Sinhale Buddhists – Your Nation Needs You more than ever

You are the majority in our Island. History is witness to your status as majority. History is also witness to how you came forward to defend your soil & protect fellow citizens as the majority should when confronted by invaders from South India and the 3 Christian European countries. History stands witness to the many ways in which you have been divided & kept divided – some of you are even proud to be divided. History is also sadly witness to how your own betrayed for titles & perks and tragically the same is repeating again.

When the island needed to be defended – there were no PR firms or modern day communication channels that beckoned people to come forward to serve the nation. People knew their duty & they did what they knew was the right thing to do. To serve the nation there was no salary and it came with no strings. No one compromised. The nation came first. For Sinhale Buddhists the nation & its alignment with the Buddha’s teachings was a sine quo non – both could not exist without the other. This is what is being now targeted for annihilation & that is exactly why we need to rally in defence of it.

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Sinhale denoted essentially the civilization of the Sinhale Buddhists together with others who were living with them. Plugging new nomenclatures as ethnic, races, religion began only after the Europeans invaded & left a legacy of new terms which could keep people ever divided.

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In the island of Sinhale, before these Europeans arrived the people were not divided by race, religion was never a problem & they were all citizens of Sinhale – the royal governance followed the dasa raja dhamma, the people followed the concepts of Buddhism while there has been no instances of Hindus & Islam logging any qualms of complaint.

People knew their limits, they knew to respect the other’s space & any incursions were dealt with punishments that were equal to all & known by all. There was certainly better law & order than what exists today!

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All that simple living that prevailed across majority of the ancient civilizations changed as a result of the sword & military might by groups that sought to terrorize people & take over their territory & expand their turf. People were forced to replace their hearts & minds with things foreign, they were taught to live & adjust to new cultures, they were presented a totally cosmetic notion of the pastoral life they had been living. Thus, a society that was divided, segregated, separated came into being.

You were also divided. A new socio-religious group came into existence – the Sinhale Christians/Catholics. Unfortunately, many of them have become pawns in the greater game of politics. They religious hierarchy decides which leaders they ought to bring to power. Some are wiser, well-read & they know they have to put country first. Now, more than ever, we need many more of them to come forward to defend the nation.

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With time our people were made to forget the great men that built our ancient marvels – the world’s only man-made irrigation systems, the magnificent dagobas, chaityas, Buddha statues – we even built ships on foreign orders. Today we cannot even manufacture a toy ship! There were no architects, there were no engineers, there were no heavy machinery or quality or even quantity surveyors. These marvels stand erect & epitomizes everything we should be proud of. But are we proud? Have we forgotten? Can we forget? There is no future or present without the past. Are there programs in place for us to forget? Can we forget all that our forefathers toiled to achieve? Should we allow our education syllabus to omit this all important past simply because to some it is not fashionable enough or some other foreign cultures are deemed more fashionable?

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Is it more fashionable to memorize the achievements of nations with blood soaked hands? The very countries that are bombing the world are the very countries that stole nations & territories, committed genocide of man & animal, disenfranchised people who had been living on lands for centuries & these are the people dictating & writing human rights laws & how international laws should be adjudicated!

That is a question for you to ask your heart & mind. You can copy any other tradition, values, cultures but your roots as a Sinhalese are found in this soil, in these marvels created by our ancient forefathers & mothers. The soil that has shed blood and sacrifice to safeguard it from foreign invaders. These roots cannot be easily broken. Those who deem it a pride to copy & follow other cultures & values, all that we ask is, do not demean the heritage Sinhale culture & its people. Go your own ways peacefully.

Every person who says ‘I hate being Sinhalese’ ‘I hate being a Buddhist’ exactly what have these people as Sinhalese done to even be associated as a Sinhalese. What have they done as a Buddhist to find fault with Buddhism? Their statements only make the world laugh at them and we must pity them.

Of course, we must learn to respect other cultures, other traditions but we don’t need to replace ours with theirs or have theirs replaced with ours.

Respect comes in understanding that there is no reconciliation without reciprocity. You cannot take or demand what you are not prepared to give or forsake. Such a simple thought but people today make demands only. What have they given in return. They ridicule our nation, they have countless lists of its faults – but what have they contributed to make the nation a better place? Our actions decide the state of a nation. Our inputs turn a nation to greatness. If our nation is on the decline it depicts the weaknesses of our own inputs. We need to uplift ourselves to turn Sinhale once more into a great nation.

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As we look around the world, what is the happiness we see. All but 11 countries in the world do not have some sort of conflict. What 8 people own is equivalent to the combined wealth of 3.2billion people. There are millions of people who are hungry, who do not have a roof over their heads, who earn just $1 a day, who have no access to water, who cannot read or write & these figures are not relevant to only the third world but to first world developed countries too. So where or who has developed? Is this the formula we want to continue?

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We suffered for over 400 years under colonial rule – are we to suffer another 400 years of neocolonial rule?

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Why must Sinhalese defend our nation?

In 1815 our own handed over our island to our enemy. That sealed our fate for 133 years. We are in our 70thyear of independence and the signs we see are no good. Handing over land ownership to foreigners, allowing them zones that treat citizens as trespassers, signing detrimental agreements without exit clauses and overlooking the national security aspects in such agreements are all signs that our island is seeing the same betrayals as that which happened in 1815.

Our people were showered with goodies in return for handing over an entire island and the same is happening now probably the same treacherous DNA bloodline continues. If that be so, the DNA of those that defended the nation must still be in those that must now come forward to defend the nation, to inspire others to do the same.

Sinhale Buddhists remember & never forget – We have nowhere else to go to. No other nation will welcome us.

We evolved on this island. We have a distinct language, distinct culture, values & an unbroken Buddhist heritage. We must protect, defend & preserve that.

People who say they live in fear here have not seen how people are tased, how people are pepper sprayed, how people are even anus searched in other countries simply if a police claims he is suspicious of a person. The incidents taking place in the West are really shocking & it should make any to value our island as a real paradise.

No country is perfect. No people are perfect. We are all humans with shortcomings. We may have different colour skins, follow different religions, customs, traditions & cultures but we all die one day & death makes no differentiation whether a person is rich or poor, comes from the First World or Third World, is educated or not.

We all, have a duty – we have a duty to first be good people, lead lives of integrity, follow a virtuous path, look after our elders our children & home, respect others & be good citizens. All that cannot prevail if we do not have a safe country to call our own & for that we must together protect the land of our birth the land that has roots to our heritage & the land that our history evolved from.

Come forward – protect & defend all that you grew up in because you need to keep our nation in tact so that your child can pass it down to his/her children and they need to pass it down to theirs too.

Imagine One Nation for Our children. That is Our future.

When the enemy comes to your doorstep – what do you do?

Runaway or Defend your Nation?

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Shenali D Waduge

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