by Sanjana Hattotuwa
“Why isn’t anything going on in the senate?
Why are the senators sitting there without legislating?
Because the barbarians are coming today.
What’s the point of senators making laws now?
Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating”
– Waiting for the Barbarians, C P Cavafy
To condone the stoning of Muslims. To boycott their shops and businesses. To say that eating from Muslim shops poisons Sinhala Buddhists and makes them sterile. To say that a Muslim doctor had destroyed thousands of Sinhalese children. To say that the Rule of Law doesn’t work. This is no longer the domain of fringe lunacy, or a renegade monk. Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thero is the Mahanayake Thera of the Asgiriya Chapter. He said all this and in public. To my mind, this is by order of magnitude worse than and indeed, going by statements made after Rathana Thero’s farcical fast, entirely counter to more conciliatory sentiments expressed by Gnanasara Thero, who isn’t known for his pacifism or love towards Muslims. Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thero’s statement – because of his seniority – take on added significance.
In 2017, the Asgiriya Prelate, following a meeting of the senior most prelates in the ‘Karaka Sangha Sabha’, condoned Gnanasara Thero’s virulent words and violent actions, despite the awful harm informed, influenced or inspired by the BBS against the Muslims for years and a campaign of vicious hate directed against Sandya Eknaligoda. After Easter Sunday, the racism of the Sri Lankan astate is in full view and indubitable. And every day brings its further entrenchment or, for the more cynical, evidence around how much and to what degree, Sinhala Buddhist majoritarianism is and will forever be what animates policies and politics.
Take for example, the President’s sentiments as reported in the media, a few days after the Asgiriya Prelate’s incitement to violence and hate. In Hanguranketha, opening – as one must– a new temple, the President noted in the presence of the Asgiriya Prelate that “the country will never head in the wrong direction if… leaders act on the advice and guidance of the Mahasangha”. That the highest political office has not a word to say against the racism and hate sown by one of the highest Prelate’s in the country comes as little surprise, given the Presidential pardon to Gnanasara Thero last month. At the time of writing, Mangala Samaraweera is the only MP to condemn the Asgiriya Prelate’s speech publicly. Samaraweera is on record question why the SLPP and factions of the SLFP are silent. This is pertinent since the Prelate noted the Sangha’s joy around the news that, apparently, Chamal Rajapaksa would be the next President, just before his homily of hate.
Continue reading ‘Why has Former SLFP and Current UNP Parliamentarian Mayantha Dissanayake Who was in the Company of the Asgiriya Mahanayake Thero Not said a Single word Against or Distanced Himself from the Prelate’s Incendiary Sermon?’ »