By Jagath Asoka –
To kill any Sri Lankan for criticizing Mahinda and Gotabaya is like killing a mocking bird. Have you read Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mocking Bird?
Should we kill our own citizens when they ask for a separate state? Should we kill them when they want to establish socialism or utopian-communism? How about when they criticize Mahinda and Gotabaya for creating a political system that is corrupt; has taken away the freedom of speech of all citizens; has made a mockery of the rule of law; has allowed their goons, thugs, drug dealers, rapists, laptop licking journalists, and murderers to make billions from development projects and casinos? If you are a Buddhist, a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Jew, an atheist, or an agnostic would you kill another person without any compunction? Would you kill a person for criticizing you, if you could get away with it? Would you kill another Sri Lankan for criticizing Rajapaksas, if you were paid to do so? Would you? Criticism is not treason.
If you are a journalist, would you keep prostituting for Rajapaksas, while deceiving the readers and keep throwing your feces at other journalists, because you are paid to do so. If you call yourself a journalist, would your conscience tie your tongue when you see murder, rape, and injustice? Who is prostituting the media freedom?
If you think of Sri Lankans as your own brothers and sisters, how do you feel when you kill your own brothers and sisters? Do you think Cain was right when he killed Abel because God preferred Abel’s gift, not Cain’s? Under what circumstances would you say killing your own brothers and sisters is a good thing? If you are an ardent supporter of Rajapaksas—a Buddhist zealot who firmly believes that Rajapaksas have rescued this country from Tamil terrorists—and if you think Rajapaksas are the guardians of Buddhism in our country, would you achieve nirvana when you kill another Sinhala Buddhist when he or she criticizes your paper lions: Mahinda and Gotabaya?
I do not know about you, but I was brought up as a Buddhist; my parents and my teachers—gods of my childhood—taught me at a very young age that killing a tiny bug, let alone a human being, is an un-Buddhist thing to do. But in our recent history we have killed—intentionally and ruthlessly—more Sri Lankan brothers and sisters than bugs. How can we explain this? It seems like in Sri Lanka, a bug’s life is more precious than a life of a human being. Killing another human being is probably one of the worst crimes in any religion. When a Sinhala Buddhist kills another Sinhala Buddhist, is it a lesser crime than killing a Tamil who happens to be a Christian or a Hindu; after all, before Siddhartha became the Buddha he was a Hindu. So, if a king from one of the neighboring kingdoms had killed Prince Siddhartha for criticizing this king, would you say, well done my brother, Siddhartha deserved punishment by death because he criticized our king? How come the BBS members, who demonstrate, holding their saffron-colored robes, almost displaying their genitalia, shouting bloody murder when cows are killed, remain mum when their hapless Sinhala Buddhists are killed daily for criticizing Rajapaksas? It is too bad that they cremated the Buddha; otherwise, he would have resurrected himself when this kind of hypocrisy is used in the name of the Buddha.
I do not know what Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and Jewish kids are taught about killing bugs, because I was not brought up by such parents. I do not think it is just a Buddhist practice, because my son is a Christian; he would not even let me kill a tiny bug when I see a bug crawl around him. Sri Lankans have been somewhat fortunate; we did not have to fight any invaders since we fought the British. Since we got our independence in 1948 it had been peaceful until early 1970s, until Rohana Wijeweera, and then later, Prabakaran terrorized us. So, our government took swift action and killed a lot of young Sri Lankans, both southern, Sinhala JVP members and northern Tamils. Of course, both JVP and Prabakaran killed innumerable number of hapless Sri Lankans.
People like Gotabaya and Sarath Fonseka joined the Army before Wijeweera and Prabakaran had begun terrorizing us. When a man wears a uniform and takes a vow to protect his county, it is sacred. That man is willing to sacrifice his life to protect our lives and the lives of our children. There have been so many unselfish, brave men like that in Sri Lanka. Most of them did not go to schools in Colombo; their parents did not take a 10 percent commission from every project—building bridges, roads, airports, theaters, stadiums, etc—and then name every building after themselves. Most of them died while defending their country; those who survived are without eyes, limbs, and other body parts; their souls are shattered forever. Only a very few escaped unharmed. Those who heroically served our country are worthy of our veneration. Should we venerate these war heroes if they have become a part of this regime and inadvertently support the regime now and keep silent even when their blood boils when they see incidences like Rathupasswala? Would you take money and thank Mahinda and Gotabaya if your son or daughter had been killed in Rathupaswala? Should we venerate these war heroes when they keep mum for personal gains, ambassadorships, and foreign trips, while Rajapaksas keep killing their Sinhala brothers and sisters merely for writing articles because their conscience compel them to do so? Soldiers fight injustice with guns and bullets, whereas writers do the same with pens and words. I venerate those who have sacrificed their lives and those who have fought to protect Sri Lanka, but it pains me to see that Mahinda and Gotabaya have given these heroes ambassadorships and foreign jobs to keep them mum. Should we venerate these war heroes when they inadvertently support the Rajapaksa clan who embezzles money from our poor nation and lives profligate lives, lives that would make the Saudi Royal Family looks like a bunch of beggars, while hapless Sri Lankans cannot even buy a Panadol when they are in excruciating pain? Where are the heroes who annihilated Prabakaran? Why are they keeping mum while Mahinda and Gotabaya continue to kill their own Sinhala brothers and sisters? Where are the Buddhists who build temples in every nook, while their own Sinhala Buddhists are killed for criticizing Mahinda and Gotabaya?
Like judges, teachers, and soldiers, Mahinda is playing a mythological role. All presidents, soldiers, teachers, judges, and clergy play mythological roles that are sacred. It is not the individuals, but the roles that they play, the positions they hold, the uniforms and the robes they wear that we venerate, because all of them play sacred roles that are worthy of our adoration. When a person is playing a sacred role, they enter the realm of gods. That is why parents and teachers are our gods. That is why we venerate those who have sacrificed their lives so that we can go on living. Should we worship and venerate thugs, murderers, rapists, and drug dealers because we have elected them as our politicians?
From 1505 to 1948 we were under occupation. Who has killed more Sri Lankans, foreign invaders or our own Sri Lankans? I do not think Sri Lankans have counted their own killings from 1970 to 2009, done by the JVP, Tamil Tigers, Sri Lankan Presidents, Prime Ministers, and defense secretaries: Sirimavo, JR, Premadasa, Chandrika, Mahinda, and Gotabaya. Do you think that these political leaders will go to heaven or achieve nirvana because they have killed so many of our own people? Or do you think they will be burnt in the eternal fires of hell together with Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Sadam.
“Abstain from killing,” is one of the five precepts in Buddhism. “Thou shall not kill,” is one of the Ten Commandments in the Bible; “whosoever killed a person it shall be as if he killed all mankind; and whoso saved a life, it shall be as if he has saved the life of all mankind,” says in the Quran. It seems to me that in Buddhism and Hinduism killing is sometimes seen in less absolute terms: the intention of the individual and the circumstances should be accounted for to determine if an action is right or wrong. So, is it ok to kill a Sinhala Buddhist if Mahinda or Gotabaya orders it; both are Sinhala Buddhists, and as long as they can justify murder, is it ok to kill? Rajapaksas’ attitude is, if you criticize us, it is treason, and you deserve to die; if you are a Sinhala-Buddhist, would you say that we must kill even Sinhala-Buddhists if they criticize Mahinda, Gotabaya, or other members of this holy family?
The Prabakaran clan who committed heinous crimes to achieve Elam and the decent Tamils with genuine grievances are not the same; should we kill Tamils with genuine grievances? What is the difference between Mahinda and Prabakaran when it comes to treating people who criticized them? Like a gnat that is glued to honey, it is impossible to detach yourself from the Rajapaksa herd of Sri Lankan buffalos; but detach you must if you want to save yourself from the eternal fires of hell. Even Buddhists believe that there is a hell.
Since 9/11, Americans have been fighting various terrorist groups. Obama says he has minimized collateral damage—he says drones are like surgical operations—and eliminated dangerous terrorists from this earth. He says he would continue to do this as long as there is a threat to Americans. Do you think he has done the right thing? If you think he is wrong, what would you want him to do to protect American citizens? Should he preach to the terrorists like His Holiness the Dalai Lama and say my brothers and sisters please show compassion for all human beings, especially for Americans. Should he hold peace talks with them, offer them money if they vow not to kill any Americans; should he kill or should not kill the terrorists who have threatened to destroy the USA. If there is another terrorist attack like 9/11, would you blame Obama for not stopping it?
Well, let’s focus on Mahinda and Gotabaya. Is there a real threat in Sri Lanka from Tamil Terrorists? Since Mahinda and Gotabaya don’t have drones, should they use white vans: a method with no collateral damages at all, a very cheap method to kill Tamils who criticize them? If Mahinda and Gotabaya are using white vans to kill Tamil journalists and elected politicians, do you approve it? What if Mahinda and Gotabaya, unlike Obama, has extend their powers to kill Sinhala Buddhists because they have criticized Mahinda and Gotabaya for corruption, skullduggery, nepotism, taking away Sri Lankans’ Freedom of Expression, and violating the laws of the land? Would you say go for it? Should Obama use white vans to get rid of his political enemies? Should Obama send white vans to kill those who are against his healthcare bill that was upheld by the US Supreme Court?
Should we reexamine our habits of killing each other and kill the paper lions who are selling our nation for personal gains? Does it sound like an oxymoron to you: Killing Sri Lankans to Protect Sri Lanka?
To kill innocent Sri Lankans for merely criticizing Mahinda and Gotabaya is an abominable sin in every religion. To kill a Sri Lankan for criticizing Mahinda and Gotabaya is like killing a mocking bird.