19 October, 2017

What Next? Postscript To Anti-Muslim Riots

By Sumanasiri Liyanage

Sumanasiri Liyanage

Sumanasiri Liyanage

The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has realized some damage control operations are needed to repair its tarred image as a result of the recent anti-Muslim riots in the island. Minister Senarathna gave an open apology to Muslims in his electorate, Beruwala, where ugly riots took place. GoSL promised it would rebuild houses and properties destroyed by the mob. Rev Kirama Wimalajothi resigned from the leadership of the Bodu Bala Sena (Army of the Buddhist Power). President reiterated his banal statement that his government stands for every Sri Lankan irrespective of her/ his nationality or religion. Nonetheless, like in 1983, the blame was placed on the so-called extremism of minorities.

Responding to his mother’s more realistic observation –“I don’t expect I will see peace in my life time”- Shivan, the main character of Shyam Selvadurai’s recent novel –The Hungry Ghosts– anticipated “I hope one side wins and ends all this, for the sake of the poor people caught in between”. Shivan’s surrealistic image in fact materialized in the dawn of May 18, 2009 at a narrow sea belt in Mullivaikkal. It seems that both the mother and the son were partly correct since they appeared to have two different things in mind. For Shivan it was the end of armed conflict and for the mother it was peace writ large. The recent events unfolded in Aluthgama, Dharga Town and Beruwala have time and again showed that peace had not yet arrived in Sri Lanka, not definitely to poor and marginalized people. Muslims inhabited in those South Western towns were subjected to vicious and inhumane attacks by ‘Sinhala Buddhist’ mobs instigated by Bodu Bala Sena (army of Buddhist power) that receives both open and tacit blessings of Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. Can the events in these three south-western towns be explicated as isolated and exceptional incidents as the government had been trying to paint them? Are both parties (Sinhala Buddhists and Muslims) to be blamed equally as some government ministers had openly claimed and the country’s defense establishment had indicated?

Muslims Sri Lanka Colombo TelegraphAny careful observer would conclude that the events in Aluthgama, Dharga Town and Beruwala was just a single point on the upward curve delineating the process that had been unleashed since the end of the armed conflict between the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). I must confess. My simplified dialectics had led me wrong in developing possible of post-war scenario. I projected that the comprehensive defeat of the Tamil extremism in 2009 would lead to weaken its ‘other’, the Sinhala extreme nationalism. I thought President Mahinda Rajapaksa would follow Winston Churchil’s dictum: the party victorious should be magnanimous. While Tamil extremism was taken over by Tamil diaspora, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) have projected that the UPFA can stay in power through electoral victories by continually igniting Sinhala Buddhist nationalist feelings and making Sinhala Buddhist nationalism the unwritten state ideology. Parallel to this trend, the executive presidential system was further strengthened by enacting the 18th Amendment to the constitution. The constitutional authoritarianism and over-securitization of the state have been given legitimacy by referring to two goals, namely, economic development and peace and security both defined in its own discursive terms. In order to keep the flames alive and prove that the state has been under constant threat, any protests and resistance by Tamils had been painted as an attempt by the LTTE to reemerge as a military force. It was in this context, we witness the emergence of many types of extreme Buddhists groups even competing with the Sinhala Buddhist political parties in the ruling UPFA. Hence, President Mahinda Rajapaksa can use these groups whenever necessary to restrict and contain the demands and influence of Jathika Hela Urumaya and United Freedom Party, the two coalition partners, in making important governmental decisions.

Subterranean activities of Buddhist extreme organizations began first at small scale and in the periphery. A small mosque in Dambulla where extremely poor Muslims used to worship was attacked claiming that it was built on a land owned by Dambulla temple.  Christian and Muslim religious places and shops and department stores owned by Muslims were attacked. The map shows the attacks had been widespread and all over the island. The GoSL and its police refused to take preventive actions and also legal actions against the perpetrators. Perpetrator organizations were given the impression that the rule of law would not be applied against them. It was in this context, the BBS began its nation-wide anti-Halal campaign that instigated mobs to attack property owned by Muslims. Muslims religious pleaded that Halal was a purely religion specific cultural marker and it had no relevance to Buddhist consumers. Having felt that it would lose its monopoly over Sinhala Buddhism, Hela Urumaya also came forward in support of anti-Halal campaign. Once again the government was virtually dumb when Muslims property and religious places were under mob attack. In a way the situation has been essentially similar to the situation prior to 1983 pogrom against Tamils. The difference is that this time it is a campaign against Muslims and Christians. The argument that both Sinhala Buddhists and Muslims were equally responsible for what had happened in Aluthgama, Dharga town and Beruwala has had no validity. Take the balance sheet: four people were killed; 150 houses and 90 shops were destroyed; 15 mosques were attacked and 2000 families were made refugees. About three-fourths of the affected were Muslims. It is interesting to note that many incidents happened during the curfew time. What was GoSL post-event response? Police arrested a monk who was well known for his courageous stand against BBS defending Muslims. The UNP Muslim PC member was questioned for four hours. All the vehicles to the residence of another Mulsim PC member were subjected to check. The high rank Tamil police officer who tried his best to maintain law and order in the troubled area was transferred. More Muslim property were attacked even police knew that those places were vulnerable for mob attack. The government project is clear. It wants to paint the victims as the perpetrators and the real perpetrators as victims.

The attacks and the government response show that this is an inseparable element of a political project. Armed conflict came to a conclusion in 2009; but the politics of war remains unchanged. In 2005 and 2009, Mahinda Rajapaksa won two presidential elections on Sinhala hegemonic agenda so he and his family and the party must be thinking that this would be the political project that would work in the next presidential election that may be held in early next year. If Gujarat did not stop BJP victory in neighboring India, how would Aluthgama and Beruwala make a difference in Sri Lanka? Will Sri Lankan demographic statistics produce different results?

*Prof Sumanasiri Liyanage is a co-ordinator of the Marx School.

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  • 10
    0

    Dear Sumanasiri Liyanage,

    “The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has realized some damage control operations are needed to repair its tarred image as a result of the recent anti-Muslim riots in the island. Minister Senarathna gave an open apology to Muslims in his electorate, Beruwala, where ugly riots took place. GoSL promised it would rebuild houses and properties destroyed by the mob. Rev Kirama Wimalajothi resigned from the leadership of the Bodu Bala Sena (Army of the Buddhist Power). President reiterated his banal statement that his government stands for every Sri Lankan irrespective of her/ his nationality or religion. Nonetheless, like in 1983, the blame was placed on the so-called extremism of minorities.”

    1, Sinhala Buddhist Racism, based on Monk Mahanama lies and Imaginations are grilled into innocent children, from a Yong age, even when they do not know what religion is. Buddhas teachings are conveniently forgotten.

    2. The so-called, triple Gem, Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha is grilled as well, and the Monks are to be worshiped. Making the Monks part of the so-called Triple gem in the Coup by the Monks,

    See what the Tibetan Buddhist Monks did, until the people were liberated by the red Chinese. Sri Lanka needs such a clean up of the Monk hegemony. Karl Marx was right. Religion is the opium of the masses.

    Buddhism The Great Evil — Part 1

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f89NuukY32U

    Buddhism The Great Evil — Part 2

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clcs2PSze0I

    Sinhala Buddhism The Great Evil

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fPMWD8f9lE

    BBS Attack MP Thevarapperuma | Aluthgama Sri Lanka

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtHbu5CkvD8

    • 4
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      Good one! a Mea culpa too!

      Please translate into Sinhala swabasha.

      • 1
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        Dodo

        “Mea culpa”? Will the Para-sinhala Buddhists ever have a Mea Culpa in Light of the lies and imaginations of Monk Mahanama of Mahawansa?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mea_culpa

        Mea culpa is a Latin phrase that translates into English as “through my fault”. It is repeated three times in the prayer of confession at the Catholic Mass: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa – “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault”. The three phrases are in the ablative case, which gives the instrumental meaning “through”

        The origin of the expression is from a prayer of confession of sinfulness used in the Mass of the Roman Catholic Church known as Confiteor (Latin for “I confess”), of which the first evidence dates from shortly before 1100AD. The phrase “mea culpa” appears in the prayer from the 16th century.[1] The Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite text of the prayer is (with the 2010 ICEL English translation):

        In the popular vernacular, the expression mea culpa is an admission of having made a mistake by one’s own fault (one that could have been avoided if the person had been more diligent). It may be used even in trivial situations: if a sports player, for instance, admits that his team lost a game because he missed an opportunity to score, this may be called a mea culpa, meaning that he admitted his mistake, which he could have avoided (at least in theory), and that resulted in a subsequent evil.

    • 6
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      Sinhala Buddhist nationalism is paying DIMINISHING RETURNS to Jarapassa at this time.
      There will be no victory again. Modi was a new comer. Rajapakse racism and DESTRUCTION of Buddhism is clear to all now. People are fed up of the rhetoric but there are a lot of Sinhla Modayas out there…

    • 2
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      Amarasiri say…….”See what the Tibetan Buddhist Monks did, until the people were liberated by the red Chinese”.

      Now Sri Lanka is Red China’s Satellite. Both China and Rajapakses are screwing Sri Lanka and it’s resources Left and right.

      Only USA and the West could liberate Sri Lanka from Rajapakse/ BBS/JHU gang of Mafia thugs and Fake Buddhist Sinhala robbers who are acting like Patriots.

      It’s time to ask for US, UK and West’s help to get rid of Rajapakse Alibabas and save our country and all our citizens.

  • 7
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    Prof Sumanasiri Liyanage

    “Mahinda Rajapaksa won two presidential elections on Sinhala hegemonic agenda so he and his family and the party must be thinking that this would be the political project that would work in the next presidential election that may be held in early next year. If Gujarat did not stop BJP victory in neighboring India, how would Aluthgama and Beruwala make a difference in Sri Lanka? Will Sri Lankan demographic statistics produce different results?”

    The MaRa regime is fully exploiting the opportunity offered by the defeat if the Tigers. The Unlimited presidential term is part of this plan.

    They have put their sewn henchmen into positions, that there is a question of fraud in the presidential and parliamentary elections. They are using Sinhalese Buddhist racism, based on Monk Mahanama lies and imaginations to full use.

    There are several antidotes, but since the Sinhalese Buddhists have no shame, it may not mean much.

    1. Point out the lies and imaginations of Monk Mahanama of Mahawansa. Point out that it is not true Buddhism.

    2. Point out that Sinhalese and Buddhism are Para, foreign, Therefore it is Para-Sinhalese and Para_Buddhism.

    3. Veddah Tribe was Egalitarian and Civilized than the Sinhala Buddhists.

    The Vedda Tribe

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f89NuukY32U

  • 8
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    Once can lead a horse to water (in this case a donkey)but cannot make it drink. Its the same situation in Sri Lanka! Unfortunately the number of donkeys are more in this regime!

    • 1
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      Prof Sumanasiri Liyanage

      “If Gujarat did not stop BJP victory in neighboring India, how would Aluthgama and Beruwala make a difference in Sri Lanka? Will Sri Lankan demographic statistics produce different results?”

      Are there more donkeys in Sri Lanka than India. After all Sri Lankan Paras are Indian Paras from Sometime Back.

      Anyway, NJB had the advantage of corruption and indecision of the Singh congress.

      Mara has the disadvantage of corruption and indecision of the Mara and the high cost of living. He is rioting using proxies to turn Sinhalese Buddhist Racism to his advantage using innocent Muslims as scapegoats.

      Will the Sinhalese Buddhist fall for his deception? Will they see through the lies?

  • 0
    1

    sumane, [Edited out]

  • 1
    0

    It has been reported by many respected individuals, including the Minister Mr Senaratne, that the so called “Buddhist” extremist group, had visited Norway and had met the LTTE diaspora in the company of opposition politician Karunanayake. It is also believed that organisations in Norway and USA are funding the BBS. Therefore, please do not blame the Buddhists for the actions of foreign funded NGOs like the BBS, which seems to have been set up for the purpose of creating conflict, rather than defending the Sinhala Buddhists. The proof of this is that they have not condemned the LTTE or taken action to resettle the Sinhalese and Muslims evicted from the North by the LTTE and still blocked by the TNA.

  • 1
    0

    Mahinda Rajapaksa and his ruling regime live on in the quiet confidence that NO government of Sri Lanka since the fifties has found it necessary to take action and prosecute the ethnic trouble makers who over the years have enjoyed free reign to terrorise ethnic minorities – particularly the Tamils over the years including 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983. In the last two years it has been our Muslim brethren (and every now and the our Christians) and it it clear nothing has changed. Further the GoSL operated without any accountability during the time it was necessary to put down the (JVP) uprisings of 1971 and 1987-89 and excesses were legendary. Always, the guiding watchword has been ‘shape’ everything – tick-off the trouble makers and say to the victims ‘what to do?’ ‘these things happen’. The victims over the years resigned themselves to helplessness and learning to live as best they could (or emigrate). Our great tribal warrior Sarath himself went to Canada and said to the world – to paraphrase – that our minorities must know their place and behave accordingly. The country is littered with unmarked graves, the missing are unaccounted for, the thugs roam free. Politicians and law men enjoy a symbiotic relationship with the criminal classes, afraid to confront them lest they and/or their families feel the sure wrath of the ‘midnight visit’ or the white van quietly drawing up outside the front gate. The recent manifestation of the ultra-Buddhist BBS lead by the odious Gnanasara (and I purposefully refuse to recognise him as a priest), and the Sinhala Ravaya that is led by the loathsome Champika Ranawaka who is a minister in the Rajapakse government, enjoy the patronage of the President and his powerful brother Gotabaya and, have, to all intents and purposes, untrammelled licence to wreak their evil acts. Our institutions, our forces of law and order, our judiciary, our elected opposition go through the motions. Our ‘free’ media is about as useful as a pork butcher in old Karachi. Our journalists are amazingly adept at keeping just onside of that invisible line which if crossed will ensure that another will get a late nice visit at best, or an invitation to seek exile, or worse. This Sri Lanka government will be happy to warn the people, ad nauseam, about the forever evil of the resurgence of the LTTE, and, the hilariously popular fallback, the return of the colonial master/the ‘foreign conspiracy’. And, in the towns and villages where the core voters eke out their desperate lives in the face of another surge in the rising cost of living, the poor people give thanks for the great liberator who repeatedly promises to protect them, our language, and our religion. In this miracle of the east, it is plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. My mate in the liquor store queue in Angunukolapelessa will have none of these fancy foreign phrases; he just tells me “No sir, don’t waste time, just say that we are fucked as a nation” and, you know what, I couldn’t bring myself to disagree with that noble son of the soil. You good people take comfort in the sliver of the Ramazan moon – the same moon that in its fullness shines so special for all our faithful Buddhists.

  • 2
    0

    As long as Sinhala Budhism exists there will never be a regime change.

    Rajapakses will not even condemn the violence but blame the Muslims responsible for the massacre.

    While Gnanassara enjoys his evening kasippu in the company of fellow monks the Waterake Thera who argued for peace is in police custody. DIG Senanayake is rewarded by another extension for his excellent handling of the incident.

    If you have a way of educating and helping the Moda Sinhalaya to see reality then you can expect a regime chase.

    If not Rajapakses will be the rulers for ever.

  • 2
    0

    By the track-record to-date the Rajapakse Family regime is there to stay.
    They have all the nessary ingredients to go on for a decade at least.
    Even the UN Inquiry abroad will be twisted to keep them in their seats
    in the short-term and a possible “sanctions” too will not bend these
    rascals a bit. Can modayas be cured when medicine is not given and all
    such modayas including the sinhala intelligentsia are not bothered, who
    form the foundation of MR-Democracy. He gleefully knows it!

  • 0
    0

    Dont conpare indians to Sri lankans.

  • 0
    0

    49 mosques have been destroyed in Iraq yesterday alone.

    Why no one is concerned?

    Why always blame non-Muslims. We should first blame ourselves before we Muslims kill us to extinction. Most Muslim countries in the world are in a deep mess.

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