By V. Kanthaiya –
First of all, I was thinking whether I should write this at all, because I was not sure whether you would like to read it. The problem is this; most of us are embarrassed to accept openly that we are racist. Let me explain. This is because you live in an area where other ethnic groups also live, and you work in a hi-fi office with wi-fi, where the toilets doesn’t have water, instead a roll of paper is kept, and you talk to your colleagues in pure English with lots of “Machang”. I tell you; you are a civilized social animal. That’s the exact reason.
Coming back to the embarrassment part, every country, if I say specifically, people in every country have something to be embarrassed with. This is a global phenomenon, not unique to Sri Lanka. For instance, a survey which I don’t have much information about, states that the young adults in western countries are embarrassed to acknowledge that they are virgin, because they believe only the losers remain virgin when they reach 18 years old. This made me think for a week and an additional two days that the world famous former adult entertainer and the present Bollywood star Sunny Leone is a loser, because recently she has publicly announced that She “is” a virgin.
At this point, you would feel that this piece of writing is really worth reading. I apologize for disappointing you. To your greatest dismay, this article is not about Sunny Leone or about virginity in general. This is about racism. I recently discovered that we Sri Lankans can’t live without racism. Why? Because racism is cool, racism is fun and it gives you the sense of intoxication, exactly like when you smoke a “joint”.
Let me elaborate on this. Have you ever thought about the scientific nature of being “doped”? There are various forms of intoxication. I take cocaine for an example. Wikipedia, the source most of the intellectuals obtain the knowledge from, states cocaine increases alertness, feelings of well-being and euphoria, energy and motor activity, feelings of competence and sexuality. Common effects also include anxiety, increased temperature, paranoia, restlessness and tooth grinding. This is exactly the same thing you would feel when you listen to Venerable Galagoda Atte gnanasara Thero’s Speech, provided you believe that the concept fed into your mind is true and accurate. The terminologies such as international conspiracy, Diaspora, Eelam, Our mother land, betrayal, and traitor are identified to the effective “dope” catalysts.
All the racial hate speeches have the same elements. You would be told that you are under attack. Your women are being harassed. Your businesses are being destroyed. Your lands are being taken; your religion is being humiliated. Your places of worship are being destroyed and the cattle (not chicken) are being massacred. Once you hear them, your body will automatically turn to defence or attack mode. You would be able to feel the adrenaline rush in your veins. You would be able to hear your own heart beat. You would feel that you are more powerful that what you think about yourself, and also feel anxiety, increased temperature, paranoia, restlessness and tooth grinding. I would like to bring to your attention that these are the same effects that cocaine gives.
I like to state my view clearly. My humble opinion is that Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) is a non-violent movement, emerged to protect both Cattle and Buddhist rights. However, the western imperialistic force (whose view is that being a virgin after you pass your teenage is an embarrassment) has depicted BBS as a Buddhist Jihad. I strongly believe that venerable Galagoda Atte gnanasara Thero’s speeches, which are rich in racial hatred purely due to coincidence and not because the Thero hates the minority communities. It gives entertainment to the masses that are fed up in their life due to its monotonous, tedious, uninteresting, unexciting, mind-numbing, mechanical, uniform and self-destroying nature. The BBS goes out and tell these devastated people that they are special, they are invincible, they are born to rule, they are above the law and they are the chosen ones to protect the cattle from being slaughtered.
This is completely acceptable from an objective point of view as motivating someone and giving a purpose to his/her life is something incredible. But there is a niche segment in the masses that gets very “high” out of the racist preaching. Once they get very “high” they forget themselves and let them on the loose. They attack the minorities, burn their businesses, burn their houses and make the entire country an utter chaos.
I have used the BBS as example. But this special intoxication is not limited to BBS or Sinhalese at all. The minorities are also privileged to experience this intoxication from the so called Tamil nationalism and the Muslim communalism. But the problem is even if they get very “high” out of their own racism; they can’t let them loose and make a mess in public, as the ruling government will always be willing to ensure the law and order in that case.
Racism is a fully fledged industry in Sri Lanka. It was first started in 1956 by SWRD Bandaranaike with the Sinhala only Act. Presently political parties are not the only stakeholders/ beneficiaries of this business. There comes the nationalist media which keep on brainwashing the masses that minorities are carrying out a conspiracy to divide the country. Another important stakeholder of this industry the so called political scientists and political commentators who portray themselves as the intellectual warriors who incessantly fight against the western imperialistic forces, especially against the UNHCR to protect the country. On the other hand, from the side of minorities, there are various media institutions which spread racial hatred in the name of demanding justice for the atrocities committed against them. It can be proved beyond doubt that there are so many people who make fabulous living out of the racism business.
Presently the President Maithripala Sirisena’s government has come to power using the concept of good governance, rule of law and harmony. The masses might have found these concepts amusing as the Rajapaksa government was using the same international conspiracy stories for ten years. My question is how long the masses will find these concepts of good governance, rule of law and religious harmony entertaining them. I would like to note about the previous Ranil wickramasinghe era of 2002- 2004 which was also based on the same concepts, especially the ethnic harmony and peace. But what happened? After two years, the masses found the so called “peace” to be boring and wanted the “kick” out of the intentional conspiracy stories. Then came comrade Wimal Weerawansa, Jathika Hela Urumaya and finally Mahinda Rajapaksa & Co. who gave unlimited supply of racism “dope”.
Under these circumstances, I doubt how long Sri Lankans will allow President Maithripala Sirisena to continue his ethnic harmony and reconciliation. Masses would again find it to be boring like what happened in 2004 and would want comrade Wimal Weerawansa and the other so called guardians of the mother land to the stage to entertain them with their international conspiracy, Diaspora and Eelam stories.
Our political activists may ask that how the western nations which have banned the racial hatred through their constitution, exist without racism. Well! The western or the developed countries eradicated racism through the public consensus and still they have racism on limited scale. And they have enough supply of real dopes and other entertainments which gives them the same adrenaline rush (which are banned in Sri Lanka as a threat to our social values).
Presently, with the winning of Maithripala Sirisena, Sri Lanka may seem to have got rid of racism. But it is only an illusion. Sri Lankans have become too addicted to its intoxication. Even if the masses find an alternative source to get the intoxication, the racism industry players such as the political parties and the media will not allow them recover. So racism is an integrated element in our politics and thus in our day to day life.
Long live Sri Lanka… Long live Sri Lankans… and Long live racism….