Racial blame-card behind the ‘anti-campaigns’ following #EasterSunday attacks in Sri Lanka
The usual culprits are doing what they do best – stir the pot of trouble. They do not help in the least except point fingers that too at only targeted groups. So the immediate narrative even before investigations commenced was that ‘Sinhala Buddhists’ were responsible. Goebbells theory continues – tell a lie repeatedly & it is believed. Nonetheless, with Easter being a Christian/Catholic event and the bombers being Muslims the mainstream media were quick to denounce the Muslims and then immediately realizing the likely outcome of that the narrative quickly changed to Sri Lanka adopting an ‘anti-Muslim’ campaign because there was opportunity there as it entails media, NGOs, UN, foreign envoys to plug their two cents and make a noise further pressurizing a feeble and clueless Government. Let’s just call a spade a spade & take these issues head on.
All Tamils are not LTTE but all LTTE were Tamils
When LTTE extremisms were visible, majority of people continued to say All LTTE are Tamils but all Tamils are not LTTE. That belief continues to this day.
Nevertheless, what is also true is that there were a small number of Tamils who disagreed with what LTTE was doing and were not only helping the armed forces as informants but preferred to live with the Sinhalese. These were however small in number. Sadly, they were hated by Tamils for doing so. No different to how defeated LTTE combatants are today treated by Tamils “you losers” not because they lost the war but because as a result of the defeat the avenues that some Tamils were making comfy lives through came to a halt. This is why many LTTE combatants were seen crying at the departure of an army official because he gave them love and compassion that their own people did not.
- How many Tamils openly opposed Jaffna University commemorating LTTE & its dead combatants?
- How many Tamils took the side of the Tamils victimized by LTTE or the Tamil families whose children were kidnapped and turned into child soldiers?
At another level, though all Tamils were not LTTE some of these Tamils found opportunity in the LTTE. LTTE’s camouflage was that they were representing Tamils against Sinhala discrimination. So many Tamils used ‘Sinhala discrimination’ to apply as asylum seekers and went to live in the West. Many of these applicants were happily living with the Sinhalese but inspite of that the desire to live in the West did not stop them from using the tag line.
Sinhalese hold no grudge against this except feel sad that they have been used and even after 30 years not many wish to openly say that July 1983 riots was a UNP govt planned riot and that the Sinhalese gave them refuge and protected them in their homes!
At another level LTTE became what it was because it had plenty of non-Tamil supporters including Sinhalese, Muslims, foreigners, NGOs even UN. LTTE ground force was defeated but LTTE network that supplied the arms, carried out the propaganda and run illegal & legal businesses remain very much alive even today. The terror arm is missing but the political and economic arm of the LTTE still thrives and is connected to a plethora of networks that connect with narcotics, human smuggling, illegal arms smuggling and contract killing on targeted people.
So while some Tamils that supported LTTE are no longer supporting the fighting unit as it is now obsolete, they continue to support the other branches as they are indirectly connected to them – their relatives may be working with them, they may be holding portfolios in these foreign fronts, they get a lucrative income from the LTTE businesses etc… so we are talking about a very powerful group of people who do not wish to completely allow LTTE Inc to be terminated because it affects their livelihoods. These are the one’s running to Geneva, pumping money to the political wing and other campaigns to keep alive the original campaign for it affords many opportunities to them in many ways. And Sinhalese are the ready-made bait for tarnishing campaigns. Anything happens to a Tamil and the conclusion is, the perpetrator is Sinhalese.
Never brought to the table are the faults of the Tamils, their scheming, their unfair demands, the validity of their claims, the hypocrisies or their lies. A good example is the manner TNA politicians have gone round the world ridiculing our Armed Forces, funding bogus stories about them, hiring con artists to write reports, setting up bogus ‘witnesses’ and using a well -funded campaign in Geneva and among the diplomatic community to demand removal of the military since 2009 and now after the Easter Attacks the same TNA MPs are now saying to not only keep the military in the North but to increase their presence. What hypocrisy and these are what we have to digest every day because the media the key outlet that is supposed to place the facts before the readers for them to decide play games too by taking sides and quite openly too and again it is always the Sinhalese that are projected as the culprits for anything & everything.
All Muslims are not Islamic terrorists but all Islamic terrorists are Muslims
An oft-spread notion among minorities is that they must keep together whatever internal differences as that is the only way to consolidate their power. This is why extremist minority leaders have a field day during elections chanting all sorts of vituperative attacks against the majority and securing the minority vote thus becoming king-makers in parliament. Again, some Muslims have come to realize that these Muslim politicians are only using Muslims to come to power and enjoy personal perks for their families and friends. But being a close community, everyone is related to the other in the major towns and cities especially as Muslims are key players in the business community.
With the power of petro-dollars a global program to create an extremist political identity vis a vis cultural identity, business, social, legal came to be spread among countries that had their guard down or countries where politicians could easily be compromised. No doubt Sri Lanka was an easy choice. Hand over money & Sinhalese politicians would look the other way. Very little attention was paid to policy, laws or principles. Tragically incrementally incursions were subtly taking place throughout the island especially in Buddhist sacred site areas where the overall counter plan was to scream ‘racism’ ‘FR violation’ ‘anti-Muslim’ and silence those that were highlighting the unfair incursions. The tactic was to make illegal demands, create a scene of objection, pay both sides to stir racial trouble, highlight the issue across media, project the Sinhalese as the guilty party & then pretending to be fair, agree to reach a compromise whereby they legally achieve something more than what they legally did not have & should not achieve. This was the modus operandi that has won them much territory in the past and the framework is likely to continue. The legality of the issue, the validity of the claim is never put on the table – Muslims are made to believe that anything the Muslims demand is fair & legal. Only a handful of Muslims come forward to disagree but they too are ridiculed by their own people.
While a few Muslims came forward to inform authorities about Muslim extremisms, many Sinhalese highlighted the exact nature of these extremisms and warned that if these were not legally dealt with we would face repercussions in the future – it was suggested that the State declare that no minority cultural laws can be considered above the country law, the authorities were asked to ban halal food labeling – a new business model simply to create two forms of taxes for a food license issued by a private Muslim organization annually based on a minority religion which was unfair by all others, Islamic/Shariah banking – why should a minority have a banking system based on their religion only, how fair was it by the others? Daily azan played throughout the day which was becoming an increasing nuisance to residents as influence of municipalities allowed illegal mosques to emerge few feet apart from each other. The mushrooming madrassas where children were stopping school to attend these, the increasing number of women wearing burka which even the ISIS banned in 2016.
All these were highlighted to show these were anti-social, not contributing to peaceful coexistence, self-segregating and fostering seeds of animosity given that these were not religious rights but new political Islam trends purposely introduced to foster animosity & division by those promoting it because they had bigger plans in mind which even the Muslims were really not aware of. Easter Day attack was a good example of the extent of extremist ideology that had brainwashed even rich & educated Muslims, some family members to become suicide bombers and kill people in the name of their religion.
Extremism that entered via petro-dollars backed by powerful preachers, politicians, businessmen was nothing that ordinary Muslims could go against – the lobby was too powerful and the mosque every Friday had the last say in how Muslims behaved. Only a handful of Muslims who preferred to live like the majority community while practicing their faith for personal development and not political advantage were the real minority fostering peace. Unfortunately, they too are cornered by their own just like the handful of Tamils going against the trend.
The manner that the suicide bombers & their networks had Rs.5000 notes and the money found across the island showed how money can silence people – rich or poor. Today, principles are overtaken by the power of money.
Again immediately after the suicide bombings, the usual culprits that flog the Tamils are discriminated song began an anti-Muslim drive as the majority of media are Christian-owned and Christian influenced (the 1964 Press Commission Report amply provides evidence for this) The same players reversed their story to single out Sinhalese as being responsible for an anti-Muslim initiative and now that is taking global stage with the usual statements asking Sri Lanka’s majority to be sensitive to minority rights.
Completely forgotten is that Islamic terrorists attacked Catholic churches no doubt but they also attacked hotels that killed 42 foreigners and non-Catholics including Muslims too. Over 250 are dead. But the paid narrative is always – Sinhalese are responsible.
Sinhala Buddhists will forever be everyone’s scapegoats – it is fashionable to always point fingers at the Sinhalese. It is unlikely that this narrative will ever change. As Sinhalese Buddhist we can only say truth will come out one fine day and justice will prevail. Lies do not last forever. If lies sustains livelihoods – so be it. Earn a living telling lies. Your conscience will know the truth!
Shenali D Waduge