By- Sharmini Serasinghe
The leader of a nation is like a parent to one’s children. The children emulate the examples set by the parent, for better or for worse. The morally upright parent sets morally upright examples and standards and ensures the children abide by them.
What happens when the leader/parent is immoral, unethical and unprincipled? Obviously, the children/citizens, especially the young and impressionable will naturally follow the examples set by the leader/parent. And they too become immoral, unethical and unprincipled, just like their leader/parent.
This unfortunately is what has happened to an entire generation of the Sinhalese Buddhists of this country, including the academically qualified and some amongst the senior generations, as well as the Buddhist clergy, during and after the decade Mahinda Rajapaksa was the Parent of our Nation. An entire generation and more of Sinhalese Buddhists fell victim to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s self- serving political machinations and thus, on the path to self-destruct.
How did Mahinda Rajapaksa set about doing this?
He did it with his endearing but questionable charm, oratorical and acting skills and his folksy appeal, to brainwash the impressionable young minds and quit a few of the unenlightened gullible seniors with, “I won the War” mantra. The brainwashing was so intense and cunning, his victims never realised and still don’t, what was done to them.
Since then, it has not yet dawned on them and may never will as to WHO exactly won the war against the LTTE in 2009. It is obvious to the rest of us that it was the Tri-Forces of our country and those amongst them who gave their life and limb for our motherland who are the true victors of the war and NOT Mahinda Rajapaksa.
So, what exactly was Mahinda Rajapaksa’s role in this victory? He simply granted carte blanche to the Tri-Forces to end the war. Like ancient Kings of yore did he lead his armies to war? NO he did not! Was he even in the country when the war concluded? NO, he was not!
So, how exactly and what moral right has Mahinda Rajapaksa got, to claim to be the sole victor of the war against the LTTE? How must those comrades of the fallen heroes of the tri-forces who saw their own killed and wounded in battle feel, when all the glory of the war victory has been hijacked by a single individual, who never set foot on the battlefield- Mahinda Rajapaksa? Will his brainwashed victims amongst the Sinhalese Buddhists ever realise this?
Thanks to Mahinda Rajapaksa, the moral degradation amongst an entire brainwashed generation of Sinhalese Buddhists including the Buddhist clergy has become a cancer in our society, the virulency of which is extremely evident especially on the streets and on social media today. This scourge will be immensely challenging to eradicate in a democracy, and I dread to think what extreme measures might have to be enforced to stop this virulent societal cancer from spreading.
These young victims of Rajapaksa’s racist and immoral ideology – the future generation of our country – with an all too visible lack of morality and integrity, will undoubtedly end up as utter misfits and frustrated failures in society, if not stopped in their tracks right now. This will not only be for their own good, but for the future of our country as well. Though some are armed with academic qualifications, this alone does not make a well-rounded educated person, given the quality of our education system today. And these facts, this particular generation is not aware of, as there is no one to teach them ethics in an ethically bankrupt society.
Together with the Rajapaksas, the blame for this must also be laid fairly and squarely at the feet of the Buddhist clergy- Mahanayakes down. In all honesty, what moral purpose do they serve society today?
How many amongst our Buddhist clergy today regards a monk’s primary role as one to teach the Buddhist philosophy- the Dhamma to the laity? How many amongst our Buddhist clergy today live an exemplary life to guide the laity? How many amongst our Buddhist clergy today live an austere life focused on the Dhamma, meditation and the observance of good moral character?
Unfortunately, they are few and far between. The rest simply masquerade as Buddhist monks contributing their might through the saffron robe, to propagate the Rajapaksa Sinhala-Buddhist racist ideology. And as long as the Mahanayakes of their respective chapters look the other way, they too can be deemed as being complicit in the treachery and ultimate downfall and extinction of the Sinhalese Buddhists of Sri Lanka.
Mahinda Rajapaksa, ably supported by the Buddhist clergy has set the course for the Sinhalese Buddhists of Sri Lanka to self-destruct!