29 September, 2020

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Winning The Pandemic & Losing What Is ‘Endemic’ – Truly Sad!

By Mass L. Usuf

Mass Usuf

“Having COVID-19 is not anybody’s fault. Every case is a victim.” ~ WHO Emergency Programme Director Mike Ryan.

One is non-human and has no face. Not vicious nor vengeful. Behaves naturally and without prejudice. Not visible to the naked eye. The other is human and has a face.  Vicious and vengeful. Behaves irrationally and with prejudice. Clearly visible. One is the corona virus which is a pandemic globally and, the other is, racism which is endemic locally.

With regard to an India specific question on 6th April 2020 regarding racial profiling, little wonder that WHO responded as follows. “Having COVID-19 is not anybody’s fault. Every case is a victim. It is very important that we do not profile the cases on the basis of racial, religious and ethnic lines.” The Sri Lankan media must learn from this.

Face Cover Comedy

Remember the dramatics about the burqa last year post 21/4 bombings. The former President and the then government were the enactors of that farcical drama. They hastily gazetted the ban on Burqa, an attire which had no connection or relevance to the 21/4 bombings. The opposition parties sheepishly tagged along with the irrational popular sentiment of that time neglecting their responsibility to uphold the civil liberties of the citizens. The mainstream media and the social media were quick to pick on it and like the corona virus made it a contagion which infected the minds of many people. (See: Burqa, Nikab Or Hijab – Dangers Of Hasty Law Making, Colombo Telegraph 09/05/2020).

Funnily, today, everyone including the street urchin who acted violently against the Muslim woman for wearing the Burqa/Niqab are themselves wearing the face cover (mask). The idiomatic expression, ‘eating one’s word’ is appropriate here. This comment is obiter.

The point to note is not the action of those who were against burqa/niqab wearing the face mask now but, importantly, the fall out of their unjust, hostile and bigoted campaign against it. This had the domino effect inter alia of creating vigilantism within the society which was far from what is called civilised behaviour. The highly biased Goebbels approach of certain infamous media outlets contributed in great measure to make discriminating against and, harassment of, Muslim women the new ‘normal’.  

Before long notices with the picture of burqa/niqab were ubiquitous. Banning the wearer from entering various premises. Taking this hostility to the next level were the spontaneous vigilante groups. They did take the law into their hands and harassed the innocent Muslim women in public. Muslim women who were not wearing these dresses but the normal shalwar were being harassed as well. There were also several reports of physical handling of Muslim women by men at various places. The extent of intimidation, threat and insult thrown at innocent women were absolutely unprecedented in the history of this country. Evidently, this was not by accident but by clear design. (See: Burqa Signifies Freedom To Wear & Not Islam, Colombo Telegraph 23.02.2020).  

Brave and Courageous 

Today, this country is having its fair share of the challenge of facing the global pandemic. The government, the tri-forces, police, doctors, nurses, essential services and all others are in the frontline. They are aware of the risks to their life but yet opt to be on the line of duty to save and protect the citizens of this country.  We need to remember these brave and courageous souls with gratitude. We must salute them for their selfless service.

It is common sense that the corona virus does not infect a person based on caste, race, colour or religion. Thousands of people are in their houses under lock down. Many have lost their daily livelihood, those who were employed fear of being laid off, salaries are either not being paid or paid less, the sick are unable to seek treatment, those with terminal diseases are staring at the empty space hopelessly, those who are dependent on drugs are without their medicines and the distress list continues. These are sacrifices made by the many hundreds of thousands of our citizens in the rear-guard of this engagement. We must salute them too.

Disgraceful Agenda

It is no secret that rabid racism is endemic in certain sections of our society. Very sadly, these elements opportunistically want to use this pandemic to further their disgraceful agenda of dividing the people and humiliating the Muslims. It is very clear that ‘purpose built’ social media platforms are strategically on hyperactive mode in their hate mongering campaign. In addition, what is inexplicable is the stubbornly active collaboration by some mainstream media outlets in ‘othering’ the Muslim community. Each function complementing and reinforcing the other. These media houses have consistently been accused by the larger segment of the society for sowing the seed of suspicion and discord among the communities. The public is well aware of the slanted interpretations, biased reportages, deceitful comments, pretentious honesty, ‘innocent’ ridicule and all other theatrics spewed by these shammers with that mocking smile. It seems that all the available tools for the onslaught targeting the Muslims are presently up and running.

Professor Chomsky in relation to media manipulation says that the Media uses the emotional aspect more than the rational aspect. The emotional aspect short circuits rational thinking. It finally opens the door for the implantation of ideas, fears, anxieties and compulsions.  

Ideally, it is essential that any news given in whatever form radio, print or electronic is presented with due accuracy and done so impartially. Public interest should be foremost in the minds of the news provider. The Sinhala rural population who are innocent and vulnerable would naturally believe in these types of propaganda. It is very unfortunate, that some of our mainstream and social media are saturated with consistent populist hate mongering. Through these exercises, they mould deceptive and treacherous public opinion against the target community. Professor Noam Chomsky once said, “The general population does not know what is happening, and it does not even know that it does not know”. Imagine how easy it is for these degenerative elements to misguide the innocent and peace-loving people.

Corona Vigilantism

The burqa/niqab affair is related to a dress and is not life threatening. The negligent mishandling of the burqa/niqab affair by the previous government culminated in spontaneous vigilantism.  In contrast, the corona virus is life threatening. It is incumbent on the government to take positive measures to control the racially profiled news reporting and to seriously clamp down on the spread of Covid 19 hate via the social media. The efforts of these evil minds are aimed at misleading the public to think that the Muslims are to be blamed for the corona virus or that they are deliberately spreading it.  

The potential for the disintegration of the social structure looms large if the movement of Muslim people to areas of the majority communities are restricted by vigilantism.  The same form of overt acts of discrimination, harassment and threat as elucidated above would then be seen in public.  Legitimate resistance by the Muslims would be misinterpreted by the media as unsolicited violence and/or misinformed as unwanted aggression.  All the ingredients for a racial conflagration would have then been set in place only waiting to be triggered. At a time when the country is just coming out of a disease outbreak will it be able to sustain an outbreak of racial violence?

Every civilised and democratic government is responsible to uphold and assure the internal security of the country for the welfare of all its citizens. Contextually, unless these unsocial elements in the mainstream and social media are brought under control, the State will only be sending the wrong signals to these perpetrators. They would think that the state machinery is encouraging one section of the people to act with impunity against another? Worst of all, the innocent public will be thinking that all what is being said to them through the media are nothing but the gospel truth. It is fervently hoped that the government would initiate appropriate steps to stem this growing threat to the internal security of the country.

“Until you realize how easily it is for your mind to be manipulated, you remain the puppet of someone else’s game.”  ― Evita Ochel

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Latest comments

  • 3
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    Mass L. Usuf.

    RE: Winning The Pandemic & Losing What Is ‘Endemic’ – Truly Sad!

    RE: Wuhan-China-19 virus, renamed COVID-19, Virus and Racism

    “Having COVID-19 is not anybody’s fault. Every case is a victim.” ~ WHO Emergency Programme Director Mike Ryan.

    “With regard to an India specific question on 6th April 2020 regarding racial profiling, little wonder that WHO responded as follows. “Having COVID-19 is not anybody’s fault. Every case is a victim. It is very important that we do not profile the cases on the basis of racial, religious and ethnic lines.” The Sri Lankan media must learn from this.”

    So the Hindu- Indians instead of blaming the Chinese, are blaming the Muslims.

    So the Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhists” instead of blaming the Chinese, are blaming the Muslims, as shown by the microphone that was on.

    What happened to mall that Pirith ordered by the saffron clad monks, to contain the virus? The virus called the monks BLUFF, and the monks are STUMPED. Are the imbeciles, still prostrating to the monks?

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      Prostrating to monk or any elders by the young ones are taught by them today than few decades ago in the country. This has been clearly shown in rural areas than urban areas. This culture is grown TODAY in the country than few decades ago.
      :
      In the same time, going after astro and witchery is also more today than inthe past. I think the local media should be blamed to have introduced this culture to the people. People at large would not question twice before going to do anything. That TV anchor Chathura de Alwis and his hypocrasy was red handed a week ago, but he himself behaves as if he is the most strong buddhist whenever he performs his moderation in the TV. He is not alone. The kind of fake buddhists are plenty in TV screens today. The bend down and do whatever the fake buddhists would do in order to mislead the viewers.
      :
      I think, the media mafia in this country is multiple times worst than the drug mafia of it. Even drug traffickers such as Reno de Silva are the media owners. So how can a country/nation be clean ?

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      Countries such as Vietnam, imposed quarentining measures already as of end of January 2020.

      i THINK we are doomed not being able to control it at the beginning.
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdLs2J70wYw

      Why not SRILANKEN opposition and others questions yet today, why RAJAPPAKSHE DUO failed to implement quarantining measuring already in January ?
      .
      What they have been doing today should have been doing by BIA authorities latest as of the begining of March.
      :
      I think GOVT failed to do their best with the COVID 19 control. Instead,immediately after that FIRST infected PATIENT following her cure was displayed as an unique achievement of the govt. That was a trick that the govt applied to mislead NEW arrivals.
      :
      In the end, siutation is seen today, as if govt cut their neck by their own.
      Today people’s lively hood has fully been destroyed. As an island nation, we could control it for sure.

  • 3
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    Mr. Usuf
    You write ad nauseam about how badly Muslims are treated in Sri Lanka . Do you sincerely believe all this to be true ?

  • 3
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    Sri Lanka is a hot and humid tropical country. So no woman in a right mind wears willingly the hideous and torturous burqa niqab dress. Muslim dress makes the hair greasy, sweaty and smelly. When it comes to spreading head lice, Muslim women are the usual suspects. Always, burqa-abaya-niqab wearing Muslim women household’s Muslim men are 1slamic extremists, capable of carrying out acts of terrorism on innocent civilians at any time.
    /
    the Curana virus endemic is giving a nanoscop view into Muslim shenanigans. Apparently, Muslims who may have self-inflicted Curana in Akurana, Atalugama, Puttalama, etc are related, also they are related to Tamil Muslims in Tamilnadu. Authorities must keep an eye on their so-called “conference in Indonesia”.

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      John,
      what BS are u bubbling ? Are middle east country not hot by their sweltering temperatures. And dont they find the women wearing all various kinds of body covers ?
      I think it is up to them to decide whatever body covers they wear, with exception any kind of covers without harming the security of a country.

  • 1
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    As usual the author is dishonest. You do not talk about why many islamic countries banned full body covering what ever the name it is. Most of those countries had ISIS or JIHADI problem. If you browse and see most of the terrorist organizations are sunnis and they attack Shiites. That is something you do not talk.
    When Zaharan and gang mutilated their bodies you people do not say mutilation. but, when the govt asks you to cremate the body you say body mutilation.
    It is very dishonest and and religious Fanaticism and play at the same time both the perpetrator and eternal victim role.

    • 2
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      JD

      WHO is representative agree for creamtion and burial is approved

  • 1
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    One came from China and the other from Saudi Arabia.

    Soma

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    In one week’s time, the country of Sri Lanka will be marking one year since the deadly Muslim attacks on Christians of the country.

    Expect a flurry of articles from the Muslim writers here to divert the attention.

    The narrative of their stories will be how the Victims of the Easter attacks are the racists and how the murderers became the victims.

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      “The narrative of their stories will be how the Victims of the Easter attacks are the racists and how the murderers became the victims.”

      What a Sham.

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    Media influencing racism in our society is significant. Our education, government, media have failed horribly at forming another wonderful human who is capable of living together.
    Before all the divisions we decided to create, we are first and foremost human beings. No belief system or opinion could destroy that.
    How can we call human at some point took part in the influencing of another person to be hateful. Media works on promoting certain frames about certain issues or people contribute in pushing the public opinion towards certain agenda that serves whichever political party that the media is trying to promote.

    The danger of these framings is that they do not give an objective view of issues. Moreover, they work in a way that deceives the recipients of the information to think that they are objective and to be telling the whole truth.
    How can we call ourselves human when all we do is turn a blind eye?

  • 1
    0

    Media influencing racism in our society is significant. Our education, government, media have failed horribly at forming another wonderful human who is capable of living together.
    Before all the divisions we decided to create, we are first and foremost human beings. No belief system or opinion could destroy that.
    How can we call human at some point took part in the influencing of another person to be hateful. Media works on promoting certain frames about certain issues or people contribute in pushing the public opinion towards certain agenda that serves whichever political party that the media is trying to promote.

    The danger of these framings is that they do not give an objective view of issues. Moreover, they work in a way that deceives the recipients of the information to think that they are objective and to be telling the whole truth.
    How can we call ourselves human when all we do is turn a blind eye?

  • 0
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    The prime minister ter of india Deepen the spirit of brotherhood in India, within all Greetings to people across India on the various forms being marked. his enlighting the gods and in US they are reading worses in white house Hope government would initiate appropriate steps to stem this growing threat.

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