21 September, 2018

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What Kind Of A Nation Are We?

By Vishwamithra

“If you see fraud and do not say fraud, you are a fraud.” ~Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Kandy was burning. The pinnacle of the teachings of the greatest Teacher in human history who preached ‘ahimsa’ (non-violence) is being desecrated and the shame and ignominy that burning has caused have become our contemptible DNA. Sinhalese Buddhists once again have come out of their disguise, resorted to marauding the streets of Maha Nuwara and its suburbs like barbarians, searching for Muslims, a people of another faith. Religion in the hands of pagans is just another deadly device to hurl at those who don’t believe in the same faith. In a macabre spectacle of treachery and religious dishonesty, what has moved our people towards sublime heights has been replaced by gory intent to kill and torture, to maim and murder and to impose their faith on others. Muslims are no less responsible. What have we become? After 70 years of Independence from Colonial rulers, we managed to introduce in the 1972 Constitution, drafted and consummated by Dr. Colvin R de Silva, one of the most scholarly advocates of secularism, a clause that rendered Buddhism a ‘special place’, thereby creating a discriminatory socio-religious machination amongst a people who were used to harmonious coexistence.

However, since the ’56 Transformation, instigated by SWRD Bandaranaike, another Oxford liberal whose political expediency subordinated all his liberal mindedness to his empty rhetoric and created socio-ethnic hysteria that gave rise to a feeling of false superiority of race, the rate at which ethnic violence erupted in Ceylon increased. A mentality of ‘the land, the race and the faith’ (Rata, Deya, Samaya) then took over the collective psyche of Sinhalese Buddhists whose imaginary ‘Aryan’ origins as propagated by the likes of Anagarika Dharmapala, a zealot of no mean influence on the majority who was living with minority mindset. This mindset was primarily attributable to the fear of Tamils in South India, namely Tamil Nadu State. This cagey existence is utterly vulnerable and could be easily exploited by sinister politicians whose aims are much more deceptive and diabolical. That is precisely what has happened to our Sinhalese Buddhist community. When the fear of Tamils in the North is coupled with the jealousy of Muslims in the East and the rest of the country, the consequential stream of ‘aggressive indifference’ towards decency and fundamental values creates all this mayhem and ethnic cleansing of Sri Lankan kind.

No person on the soil of this country could keep quiet about violent treatment of fellow citizens in the same land. Such ‘aggressive indifference’ towards decency and fundamental values results in macabre killings and inhuman torture. Sinhalese Buddhists, over a period of time, especially after 1956, have shown uncanny and remarkable ability to indulge in these racial riots as an expression of misplaced patriotism. Anyone who speaks against such wanton ethnic-based killings is being branded traitorous and betrayers of ‘our thing’. This cocoon-mindset is a product of a steady dose of hate-filled ethno-superiority complex. Innocent women and men are drawn into this vortex of ‘the land, the race and the faith’. And when feelings are driven to an intense extent of ethnic hatred, all sublime teachings of the Buddha are forgotten and the base animal instincts of humankind overwhelm the brittle minds of these men and women of the faith. That is the basic calculus of this developing human spectacle.                 

The base instincts of humanity have overwhelmed the wiser quarters; political expediency has deadened the nuanced aspects of the human race and created a crack in the fabric of socio-ethnic harmony. The Teldeniya riots and its rapid spread over the Kandy district, specifically in areas where Muslim communities are more prevalent, were another growing cancer which was curbed quite speedily whereas such riots in 1983 could not be averted.

The Rajapaksas have no right whatsoever to speak about such situations as pious leaders of a nation. With their willing and ready nod, many ethnic riots were initiated and a destructive mode of governance was unleashed. Well-known thugs and socially malignant elements were wrapped in saffron robes and let loose on an otherwise placid people. The immense danger and damage that is caused to this placid mind of a village woman who worships the tiny Buddha statue that is in her tiny shrine room cannot be disregarded as a mere contusion caused by a thorny creep. This woman’s faith in the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha is too strong to be waived off by Islam Fundamentalism. Her allegiance to the Dharma, as she sees and understands it, cannot be subjected to judgment by zealots of another faith. Yet her faith is invariably entangled with the superficial aspects of popular Buddhism which has been a product of adulteration and contamination by generations of Dusseela Bikkhus (corrupt clergy) and ambitious politicians who use these Dusseela Bikkhus to gain their ends.

This close affiliation between ruler-politicians and Buddhist Clergy has been a constant in our history. While this unbreakable bond, more often than not, has had very beneficial effects on the ruler and consequently on the subject people, sometimes has led to irreversible conditioning of the minds and hearts of them. This conditioning, perpetrated over centuries of rule, has in fact produced a warped sense of patriotism which manifestly rejects the fresh and openness of mind. The brutal truth is this same ruler-priest combination has not been present not only in Ceylon, but was in fact had been a primary driving force in the so-called developed world long before the dawn of liberal democracy. The cloak of religious cover has managed to conceal many a sin of the ruler whilst the Monk/priest clans have abused the relationship to enrich themselves and their kith and kin.

The cycle continued with an ironclad combination between corrupt rulers and corrupting clergy. However, with the advent of liberal democracy- though it is more an evolution rather than an advent- in the developed world, direct influence of religion on democratically elected leaders began diminishing at a faster rate than it could afford to. When religion is confined to Temples, Churches, Mosques and Kovils, the ruling clans began sustaining their rule over matters of government affairs more freely and with a secular approach to resolution of emerging economic and political problems. The emergence of fundamentalism may be partly due to this historical evolution of the relationship between religion and government. Future historians and political scientists will argue this case and arrive at more plausible conclusions. Yet what has been evident in the world over the last two centuries have proven that the more economically advanced nations have done so by being more secular than religious in the execution of their policies and principles.

Unfortunately, Sri Lanka cannot be counted to be amongst these enlightened nations. We have chosen to follow the Indian model in pursuing power along the lines of division than unity. Polarization has been willfully enunciated in the daily performance of political life. The rush to Kataragama to wash their sins off their souls and bodies is one example which exhibits the shallowness of their beliefs. The mockery of religious and spiritual beliefs is no more succinctly displayed than in these Kataragama rituals.

Ceylon has come a long way in her journey towards a more perfect union of ideas and ideals. Yet her rulers and religious leaders have let her down. Time after time, when the burning coal of religious anger and hatred seems to simmer and eventually die, these religious zealots and pseudo-spiritual heads have chosen to find the concealed amber and inflame the very hatred and anger to settle their own scores. It is the legacy of the politicians and religious leaders of our time. From the old woman whose faith in the serene teachings of the Buddha is unbreakable to the young man who takes knives and daggers to kill and maim those who do not belong to his religion have gone through this vicious circle of hatred and anger. Buddha’ teachings have been relegated to the fulfillment of a fleeting sense of hatred.

Gnanasaras and Senas will continue to make their exploits more lucrative and profitable to their sponsors. Politicians would pay only lip service and the people who have been brought down to mere puppets will continue to dance to their tunes. Teldeniya riots were not the first of ethnic riots that occurred in post-Independence Sri Lanka and they won’ be the last.   

*The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com      

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Latest comments

  • 13
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    “No person on the soil of this country could keep quiet about violent treatment of fellow citizens in the same land.”

    The silence of Ranil W during the pogrom of 83 is well known to those who survived that carnage!

    • 1
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      The Buddha statue in the premises of Hilda JayawardenaRamaya in Ottawa, Canada has been attacked, and its head broken into pieces. This is the largest religious place of worship for Buddhists in Canada. Even during the time of the 30 years old LTTE war, such a thing had not happened. The Buddhists in Canada are of the view this attack is a counter move against what took place in Kandy, Sri Lanka (recent conflicts). The present SL High Commissioner in Ottawa for the last three years is Ahamed Jawad, and the SL Consul General of the Consular office in Toronto is Uduma Lebbe Jawhar.

      • 0
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        Silva

        “The Buddhists in Canada are of the view this attack is a counter move against what took place in Kandy, Sri Lanka (recent conflicts). “

        I wish to know whether the Buddhists are not Sinhala/Buddhists.

        ” The present SL High Commissioner in Ottawa for the last three years is Ahamed Jawad, and the SL Consul General of the Consular office in Toronto is Uduma Lebbe Jawhar.”

        Are you accusing both Ahamed Jawad and Uduma Lebbe Jawhar of responsible for the attack?

        Why aren’t the world Buddhists (about 526,373,000) taking any measures to capture the culprits and charge them for the destruction?

      • 0
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        You make strong implications that this was done by Muslims, and that it was in retaliation for the Kandy riots. It is better to not jump to conclusions that may be wrong, until the law enforcement official make a public statement. The problem with speculations is it could be wrong (like the Wanda Pethi and toffees that make women barren), and Muslims homes and businesses were burnt. The fact that Muslims represent the Sri Lankans in Canada, has nothing to do with it, unless of course, you want to add to the anti Muslim scenario.

    • 2
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      Really timely piece which should prick the conscience of this entire nation. That is if we still have a collective conscience.

      As long as this nation continues to refer to race and religion, and as long as the scourge of nationalism is still up and running, this country will continue to advance Backwards in every way.

  • 8
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    In 1983 along with UNP politicians Muslim minister in charge of transport and Muslim hooligans from kotahena too were involved in the atrocities against Tamils.

    • 5
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      Sensationalist bullshit by a scribbler scared to write under his own name (which he has changed to sound ‘kult’!)

      • 5
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        Yes, We are a nation of Saimas, like nondi Saima, palu kade Saima, bath Saima and hundreds of others. Some of these Saimas become Shymas but are not able to hide their ‘gode kama’. Saima or Shyma, Ranil has to go.

      • 3
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        Maname Saimon

        Saying it like it is often hurts. Never mind (the name of) the messenger, listen to the message.

  • 6
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    LANZA’s Son had been appointed, not elected the MAYOR in Negombo. Father LAnza and Basil had a project to build a Rapid Rail system from Negombo to Gampaha so that transport will be easy. IF things goes as we expected, Gamphaha has an ample supply of Drugs and Phottuwa will have llot of money to fight general elelction, Probably Mahinda rajapakse has invested too.

  • 7
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    Vishwamithra; One of the fundamental aspects contributing to the problems is the false pride that the majority of Sinhala Buddhists have in Buddhism and their attitude that they are the custodians of Buddhism. Another false premis is that Buddhism is scientific! In spite of the very righteous principle of ahinsa ( which no Budhists practice anyway) the concept of karma or rebirth or nirvana has never been proved and are just mythical beliefs like heaven and hell. It is this inbuilt superiority and the blind adherence on a very illogical religion such as Buddhism that is making it very hard to the average Sinhala Buddhist to be tolerant towards minorities. I’m sure most of the average Sinhala Buddhists might even condone the recent attacks on the Muslims- Asoka

    • 2
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      ‘ I’m sure most of the average Sinhala Buddhists might even condone the recent attacks on the Muslims’

      What are you Asokam, the national mind reader?

    • 0
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      Asoka;
      Forget about “the concept of karma or rebirth or nirvana has never been proved and are just mythical beliefs like heaven and hell.”

      It has also never been proved that the Buddha accepted the then prevalent Hindu Concept of ‘Rebirth’!
      Forget about Rebirth, and One can still follow the Buddha’s Dhamma!

      The Buddha’s Explanation of ‘Karma’ and ‘Nirvana’ are two Concepts, that are totally Misunderstood by Sinhala/Buddhists, who actually Practise Hinduism, and Pray to Hindu Gods!

  • 2
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    One Author right now in CT says, there are hard working muslims to islamize Kandy and Sinhala buddhists tried to counter it. that ws all. WAs that wrong to protect our culture and civilization let foreigners expand their cultures ? Who else hase done it abd what are the out comes.

    • 3
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      Jim

      1000 of author says in any cause, nothing good ever comes from violance

      • 0
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        rbh: why muslims are so violent in other countries. Even in this instance, it is Four muslims who killed Two people including the sinhala driver who had two children. The other guys was single. Muslims have too commercialiazd everything and they are collecting halal Tax from unsuspectd sinhala customers. That is one reason for selected revenge attacks. the govt also knows what muslims are doing becuse they temselves had said what they are doing. There is a buddhist statue destrucion by either the christians or muslims in Canada. Muslims should not treat sinhala buddhists separately. there are separate ways to worship the Allah. buddha, God Eswar, God KAtaragama and Even goddess Sarathwathi/SAth PAththini are part of Islam. They need to reach to god and understand. Those extremists are ones believing in the Creator god. The most impoirtaznt thing is if you can report thzt muslims peeole have been injured or killed. At least one Sinhala man had been killed to start the carnage. check India to see how muslims are destroying the Hindu everything including marrying to Hindu women. Even in SRI lanka thzat is happening.

        • 2
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          Jim

          Catch the correct persons take action, there is only one god in the world that
          is what muslim believe.

          There is no saudi god sri lanka god or american god.

    • 0
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      Another jobless troll trying to cause trouble, and making wild accusations.

  • 8
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    We should hang our heads in shame. Every time we try to show the world we are progressing, and putting war, and strife, behind us, and every time we want to show we are trying to reconcile and move on, the ugly, unemployed, Sinhala mobs, show they are able to put the teachings of the religion aside, very easily, and become violent.
    It does not take that much to show their hatred, and envy, of the minority. A stupid rumor of sweets making Sinhala women barren, the wanda pethi turned out to be a lump of flour that makes men sterile (which has yet to manufactured in the world), or that the Muslims are taking over the country, can make these uneducated louts go berserk.
    It ends in attacks, destroying of homes, businesses, looting, injuries, and even death.
    A financial hit on the country.
    Apparently, these marauding mobs find it hard to live with about 10 percent of the Muslims, and their culture irritates them. Whatever happened to tolerance and compassion?
    Do they want this country to follow the Myanmar model? Myanmar is looking like a pariah nation, and one of it’s leader Suu Kyii, has been stripped off her medals, because she looked the other way, when men and boys were lined up and shot, women were raped, and babies thrown into the fires. Do the leaders of this nation want ethnic cleansing happening here too?
    Love for one’s country should be the top priority for all politicians and leaders, they are willing for the country to go through yet another ethnic conflict, rather than advocate peace between all ethnicities, and prevent any more massacres, just to get the majority vote. NO loud voice condemns this uncivilized behavior, whether during the previous regime, or presently. The BBS thug was tolerated during the Rajapaksa regime, and still walks around provoking, and making hate speeches, and gets away with it. He even accompanied the president to Japan right after the Kandy riots. Why?

  • 3
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    how is it that no christians were involved in the 1983 riots against the tamils whereas muslims were quite prominent

  • 2
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    Pogroms against the Tamils in 1956, 1958, 1971, 1971, 1983 clearly shows the mindset of the Government and the Extremist Buddhist clergy. Their agenda is to get rid of all minorities and make Sri Lanka a Busshist Sihnala state; But it is not going to happen due to the exposure of its agenda to the world now. The links shows and exposes the true facts.
    MOUNTING JUSTIFICATION FOR TAMILS TO RESORT TO SELF-DETERMINATION AND RFERENDUM
    https://www.academia.edu/35415017/MOUNTING_JUSTIFICATION_FOR_TAMILS_TO_RESORT_TO_SELF-DETERMINATION_AND_RFERENDUM
    https://www.academia.edu/34151481/SRI_LANKAS_CREDIBILITY_AND_UNS_RESPONSIBILITIES
    https://www.academia.edu/34202740/SRI_LANKAS_GENOCIDE_OF_TAMILS
    https://www.academia.edu/28419263/chemical_weapons_used_to_wipe_out_the_Tamils_in_Sri_Lanka

  • 7
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    Religion & national pride has always been exploited by politicians, from Hitler to Donald Trump. SWRD, the biggest hypocrite in Sri Lanka’s history, introduced ‘nationalism’ for his own benefit, a political strategy which subsequent politicians adopted, & thrives even today with yobs in robes joining the band wagon in a big way. Buddhism has been hijacked & I am not sure how many, even among the ‘Maha Sanga’, understands the real doctrine. As a result, the masses in SL who calls themselves Sinhala Buddhists, have been misguided & even brain washed.

    A majority of Buddhists in SL believes the Sinhalese as the guardians of Buddhism & that others, particularly, from the developed Western world, are conspiring to convert Buddhists. They are probably unaware that Buddhism is thriving in democratic, developed countries. Tibatian monks & the Dalai Lama, as well as, converted Buddhist monks like Ajan Chah & Sumedho are highly revered & respected, even by non Buddhists, with followers from Alaska to New Zealand. A monastery started by the American monk Sumedho (who was ordained in Thailand in the 70s) in UK, is very popular even among non Buddhists & the Maha Sanga in SL could learn a lot about the behavior of monks & how a temple should function as the Buddha would approve.

    Politics & religion doesn’t mix. Until Buddhist monks stop messing with politics, SL will have ethnic disharmony & SL will never prosper. It’s time Buddhist monks in SL realize that in Buddhism, there is no discrimination on the grounds of race, creed or gender & monks are expected to provide spiritual guidance, not dabble in politics because they are assumed to have given up material life in search of Nirvana. The so called misguided & misinformed ‘patriotic’ monks can engage in saving the sinhala race & the nation as they wish but not while in robes because it’s them who will ruin Buddhism in SL eventually.

  • 0
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    No Vishwamitra it is NOT Sinhala-Buddhists vs others. There is more to it than meets the eye. Bit of lateral thinking.
    Killing off competition is part of business – example Microsoft.
    The recent Muslim crisis is a local example. Everyone expected this but could not prevent it. The mob involved was under strict control. Buddhist-Sinhalese was blamed – we know that the majority (silent majority if you will) eschew violence.
    Was it staged by business interests to grab this commodity from Muslims? Looks like it is. The ‘interests’ are able to paralyse the GoSL of the time. The ‘interests’ threw a challenge through Aluthgama2014 and now Kandy2018.
    The ‘interests’ invested a lot of money into the LG elections. What happens next will not have this language/religion-divide.

  • 0
    0

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  • 0
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    You need to read in order to find a broader picture. the internet should be part of that. I do not kniw whether Sri lankan libraries do not havee computers with internet capzability. You can start by getting attacjed to politicins who have money. then become independant. I heard Mangaa Samaraweera is looking for a journalist. Ask the help of some Hindu gods.

  • 0
    2

    What A Ungrate Ful Lot To See ………………It Seem That Like The Time In 1983 Tamil Tiger LTTE Terrorism …………….All People Are Targeting The Sinhalese Buddhist People From This End And That End………….We The Sinhalese Roman Catholics In Between Get Crushed up in between………..Any Way What We See These Dirty F——S doing is Spread Hatred Towards The SInhalese People Violating Their Rights…………..The Extremist Muslim And Extremist Tamil A– Holes…………………SHAME ON YOU Dirty People………..Coming To The Sinhale Country As Coolies And Traders…………….What May Not The Dirty Things The Colonials Have Done To Your Ancestors…..How Many Of Your Women Folk Have Been Raped Or Sexually Abused By The Whites or Treated As Slaves ………NOW MAKING USE OF THE KINDNESS Of The Sinhalese People And Attacking Sinhalese And Trying To Grab Their Only Country…………Letting Down Their Only …….Mother Country To The International Community…… …More Over What ROTTEN things are being Written Over the CT Pages Disgracing The Sinhalese…………….What An Ungrateful Lot Are These…. Not Mother LoverS …..But Mother F——S

  • 1
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    However the message is crafted, the truth surfaces. We, the nation, and those Buddhists within, must feel the anguish of this latest round of blood-letting.

    Long ago, devious politicians found the key to divide and rule us, and in the process make themselves and their cohorts very well rewarded indeed. From the public coffers no less.

    Not only the Buddhists need hang their head in shame, but every Sri Lankan who looks the other should share in the national sorrow.

    All it takes for the evil minority to succeed, is for the good majority to do nothing.

    Last time round, we sentenced ourselves to thirty years of hard misery. This time?

  • 1
    0

    “What Kind Of A Nation Are We?”…..using Donald J. Trumps own words, we are a “Sh!thole”

  • 1
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    At the end, the whole thing boils down to “break down in law & order”…That’s the main problem in SL for quite a long time. We can absolutely blame all those selfish politicians and also some of the corrupt Buddhist religious leaders for this sad and sorry situation. It’s not fair blaming the majority or minorities for anything but the ruling governments, since our independence.
    A sincere effective government should have the control of the country, all forces, good and bad religious leaders and politicians-.. no matter whether it’s war or any kind of riots.
    Rule of law must be preserved and maintained to curb or stop all these nonsensical organized activities of hoodlums.
    Unfortunately, we always had and still have mostly selfish, racist political leaders or spineless ones ruling the nation by hook or crook. We will never prosper until these things are changed for good.
    We should never blame the people…Lankans are all good people but badly brought up… they should be handled properly according to the strict rule of law.
    That’s what missing in our country…nothing else. You cannot change people’s attitude, greed, jealousy or mindset by giving lecture about religion or good behavior. Strict law enforcement is the urgent medication is the urgent need of the hour ! Nothing else can work or workable.

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