A REPLY TO FRIDAY FORUM ON ‘VIPATHMAGA’ etc.
When non-Buddhists and the Intellectual Buddhists who may have hardly stepped into a village temple lately, start quoting Buddha’s Teachings for polemic purposes, ordinary riffraff Buddhists become suspicious of their motives. For, if these ordinary Buddhists had taken the Buddha’s words literally, there would not have been a Buddhist Sri Lanka today. We survived for over 2500 years as a nation, because over centuries upto date we have fought with our might and main for our survival, national integrity and to perpetuate Buddhist religion which defined our national character. If we did not do that, we would have been wiped out by now and become like another Philippines or an Indonesia. The Buddhists of India may have been chanting the Buddha’s words Na’hi werena weraani” while the Moghuls razed the Nalanda University.
When the first Buddhist Theosophists like Col. Olcott, Madame Blavatsky and Leadbeater and others started their campaign here urging the Buddhists to wake up and set up the English language Buddhist school system to fight the Christian Missionaries, the then Western Educated elite of this country cautioned the Buddhists through their English newspapers not to be misled by these new ‘do gooders’. If we did ever listen to their exhortation then, imagine where we would have been today!
Now since our present day descendants of the same Western Educated elite, have quoted the Buddha, let us refer them to a little story related by a modern day Western Educated disciple of the Buddha, Ajhan Brahmavanso. Once there were two friends who were diligently meditating. After death, one friend who was born in Brahama Loka looked out to see what had become of his friend. He saw him born as a worm perched on a patch of cow dung. He immediately ejected and met his friend on the cow dung and asked him” Hey, what are you doing here in this patch of cow dung? Come with me. Let us go and continue our meditation effort. The friend said to him: No you go ahead, I am quite happy here”.
We wonder whether these intellectuals too feel comfortable in their intellectual cocoon enjoying their restored Human Rights, freedom of expression, Right to information etc. which are all very good, while wallowing in unprecedented corruption all round them, where 118 of their 225 Members of Parliament are said to be recipients of Perpetual Treasuries handouts, engaged in mis-governance called Yahapalanaya, inefficiency, indecision, inaction and blundering, depriving people of their democratic rights to elect Provencal Council Members, compromising their country’s sovereignty at Geneva, making Parliamentary System a joke, turning over strategic assets like Hambantota Port, Mattala Air Port to foreigners, planning to sign FTAs disadvantageous to the country etc. etc. to name a few. All this, while the people at large suffering with unbearable cost of living, with no proper returns to the farmers for their products, fishermen fighting for fuel relief and the like. These seem to be of no concern to them. And they scare the people of any effort by them to get out of this mess of a patch of cow dung, calling it a ”Vipathmaga”. ‘Wipathmaga’ for whom, we wnder?
They have expressed their horror at the reference to welcome of a Hitler by a monk, the idea of pining for Terrorism by Ms. Wijayakala. But they are missing their Message. These are just cries in desperation against the prevailing unbearable unsatisfactory social and economic conditions. They in their ignorance seem not to mind even some degree of authoritarianism if some order could be restored. Instead of capturing the message, they are trying to kill the messenger, despite their holy respect for freedom of expression. We wonder what Ven. Sobhitha would have done had he lived to see the outcome of his well-intentioned effort to redeem this country of corruption and so many other ills.
True enough people may think, no harm even at the cost of a little authoritarianism, if we could be rid of the present monstrosity. But that is how people think. They voted for the present dispensation in 2015 and even and sacrificed their sovereignty 200 years ago in 1815 for a short term relief. Now they have realized their folly and want another remedy. That is how people are; living in eternal hope.
These intellectual types often cite Lee Quan Yew and Mohamed Mahathir as role model leaders for our country. They do not speak of the scant respect Lee Quan Yew had for Human Rights in the early years till he put his country on its feet. We believe there still are political dissenters held in Prison without trail for long periods. In both countries drug offenders are routinely hung. In Malaysia, Mahathir’s corruption in his earlier session was well known. Not that we condone it. But it is how the reality is. We would invite Friday Forum to come down to earth from their splendid isolation.
The ‘Friday Forum’ community have condemned criticism from some quarters of the local High Commissioner of Human Rights who is reported to have done a lot of good in that area. Does that mean that she is beyond criticism? Can one hold Public Office without being exposed to public criticism? Why is it that Friday Forum intellectuals do not display their tolerance of dissenting opinions?
Talking of Human Rights and freedom of speech etc. we have yet to see this lot express their appreciation of the last government’s greatest achievement in restoring of Human Rights of all people of this country by wiping out Terrorism which was tormenting people for over 30 years, which no country in the world could achieve? After all, so many poor village youth paid with their lives to ensure that people like those of the Friday Forum who pontificate on Human Rights are safe in their cocoons of comfort; so that children of Northern parents are now safe to go to school. We never heard them openly condemning Terrorism when the Terrorists were plaguing this country? Instead we heard them pleading for treating the Terrorists with kid gloves, again quoting the Buddha. They were quite happy with the CFA while the Terrorists were engaged in mass killings in the villages. Even Buddha could not stop Prince Vidudabha from slaughtering the Sakayas who were his own people. He could not stop Prince Ajathasatru from killing his father, King Bimbisara. We recall that these Friday Forum people said that we should not celebrate our victory over Terrorism brining safety to this country. They called it ‘Triumphalism’. Victory at World War II is still being celebrated with great pomp. Nobody calls it ’triumphalism’ though some German cities were razed to the ground by the victors’ relentless bombing.
Thus, when we, the Noviyath Hudee Janas are told that we are on a ”vipath maga”, we know that we are on the right track. SATURDAY FORUM
Sugath Samarasinghe 161 Viewers