the Blacklight Arrow

David Blacker’s Blog

Our Moment of Destiny

I think every generation faces its own particular challenges; but the greatest and most defining ones are those of morality and courage. That moment, if missed, condemns that generation — and often many that follow — to a world far more unpleasant and evil than we would wish it to be. For many in the free world of the late 1930s, that moment came with the invasion of Poland and the bombing of Pearl Harbour. It was a moment when my grandfather’s generation had to decide if they would simply stand on the sidelines or go out and fight someone else’s cause. Fortunately for them, the choice was easy; their respective governments took the right fork, and millions of young men — my grandfather included — went out into the deserts, the jungles, and across the seas to ensure that tyranny and racism would not shape our world. For 1960s America, the moment of destiny was in fact a place — Vietnam — and a moral choice. America made its decision, albeit a little late for millions of Vietnamese.

But when that hour of destiny arrived thirty years ago in Sri Lanka, our parents’ generation failed us. For decades, they had watched as extremist rhetoric leveled at the Tamil community gave way to physical violence. They stood by as our constitution was changed to remove any protection the minorities had a right to under law. They were silent when the nation’s leadership was silent on the racism and hatred that was all around them. They did nothing when their elected politicians in fact helped instigate the violence that climaxed in the orgy of assault, murder, rape, and destruction now known as Black July. For thirty years we have wondered how our parents could have been so docile, so shortsighted, so wrong in their choices. We have watched our country torn apart by suicide bombers and child soldiers, by tanks and artillery. We have watched a hundred thousand die, because our parents didn’t say “stop!”

Thirty years later, the clock is back at five minutes to midnight; racists are calling for violence, for this country to be only for Sinhalese Buddhists. They are calling for a tiny minority to change their lifestyles or leave; they are calling for their right to worship to be curbed. And they are threatening violence if their demands are not met. Our government is at best silent; at worst in collusion. Our police force is standing by while Muslims are attacked. There are no arrests. There is no condemnation. There is no justice.

The last time this happened, I was eleven years old; an uncomprehending child. I grew up to wonder why my father who could ride a motorcycle through a wall of fire to get me home that July, hadn’t been able to stop what was done to the Tamils and to my country. Was he scared? Didn’t he care? I ask the same questions from myself today. Why am I doing nothing as my country heads towards the flames again. I ask it of my friends — especially the Buddhists — my colleagues, my girlfriend. None of you are racists, I think. None of you believe that Muslims must be persecuted and harassed. Why are you not speaking out? Why are you not protesting? What will it take? Or is there nothing that will drive us out of our homes and on to the streets to brave the thugs and the tear gas, the water cannon and the bullets? Have we no fucking shame?

I feel ashamed right now; ashamed of my government; ashamed of my friends; ashamed of my country. More than anything, I am ashamed of myself. I have never felt this way about my country, and I never thought I would, but I feel it now. And I hate feeling this way. In the worst of the war, I told myself that it wasn’t my fault; that I hadn’t chosen this war to fight. But this is now. This is me. This is us. This is our country and our moment of destiny is here. Why are we doing nothing?

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April 2, 2013 - Posted by | government, Politics, Security, War

45 Comments »

  1. Great article! Our decisions today determine the future of this country. We have to rise against any threat to our prosperity.

    Comment by Arquib Ismail | April 2, 2013 | Reply

    • wht do you mean by our prosperity

      Comment by JK | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  2. As everyone else you see your side of the story. Ya infact thats human nature.
    Why dont you talk about muslim/tamil or anyother extremest and their actions?

    “I ask it of my friends — especially the Buddhists — my colleagues, my girlfriend. None of you are racists, I think.”
    So you marked them as racists ? they are racist just because they dont make hate speeches about Buddhist?

    “racists are calling for violence, for this country to be only for Sinhalese Buddhists.”
    Who made that statement? No one, you came up with that. so who is racist now?

    This article all about hatred towards certain group of people, ya you should ashamed of your self.

    Comment by JK | April 2, 2013 | Reply

    • I have spoken about other extremists in the past, and will continue to do so. I’m not sure how you think I have marked my friends as racists when I have clearly said that I don’t think they are. As for who is calling for violence, please hit that Google button. My piece isn’t meant to dig your head out of the sand. Only you can achieve that. I have not expressed any hatred for anyone. If you think so, please quote me instead of talking nonsense.

      Comment by David Blacker | April 2, 2013 | Reply

    • I think he was talking about this: http://colombogazette.com/2013/03/24/bbs-insists-lanka-not-multiracial/ (BBS insists Sri Lanka not muti-racial).

      The BBS openly said that there is no room for other races in Sri Lanka.

      “Anyone who is silent against racism, approves of it” – People who do not rise up against racist people when they publically propagate hate speech is a potential racist. The hate speech I am referring to is what the BBS said in the link above.

      Also they are guilty of provocative racial slander – like saying Muslims spit thrice before giving food to non-muslims which is nowhere found in any widely accepted religious text nor is actually practiced.

      Comment by Arquib Ismail | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  3. Timely clarion call David!

    Comment by haren | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  4. David, is there a way to contact you? Please drop a mail at my address if possible.

    Comment by Sach | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  5. David,

    You are spot on. We have a made a choice – a choice of indifference emerging from a stunted civic conscience.

    Comment by araliyaj | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  6. Well said mate. I will link to and share this post as much as I can.
    When you do get to it, please also enable direct sharing on FB and twitter.
    Agree with you wholeheartedly.

    Comment by Dhammika Dharmawardhane | April 2, 2013 | Reply

    • Done, and thanks.

      Comment by David Blacker | April 3, 2013 | Reply

  7. Brilliant, one of your best posts.

    Comment by Jack Point | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  8. In a society which encourages selfish individualistic lifestyles, our traditional collective ethos of acceptance and inclusion have given way to an “I’m alright Jack” mentality. So long as anything does not directly affect us, we stay indifferent to the misery visited on others.

    Another aspect is fear. Unlike in past times, people do not often come into the open and stick their necks out for fear of persecution unless the issue is central to them (ie pay increase, cost of living issues, etc). There is also fear of association. There is fear of those powerful entities who might have put their weight behind the unjust.

    People just want to mind their own business (each man for himself and god for us all) and survive in their jobs, send their kids to school, have peace in their homes without threats from outside and the like. No collective, organised groups form, for fear of betrayal by spies and double crossers. No one trusts anyone else much….

    Comment by Lasantha Pethiyagoda | April 2, 2013 | Reply

    • In every generation there are the few who are willing to risk criticism and potentially violent to stand up for their beliefs. The majority waits for social movements to gather enough momentum to be safe to join. I do not believe it has anything to do with being an individualistic society. Members of a collectivist society have a vested interest in not rocking boat, keeping other people happy, not challenging social norms or figures of authority.

      For example, Buddhist monks deserve respect based on their individual behaviour, not because they wear a yellow/ orange robe. Their clothes should not keep them above the law.

      We never had ‘a collective ethos of acceptance and inclusion’, generations upon generations of Sri Lankans have remained indifferent or refused to actively engage with the suffering of their neighbours and countrymen.

      Blacker is right, NOW is when we find out whether our generation, unlike our forefathers has balls. And heart.

      Comment by Sunshine Junkie | April 3, 2013 | Reply

  9. Maybe the reality of the budu bala is frustrating my sense of nationalism, patriotism, optimism but I’m not sure if we can blame the baby boomers. I’m not a history buff but from my errant history lessons I recall racism being around from the dark ages in SL history. So maybe we are a racist group of nobodies who will never be united. No wonder we’re stuck in the developing world. We deserve even less.

    Comment by NF | April 2, 2013 | Reply

    • Racism should have been left behind in the dark ages. I’m not suggesting that our parents created the bigotry; just that they failed to end it.

      Comment by David Blacker | April 3, 2013 | Reply

  10. Also, fear. (Perhaps)

    I despise the virulent anti-Muslim that is taking place all around us right now. But almost every day, before I leave home to go to work, my mother begs me not to ‘do anything stupid’ or ‘get into arguments’ with strangers about this, because no one really knows who is behind it (she assumes it to be our thug politicians). There is a very real fear.

    And I, out of deference for her and also out of my own cowardly fear, listen to her. I too am ashamed of myself.

    There is so much public and private violence in this country, the average Joe is scared of almost everyone. What a sad, sad state Sri Lanka is descending into.

    Very nice post, btw. I understand that the main point was racism, but I wish you had also included the tragic violence that befell scores of youth because they were, or were suspected of being, JVP. That bloodshed was also perpetuated to a great degree because of the silence of our parents generation.

    Comment by Nadia | April 3, 2013 | Reply

  11. I feel that BBS is a govt creation, protected by govt, to instigate people to violence, that way they can call for the emergency laws to be back in effect to stop any protests from the people re cost of living, rise in price, corrupt and goonish govt erc. Until the govt. steps up to eradicate the BBS organization, i will continue to believe that this is a red herring

    Comment by Concerned | April 3, 2013 | Reply

  12. Extremists have always existed in our country – as they exist in EVERY country around the world. Why is it that the Police, in the past, impartial to race, religion, creed and cast, now choose to stand back and watch as extremists riot in the streets of Sri Lanka. The Police have been intimidated and bullied to allow such atrocities to happen on their roads. Helpless, as they are undoubtedly threatened with losing their jobs, the current administration is to blame in this fracas of so called “nationalism” in Sri Lanka. It is important that people realize the REAL reason for the escalation of the current situation – the current administration is allowing this to happen and is ENCOURAGING it by tying the hands of the Police to score political points, sow discord amongst the public and distract the people from the current deteriorating economy and standard of living. This government is directly instigating this racism and our energies should be directed at THEM so that they are held accountable for the current crisis.

    Comment by Ediriweera | April 3, 2013 | Reply

  13. [...] Read more at B lacklight Arrow [...]

    Pingback by Our Moment of Destiny | April 3, 2013 | Reply

  14. It’s the “wound of the beggar” concept. This is what every selfish government (in our case all of them) wants. To increase the chaos so that they can carry on with their merrily living lives. Great article. I hope and wish, like you said that unlike our parents we will be able to contribute to stopping this non sense.

    Comment by nirandaINK | April 3, 2013 | Reply

  15. David. I completely agree with you. But I can’t do anything about it. I’m sure there are many others like me. Someone needs to provide the leadership. I will follow, because I don’t have the leadership qualities required to lead the change you speak about.

    I don’t mean to judge you. Reading your article, I feel that you too may be in the same position. Many others that have commented may be in the same position as well. Why else are we all so moved by this issue, but doing nothing?

    Please correct me if I am wrong. I may not be able to lead, but I am humble enough to acknowledge that I am wrong. :)

    Finally, I salute your courage. I am someone that is afraid to post on forums because I fear the government will track me down (one day) and treat me like they have others that have sentiments similar to mine. You should be proud that you have at least posted an article like this, with your thoughts when many others (including me) have not even done that.

    Comment by Saman Silva | April 3, 2013 | Reply

    • I agree with Saman so there is no need to say more. Blacker, you write amazingly well in plain English. Agree with you 100%. I do think though that it’s the good sense and reluctance of a post-colonial generation to die for their flippin country when there is no leader to lead it that keeps everyone in their homes. Self-preservation. I may be entirely wrong. This with a host of other factors such as the grievance between the classes and the ‘suspicion’ that pervades even personal relationships nowadays that will oppose a solidarity in SL with those under attack whoever they be.

      Comment by gaya | April 4, 2013 | Reply

  16. The article is with the right intention, But the impression it is trying to give is not 100% right. It is suggesting that the 30 years of war with LTTE was started by what sinhala thugs did to tamils in 1983. That is how I understood it from the article and if I got the wrong impression, I can’t help it because I got it from the article. It is a wrong assumption and factually wrong. LTTE started its recruitment drive and violence in 1975 nearly a decade before 1983.

    They were brain-washed by greedy tamil politicians like Amirthalingam (remember his wife wanting to wear slippers from Sinhala skin ?) and Chelvanayagam’s Federal party’s 50:50 demand. They were the real original racists. The racist division started not in 1983. 1983 was ignited by an act by LTTE anyway. Without LTTE, there was no 1983. Therefore we must blame the parents of tamil children at that time who was collecting arms against SL government and not those thugs in 1983. They were simply thugs and thieves and didn’t have any nationalistic aim in their mind.

    The way BBS is going is wrong “if” and only if they use violence. But they have the right to call for boycotts of certain products, just like USA and the clan is calling for boycotts of Sri Lanka. Listening to that call from BBS is up to the people. If the call is justified, then people will listen, otherwise BBS will be gone before you blink. The problem is BBS is finding reasons for such calls (cause and effect). If Muslims or anybody else is giving enough reasons, then BBS can start their demands. The best thing is to stop those “reasons”. One example reason is the “halal” issue. I support the demand to stop the “paid for” halal symbol on items for “everybody”. Muslims to have Halal is ok, it is not my problem. But it is wrong to force halal on me which is “not my way of life”. When I go to the market, if I cannot buy “non halal” products then it is invading on “my way of life”. So, the muslims have given a reason for BBS. I still cannot workout how a paint brush can become a halal product, yet no one wanted to talk about it which is a surprise. No one wanted to call those halal people “racists” when they wanted “everyone” to be like them without a choice.

    Regardless of all above, anybody, BBS or else, MUST be arrested and charged against any violence straight away. That is when people will realise how to correctly react to certain issues and “reasons”. My other doubt is that BBS can also be a secret plan by USA led NGOs to split Buddhists and Sinhalese among themselves. It can be a very clever and long term plan, Just like they split people in Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Syria etc, they can always “buy” thugs using their money power. There are stupids in any country, you cannot stop that. Those stupids themselves probably don’t know that they have become puppets of invisible forces.

    We need to be mush more vigilant on what is happening around us, without jumping into hurried conclusions.

    Comment by Manjula | April 4, 2013 | Reply

    • Manjula,

      First of all, you have to decide if you have an open mind, open enough to arrive at the truth based on facts, data and evidence rather than bias and hearsay.

      For example, you are correct to say that the LTTE existed before ’83, and so did Tamil nationalism. But you must also accept that this nationalism was expressed through non-violent means for decades before the rise of the LTTE. If the BBS must be condoned as long as it is non-violent, then the same standard must be applied here.

      You must further accept that there were numerous instances of mass-scale violence committed against Tamils long before the LTTE was born. And you must also accept that after the events of ’83, the two communities were torn apart as never before and the hostilities increased dramatically thereafter. To the extent that the conflict could be properly termed a ‘war’. So David is right.

      Unlike you, I don’t believe that we should accommodate all the provocations of the BBS short of violence. Hate speech is widely recognized as a threat to public harmony and order. It is dangerous enough for Lord Buddha to have admonished us against it 2500 years ago. It’s not hard to see that if Muslim organizations responded with language as virulent as that used by the BBS, a very serious situation would arise.

      With regards to Halal, it is important to ascertain the facts. What exactly do you know about Halal? If you do not understand how it might apply to a paintbrush, you probably don’t know much about it at all. Do you not think you should investigate the matter before coming to the conclusion that your lifestyle has been ‘invaded’? In this case, the Halal symbol simply assures Muslims that no components of the brush are derived from pigs. It is much the same as those little green dots that assure vegetarians that a product does not contain meat. Does this harm you in any way as a non-Muslim? Why do feel so strongly that Muslims should be deprived of that assurance and not vegetarians?

      As for the USA, again it seems evident that your pronouncements are not based on facts. The US government has never called for a boycott of Sri Lanka. As a matter of fact, most Americans probably have no clue where Sri Lanka is. The US has very little strategic interest in Sri Lanka – we have no natural resources for them to covet, we have no influence on US politics, and we are not a frontline state on their wars against terror or drugs. In any case, they already have a major military presense in the Indian Ocean at Diego Garcia, the Persian Gulf and SE Asia.

      If anything, the GoSL has benefited from this lack of interest, since it enabled the war to be fought away from the glare of the American media and public opinion. This idea that the US wants to divide Sri Lanka has simply no basis in fact or reason.

      Like I said, I offer these arguments to you in the hope that you have an open mind. You are right, we must not jump to conclusions – and that applies to yourself as well. And David is right – this is a moment of destiny. A time to act with caution and wisdom, a time to be guided by truth and principle. We have already seen the consequences of racism and ignorance in our recent past. There are no excuses now.

      Comment by rajivmw | April 4, 2013 | Reply

      • rajivmw,

        quote “For example, you are correct to say that the LTTE existed before ’83, and so did Tamil nationalism. But you must also accept that this nationalism was expressed through non-violent means for decades before the rise of the LTTE. If the BBS must be condoned as long as it is non-violent, then the same standard must be applied here.”

        Tamil nationalism should be tolerated as long as they are non-violent. That is freedom of expression. What you don’t tolerate is killing, like unprovoked killing of 13 soldiers , unprovoked killing of Alfred Doreappa etc.

        quote “You must further accept that there were numerous instances of mass-scale violence committed against Tamils long before the LTTE was born. ”

        No, I don’t accept and it is a deliberate lie from you. There were no “mass scale” violence against Tamils at all before 83. Can you provide me death figures of your so called “mass-violations” and can you compare them to Rwandan mass violence, just for my information please. Just as you try to preach to me, “…., it is important to ascertain the facts”.

        quote “What exactly do you know about Halal?”

        Bit more then you do. Halal is about discouraging muslims to kill animals in a different manner. If you have to kill and animal , you face “Mecca”, then you stand on a hot plate of steel with bare feet, and you keep a hot pot like thing on your head, so that you are burning from top to bottom before you kill an animal. That is the original Islam way of killing animals for food, basically it tells that it is impossible to kill that way, and if you do with such a pain then it is understood that you killed because it was a dying necessity. That then become halal meat. Then what happened was, entrepreneurs like you changed the original preaching to suit their comfort level, and then to suit their business models. Paint brushed are never made using pig hair. If you need to know that a paint brush is free from “pig related” anything, then next thing you want is to have bottled “halal air” for you to breath. Pigs also breath and “normal” air we breath contains such breath exhaled from Pig’s lungs, and they must not breath them unless purified and ;labelled with “halal”. If you try to ask me “what is wrong if it is free from pig products”, then it is like me asking you and the rest of the muslims “what is wrong with pigs”. Your values and my values are different and both have the same right towards them Therefore what they must do is to have their halal products while giving me a “choice”. If everything is halal then I have no choice, and my way of life is invaded.

        For your information, Americans and their clan is calling to boycott Sri Lanka, not by the ordinary Americans, but by the international community. I wonder which planet you were living during last 3-4 years. Europeans already cut off GSP+, Canadians are calling for boycott on CGOGM meeting. Luckily America is not commonwealth member, otherwise they will be leading the boycott call. Americans are already threatening that if SL does not obey the UNHCR’s recent unbinding resolution, they will take actions against us. What do you think their actions would be? Do you thing they are going to say “we are not going to play marbles with you”? But they forgot to give the same threats to their friends Israel when the same thing happened a year ago. So, are you still in an illusion that Americans are in a fair play and they see everything squarely without power politics?

        quote “If anything, the GoSL has benefited from this lack of interest, since it enabled the war to be fought away from the glare of the American media and public opinion. This idea that the US wants to divide Sri Lanka has simply no basis in fact or reason.”

        That is exactly what they want us to believe, and you already do.

        Finally ” Like I said, I offer these arguments to you in the hope that you have an open mind.”

        Comment by Manjula | April 6, 2013 | Reply

        • Manjula“Tamil nationalism should be tolerated as long as they are non-violent. That is freedom of expression. What you don’t tolerate is killing, like unprovoked killing of 13 soldiers , unprovoked killing of Alfred Doreappa etc.”

          Tamil nationalism was non-violent for 20 years in spite of the regular anti-Tamil pogroms and the blatant disenfranchisement and racism practiced by the GoSL throughout the ’50s, and ’60s. It was when the young Tamils grew frustrated by the failure of their politicians to protect them (as the Muslim politicians seem to be failing their constituents today) that they took up arms. You wish to defend the BBS’ hate speech but not that of Tamil nationalism. You say violence is the issue, but fail to see that their was regular violence against the Tamils long before the emergence of Tamil militancy. Also, how exactly is the killing of soldiers (an act of war) justify the killing of innocent Tamils in Black July? It seems even after 30 years of war, you are both ignorant of our history as well as the morality necessary as a civilized human being.

          “No, I don’t accept and it is a deliberate lie from you. There were no “mass scale” violence against Tamils at all before 83. Can you provide me death figures of your so called “mass-violations” and can you compare them to Rwandan mass violence, just for my information please. Just as you try to preach to me, “…., it is important to ascertain the facts”.”

          Please don’t display your idiocy on my blog. One doesn’t have to kill on a Rwandan scale to be a murderer. You seem to think that anything short of genocide is acceptable; it is not. The regular killings, assaults, and destruction of property, the fear, intimidation and institutional persecution of the Tamils went unchecked decade after decade. It is not surprising at all that they took up arms. What is surprising is that they waited so long to do so. This is the same sort of stupidity that is being displayed in your mealy-mouthed and ignorant defense of the BBS’ instigations to violence and hatred.

          “If everything is halal then I have no choice, and my way of life is invaded.”

          I will skip past your nonsensical descriptions of Halal and attempt to get a sane response from you on how your life can be invaded by something that doesn’t exist (which unfortunately Rajiv hasn’t been able to do — perhaps because he shockingly believed that logic and common sense were tools to use in discussion). Tell me, Manjula, if tomorrow there was chicken that was branded “Christian” or cement that was termed “Tamil”, would you feel your life was invaded? As a Buddhist, to you, there is no such thing as Halal or non-Halal; it is all the same. A bull killed in the Halal manner or paint brush free of pigs hair is EXACTLY the same as a bull killed by Buddhists or a brush made of monkey hair. So how are you invaded; do you get indigestion, does the colour of your house change; do you have to pay more? The answer is NO. So this so called “choice” is as nonsensical as me deciding whether to travel in a Halal bus, or a Tamil train. There is no such thing. It is a belief ONLY of Muslims. Can you actually tell the difference between a Halal chicken curry and a good Buddhist chicken curry?

          “Europeans already cut off GSP+”

          “Those are not boycotts :D Please look up the word in a dictionary. Those are political moves to pressure the GoSL into certain actions. That is how diplomacy works; not from shouting hate into a microphone. You defend the BBS hatred by pointing to these so-called “boycotts”; I assume your point therefore is that the motives of the IC are racist rather than political. Can you substantiate this in any way?

          “That is exactly what they want us to believe, and you already do.”

          None of what you say substantiates your claim that the US wants to divide SL. Please substantiate this claim rather than repeating it; it makes you look foolish and ignorant.

          “Like I said, I offer these arguments to you in the hope that you have an open mind.”

          I suggest you open your own mind first.

          Comment by David Blacker | April 7, 2013 | Reply

          • most of the valuable and valid comments by both of you Manjula and David …but gets diluted in the underlying anger and hatred towards opponent views. I think a blog is a public document once you publish it! If you had a better way to make your point, rather than showing your ego / ownership or using sarcasm to refuse other’s views, your facts could have been “well-understood” in its true spirit. I started following this blog because i thought it is unbiased and open, and,…like me there can be many who would like to read this and try to see the other side of views, that are different from our own, but only if the discussion is on facts, not on emotions!

            Comment by Indira | April 7, 2013 | Reply

            • I can assure you, Indira, that I harbour no hatred towards any individual commenting here, but neither am I very tolerant of willful blindness, or attempts to accuse others of lying. If commenters will focus on the article rather than the author’s motives, or that of other commenters, there will be no problem. My style and/or sarcasm is part of my personality and my writing and I’m not going to apologize for it. Similarly, while I certainly am open, no one is totally without bias. As I said, deal with the subject and my responses will do the same.

              Comment by David Blacker | April 9, 2013 | Reply

        • David,
          It appears that you are very weak in debating an issue without name-calling, letting down and mud-slinging like “idiot, ignorant, mealy-mouthed, foolish etc, etc. It is your weakness in debating, not mine, and since I do not accept any of those words or names, you can keep them with yourself in display, close to your heart. I am not hurt at all. It’s all your own property, take care of them.

          Saying “My Blog” (quote “Please don’t display your idiocy on my blog” ) is your weapon, and indirectly telling me to not to write anything challenging your views on your “my blog” is a pathetic attempt to suppress my opinion, but you may readily blame if MR government (like any other previous government) suppressing media in their “my country that I govern”. What is the difference? We readily see a hair in other’s eye, but fail to see a tree stump on our own eye.

          You rant said “…regular anti-Tamil pogroms and the blatant disenfranchisement and racism practiced by the GoSL throughout the ’50s, and ’60s.”

          David, in “your blog”, you will die to protect what you said, and it is not a surprise to me. However, you are also just repeating what Tamil terrorists and separatists said without proving hard facts and figures. There is nothing new in it. “The regular killings, assaults, and destruction of property, the fear, intimidation and institutional persecution of the Tamils went unchecked decade after decade. “ Where is the proof of such institutionalised persecution of tamils? If that happened can you explain why the tamil population in traditionally Sinhalese areas of Colombo, Galle and Kandy gradually increased? Are you insulting tamils as foolish as flies who fly straight into a fire and die? Can you provide proof of “blatant disenfranchisement and racism practiced by the GoSL” as a “systematic policy” rather than sporadic instances of violence between racists and opportunists. Do you know that the 1956 Gal Oya riots were initiated by tamil extremists attacking Sinhalese? Do you know that during the 1958 riots which was started by over 3000 Sinhalese gangs have attacked and killed government (Sinhalese) policemen who tried to protect tamils, and then army shot at those Sinhalese rioters and killed 3 of them before they could calm down the situation? Do you know during the same riots it was spread to Colombo and suburbs by Tamils in Panadura who had had cut off the breasts and murdered a Sinhalese woman teacher? Do you know the 1977 riots were a result of regular attacks on Sinhalese army and police personnel in Jaffna by Tamil youth who took arms who fallen in the “power trap” of TULF’ separation goal called “Vadukkodai resolution” and attacked few Sinhalese policemen who entered a Tamil carnival without tickets (how many Sinhalese policemen buy tickets to enter a carnival anywhere else in the country?)? Do you know that just months before that Sinhalese mobs attacked and destroyed thousands of homes belong to members of few opposition parties (LSSP, SLFP, CP etc); over 9000 LSSP supporters alone lost homes? Is that also due to racism? So, as you can see, both Sinhalese and Tamils had their fair share in creating, spreading and committing crimes on the opposite sides and also on their own sides. It is unfair to blame squarely on Sinhalese only, and it is certainly not what you called “regular anti-Tamil pogroms and the blatant disenfranchisement and racism practiced by the GoSL throughout the ’50s, and ’60s.” Following is what you said not me: “Please substantiate this claim rather than repeating it; it makes you look foolish and ignorant.”

          Can you show me true facts and figures where unfairness happened to Tamils compared to similar unfairness “did not” happen to Sinhalese? How come the district of Monaragala is the poorest district in Sri Lanka, not the “Northern district” with your so called “regular anti-Tamil pogroms and the blatant disenfranchisement and racism practiced by the GoSL”? Didn’t you know that innocent Sinhalese people suffered in daily basis under politically sponsored thugs right through the history, indifferent to what happened to tamils? Didn’t you know that Sinhalese youth also took arms twise and crushed by the government within months killing hundreds of thousands of Sinhalese? Is that due to “regular anti-Sinhalese pogroms and the blatant disenfranchisement and racism practiced by the GoSL”? The lack of vision and foresight of SL governments at the time were similar to American governments who lacked vision and policies to avoid genocide and civilian deaths in millions in Vietnam and Iraq etc instigated by Americans. But it was not what you say, the “regular anti-Tamil pogroms and the blatant disenfranchisement and racism practiced by the GoSL” The problem with you is that you like to label every day-to-day problem faced by Tamils as a result of “racist policy” by the government, but the same problems faced by the Sinhalese is ignored with comfort. David, is that the money from an NGO that makes the difference in your mind? (If so, the difference between you and me is that I refrain from calling you a brain-washed greedy bastard).

          “You wish to defend the BBS’ hate speech but not that of Tamil nationalism.”

          How come you as a natural English speaker, (unlike me) could not understand what I wrote in English? Where did I say that I do not tolerate tamil nationalism? I said clearly that I do not tolerate violence (The difference between you and me is that I refrain from calling you an illiterate idiot). You are the one who is justifying violence by Tamils saying “yea, they tried for 20 years”. Whether they tried for 20 years or 200 years, you have no right to defend or justify Tamil terrorists killing “unprovoked” 13 soldiers, or the Jaffna mayor, or thousands of mothers and babies etc etc. If you do, you must be a supporter in disguise for blood thirsty terrorists. If they took arms to safeguard their fellow tamils, how do you describe killing of overwhelmingly high number of Tamils by LTTE during the conflict? How do you justify sacrificing under-aged Tamil kids in the war simply to protect the terrorist hierarchy who were hiding in luxury? How many of them send their kids to war front to “protect Tamil nation” after peacefully struggling for 20 years? Is that how you suggest to protect Tamils from your so called “anti-Tamil pogroms and the blatant disenfranchisement and racism practiced by the GoSL “? Are you happy that more Tamils were killed by such Tamil terrorists because they waited for 20 years? No two wrongs will make it right, David, and it didn’t anyway, May 2009 proved it. Your justified violence by LTTE (after waiting for 20 years) did not bring any benefit to Tamils, instead they were pushed back in history, whether you like or not David, that is the truth.

          “Also, how exactly is the killing of soldiers (an act of war) justify the killing of innocent Tamils in Black July?”

          David, it doesn’t, it is wrong, I never condoned it. However can you also explain whether the killing of Alfred Doreappa is also an act of War? And how exactly the killing of soldiers who were on an unprovoked routine patrol, became “an act of war”? It is not an act of war, it is terrorism. If someone in Colombo shoot and kills an army or police officer at a check point in broad daylight tomorrow, do you call it “an act of war” because they were wearing a uniform? David what do you know about war? Have you been to this war? – and before you ask the question back from me, “Yes I have myself”.

          “Tell me, Manjula, if tomorrow there was chicken that was branded “Christian” or cement that was termed “Tamil”, would you feel your life was invaded? “

          Tell me David if tomorrow there was a chicken which does not have a “halal” symbol, do you think the life of Muslims was invaded? If not, what is the big problem for them to go for all-out halal symbol? You might say it is Muslim belief. In reply I would say, my personal belief is that I should not (and my community as collective should not) pay any extra for something they didn’t want.

          “A bull killed in the Halal manner or paint brush free of pigs hair is EXACTLY the same as a bull killed by Buddhists or a brush made of monkey hair.”

          David, I agree with you totally. Why don’t you tell that to the Muslims?

          Why do you need a Halal symbol at the “annual fee” of Rs 175,000 which will be eventually passed onto customers? Tell me David, why should I pay extra (or a whole community pay extra) for something they don’t believe in? Yes, if it was “free of charge” then there is no pain, and I have no problems. But if a whole community has to pay for that then it is unfair. What if the BBS demand tomorrow for a Buddhist symbol at an annual fee of Rs.175,000 on everything and force a whole Muslim or Christian community to pay for the welfare of Buddhism, through that income generated? As a Christian, are you happy to pay that extra; may be only a 0.001 cent each time individually? Would you support that in your “my blog” if that happens?

          “Those are not boycotts Please look up the word in a dictionary. Those are political moves to pressure the GoSL into certain actions. That is how diplomacy works; “

          OK, I retreat the “word” boycott, it is just a “word” from a language which is not native to me. I didn’t look at a dictionary; I just took your word for it, happy? I am sorry. Instead, I’ll call it ill-intended and Tamil constituent driven American “diplomatic” plans to restrict and mess-up Sri Lanka’s development in an attempt to influence and manipulate that country’s internal affairs and to bring the focus of the world away from themselves while they (USA) themselves are not subjecting themselves and their friends (Israel) to “independent international” investigations for their wholesale human rights violations around the world. Are you happy now with my re-arrangement of better “words”?

          You told me to “open your own mind first”.

          Fine, I will try. But, did you yet?

          Comment by Manjula | April 8, 2013 | Reply

          • Manjula: “It appears that you are very weak in debating an issue without name-calling, letting down and mud-slinging like “idiot, ignorant, mealy-mouthed, foolish etc, etc. It is your weakness in debating, not mine, and since I do not accept any of those words or names, you can keep them with yourself in display, close to your heart. I am not hurt at all. It’s all your own property, take care of them.”

            For someone who is happy to accuse other commenters of lying and me of being biased, etc, you seem unable to take what you dish out. As I mentioned to Indira, if you will stick to the facts of the article we wouldn’t be having this discussion; but if you wish to debate the motives of myself or those who choose to engage with you, then you will receive that in kind. Similarly, I am very intolerant of willful blindness and selective memory, and can be quite harsh on those afflicted by these traits; so I suggest you avoid using those tools in debate if you don’t wish them pointed out. Yes, it is my blog and I endeavour to maintain a certain standard of debate here. If this is not to your taste, why not comment on Colombo Telegraph (where this article also appears); the moderators there are a lot more tolerant of nonsense.

            “You rant said “…regular anti-Tamil pogroms and the blatant disenfranchisement and racism practiced by the GoSL throughout the ’50s, and ’60s.””

            This is not a rant, it is a fact. I suggest you not make such attributions since you seem unable to take it in return.

            “David, in “your blog”, you will die to protect what you said, and it is not a surprise to me. However, you are also just repeating what Tamil terrorists and separatists said without proving hard facts and figures.”

            I will certainly defend my point of view; this is not “dying”, it’s called debating. Just because what I say might coincide with terrorists or separatists doesn’t make it incorrect. If a terrorist claims the sky is blue, will you disagree with that? Stick to engaging with the facts of the article rather than why I am saying it.

            “Where is the proof of such institutionalised persecution of tamils?”

            Do you not view the GoSL as an institution? Do you not regard Sinhala Only as persecution? The two combined make it institutional persecution. If you wish more proof please open one of the plethora of books and sites that deal with the causes of the conflict. If you want a list, I can give you it. This article is largely on the current situation rather than the past, except in comparison, so I don’t want to delve into teaching you the history that you should be aware of already.

            “If that happened can you explain why the tamil population in traditionally Sinhalese areas of Colombo, Galle and Kandy gradually increased?”

            Which periods are you talking about? And can you show that Tamil populations in Sinhalese areas increased out of proportion to their overall population increases? Tamil populations in southern cities like Colombo increased because they were fleeing the war in the NE; whereas Tamils fled the southern cities after every such pogrom; they would return with time, only to flee again. The overall Tamil population percentage is lower post-war than pre-war.

            “Can you provide proof of “blatant disenfranchisement and racism practiced by the GoSL” as a “systematic policy” rather than sporadic instances of violence between racists and opportunists.”

            Sinhala Only, disenfranchisement of the Upcountry Tamils, removal of protection under the Republican Constitution of 1972, failure to implement the 13th Amendment. Should I go on?

            ” Do you know that the 1956 Gal Oya riots were initiated by tamil extremists attacking Sinhalese?”

            Don’t be silly. Do you have any documented reference to such an attack? The 1956 riots, first in Colombo after protesting Tamil politicians were attacked by Sinhalese thugs, and later in the Gal Oya were all initiated by Sinhalese attacks. Read Leveling Crowds: Ethnonationalist Conflicts and Collective Violence in South Asia, by Stanley Tambiah.

            “Do you know that during the 1958 riots which was started by over 3000 Sinhalese gangs have attacked and killed government (Sinhalese) policemen who tried to protect tamils, and then army shot at those Sinhalese rioters and killed 3 of them before they could calm down the situation?”

            What exactly is your point; that this absolves the government and the Sinhalese of responsibility? For five days, during which 300 people were killed and over a 1,000 injured (Sunday Times, October 2005), the GoSL did nothing. It is not sufficient for a government to react to ethnic conflict and violence (and even this was not timely); it is its responsibility to prevent it in the first place.

            “Do you know during the same riots it was spread to Colombo and suburbs by Tamils in Panadura who had had cut off the breasts and murdered a Sinhalese woman teacher?”

            While this incident is true, the Sinhalese had already been attacking Tamils in the Northwestern Province for four days, unchecked, including the cutting open while alive of an 8-months pregnant Tamil. After the murder of the teacher, a Brahmin priest was burned alive by Sinhalese. The rioting then continued in Colombo. Again, what exactly is your point; that the Tamils’ revenge attacks absolve the GoSL and the Sinhalese for initiating the violence?

            “Do you know the 1977 riots were a result of regular attacks on Sinhalese army and police personnel in Jaffna by Tamil youth”

            This is nonsense. The first soldier killed by the Tamil separatists was in 1981. Four drunken policemen who entered a carnival after refusing to pay were beaten up. The riots killed over 300 and injured over a 1,000. Countless rupees in property were destroyed. For a week, the GoSL did nothing. Do you actually have a point?

            “Do you know that just months before that Sinhalese mobs attacked and destroyed thousands of homes belong to members of few opposition parties (LSSP, SLFP, CP etc); over 9000 LSSP supporters alone lost homes? Is that also due to racism?”

            Where have I said that the UNP attacks on the opposition members was racism? And how does that change the actual racist pogroms?

            “So, as you can see, both Sinhalese and Tamils had their fair share in creating, spreading and committing crimes on the opposite sides and also on their own sides.”

            Clearly not. Except for a relatively tiny amount of Sinhalese killed by Tamils (mostly in retaliation), the vast numbers killed and injured in the pogroms were Tamils at the hands of Sinhalese who initiated the violence with GoSL collusion or at best inaction.

            “It is unfair to blame squarely on Sinhalese only”

            For the violence, it is quite fair to blame the Sinhalese, since it is they that created the conditions that made the Tamils protest. These protests were met with violence. Can you point to any such acts of violence initiated by the Tamils against the Sinhalese between independence and Black July?

            “Can you show me true facts and figures where unfairness happened to Tamils compared to similar unfairness “did not” happen to Sinhalese?”

            I have already done so earlier in this comment.

            “How come the district of Monaragala is the poorest district in Sri Lanka, not the “Northern district””

            Possibly because there is no such thing as a “Northern District”. Poverty doesn’t only come about due to ethnic persecution. There are many other factors. If you wish to compare two actual districts, let’s do that. The Jews as a whole are pretty wealthy; do you believe that Jews are not one of the most persecuted communities in history?

            “Didn’t you know that innocent Sinhalese people suffered in daily basis under politically sponsored thugs right through the history, indifferent to what happened to tamils?”

            I’ve never denied it. But how does pointing to non-ethnic injustices mitigate the actual ethnic injustices?

            “Didn’t you know that Sinhalese youth also took arms twise and crushed by the government within months killing hundreds of thousands of Sinhalese? Is that due to “regular anti-Sinhalese pogroms and the blatant disenfranchisement and racism practiced by the GoSL”?”

            Where have I suggested such a thing? You seem keen to discuss things that I haven’t said instead of what I have. Just because a government creates politically-motivated violence, that doesn’t mean that it cannot create ethnic violence as well. The two are not mutually exclusive. And the GoSL didn’t kill “hundreds of thousands of Sinhalese” in months; it killed about 60,000. Just for the record.

            “The lack of vision and foresight of SL governments at the time were similar to American governments who lacked vision and policies to avoid genocide and civilian deaths in millions in Vietnam and Iraq etc instigated by Americans.”

            A government’s first responsibility is to its nationals. The US government’s actions are in the end motivated by its national interests and in principle are to benefit Americans. The US hasn’t killed thousands of its own citizens in mob violence. Nevertheless, just as Americans called for an end of the Vietnam War, and are today calling for an end to the Iraq War, we must call on our government to come to its senses. That is what this article is about.

            “The problem with you is that you like to label every day-to-day problem faced by Tamils as a result of “racist policy” by the government, but the same problems faced by the Sinhalese is ignored with comfort.”

            Really? Can you point out to me how the “day-to-day problem” of being disenfranchised from voting, prevented from working and studying in one’s own language, not having constitutional recourse to appeal, and having one’s life and property destroyed by mobs, are problems faced by the Sinhalese?

            “David, is that the money from an NGO that makes the difference in your mind? (If so, the difference between you and me is that I refrain from calling you a brain-washed greedy bastard).”

            No, the difference is that I refrain from calling you a racist, ill-bred, uneducated son of a whore. I am also disappointed that you cannot accept a contrary opinion without believing someone has to be paid for it. You remind me of the Tamil nationalists on sites like Groundviews and Colombo Telegraph who think I am paid by the GoSL :D I assure you I’m not paid by anyone on either side.

            “How come you as a natural English speaker, (unlike me) could not understand what I wrote in English? Where did I say that I do not tolerate tamil nationalism?”

            I didn’t say that you don’t tolerate Tamil nationalism. I said that you don’t tolerate the hate speech of Tamil nationalists. You said: “They were brain-washed by greedy tamil politicians like Amirthalingam (remember his wife wanting to wear slippers from Sinhala skin ?) and Chelvanayagam’s Federal party’s 50:50 demand. They were the real original racists.” You also said:“The way BBS is going is wrong “if” and only if they use violence.” So you seem to be saying that what the BBS is saying is OK as long as they don’t use violence, but you condemn what the Tamil nationalists said even though they didn’t use violence. Don’t you see the double standard in this?

            “The difference between you and me is that I refrain from calling you an illiterate idiot”

            :D Do you actually believe that saying the above is any different? You remind me of Buddhists who say that it is wrong to kill animals but OK to eat them. You would also be wrong because I am only quoting what you yourself have said, so calling me illiterate would be pretty ironic.

            “You are the one who is justifying violence by Tamils saying “yea, they tried for 20 years”. Whether they tried for 20 years or 200 years, you have no right to defend or justify Tamil terrorists killing “unprovoked” 13 soldiers”

            I think violence is justified under certain circumstances. That is why I have defended the GoSL’s military solution to the Tigers. And the military attack in 1983 was justified. After decades of pogroms, military action was a necessity. What is unjustified is the attack on civilians, as was done by the Tigers and now by the BBS and its supporters. The anti-Tamil pogroms and the persecution of the Muslims is unjustified.

            “If you do, you must be a supporter in disguise for blood thirsty terrorists. If they took arms to safeguard their fellow tamils, how do you describe killing of overwhelmingly high number of Tamils by LTTE during the conflict? How do you justify sacrificing under-aged Tamil kids in the war simply to protect the terrorist hierarchy who were hiding in luxury?”

            Where have I justified any of this? If you had the intelligence to Google my name, you would have seen the countless times I have spoken against this on this very blog as well as numerous others, to the point where I am regularly called a war criminal and a government supporter. As I said, ALL violence isn’t justified. You can defend military action against military targets, but not against innocent civilians. The victims of the pogroms and at Fashion Bug are the latter.

            “How many of them send their kids to war front to “protect Tamil nation” after peacefully struggling for 20 years? Is that how you suggest to protect Tamils from your so called “anti-Tamil pogroms and the blatant disenfranchisement and racism practiced by the GoSL “?”

            I never said that the Tiger leadership struggled peacefully for twenty years :D Who is illiterate now? I said that after the Tamil political leadership had struggled peacefully and failed, the young Tamils took up arms. Why don’t you argue about what I actually said instead of making up stuff that you would like to argue about? The conflict wasn’t a single event. Just as while the Tigers resort to violence was justified in the late ’70s and early ’80s, while their later violence against innocent Tamils and Sinhalese was unjustified, the justification of the GoSL’s military action against the Tigers doesn’t justify its violence against innocent Tamils. You cannot generalize; one must be intelligent enough to see the evolution of the violence.

            “Are you happy that more Tamils were killed by such Tamil terrorists because they waited for 20 years?”

            Are you happy that Sinhalese racism spurred the Tamils to take up arms? Or are you suggesting that the Tamils should have meekly accepted what was being done to them for 20 years? What the Tigers eventually did was wrong, but what was done to the Tamils in the first place was also wrong. The point I am making is that we don’t make the same mistakes we made in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s again. The point of this debate isn’t to defend our violence but to prevent it.

            “No two wrongs will make it right, David, and it didn’t anyway, May 2009 proved it. Your justified violence by LTTE (after waiting for 20 years) did not bring any benefit to Tamils, instead they were pushed back in history, whether you like or not David, that is the truth.”

            Where did I say that it brought a benefit? :D You really need to address what I am saying, not what you wish I was saying. My point is that the Tamil rebellion was a direct result of Sinhalese persecution. My point is that we shouldn’t allow another minority to be persecuted; not because they might rebel and kill thousands in return, but because persecuting a minority is wrong. Why is this so hard for you to understand? Have you no moral compass?

            “David, it doesn’t, it is wrong, I never condoned it.”

            If it is wrong, why did you bring it up when I pointed to Black July?

            “However can you also explain whether the killing of Alfred Doreappa is also an act of War?”

            What has that to do with persecution of a minority or Black July? Political assassinations are a unfortunate part of modern war; both sides have done it.

            “And how exactly the killing of soldiers who were on an unprovoked routine patrol, became “an act of war”? It is not an act of war, it is terrorism. If someone in Colombo shoot and kills an army or police officer at a check point in broad daylight tomorrow, do you call it “an act of war” because they were wearing a uniform?”

            Of course it is an act of war. Can you show me any rule in any of the conventions that forbids the killing of a uniformed enemy? And yes, the killing of soldiers at checkpoints is an act of war, just as bombing sleeping Tigers or shooting them while they are taking a shit is also an act of war. Terrorism is a political word. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion”. In modern parlance it is understood as the deliberate targeting of a civilian populace to induce fear that will spur a political submission. The Tigers were definitely terrorists, no question there, but that doesn’t mean every act was an act of terrorism.

            “David what do you know about war? Have you been to this war? – and before you ask the question back from me, “Yes I have myself”.”

            And my answer is the same. I tend to write about what I know.

            “Tell me David if tomorrow there was a chicken which does not have a “halal” symbol, do you think the life of Muslims was invaded?”

            Yes, according to their scripture. They are forbidden from eating non-Halal food. Are you forbidden from eating Halal food? Isn’t it in fact true that you are forbidden by Buddhist teaching from eating ANY living creature? You shouldn’t be eating ANY meat at all, Halal or not.

            “In reply I would say, my personal belief is that I should not (and my community as collective should not) pay any extra for something they didn’t want.”

            Firstly, you are not paying anything extra. Second, even if you were, no one is forcing you to eat Halal food; if there was such a demand from the Buddhist/Sinhalese population, why don’t they manufacture enough non-Halal products to meet that demand, like the Muslims have to meet their demand. Clearly no one had such a demand ’til the BBS decided it.

            “David, I agree with you totally. Why don’t you tell that to the Muslims?”

            Because it is their religious teaching, and I have no right to tell them they are wrong. But your religious teaching doesn’t tell you that you must eat non-Halal; it tells you that you must not eat ANY meat, Halal or not. Don’t you feel it is ironic that the only Buddhists who are bothered by Halal food are those that are breaking Buddhist principles? If you were a vegetarian like every good Buddhist should be, you wouldn’t have to eat Halal food. So what you’re doing is preventing a Muslim obeying Islam so that you can disobey Buddhism.

            “Why do you need a Halal symbol at the “annual fee” of Rs 175,000 which will be eventually passed onto customers? Tell me David, why should I pay extra (or a whole community pay extra) for something they don’t believe in? Yes, if it was “free of charge” then there is no pain, and I have no problems.”

            I’m glad you feel that way. Here’s what some of the manufacturers had to say:

            “We never passed any cost of the halal certification or any other certification to the consumers. In comparison to the ISO Certificate, the cost on the Halal Certificate was insignificant,” — Bandula Egodage, Vice President, Corporate Services of Nestle Sri Lanka

            “The allegations of the halal certification being a strain on companies and the cost being passed on to the consumers are an absolute myth. The cost of obtaining the halal certification was entirely negligible.” — Susantha Ratnayake, CCC Chairman

            So, Manjula, you shouldn’t have any problem with this. FYI, the ACJU had also agreed to provide the Halal certificate free if it could be incorporated into the Muslim Affairs ministry, but the GoSL refused (some say under BBS pressure). Are you also aware that the SLS Standard actually costs you as a consumer? Wouldn’t that have been a more worthy thing to oppose than one that costs you no money or any harm to your beliefs?

            “What if the BBS demand tomorrow for a Buddhist symbol at an annual fee of Rs.175,000 on everything and force a whole Muslim or Christian community to pay for the welfare of Buddhism, through that income generated? As a Christian, are you happy to pay that extra; may be only a 0.001 cent each time individually? Would you support that in your “my blog” if that happens?”

            But that is already happening, Manjula. Businesses that sell fresh meat and alcohol must close on religious holidays, as must cinemas — initially this was just on Poya Days, but when this was protested it was forced on all religious holidays to pretend it wasn’t religious discrimination. This is a Buddhist imposition, since meat isn’t forbidden to Christians and Muslims. Why must those businesses lose money so that Buddhists who eat meat every other day and drink alcohol bought the day before Poya can feel good about their hypocrisy while munching on sausages? Before you attempt to take the speck of sawdust out of my eye, why don’t you remove the plank from yours?

            “Instead, I’ll call it ill-intended and Tamil constituent driven American “diplomatic” plans to restrict and mess-up Sri Lanka’s development in an attempt to influence and manipulate that country’s internal affairs and to bring the focus of the world away from themselves while they (USA) themselves are not subjecting themselves and their friends (Israel) to “independent international” investigations for their wholesale human rights violations around the world. Are you happy now with my re-arrangement of better “words”?”

            It would have been more useful if you had substantiated your claim instead of rewording it. Do you really think that anything happening in SL has the ability to distract world focus away from Iraq and Israel? Most Americans and Europeans barely know where SL even is. The frog in the well thinks he is important; but for those outside the well, he doesn’t even exist. There is no doubt that it is Tamil nationalist lobbying (as well as human rights true believers) who are exerting pressure on western politicians and diplomats to twist SL’s arm, but what has that to do with racism? You brought this up, so I’m assuming that it has something to do with this subject.

            “Fine, I will try. But, did you yet?”

            My mind has always been open, as anyone who has read my writing over the last few years will see.

            Comment by David Blacker | April 9, 2013 | Reply

            • David, your reply is superb. It deserves to be printed, framed and hung in the Thumulla BBS HQ. Standing ovation for you!

              Comment by arquib | April 9, 2013 | Reply

  17. dude! america made a decision in vietnam? i thought they got thrown out…

    Comment by sarath withanage | April 4, 2013 | Reply

    • I was referring to the US population’s decision to question their government’s actions in Vietnam. This started years before the US getting thrown out, and was partially caused by the peace movement, which forced the US government to fight the war in a way that ensured their defeat. It is that question of morality that I am referring to.

      Comment by David Blacker | April 7, 2013 | Reply

  18. I too share the same sentiments about being ashamed of the things happening and I hate to see the country I love so much in this state! But not sure whether one can plainly blame only the Sinhalese, just because they are the majority or just because the parties currently provoking these acts identify themselves as Sinhala Buddhists!
    In every nationality there are racists, and Sri Lanka being a multi-ethnic context, we experience such racist acts often, be it Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim or other. But I think that no one would opt to live with feelings of violence and hatred unless if they are truly affected or benefitted by being so. It is not only the Muslims or Tamils, but I as a Sinhala Buddhist also face dilemmas such as not being able to speak out freely. When it comes to issues of ethnicity or discrimination, I try to be quiet, just to avoid seeing me labelled as a racist through my words. I think it is very difficult for Sinhalese to truly express themselves than the minorities, who are at ‘benefit’ when it comes to prejudices and often ‘understood’ in the right spirit. When I write this also I try to carefully use my words, not to let me tagged as a racist by those with vested interest or biases. I am telling this because I have experienced this!
    So this is not just an issue of a minority or a majority, it is OUR ISSUE. So let us not develop hatred towards each other by trying to speak for “sides”. Whatever happened in the past has happened. Let us not harp and try proving that “IT IS NOT ME, BUT YOU STARTED THIS”. I think all peace-loving people truly want to see an end to all these nonsense.
    I am not sure whether I can provide the kind of leadership that is needed, or stop these parties condemning each other. But I know I can contribute in my own small way by not writing / talking bias, sided statements that passes messages to the effect that all Sinhalese as racists or all Tamils as LTTE or all Muslims as extremists. None of us are born to our ethnicities by choice, so why fight over these?
    A true practising Buddhist is not supposed to shout in anger, force one’s view on others or talk evil words. Instead, a practising Buddhist would extend empathy towards those who oppose your views, let the other use one’s own best judgement on your views, and stay silent until it is the right context or time to speak. I am sure all the religions and ethnicities have such noble ethics and norms, which were meant to guide people to live in harmony.
    So, let us please STOP PROVOKING and do the small things that we can do today, surely it will help our next generation, if not us.
    My plea to you – which comes through my own experience;
    • Be peace-loving and not let our ill-biases towards other ethnicities rule our thoughts and acts
    • Stop talking ill of other ethnicities / religions
    • At least try to understand and develop empathy towards friends from other ethnicities and religions different to ours
    • Exchange a non-calculative smile and extend a helping hand to a person who “does not belong to your clan”
    • Do some service / try to reach at least one ethnically deprived group of people who are not as privileged as you
    Through my experience, I can assure you that this HELPS overcome OUR ISSUE, may be…. in a tiny corner of this country, in a very insignificant way, but that makes SOMEONE feel good, and ultimately YOU feel that you have done what you could do TODAY rather than waiting for TOMORROW, allowing the issues to aggravate further!
    Every one of us is not a leader or has the right personality and approach to influence the masses or has the wisdom to rightly analyse and understand the underlying dynamics of these subtle, dubious acts related to ethnic discrimination. Sincerely, I am unable to understand whether these are truly racists’ acts or dirty politics or some invisible hands that tries to spoil our country. So, rather than straining my brain to understand these, I prefer to do the small things I can do my own way to stop the issue being aggravating. Hence, many people like me, who may not scream from top of our voices or write ‘critiques’ to align with the ‘popular national or global talks’ to show that ‘we are such liberal thinkers’, should not be labelled as racists who wants to ‘eradicate’ minorities or as neutralists who do not ‘feel’ as long as they are not affected, just because we seek silent, alternative paths to resolve the issue.

    Comment by Indira | April 5, 2013 | Reply

    • Well said, Indira.

      Comment by Asanga | April 6, 2013 | Reply

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  20. Hello David,
    We have an automotive brand campaign proposal who would like to engage bloggers from Sri Lanka.
    For this campaign they are looking at 1 pre event post, attendance on the event day & 1 post event post.
    Would you be interested?

    Comment by Karen Tan | April 14, 2013 | Reply

  21. [...] Courtesy of David Blacker blog [...]

    Pingback by Our Moment of Destiny – David Becker – News Of The Trantamils | April 21, 2013 | Reply

  22. Cracking Article David – Someone should print this in a paper. When I look at Sri-lanka from the far side of Europe, I see some Nazi-Buddhists and a Hitler like figure propagating faith. Hitler thought of the masses and the first principle from which he started was a value judgement: the masses are utterly contemptible. They are incapable of abstract thinking and uninterested in any fact outside the circle of their immediate experience. Their behaviour is determined, not by knowledge or reason, but by feelings and unconscious drives. It is in these drives and feelings that ‘the roots of their positive as well as their negative attitudes are implanted. To be successful, a propagandist has to wage a subtle psychological warfare to manipulate these instincts and emotions. The driving force which has brought about the most tremendous revolutions on this earth has never been a body of scientific teaching which has gained power over the masses, but always a devotion which has inspired them and often a kind of hysteria which has urged them into action. Whoever wishes to win over the masses must know the magic words that will open the door of their hearts. – In post-Freudian jargon, its their UNCONSCIOUS.- And so called religious figures draped in bright orange clothes speaks a language that this unconscious blindly accepts ; Maybe cus they see the orange guys as representatives of eternally kind bho who said at the time of his passing ”follow no leader”

    Comment by Don | April 26, 2013 | Reply

  23. Great stuff brother, not sure how I came across your site. But much love. Keep up the good work. Agree, we lost a few generations thanks to bigots, we do not want a religious war. Their is plenty going on around the world. As Sri Lankans let’s unite against anymore bigotry and prosper. I am so stoaked about coming to Sri Lanka during my holidays after so many years. I just mark the calander in my office and just keep dreaming of Aru Gam Bay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Don Juan Souza | May 1, 2013 | Reply

  24. hi! there will be a rally by sinhala Ravaya in Dehiwala :( cant we do anything to stop that? like organize and go n meet the UC ppl and ask them to stop it?

    Let s stop it…..
    Anyone with me,
    sachinperera22@yahoo.com

    Comment by sach | May 10, 2013 | Reply

  25. […] to extend that behavior online.” At a time when Sri Lanka has been experiencing a new wave of ethnic tension, Indi went on to say, “We hope that people will take the chance to do something concrete to […]

    Pingback by Build a Bridge, One Kevum at a Time — the One Plate Project « the Blacklight Arrow | May 13, 2013 | Reply

  26. Thank you for these insights – I read this one year later and the challenge you highlight for all of us is now more relevant than ever. Thank you also for your courage, which, like some of the readers above have noted, I too wish I had more of.

    Comment by Sarah | August 20, 2014 | Reply


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