From Waleel Aly to Greg Sheridan and Brendan O’Neill the foreign writers who have ventured to comment on the recent Islamic jihadist attacks in Sri Lanka have invariably considered the category “Muslim” to be a religious identity. This is not completely erroneous. But this reading obscures the fact that the term is also an ethnic concept when placed in juxtaposition with the terms Sinhalese (Sinhala) and Tamils. Within the island one must attend carefully to the context of usage. Not surprisingly, these foreign reporters are unaware of these nuances.
A Moor gentleman -as depicted in Wright’s Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon 1905
Those whom we refer today in Sri Lankan English as “Muslim” were described till about the 1930s as “Mohammedan” and/or “Moor.” The term “Moors’’ was a racial category rendering them different from the term “Malay” – so that the Malays were a separate category under “RACE” in the 1921 census and counted as distinct from the Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors, Europeans, Burghers & Eurasians, Veddas and “Others.” This differentiation is enshrined in the Sinhala speech insofar as Malays are identified as ja, javun or javo; while the Moors are described as yon or marakkala or thambiyo.
Filed under communal relations, disparagement, ethnicity, heritage, landscape wondrous, life stories, Muslims in Lanka, politIcal discourse, riots and pogroms, sri lankan society, unusual people, world events & processes
A friend in Sri Lanka who sent me this reference and I myself were misled in thinking this protest occurred this April 2019. But Arun Dias Bandaranaike directed me towards a reconsideration and I believe now that this was action that occurred after the anti Muslim riots and attacks carried out by Sinhalese after an incident at DIGANA in Sri Lanka in March 2018. Hence the targeting of Sinhala Buddhists and the Sri Lankan government intheir slogans and battle cries.
That said, note the (1) fervency of protest and the total commitment; (2) the outrageous exaggerations — such as “genocide.” In my reading this body of Muslims probably includes several who would be willing to take the jihadist path of suicidal attack in a cause deemed a service to the Muslim people of this world.
THE BATTLE CRIES & SLOGANS on PLACARDS
* Muslims stand up …. Muslims speak up
* Muslim Nation is one Nation
* We see the true colours of Buddhism.
* Sri Lankan govt is the enemy of the Muslim Nation
* Stop the Genocide
- …. we see the true colours of Buddh
A NOTE from Jane Russell in London, 4 May 2019
Noted…again, this is how communalism is transmitted via fake rumour and hyped gossip. And now by using trick photos/videos…it is becoming more and more difficult to become a trustworthy historian when archives and evidence are so contaminated!,
Sanjana Hattotuwa, in Sunday Island, 28 April 2019, where the title is “It doesn’t make sense”
-Naren Hattotuwa – Easter Sunday.” … with highlighting emphasis being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi
A Scene from Christchurch … and Sri Lanka
On Monday, my 12-year-old son learnt his classmate had passed away at the Intensive Care Unit, a victim of one of the blasts in Colombo. My son’s mother and I grew up in the long shadow of the Black July anti-Tamil pogrom and the UNP-JVP violence in the late 80s. For many in our generation and older, there is a normalization of violence. This is often confused with getting used to or accepting violence.
After the Christchurch massacre in March, many Kiwis trying to get to grips with the scale of the violence unthinkingly said that since I came from Sri Lanka, I was far more used to dealing with terrorism. I suppose that’s in a way true. Mundane things done every day have their own logic and reason that no one from outside cycles of violence would understand. In Kabul, a city where so much is wrong and getting worse, I feel completely at home amidst the detours, convoys, checkpoints, occasional explosion, news of imminent attacks and sporadic gunfire – or the sound of an engine back-firing shrugged off as gunfire, obviously the lesser evil there. The assumption that the more time one spends with it, the greater the ease in dealing with terrorism is, however, untrue. Continue reading
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