24 April, 2018

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Ven. Gnanasara, Jesus Christ & John F. Kennedy !

By Dayan Jayatilleka –

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

When I am criticized on the same subject within a week by Profs Laksiri Fernando and GH Peiris, who occupy antipodal political and ideological positions, I know I must be doing something right.

In his lengthy presentation on Islamophobia and allegations thereof, entitled ‘A reappraisal of evidence and claims: Emerging Buddhist-Muslim Rivalry in Sri Lanka?’ (The Island, July 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 2017) Prof GH Peiris has chosen to conclude with a three paragraph reference to an idea I had advanced. I would have thought this gratuitous but it is dwarfed in that department by his range of references with relation to Ven. Gnanasara’s rhetoric, which include Jesus Christ, Mark Antony and JFK.

I had recommended that instead of a flailing about at all forms of racism and extremism, and risking greater polarization and instability, the state authorities focus on the most dangerous issue, that of incitement to violence and prosecute Ven. Gnanasara on those grounds, given that there seems to be ample audio-visual evidence accumulated over time, on that score.

In an attempt to dismiss my view, Prof Peiris argues that the same charge may be levelled against Jesus Christ’s denunciation in the Temple, Mark Antony’s oration, John F Kennedy, et al. In effect, Prof. Peiris does not see a qualitative difference between the discourse of Jesus Christ and that of Ven. Gnanasara. Prof Pieris probably sees a congruency between Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto, not to mention Hitler’s torchlight Nuremburg speeches and Fidel’s address to the courts, “History Will Absolve Me!

Prof Peiris’ problem seems to be that of a classic “category error”: the inability to distinguish between an exhortation to resistance and rebellion against injustice, and a fascist or neo-fascist exhortation to violence against a community. In his spree of mixing apples, oranges, chalk and cheeses, I am thankful he did not suggest that the Sermon on the Mount could be considered in the same category as Herod’s injunction on the newborns! Certainly, Prof GH Peiris’ line of argumentation would sit well with those such as Zeid al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who place Mahinda Rajapaksa in broadly the same category as Velupillai Prabhakaran, and the Sri Lankan state’s war on the same plane as that of a separatist-fascist, terrorist militia! Is there ‘No Limit’ (so to say) to Prof Peiris’ ridiculous exercise in moral equivalence?

Prof Peiris also assumes that the law will be unable, or will find it gravely problematic, to observe the distinction. If ever a government prosecutes the likes of Ven. Gnanasara on the grounds of incitement to violence, I trust that his lawyers will press into service Prof GH Peiris’ helpful references to Jesus Christ, Mark Antony and JFK in his defense. I wish them luck in that endeavor in logic, law, ethics and moral philosophy.

Prof Peiris concludes with a sideswipe about “duumvirates”, implying that my suggestion of a Mahinda-Gotabaya ticket is doomed to fail and arguing instead for a Mahinda-led project, pure and simple. The problem there is not so much one of desirability but of possibility. The 19th amendment prevents Mahinda from contesting the Presidency and the Presidential election precedes (2019) the parliamentary one (2020).

The UNP-NGO solution, namely to abolish the executive Presidency, only transfers power to Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and the Chief Ministers, chiefly Wigneswaran, and is therefore far worse than the problem.

This leaves a “duumvirate” as the only option. It is incumbent to pick the best possible “duumvirate”, electorally and from the standpoint of the country’s main needs in the context of the current crisis. I have advocated Gotabaya plus Mahinda.

As for Prof Pieris’ statement that “duumvirates” are almost always disasters or failures, I have only to point to Russia, which is hardly a failure (Putin-Medvedev), and to Cuba in its most glorious decades, which was a “duumvirate” of Fidel and Raul Castro, as Sandinista Nicaragua was of Daniel and Humberto Ortega.

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Latest comments

  • 18
    42

    Prof G. H. Peiris has not criticised Dayan, but taken his argument to a far extreme. They are of the same political camp with minor differences, defending ethno-nationalism.

    There is a saying in Sinhala that ‘when the teacher pee by standing, the student pee by running.’ Who is the teacher or student is immaterial here. But that is what has happened.

  • 12
    23

    Anyone still calling the murderous saffron clad thug a venerable is not in sync with the right thinking minds of the country, the writing is only pursuing an agenda and not benefiting anyone.

    • 10
      16

      Dayan is simply obeying orders from Gota.

  • 9
    14

    Dayan consoles himself: “When I am criticized on the same subject within a week by Profs Laksiri Fernando and GH Peiris, …………………. I know I must be doing something right.”
    Pathetic puerile logic!
    Dayan establish that you are doing something right by doing something right.

  • 9
    15

    Smart Patriot DJ why can not you write in simple English so that the majority of the majority and majority of the minorities can understand what you are writing about.

    With my limited language knowledge One major point I see in your analysis is – you want Ven Gnanasara prosecuted and found him guilty so you can easily bring chaos and make MaRa-GoRa doubles to come back to power.

    I suggest you also consult Astro, Sumanadasa Abey and see the time or period to bring back MaRa or GoRa to power.

  • 4
    0

    Victor Ratnayaka has a great song. In that song the lyrics “maa hari ugathaa, maa hari jagathaa kiyanaa minihaa modeyaki” rings very true of those who are so insecure and want to look down on everyone else and insist they are right. You and some other fellow Josephians seem to have that inferiority complex

    • 5
      0

      Elmo Ranasinghe,
      “”You and some other fellow Josephians seem to have that inferiority complex””

      There in no complex that the missionary school imparted to its runaway humbugs in search of wealth , fame and power.

      While the Old rilewa has his jest,
      My father was a scholar and so am I ! brags the fool.
      My mother was a mare and so is she ! proclaims the Buruva.

  • 1
    3

    Dr. Dayan Jayathilake: It is interesting that you included Ven ghanasra with Jesus. I know Jesus was a humanitarian talked for poor romans. In the mean time he criticized the Roman State and angered the State in turn killed the Jesus. Now We have a Ven ghansara who is criticising how the muslims and christians are destroying buddhism in Sri lanka. The State is as usual num, silent, deaf, inactive and blind. So, muslim and christian media pests as they do else where in Asia, critize the monk, Mahanayakes and they are trying to overpower, subjugate and deman buddhism in Sri lanka. Anyway, courages monks who follow Lord buddha’s way can turn around this and not the money-greedy politicians.

  • 1
    2

    This is our current predicament, the average Sinhalese doesn’t know the difference between complaining and instigating arson destruction of property, nobody will have an issue if there is a genuine issue and getting the law to take its natural course

    Pathetic

  • 3
    2

    “When I am criticized on the same subject within a week by Profs Laksiri Fernando and GH Peiris, who occupy antipodal political and ideological positions, I know I must be doing something right”

    Aha, all this time you weren’t quite sure you were right; only presupposing with an inent to mislead!

    You are indeed the father of all humbugs.

  • 2
    2

    “When I am criticized on the same subject within a week by Profs Laksiri Fernando and GH Peiris, who occupy antipodal political and ideological positions, I know I must be doing something right”

    Aha, all this time you weren’t quite sure you were right; only presupposing with an intent to mislead!

    You are indeed the father of all humbugs.

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