and others who generally comment on issues such as religious tolerance, democracy, human rights etc, will no doubt articulate their respective versions.  This is mine, but to illustrate the point of multiple narrative/interpretation, I will weave into my narrative some narrative comments of a friend.

This person, a Muslim, I have never met.  I have communicated with him for several years though and I would not hesitate to claim that a more patriotic Sri Lankan is hard to find.  In his writings I’ve noticed a humanity that is congruent with the best sentiments on the subject in any religious doctrine.  He is strong in his faith but is respectful of other faiths and has the wisdom to note the commonalities and learn the differences if only to understand his fellow-creatures of different religious persuasion.
He stated on Facebook, ‘On my way to the vigil’.  It was just after 7.00pm when I left my office.  I was disappointed that I would get late [I was planning to hold a lit candle, which is why I ‘shared’ more than once on Facebook the notice regarding the event].  Just as I left, the person who informed me about the event, a Muslim who knows as much or more about Buddhism as I do called me.  He informed me that the Police had moved in to stop the vigil.  I thought I would go home, but a minute later, another friend called to say, ‘they are arresting people’.  I was upset and a tad angry, and decided I would go there anyway.  Another colleague called and said he had called a mutual friend who was planning to attend the vigil and that she had quickly said ‘they are coming to arrest us’.  I called her and found that those who had turned up for the vigil were not outside the Sambuddhatva Jayanthi Mandiraya (the venue) but opposite the Police Park. I parked my car on Keppetipola Mawatha and ran all the way to where two clearly identifiable groups (event attendees and members/supporters of the Bodu Bala Sena) with half a dozen or more police officers.

Dilantha Vithanage, spokesperson for the BBS did a lot of talking –with the police, to the cameras and to his political opponents

Among those who were opposed to the vigil, I recognized two, a young man who was associated with the Sihala Urumaya way back in 2000 and another young man whom I’ve had on occasion associated with professionally.  I also found out that Dilanthe Withanage, spokesperson for the BBS was also present (he did a lot of talking –with the police, to the cameras and to his political opponents).  There were also several bikkhus who did a lot of talking. They were agitated, but not more and not less than their opposites were agitated. If I were to caricature, I would say the only difference was that the former spoke in Sinhala and the latter in English (I heard the F-word, several times).

I was more surprised, I must admit, when I took in the ‘attendees’.  I had expected the crowd, even if it was small, to be made up of a majority of Buddhists from all walks of life.  I can’t be blamed for expecting this because this was supposed to be an event organized by ‘Buddhists’.  There must have been Buddhists. Some claimed they were and I have no reason to doubt them.  But there were non-Buddhists in proportions that were a fair distance away from national ratios. There is nothing wrong in non-Buddhists taking part in such a vigil. In fact, even if one counted out legitimate fears of and opposition to the BBS as reason to attend, it is certainly legitimate (and laudable) that non-Buddhists decided to stand with Buddhists on an issue like this.

I was disappointed that there was little to tell me that the group was made up of people outside of the ‘facebooking’, English-speaking middle and upper-middle class.  I was less disappointed than perturbed when I noticed that in that group there were individuals who have been violently anti-Buddhist and anti-Sinhala, including those who have cheered the LTTE at times or white-washed that outfit as ‘logical’ necessity of being against the party/leadership they did not support in various elections since 2004. There were identifiable NGO activists and others who regularly put their names on political petitions and attend political rallies of a particular political persuasion.  Nothing wrong there, but this is not the picture I expected to see and it is not a picture I would have enjoyed being part of.

What’s the ugliest thing in uniform? – a biased cop

All that mattered, from this point on, was to do what I could (precious little, I know) to stop things from getting worse.  I spoke to the two young men I knew, who were not ‘talkers’.  I said something to the following effect: ‘Look, I recognize that these people (pointing to the event-attendees) have their ideological and political agenda, that some of them are not as innocent as they claim to be. I do recognize that among them are people who knew that organizing this at the Sambuddhatva Jayanthi Mandiraya was provocative and bound to elicit a response (I had believed, when noting the venue, that all necessary sanctions had been obtained), but regardless of all this, they just came to light a candle.  It was not violence.  Tell the haamuduruwo to let it go.  This is not helping anyone.’
I was accosted at one point by a person who had come to hold a candle.  I recognized her as a former employee at the Peace Secretariate in the good old CFA days, an individual who has cosy relations with the notorious National Peace Council.  She wanted to know why the Police had stopped a peaceful vigil.  I told her that she should ask that from the Police, but told her also to look around the ‘crowd’. I told her that I believed that it was an event organized deliberately to provoke (even if some or even most of the participants were unaware of the fact or did not or did not want to believe it). She said, ‘If the Bodu Bala Sena can attack Fashion Bug, what’s wrong with us protesting peacefully outside the Sambuddha Jayanthi Mandiraya?’  The BBS did not attack Fashion Bug, but the BBS did actively incite, true.  What is important here is that she certainly wasn’t there to be a ‘Better Buddhist’, but had a political agenda that had little to do with peace, reconciliation and tolerance.

The BBS goons were screaming NGO kaarayo!

In that crowd of people I recognized individuals whom I have never associated with the pernicious politics of the NGO Mafia; decent, good-hearted, law-abiding individuals of different faiths, who were probably as dismayed and agitated by recent developments, individuals who probably shared by antipathies towards the BBS, with whom I would never feel ashamed to stand.  It was my error to assume that they were the people I was planning to stand with.  Just as I will not stand with the BBS, neither will I stand with some of the operators who, in hindsight, orchestrated the whole event.
Several persons had been arrested just before I got there and I later found out that they had been quickly released. There was no reason to arrest anyone.  I believe that the Police acted in a highhanded manner and although there is relief that they were released, the act of arrest was wrong and is unreservedly condemned.

My Muslim friend wrote, ‘What’s the ugliest thing in uniform? – a biased cop. I saw one today declaring pompously that everyone gathered at the vigil was either Muslim, Catholic or Tamil. My foot ached to give him a well-directed kick in that sweet spot right in the groove!’ I heard that too.  The Police Officer can’t be faulted if he wondered how a ‘Buddhists against BBS’ event had so many non-Buddhists.  It was a sweeping generalization nevertheless and the ethno-religious composition is anyway not relevant to the matter of peaceful, democratic action, even if there was nothing innocent in intent and design.

Police at the scene disallowing peaceful protest. A new one for our democracy

He also commented, ‘The BBS goons were screaming NGO kaarayo!’  I heard that too.  Correct description (in part at least), but that does not de-legitimize action.  He also observed, wryly, Police at the scene disallowing peaceful protest. A new one for our democracy.’   It could have got worse, though, not because of him and others like him, but because ‘making it worse’ would have suited a lot of people. On both sides.  A point I made to one of the Police Officers.

He may have not heard this, but someone referred to the anti-BBS ‘Buddhists’ as ‘Nightclub Buddhists’. Strange juxtaposition and descriptive, yes, but it also raised questions of social status, class, lifestyle etc.  A Buddhist is a Buddhist, whether he/she wears white or black, a sil redda or jeans, but clothes mark and they mark well.  This was no Buddhist Cross-section, that much was apparent to me.

Then he said, ‘Never felt so much about a cause. Never participated in something like this. Outrage of decent people was vented against those who were trying to demonize and degrade their religion.’  I identify with the cause. I do not agree with the description of those he stood with, though.

There were good people there. There were people who were angry.  There were people talking past each other. There were people who refused to see the make-up of who they stood with.  I came to stand with a certain group against the BBS.  Had I come earlier, I am pretty sure I would not have lit a candle, because people make the cause and that too is something I take into account.  I would have gone away.

As it turned out, I got there late and stayed until the two groups went their separate ways. I didn’t see and hear everything, but I’ve reported what I did see and hear and have shared my observations.  That’s all.
My Muslim friend concluded, ‘One unused candle: for another day and another time.’  That is the saddest and yet most empowering line I heard tonight.
*Pix by Lakna Paranamanna
*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com
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Latest comments

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    Malinda you forgot to mention the irony of Dilantha and his group calling NGO “karayo” as he himself was /(is?) funded by Norway(Worldview). and the fact that BBS visited norway before forming this group.

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      Why organize a protest at night against the Balu Sena? It should have been organized in broad daylight and put in the newspapers. I would have gone to protest since the Balu Sena is distorting and destroying Buddhism, just as their patrons Rajapassa Brothers are destroying democratic governance and turning Lanka into a corrupt and criminal military dictatorship wrapped in the Buddhist flag and the saffron- which is the NEW CAMOUFLAGE of the Rajapakse led military mob – a strategy to NORMALIZE CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY.

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        Malinda Seneviratne’s project like that of his pay masters the Mahinda Rajapakse Military Dictatorship is DIVIDE, DISTRACT and RULE the country – particularly opposition to the regime.

        That is why we see him classifying and dis-ing the the protests as non-Buddhist, night clubbing etc, while pretending in his usual DISINGENUOUS and slimy fashion to support the protest against BALU SENA!

        This guys journalistic ethnic are up his ass and he and his news paper should be shunned by ALL citizens of Lanka.

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        These columns and their readers’ comments are getting uglier by the day… It must be a sign of social degeneration where dog eats dog…

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        IS Malinda Seneviratne A GOOD BUDDHIST???????????.

        I MEANT GOOD BUDDHIST.

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      Next time let us protest in broad daylight.

      Rally all Sri Lankans. Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims. We are one. Together we can break the back of any racist fascist on our soil.

      Racist fanatics of “Balu Sena” will run for cover. And hide behind Gota’s Defense Ministry. But, for how long?

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        …with Buns, Burghers and Tigers….

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          Hun

          Did you take your Pill in the morning?

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    Malinda,
    You seem to have a knack for gracefully saving your bacon!
    Reminds me of Mark Anthonys famous speech that started off with.. “Friends Romans countrymen….”

    your journalism stinks!

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      //your journalism stinks!//

      That smell comes from what he eats.

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      This guy Malinda is a blatant liar. He say there was a large percentage of non-Buddhists, what nonsense, either he has not gone there or he is simply lying. Most of the Muslims did not go there because they were scared, if arrested they will be identified. So, who were those non-Buddhists? Were they Tamils or Burghers? This article itself is against those who protested against the BBS. Why don’t Malinda tell the truth that he is supporting his paymasters the Rajapakshes and their creation (BBS) without beating around the bush? This guy is [Edited out] and we do not need to read between the lines to understand it.

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        Yea, say I am Senguttuvan =#*%!):##@

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    Malinda,

    You have named 3 types of Buddhists.

    Worst of them are the BBS Buddhists because they are just extremists. All forms of extremists are dangerous. And the saddest is that stupid regime supports those extremists to draw their picture but not thinking the future of the nation.

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      Stupid Majority = Stupid Regime

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        This is what is called democracy all over the world including all anti Sri Lankan regimes

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      “This for those who were labeled “Nightclub Buddhists” just because they didn’t wear white.

      Alankato cepi samam careyya
      santo danto niyato brahmacari
      sabbesu bhutesu nidhaya dandam
      so bramano so samano sa bhikkhu.

      Dhammapada Verse 142″.

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        Malinda,

        All are welcome to seek answers through Buddhism. Including those who enjoy clubbing. And those who speak English. Buddhism is against exclusion of anyone.

        Remember Buddha himself enjoyed a highly meaterial lifestyle, including nlimited access to beautiful women. Before he started seeking the truth about the reality of life.

        I hope BBS Balu Sena one day will become buddhist as well. And not violent, racist, releigiois fascists like they are today.

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    Well Sinhala new year is one day away and normally Buddhists have major preparations to do from cleaning houses to preparing foods and they won’t have time to get involved in a such fiasco during festival season. Obviously those once were there should be few “night club” Buddhists from Col7 and majority from other faiths.

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      Your King MR’s kids are frequent “Clubbers” in Colombo despite the fake Sinahala Buddhist image, they are trying to deceive the public with.

      Take care of your Glass House Stalin.

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        no worries. the glass house is chipping away from the inside thanks to stones like this article.

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          The Consultants in the Glass House have a patior on the kitty of Lankan patients.

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    Looks like the guy is losing his own plot here. Let me explain…

    In paragraph 3 he says he heard of the vigil and Police moving in to stop it but he was planning to go home. Only when he heard that people were being arrested did he decides to go there (must have had hopes for a juicy story for tomorrow’s paper). Soon he forgets all this and declares “I came to stand with a certain group against the BBS.” What? Suddenly, this guys is an anti-BBS protester? Oh brother!

    First he was surprised that not all were Buddhists; but then he decides there is nothing wrong with non-Buddhists attending. Then he is perturbed that NGO activists are present (him with a political agenda was OK I guess), then decides nothing is wrong here. Read again what he has said to the two young BBS supporter (paragraph 7), keeping in mind that he claimed to have come to stand against the BBS.

    For a guy who could tell Buddhists and non-Buddhists apart and who could tell the good-heated people from “NGO Mafia”, isn’t it strange how he could not tell why the police stopped a peaceful protest? Why the police acted against peaceably assembled people instead of those who were about to create a disturbance? Why it was proper for the police to declare they would abandon these people if the BBS started attacking? Instead he finds and excuse for the biased cop. If the police is there to always take the side of the goons, isn’t it time we took protecting ourselves to our own hands?

    All this guy is saying is “look, I can’t act the “Muslim in me” good guy and yet argue for the BBS. Let me write down the points like non-Buddhists in the crowd, NGO Mafia, English speaking Facebook crowd etc. and you BBS brothers better take it and run with it.”

    Pathetic isn’t he?

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      agree! a very weird self serving nonsensical piece of rubbish. utterly biased. pompous even. ick.

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    The ugliest sight I have ever seen in one night is the state sponsored clamp down of innocent protesters whoever they are. With this kind of Police force and a corrupt CJ, Sri Lankans have absolutely no chance of getting fairplay. We live in a very sad country.

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    Malinda, were you there or were you not. It is all a bit confusing as Katmai above seems to feel.

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      In that night….Malina was an out-of-cradle Bilinda, thumbsucking, while holding Mama’s Pap and perceiving the circus visually…

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    Malinda

    Perceptive people always knew there is more to the BBS media blitzkrieg than meets the eye. Your sharp observations allude to the underlying class and culture wars. Just like the US and its western allies using notions such as “good governance,” and “human rights” to impose their power to control developments in other countries, so are our pro-western and westernized upper and middle classes trying to contain the growing political power of the culturally indigenous majority by invoking the same human rights ideology. In this they are assisted by the agents of western power who also mostly come from the same privileged social classes – civil society/peace/NGO Kaarayos.

    Unfortunately people who should know better are blinded by their grudges, real or perceived, against the MR regime and are lending their uncritical support to this sinister campaign by the NGO mafia. Trying to have the vigil outside the Sambuddhatva Jayanthi Mandiraya was a deliberate attempt to provoke violence. The preponderance of the NGO activists and Nightclub Buddhists confirms the vigil was not organized to “rescue” Buddhism or to promote peace and reconciliation but to advance a pernicious anti-Sri Lankan ideological and political agenda.

    I hear you when you say, “Just as I will not stand with the BBS, neither will I stand with some of the operators who, in hindsight, orchestrated the whole event.”

    Me neither.

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      Rambler,

      Mahatma Gandhi’s salt march and salt making was a deliberate, tgough symbolic act to challenge the British government of India and its writ. It was the British government that was provoked, over reacted, broke heads and jailed thousands.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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        Dr. Rajasingham, did you know that Gandhi wanted to get a job from British governor to recruit Indians for the Army???

        Also that he said Kashmir is worth fighting for.

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          Check your facts. I remember reading that Gandhi sided with British in the Boer war and recruited volunteers to serve in the medical corps. As to Kashmir, if what you say is correct, I think he was right. He had already accepted the idea of dividing India and any further amputations would not have been acceptable.

          Further, what is the relevance of what you have said to my comment?

          Dr.RN

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            The relevence was a fact that Mr.Gandhi was a scout sent by WallabyPatel & the cunning Nehru who persuaded the petite vassal Chitraturunal of Travancore to secede Kerala from TamilNadu to become a separate state.

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            Gandhi, then living in South Africa served as a volunteer stretcher-bearer in 1900 in the Briton and Boer war.It was not simply a white man’s war but a large numbers of Africans and other non-Europeans were involved whether in combat or in support roles.

            Gandhi, famous for his pacifism, wasn’t always peace’s biggest advocate. He was mistaken; While citing his recruitment job in the Boer War Gandhi quickly agreed when the British Empire requested him to recruit Indian solders for World War I, as he thought that his actions and India’s support would comfort Britain to the idea of giving India more political autonomy.

            Over 45,000 Indian troops died abroad in World War I. Sadly, Gandhi failed to negotiate any gain, compromise, or promise from Britain of which India only received little gratitude for the million plus troops it committed to the war other than the mere 13,000 medals of bravery.

            Thus Gandhi signed a Zero-political gain deal with the Colonial Britain.

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              Please read Gandhi’s ‘ Experiments with Truth’ to understand his point of view. Simply put, he did not consider the British enemies. Further, he was against using the Boer War as a good opportunity to corner the British. He felt that as the rulers, the British had to be supported against the Boers.

              Dr.R.N

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    This journalist, Seneviratne, is the “Chief Editor” of an online newspaper owned by government.This unveils an agenda on his part to back his paymaster. The government is the Godfather behind the rowdy BBS because it wants to survive and prosper by giving Sinhala Buddhists a feeling of heroism. Orwell stated that auhtoritarian rulers need their countries to be in a permanent state of dissension. Seneviratne is a hand in this evil act.
    CT readers must recognize this man for who he is.He is one of those guys trying to be big by doing small things

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      ara soysa!

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        Arapiya Soy-sauce.

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    Dear Malinda,

    I write in good faith and friendship.

    First to quote you, and then to question you:

    Your words, “I was more surprised, I must admit, when I took in the ‘attendees’. I had expected the crowd, even if it was small, to be made up of a majority of Buddhists from all walks of life.”

    How did you “take in the attendees” and come to a conclusion about their respective religions? I believe my question is fair. Were you judging people’s faith based on their attire? Does that method always give reliable statistics, in your experience as a well-known and laureled journalist? Can you in replying me please give precedents of “taking in the attendees” giving statistics on a crowd’s religious make-up? (Would you recommend that sampling method to the census department? oh sorry i must keep out humor, as this is no joke).

    I attended and i am sinhalese buddhist. you won’t find me haunting temples, because as I tell my mother too, my home and my heart are my temple and my faith is too strong for me to feel any need to flaunt it in public. i’m not from an ngo, and neither did i have a political agenda (oh wait, I did. my agenda was to wish to promote the idea of humans living in community. that’s political enough). To reiterate, i am a sinhalese buddhist. But, this vigil was not exclusively for sinhalese Buddhists. Everyone was welcome. That was one of the key messages. But your article centers on looking for a cross-section of Buddhists among the crowd. I’m asking humbly whether you don’t yourself think that’s even slightly off-focus and beside the point? I forgive you for not seeing me when you ‘took in the attendees’, though. My friends would best know why :)

    Best, M

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      Mihiri,

      Yours is a brilliant comment!

      Peace Dove

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        Actually, I was there too – and some of us (as I cannot speak for all) have very good Buddhist Backgrounds. We learned from great Monks as Prof. Dhammavihari, Madihe Pagnasiha and even ven. Soma thero. We were there to tell BBS not to destroy the great Buddhism and to tell that we will not worship or give alms to some people in robes who calls guards on duty “[Edited out]”

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      Hats off M and hope u were not man-handled by the balu sena…..for a few dollars more the ink will flow to the extent that it will drown all their readers….Mr M is not far away….

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      MIHIRI;

      THIS HARWARD EDUCATED Malinda Seneviratne SUPPOSED to be a good buddhist,

      BECAUSE HE IS AN EDUCATED PERSON, A SINHALESE AND A BUDDHIST TOO.
      AN UNOFFICIAL ADVISOR TO THE PRESENT REGIME ALSO.

      IS Malinda Seneviratne A GOOD BUDDHIST???????????.

      I MEANT GOOD BUDDHIST.

      SO NOT NECESSARY TO ASK QUESTIONS FROM HIM.

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        Julamaraya, ask the Sweety what is good in a Buddhist if he was a part of BBS or BBC or the henchmen.

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        actually there is some controversy if he did finish his degree at harvard. that’s what i’ve heard. may be he can clarify? or post a copy of it on his fb page? he goes to the west to learn their values and then disses the west when it chooses him. west as in those western concepts he criticizes… vigils, nightclubs. anyway sri lanka has had nightclubs for decades. its part of the tourism industry which funds this regime. and nightclubs are a lot of fun. and vigils are an universal concept. to guard and watch over nonviolently something that is valuable to humanity.

        M fell in his own hole. i hope he stays there.

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      Mihiri,As a good buddhist what you should have done was to question the relevant monks Re. their actions and not particapte in lighting candle with people who have a differant agenda.

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    Are Buddhists not allowed to go to Night Clubs?I suppose they have to stick to arrack taverns and kassipu joints to be the kind of Buddhists that meet with approval

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    Nightclub Buddhists? huh, these are the real Buddhists then? LOL
    Read this;
    Full Court Report: BBS Leader Gnanasara Pleaded Guilty To Hit-And-Run And Drunk Driving
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/full-court-report-bbs-leader-gnanasara-pleaded-guilty-to-hit-and-run-and-drunk-driving/

    ;)
    :) ;) :);)

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      This is exactly what I was thinking.
      A little hypocritical, no?

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        But, cynical about which version of Ubantu is that?

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          9.10 ;)

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      he he

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      There was a club called Buddha was revealed by Balumgala Nethfm radio lately, I guess those club goers are named as night club buddhists.

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      Please write instead of posting blog links – CT

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    Malinda has struggled to whitewash his sihala urumaya pals in the bbs… he finally came out and did so, thanks to this vigil full of “nightclub buddhists”, “notorious National Peace Council types”, people who were “violently anti-Buddhist”, “non-buddhists in proportions that were a fair distance from National ratios” and Police officers who can’t be faulted for questioning why there were so many “non-buddhists at a Buddhist” event.

    Malinda would’ve lit a candle but he didn’t like the company. Apparently, they weren’t very Buddhist!

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    Well dont blame Malinda too much he has to sing for his supper (and other perks!) to survive in these hard times

    We had such jokers before too one chap who comes to mind is HLD Mahindapala of the Lake house fame!

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      He has one ‘neutral’ article and irritated the Family. He has to clear the the name, no?

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    More pathetic BS, but this time with self-centered view of his abilities to instantly assess the demographics of a gathering of people. And then a descriptive assessment displaying his biases (eg: ‘night-club Buddhists’, ‘NGO Mafia’ ) even though he says he “heard” others using these terms.

    Par for the course, of course, from an employee of the regime. So what else is new?

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      I agree with him on the NGO-Mafia part. I detest BBS but I have to admit it’s evident that some good Buddhists and other peace loving non-Buddhists are being used by certain factions to fulfill their goals, while BBS and extremist elements use the idiotic puffed up patriot types for their own agendas. At the end of the day the public have been hoodwinked by others for their own gains.

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    When I questioned whether the vigil could attain it’s stated goal from the organizers through their FB page “Buddhists Questioning BBS”, they gave vague answers which were not at all concise or logical. When I asked for further clarifications with respect to their apparently vague answers they responded by deleting my comments and blocking me from commenting on their posts any further. I had following problems from the very begging…

    #1. Vigil recitation addressed monks in general. BBS monks are just a section of Sangha community of Sri Lanka, they do not represent the entire Sangha community. Therefore there is no point in addressing monks in general. Such things will only hurt feelings of the moderate Sinhala Buddhist who may become sympathetic to BBS as a consequence.

    #2. Place selected for the vigil is the best place to provoke BBS, a group known to be fearsly aggressive. It looks like organizers wanted a violent end to their vigil. What were the real motives of Faceless organizers in Facebook?

    IMO people who organized the vigil hijacked the opinion of the moderate Sinhala Buddhist to push their ugly agenda.

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      Wathsala,

      Do you have statistics on BBS and other monks ? I have been searching for them on the web, failed to find any reliable source yet, please help. Thanks.

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        As far as I know there isn’t any Monk Network or something similar to that on the web. Therefore it is obvious that there is no point in searching for those statistics on the web.

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      Wathsala,

      These violent BBS thugs only understand violence. As your experience with them clearly illustrates these thugs don’t want to have a rational discussion and therefore should be responded with violence. These thugs will never win any argument about their actions and they know it and that’s why they resort to violence and intimidation.

      There is no point in having a vigil in a park and no one will take any notice. The organisers were right in holding the vigil in front of the devils’ headquarters. If the feelings of any moderate Sinhala Buddhists get hurt they will be seen as stupid and un-Buddhist to sympathise with the fascist BBS. Mollycoddling the BBS is not the answer.

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        Dont dismiss what Wathsala has to say, this kind of actions will only play into the hands of BBS and I also think that the BQBBS organizers have thier own agenda. I would say both BBS and BQBBS are opportunists

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        Responding violence with violence will only escalate the situation resulting in more grief, loss of life or may lead to another war. I would only expect such actions from ignorant people or opportunists. Yes there is no point in having a vigil in a park and yes there is no point in using a vigil to exacerbate the ongoing situation. One way I could imagine is pressurizing the government to disrupt BBS through it’s Muslim allies, government need those countries to save their face. Organizers of the vigil are bunch of opportunists they have a different agenda, instead of breaking the cycle they have chosen to continue it. Hope you are not one of them.

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          Hi Wathsala,

          reading your comment.. and sam’s. As a victim of 83′ riots and events that affected the course of my life, i was there to voice my opinion and stand there with my other srilankan brothers to show my solidarity.. I know quite a number of people who were there on the same note. so accusing them of ulterior motives is unfair. but i agree to one point you raised, that the more pressure should have been presented to government to take action against BBS , but in reality u and me know.. that BBS is a creation of government , so would it create an impact.. i doubt it very much…

          As for Malinda , he works for ‘Nations’ which has been brought over by the regime, from their earlier owners richard peiries. so you work out the math..

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      exactly, the general public has been split and being used by different groups. It’s time people realized this.

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    Malinda,

    The ‘ Civil Rights March for Jobs and Freedom’ led by Rev(Dr) Martin Luther King took place on 28th August’ 1963. Crowds converged on Washington DC from all parts of the US. There were an estimated 250,000 people who participated in this march. Although it was organised by Blacks on behalf of fellow Blacks, large numbers of Whites also participated. Did that taint the march? Did it subvert its objectives or the results?

    Further, having seen the video clips, I am appalled at police behaviour and high handedness. The ominous shadow of the government is quite visible behind their actions. Further, are Buddhists now classified into subgroups like temple goers, non-temple goers, NGO types , non-NGO types, cocktail circuitors, non-cocktail circuitors, etc,. You refer to the lady from the now defunct Peace Secretariat, who is obviously Ms. Sharmini Serasinghe. Does her association with the Peace Secretariat , a government set-up make her a traitor? How about Jayantha Dhanapala, Palitha Kohone and Rajiva Wijesinghe, who held higher positions there? Are dissent and rational thinking cardinal sins in the Sri Lanka that is being redesigned? Similar thinking in the Tamil political formations and the LTTE, led to where the Tamils are,now. Also,why cannot non-Buddhists participate in such a vigil? They are the victims of the likes of BBS, acting in the name of an ‘un-Buddhistic’ Buddhism that is being encouraged to take hold of this island.

    Further, was not the Buddha of loyal lineage and destined to be a King? Did his class linkage, preclude him from becoming a Buddha? He was also a Hindu by birth and upbringing. Did this preclude him from rebelling against the Hinduism practiced in his day?

    If the likes of the present government and police were existent in Prince Siddhatha’ s time, they would have told him this is a Hindu country and you have no right to do anything against the dominating, but degenerate Hindu practices! We would have never had the Siddhartha Buddha. With the prevalent attitudes, there cannot also be another Buddha. Being a Buddha is a state and everyone has the potential to become one. In the intolerant Sri Lanka that is being encouraged to evolve, if such a new Buddha makes his advent, he will be subject to the Ku Klux Klan treatment by the likes of BBS!

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      Well said. I agree with you. This is where we see the good people who have been patient and silent wake up and take matters in to their hands. The numbers will swell as we go along. I foresee all good Buddhist monks joining the protest, from towns and villages, from near and from afar. Then we will see the government taking notice. Malinda ia obviously shaken.So also is the BBS.

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      On the other hand if the Civil Rights march was organized by White guys and attended by a mainly white crowd with a smattering of African-Americans you would guess there was a problem with the agenda or appeal among African-Americans

      Whoever decided to organize a protest on New Years eve and at night was not thinking clearly. How would the average person who travels by bus get back even if they did want to forgo nonagathe and other customs.

      Also was this protest/public gathering authorized. i.e. Did they have permit. If it didnt expect to get arrested, or have huge numbers e.g. Occupy Wall Street.

      I am no fan of the BBS, but there has to be grassroots campaign, not some twitter facebook thing.

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        If the Whites had Taken the lead and been at the forefront it would have been much better. Please do not forget that it was White men like Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, who made it possible for the Civic Rights Movement to succeed. Mahinda Rajapakse has missed the God-given opportunity to become one in their mould. Small minded persons cannot be even helped by God.

        Dr.RN

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      The march,even though for the balcks,was not named as such so the others could also participate.This BQBBS particularly named as Buddhists questioning the BBS so non-Buddhist should have no business in it.

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        Is being a Buddhist represent a label or a thinking process? Buddhism is a philosophy to the thinking. It is religion only to those who believe without thinking. I think everyone can be a Buddhist, if he starts thinking on the lines of the Siddhartha Gautama and asks questions as he did. He was a rebel through and through and hence broke out of his gilded cage. Each one of us has the potential to become a Buddha, if we seek to do so. Our present religious labels do not preclude us from being Buddhists too. That is the beauty of Buddhism and shares it with pristine Hinduism. Gandhi’ s hymn Ragupathy Ragava comes to mind:
        ” Ragupathy Ragava Raja Ram;
        Pathitha Paavana Sita Ram;
        Easwara, Allah, Therey Naam ;
        Sabago Sammathy, they Bhagawan”

        In essence, YOUR names are eastward, Allah , Therey ( Buddha ). I wonder why he did not mention Christ? Have I missed it in recall?

        Dr.RN

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          Correction: ‘ Easwara’ instead of. ‘Eastward’ . An unthinking computer correction!

          Dr.RN

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    We all know that Malinda is agenda-driven in what he writes, and lots of it is mere bovine crap exposing his scavenger-oriented journalism.

    By the way, that “Muslim Ghost” seems to be still haunting this pathetic character!

    However, what we are able to glean from Malinda’s bumbling and mumbling piece, is that the organisers of the protest could have done a lot better.

    1. They should have given advance publicity to the event in order to mobilise greater participation.

    2. They should have enlisted a broader swathe of ordinary citizens.

    3. Enlisting even a smattering of honest anti-BBS Buddhist priests would have added extra punch.

    4. Lighting candles is generally perceived as a Christian practice, and therefore clay oil lamps could have given a different dimension to the event.

    The mere size and composition of the apparently well-attired crowd led to various interpretations about who they represented.

    In such circumstances epithets such as NGO Mafia, Night-Club Buddhists etc are easily flung at them, and perhaps these “mal-contents” may well have been there and driven the project!

    But it does not make the project wrong, vile or illegal.

    Obviously the Defence establishment doesn’t like any dissent against the bullying BBS being publicly manifested. Hence the biased police actions.

    We all understand that.

    In summary, what I want to say is that in order to succeed and make a real impact on the citizenry, the organisers should get their act together for the future.

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      MNZ,

      The Buddhists who visit Hindus temples, light candles on the coconuts. Lighting candles in Buddhist Viharas is also a common practice today. Lighting candles is not an exclusive Christian practice tody.

      Dr.RN

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        Yea, almost all Tamilnadu citizenry now observe vigilance in their candle light faith bearing the brunt of day long power outage. Courtesy of Delhi Darbar’s prankenstein.

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        RN

        Thanks for the heads up.

        My point was that perhaps, symbolically, the “mati-phana” was more representative of Sinhala-Buddhist values than the ubiquitous candle seen at church vigils and on some Christmas Cards.

        Subha Aluth Avuruddhak!

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          MNX,

          Eseyma Wewa!

          Dr.RN

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    Dear Malinda Senaviratne,

    New media talks back. If anything, you are simply showing that you are a BBS goon yourself. If that is untrue, you are too confused to make sense.

    As Katmai has pointed out, you are extremely selective in what you chosen to shed light on. And your ability to discern Buddhists from non-Buddhists is rather impressive.

    Why do you keep disgracing yourself?

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    It’s not that complicated. Some Lankans (the BBS & its supporters) are against creating a just, peaceful, multi-ethnic, multi-religious Sri Lanka & just want to turn the island into a Sinhala Buddhist war zone. The BQBBS peacefully oppose that idea. That’s all, everything else is nonsense. Do the right thing people, oppose religious & racist extremism in all its forms – whether it is clothed in Buddhism, Islam, or atheism.

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    For whatever its worth, with your journalist hat on, please investigate if actually the claims of mosques promoting a Muslim majority agenda and obtaining control of trade and economy is true or not. Unfortunately, the facts around the world are true (Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand etc) are true. If those facts are proven incorrect I think the issue itself will dissolve. It is a fact that trade is predominantly controlled by Muslims. Lets investigate first without assuming that all is “honky dori.” This is what happened in the recent past that led to 30 year war. Lion will always be a Lion. Do some real investigative journalism for the sake of everyone.

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      Buddhists should question the validity of their Bhikkus with criminal records ranting and raving on the streets with their hate speeches and destroying the honour and property of the minorities. Can the Lions justify that?

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    By the way: is your Muslim friend (you’re right a more patriotic Sri Lankan is hard to find) aware that you are quoting him in this “article”? Looks to me like this should have been put up as a reply to his facebook post. In your “article” you have (for the most part) contrasted your perception of the incidents that took place last night on Havelock Road, with that of your friend’s; and you have highlighted portions of what appears to be a facebook wall post and attacked its validity/factual accuracy. Is he a regular visitor to colombotelegraph that you assumed he would have the opportunity to defend his statements as a comment on this “article” of your’s? Or are you just too afraid to take it up with him, make your position known to him and his other friends on facebook and hear their varied views? Or did you inform him that you were going to quote him and obtain his permision to publish this? In which case you should have mentioned that in the “article”. There is such a thing as common human decency. You can’t just go around quoting (maybe even misquoting – but we wouldn’t know because the author isn’t here to opine) people’s facebook statuses in another forum.

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    It is reasonable to stop halal certification and it is reasonable to stop covering face by Muslim women with two holes for the eyes.

    BBS came to do these because govt had no guts.

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      If the Muslims fight back their rights in the same fashion as BBS & if violence flare up ensues a civil war is that your selfish point disregarding peace.

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      WiSayWikrama, didn’t you have some other weird facts to ponder, here’s a clue: “How to pee without soundproof” ?

      The horizontal force of the urine is from being pushed forward. Gravity is the second force accelerating the pee toward the ground at a rate of 10 meters a second squared.

      In order to perform a soundless urination the urinator must understand how the two forces acting on the urine are related to the time from when the urine has left the body. The soundless urinary angle is therefore the angle where both the vertical and horizontal forces are both low enough to not make a sound, or subsonable striking the toilet bowl.

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      C. Wijeyawickrema

      “It is reasonable to stop halal certification and it is reasonable to stop covering face by Muslim women with two holes for the eyes.”

      Removing veil (Niqāb/hijab) will not stop there under BBS instruction.

      Would it be reasonable to remove Muslim women’s clothes below their belly if that is demanded by BBS?

      BBS believes in cultural and religious purity, hence might one day demand the dalit women of the North East to wear no clothes on the upper part of their body as the custom dictated in the old days. This custom was enforced by the puritanical upper class upper caste Vellalas on the down trodden dependent labour.

      If non Muslims refused to buy Halal, suppliers will eventually have to stop selling them.

      Why does BBS take it upon themselves to act as religious moral, thought, bedroom, ……….police?

      BBS might extent their police role covering all kind of human behaviours, including how to sleep with one’s wife, partner, girl friend, or one night stand.

      Your justification of BBS’s intrusion into one’s private life will return to hound you, your partner, your children and their children. Then don’t blame the liberals, Diaspora, LTTE rump, exiled journalist, Muslims, Christians, ………and the people who oppose them now.

      Prepare to blame yourself.

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        “If non Muslims refused to buy Halal, suppliers will eventually have to stop selling them”
        That is exactly what the BBS said. Either you remove it or we boycott.

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          NAK

          I beg to differ,intimidation followed by physical threats were present through out BBS’s intimidation ceremonies (boycott).

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        not endorsing BBS here but I don’t personally approve covering the face.
        Why did the french ban face covering in 2011?

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      NO HALAL CERTIFICATION LOCALLY BUT REQUIRED FOR EXPORTS.
      FOR YOU CHAPS ITS MONEY. SENDING YOUR MOTHERS AND SISTERS AND WIVES FOR DOLLARS TO ARAB COUNTRIES IS OK.
      WHY DO YOU DISLIKE THE MUSLIM WOMEN’S DRESS. YOU SEX PERVERTS ARE UNABLE
      TO FEAST ON THESE WOMEN. WHY BOTHER ABOUT OUR WOMEN, WHEN YOU ARE THE MAJORITY AND TODAY MOST DRESS TO ATTRACT MEN. WE HEAR OF RAPE ALL THE TIME.

      HERE IS THE RESPONSE FROM THE YEMENI WOMAN IN HIJAB WHO WON THE NOBEL PRIZE;
      “When asked about her Hijab By Journalists and how it is not proportionate with her level of intellect and education, she replied, “Man in The early times was almost naked, and as his intellect evolved he started wearing clothes. What I am today and what I’m wearing represents the highest level of thought and civilization that man has achieved, and is not regressive. It’s the removal of clothes again that is regressive back to ancient TIMES.”

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        As far as I know the request was to “Not cover the face”. No one wanted muslim women to wear short skirts. There are thousands of women who wear decent clothes and not get oggled at. You don’t have to cover your face to dress decently.
        Can you also tell me why the Hijab is banned in France?

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    Malinda,

    Wonder if you were able to compile that list for the white van drivers ?

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    Malinda a strong supporter of the JHU and a personal friend or a bosom pal of Champika knew most of the people at this candle lite protest or a distant pooja. Not by their dress but by looking at them. Mahindas’s very accurate description of the action of Polis and the BBS members and others is much appreciated. I think what BBS trying to do is to prop up the dying JHU hated by most Buddhidt. Please don’t disgrace this wonderful religion and do your politics keeping Buddhism as a RELIGION.

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    The author says he wants to give his own opinion but then piggy backs on a anonymous muslim and tries to trivialise the protest. No doubt about his agenda as well.

    There is no doubt the BBS / MOD stopped the protest and many buddhist did not attend as they did not want to involve in a fracas with the thugs of BBS. Anyway it was a good effort by Buddhist to send a messagee to BBS that they are not the sole owners and interpretors of Buddhism.

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    Your damned if you do, and you are damned if you don’t.
    I think it is time the Colombo elite moved out of their facebooks on to the street….

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    Here’s a quote from an interview by Lasantha Ruhunage, the News Editor of Raaya. Trust Malinda takes note.

    ‘My view is that a majority of those identified as journalists haven’t have fulfilled the basics to serve in that role. An authentic journalist should have the spirit and determination to report and investigate crises and discriminations faced by all nationalities and to question the government on such matters”.

    jdslanka.org/index.php/2012-01-30-09-31-03/media-a-culture/304-media-in-the-land-is-governed-by-one-person-lasantha-ruhunuge

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    Malinda puts his kakula in his kata.

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      He may allow all pinguththara pseudo monks to tarnish the buddhist image of the motherland. :(((

      Real buddhists should find better ways to offer their alms to the ones are in real need.

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    What is it about Sinhala Buddhists that rile up Colombians who would prefer Buddhists to carry their temple in their hearts alone? Why are ‘temple-going Buddhists’ somehow considered different?

    When Christians attend church or Muslims go to the Mosque for prayer, does it mean that they are Christians of a different sort? Or that they too should carry their church or mosque in their hearts alone?

    No one seems to question this difference…but this is troubling enough to think “Should we not look into why that is so?”

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      As somebody said before there are two types of Buddhists, Sinhala Buddhists and Buddhist Sinhalas. The former worship statues and trees and are devoted to rituals and sing devotional songs. The latter practice what the Buddha taught.

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        …and it is immutable that the former protest on the streets, perpetrate thuggery and pledge to rape the people, the country, the national assets and do sacrilege to the Buddhism.

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