Amidst much snigger raised from the massive political farce taking place in the country today, there is an even more cause for worry and rising fear on the very future of our society.
The politicians, those in government and opposition, are certainly having a great time, calculating the votes they will gain from the increasing divisions in the electorate. The partitioning on ethnicity and religion are vastly spreading, giving increased opportunities for the success of divisive politics.
Sri Lanka is rapidly moving away from a united nation to a country divided on race and religion, caste and creed, faith and belief – and away from the search for truth and justice.
The religion of the vast majority, Buddhism, has gained the descriptive Sinhala adjective, rapidly and decidedly moving away from the teachings of Gauthama Buddha, who gave us the philosophy of Buddha Dharma and not a Buddhist Religion.
The socio-political situation rising in the post – Easter Sunday tragedy of Jihadist Terrorism, brings a reminder of the bloody reality of our post-colonial history. Do we realize that in the seven decades since independence, we have had massive situations of bloodshed on issues of ethnicity, religion, and equality? The vast bloodshed and its divisive consequences have taken place almost every decade.
Just a decade after freedom, we had the first ethno-bloodshed in 1958 directed at the Tamil minority. A little beyond a decade, in 1971 came the first JVP revolt on socio-economic and equality, a bloodshed killing thousands. The UNP’s victory in 1977 saw another bout of anti-Tamil violence. In 1983 saw the next phase of anti-Tamil ethno-bloodshed that paved the way for the Tamil separatist bloodshed, which went on for three decades. Amidst this was the second revolt of the JVP in 1987-89 with more massive bloodshed. Is this any definition of a Paradise Isle, which was the earlier poetic description of Ceylon? Are we not a truly bloody country, where each decade of freedom is stained with the blood of humans?
With all that bloodshed behind us, are there any signs of moving to the progress of peace and understanding, or even today’s much bandied word – reconciliation? None at all!
In the peace obtained with the defeat of the terrorist forces of the LTTE, we have deliberately abandoned serious efforts at peace building, accountability, understanding and reconciliation. Tainting any search for genuine peace, against bloodshed, have been the anti-Muslim riots in Aluthgama and Beruwala in 2014, the later attacks on Muslims in Digana and others areas of Kandy, as well as rival Muslim attacks in Kattankudy, the attacks on Buddhist temples by Muslims at Mawanella; and the recent Easter Sunday tragedy of Jihandist terrorism in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa- targeting Christians and the Tourism Industry.
In the post-Fast to Death action by MP Athureliya Rathana Thera, and the consequential resignation of all Muslim Ministers of Cabinet, State and Deputy Rank, and two Muslim Governors of Provinces, the country remains in trepidation over the strongly expectant reality of bloodshed in ethnic clashes. The Muslim community, largely engaged in business and commerce, is facing both open and hidden boycotts, and threats arising from unconfirmed and non-investigated allegations on surgical attacks on the fertility of Sinhala women. The faster any such proper investigations are done with scientific accuracy and honesty, and not by the yellow robed fraternity of ethno-religious enmity, will help reduce social tensions that prevail.
The evidence given before the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on the background to the Easter Sunday Tragedy is certainly revealing much more than what those in governing authority would like to be known by the people. Such knowledge is no threat to the security (that was not carried out before Easter Sunday), as made out by the President and those supportive of such secrecy in the Opposition. Former Governor of the Eastern Province, Mr. Hisbullah says he (like other Muslim candidates in the last elections) was glad to obtain the support the National Thowheed Jamath’s leader, who planned and participated in the Easter Sunday attacks, because he was “not a terrorist” in 2013,and what he preached was only another thinking of Islam. Did this long time politician, so involved in Wahabism and Saudi funding, not know that Jihadism did preach violence and terror, as against Islam and the Holy Quran? He also says this NSJ leader supported President Sirisena, while he (Hisbullah) supported Mahinda Rajapaksa. What a convoluted world of politics we are moving into.
The other resigned Western Province Governor Mr. Sally, says – (with documents, too) that he had given information about the NSJ, its leader and leading members, to the Police, the IGP, the Secretary Defence, and to the President himself, over and through several years, and very close to the Easter Sunday attack, too. But nothing was by anyone. This is an appalling revelation. No wonder those in high places don’t like the PSC.
Bloody Sri Lanka is now caught in a crisis of non-governance. The President who is head of the Cabinet – does not attend Cabinet meetings, He is against the PSC – despite the Supremacy of Parliament, derived from the Supremacy of the People. The rivalry and clashes between the President and Prime Minister, are now rapidly threatening the very core of governance and the rights of the people. Politicians who wallow in the chaos of crooked governance must be delighted at how these divisions will help their vote bases in future polls.
This land of repeated bloodsheds, that has never had a decade of peace since independence, is hugely threatened by the purveyors of divisive politics, with no leader with a commitment to peace and justice anywhere it sight or sound.
How long can this remain the bloody, divided land it is today; without the blessing of Buddhist Teachings for peace, not soiled by today’s taint of Sinhala Buddhism?