By Rathindra Kuruwita
The red pill and its opposite, the blue pill, are popular cultural symbols representing the choice between embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (red pill) and the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue pill).
Last week, National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader Wimal Weerawansa drank a cup of milk and gave up his hunger strike, if you can call that a hunger strike because the man was on saline from day two. And I can’t say that a lot of people were surprised, or cared about his ‘hunger strike’ at all, which is a good thing because it shows that most of those who voted for Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2015 have been red-pilled.
Plenty of Dinos here
But unfortunately, despite his growing irrelevance, Weerawansa and his associates are seen by many as leaders of Sinhala nationalism. Sad, very sad, as Donald Trump would say, because in another country, for example in the US, Wimal Weerawansa would be called a cuck by a nationalist like Richard Spenser. And in the case of Wimal Weerawansa, he is a cuck in more than one sense. Nevertheless the Sinhala nationalist movement, or what passes for one in Sri Lanka, is starry eyed about dinosaurs like Weerawansa, and then they wonder why more people don’t join the cause.
People like Weerawansa and his boss Mahinda Rajapaksa represent an era of ethnic nationalism. An era where people of IQ below 100 led ethnic nationalist movements and made themselves very rich just by stoking insecurities of majority communities, dear god almost all majorities of the world are such fragile creatures, and bad mouthing minorities. But that era is over and sensible people across the world have realized that and that realization has led to today’s identitarian movement, which is more about empowering your own community instead of attempting to bring more industrious minorities down. It’s more about trying to do tangible things to your community than the occasional pogrom, that just brings everyone down; remember Aluthgama?
Pro markets – anti poor
One of the questions I repeatedly ask Mahinda Rajapaksa supporters, and there aren’t many as most people assume there are, is what tangible thing has he done for the Sinhalese people. And usually the best answer they can give me is ‘he kept the minorities in place,’ which kind of shows how low IQ these people are. One, ‘that is not a tangible thing.’ Two, what he did was he supressed poor Tamils and Muslims, drove them out of where they lived (from commercial property in Colombo or areas earmarked for tourism) just like he killed Rathupaswala protestors (Sinhalese) who demanded water, just like he shot at protesting garment factory workers or fishermen (also Sinhalese.) So while the poor people got all his ire, rich people from all ethnicities benefitted greatly, under Mahinda.
Others around him, pretending to be saviours of the Sinhala people, are no better. Weerawansa was the Minister of Construction and Housing from 2010 to 2015. An excellent ministry if he actually wanted to help the Sinhalese. So how many new houses did he build for the poor Sinhalese? None, well he did built a lot of houses for his family and relatives, and they are Sinhalese, so technically he did build some houses for the Sinhalese. Today he is languishing in jail not because he did some great service for the Sinhalese; the dude isn’t even in jail for taking part in communal rioting, but because he misused 40 State vehicles.
It’s still 2001
Sometime back I wrote about the sad state of Sinhala nationalism. In a world in which Richard Spencer and the alt-right memed a President into power, Narendra Modi and his BJP won big in 2014 and the identitarian movement in Europe has propelled a number of ‘fringe’ parties into positions of power, Sinhala nationalism is stuck ideologically and without a proper leader.
Political actors ultimately need idea (wo)men who can generate ideas and codify them. It’s easy to laugh at the nerds theorizing weird stuff but without these idea (wo)men a political movement can’t accomplish anything. And it’s clear that the Sinhala nationalist movement doesn’t attract idea (wo)men. It doesn’t attract the best people. You just have to meet them and you recognize very quickly that they are not the brightest things under the sun; often these are people who repeat a set of bullet points. You will see most of them bad mouthing minorities on Facebook. It does not attract intellectuals, it’s not exciting, it’s not dynamic, and it’s not evolving, just like Wimal Weerawansa or Udaya Gammanpila.
The Sinhala nationalist movement has not seen any intellectual progression for 15 years at least, not that there was much to start with, and that is why you see the Jathika Hela Urumaya repeating what they were saying in 2002 and Champika Ranawaka and Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe are trying to become technocratic anti-corruption crusaders. Really? Anti-corruption? That’s all you can come with? Anti-corruption is for Anna Hazare or Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe. Technocracy is for 20-year-old dweebs and accountants. With dinosaurs like Rajapaksa and Weerawansa and Ranawaka, the future is bleak for Sinhala nationalism.
But if you are a Sinhala nationalist there is a silver lining. The defeat of Rajapaksa and the poor electoral performance of Patali Champika Ranawaka is a sign that the Sinhalese have been red-pilled about ‘Sinhala nationalist leaders,’ which hints that, there is space for a new beginning.