Hilal Suhail in Facebook
If you have invested in Sri Lanka’s tourism and hospitality industry, then it would serve you well to keep up with the international media coverage of Sri Lanka in recent weeks. The island nation’s reputation has taken a massive beating and it’s unlikely tourism will pick up any time soon. There is no point blaming the foreign media and claiming there is some conspiracy against Sri Lanka, and puff pieces promoting tourism by the Ministry of Tourism and other social media campaigns are pointless and won’t convince many outsiders to take the risk in visiting.
The international media is highlighting the terrible actions of some in the Sinhalese majority, and the violence and discrimination unleashed by Buddhist extremists for decades. The Easter bombings aren’t being solely blamed on Muslim extremists by the international media, they are focusing on the incompetent Sri Lankan police and military who failed to prevent the attacks, despite possessing intelligence beforehand to do so, and also for having caused a situation in Sri Lanka where religious and ethnic minorities are not protected.
The global media coverage of Sri Lanka in the last 90 days is shining a light on the actions of those in the ethnic majority carrying out crimes with impunity (eg attacks on Christians and Muslims), as well as illegal and wrongful arrests of Muslims.
Even months after the Easter bombings, most Sri Lankans are not asking key questions about the attacks, and are instead spreading more hate against minorities. Questions such as, ‘where did these Muslim extremists get explosives from’ are yet to be unearthed. Without explosives, they could not have carried out the devastating carnage and deeply saddening loss of life.
Sri Lanka’s business community should be lobbying the government to hold law enforcement and politicians accountable, and also push for a proper probe on the Easter Sunday attacks.
Good governance and stability won’t just fall onto your lap – work hard to achieve it and protect your freedoms and your democracy because it’s vital to your business interests and future.
If the business community is silent and doesn’t engage in political activism, then no meaningful changes will take place and their investments are at risk. But the mentality in Sri Lanka is such that good people stay out of politics, allowing criminals and thugs to take over.
TWO: COMMUNIQUE from the FEDERATION of CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS, KATTANKUDY, 25 April 2019