Category Archives: political demonstrations

Secular Bulwarks against Religious Fanaticism — Our Urgent Need

Tisaranee Gunasekara, whose choice of title has been “Secularism or Faith” — in an article which appeared in Groundviews as well as Sri Lanka Guardian

“And even here

Lies the other shore

Waiting to be reached.”

Tagore (My Reminiscences)

The blue, red, yellow, orange and white lights are on, as are the makeshift stalls selling lanterns. Yet few pause to see, haggle, buy. Vesak, so near chronologically, had never seemed so far away spiritually. After the Easter Sunday Massacre, fears were raised about Vesak too being turned into a bloody spectacle by the IS, working through its local adherents. As it turned out, neither the IS nor its local adherents were necessary to turn Vesak into a season of violence. The Sinhalese managed the task on their own.

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Political Intolerance on the Rise. Fostered by Social Media

Chris Kenny, in The Australian, 8 May 2019, where the title runs “Egg attack on Morrison hints at rotten state of public debate”

The Albury egging was so pathetic it didn’t even crack the egg. But there would have been milliseconds of sharp concern and shambolic reactions, with one woman knocked to the ground, that ruined what otherwise would have been a terrific event for the Country Women’s Association. And while they will be outwardly phlegmatic, Scott Morrison, his staff and the Australian Federal Police close personal protection officers will be — pardon the pun — walking on eggshells for a while.

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Ultimate Loyalties: Sri Lankan Muslims in Lanka but beyond the Nation

Rajeewa Jayaweera in a Comment that responds toa QUERY from Michael O’Leary addressed to Ameer Ali

Michael, If one contributes to the absurd theory, [that] only those who returned from Saudi Arabia make up the radicalized elements in the Muslim community in SL; there is no sensible and meaningful answer to O” Leary’s question.

If however, one can look beyond the theory of “Peace-loving Muslim Community,” it would be easier to understand. Those who went to Saudi Arabia were mostly from the impoverished segment of Muslim society. They worked as housemaids, laborers, etc. and had nil to minimal educational qualifications. Many returned radicalized in a manner of speaking. Women who covered their heads when they left returned covering their faces. Those who did not adhere strictly to praying five times a day earlier would not dream of missing a single prayer session after their return. Watching movies, even musicals became taboo after their return. Continue reading

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How Extremisms have fed off Each Other in Sri Lanka, 1950s-to-2019 …. and still proceeding

Ameer  Ali, in Colombo Telegraph, 6 May 2019 where the title runs “Anatomy Of An Islamist Infamy – II”

It takes two hands to clap and make a noise, and what a deadly noise did Sri Lankans hear during that fatal Easter Sunday? In the first part of this analysis the Muslim leadership hand was identified and discussed. This second part looks at the hand of governments that governed this country since independence and how they laid the remainder of the bricks that paved the bloody road. 

Politicisation of Buddhism  

Long before Ashraf and his SLMC allowed Islamism creep into Muslim politics, Bandaranaike (SWRD) politicised Buddhism to win his electoral battle against the UNP.  His landslide victory at the 1956 General Elections to which he harnessed the support of Buddhist monks, Ayurvedic physicians and village school teachers demonstrated the political potential of Buddhism in changing governments in Sri Lanka, which even made American CIA to politicise Buddhism in South East Asia to fight against the rise of communism (Eugene Ford, Cold War Monks, 2017). While SWRD won the elections and lost his life at the hands of a Buddhist monk the Americans harnessed Buddhism and lost the fight against communism in Vietnam and Cambodia.      Sri Lankans, Let Us Arise as ONE

Sri Lanka Muslim Civil Society was organized a “Rise up for Solidarity – Humanity Beyond Religion one Nation one Country at Colombo 7 Independence Squire-04th May | Picture by Ashraff. A. Samad

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Yellow Jacket Protests in France: The Power of Social Media and Populism

Jeremy Harding, review essay in London Review of Books, March 2019, with this title “Among the Gilets Jaunes”

When they gathered at roads and roundabouts at the end of last year, the French government was caught off guard. Within a week of their first nationwide mobilisation, they were turning out regularly at intersections across the country to slow up traffic, and marching through Paris and the big provincial cities. Hasty polls announced that 70 or 80 per cent of the population, including many in France’s largest conurbations, supported this massive show of impatience. Yet the gilets jaunes first came together beyond the margins of the major cities, in rural areas and small towns with rundown services, low-wage economies and dwindling commerce. They were suspicious of the burgeoning metropolitan areas, which have done well on a diet of public funding, private investment, tourism and succulent property prices. Among them are people who grew up in city centres but can no longer afford to live in them: these barbarians know where they are when they arrive at the gates. Parading in central Paris and the new, carefully massaged hubs of French prosperity – Toulouse and Bordeaux especially – they end proceedings with a show of violence and destruction. After 15 weeks of costly protest, public sympathy in the big metropolitan areas has only recently begun to fall off. That is one of many puzzles.

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Paranoid Fears and Ethnic Supremacy: From Christchurch to Sri Lanka and Beyond

Lakshman Gunasekara, in  Horizons, 31 March 2019, with this title “Supremacism: harnessing myth,  paranoia”

…Before we deal with the fertility rates, we must deal with both the invaders within our lands and the invaders that seek to enter our lands…declares the mass murderer of Christchurch in his 80 plus page long ‘The Great Replacement’ political declaration which he had posted on the internet. Does this declaration by a deadly mass killer ring a bell to us, Sri Lankans?

Readers only need to refer back through our own post-colonial national discourses to come up with loads of this stuff. Our news media and other publishing archives and records will reveal the sheer volume of similar such statements expressed in political party rhetoric, nationalist activist arguments, and even in parliamentary debate over the decades since our island society won back its freedom from European colonialism. Continue reading

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Tamil Guardian’s Reading of UNHRC Sessions at Geneva, March 2019

Item on 28 March 2019, entitled “Alternative Avenues” … with highlighting emphasis by The Editor, Thuppahi

For almost a decade, Tamil victims have looked to the UN Human Rights Council in their pursuit of justice. However, after years of resolutions followed by an extension, alongside lack of any progress on accountability, events at Geneva this week brought another deep disappointment. A day after the Sri Lankan government expressly told the Council it had no intention of creating an accountability mechanism with foreign judges as originally promised, yet another resolution was passed giving Colombo two more years to do just that. Sri Lanka’s foreign minister was blunt. Sri Lanka will not allow an international justice mechanism. The international community can be under no more illusions. If Sri Lanka cannot deliver the justice that victims demand, then other avenues must be explored. Else, as the UN human rights chief herself warned, further violence and instability will follow.

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