Thursday, April 4, 2013
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
As ever, David Blacker is eloquent. But not only that, often he is to the point as well. And THIS timely article by him is both that.
In an attempt to draw alarming similarities between the 30 year old bloody war we just ended and the potential one we have at our hands because of the blatant racists out there today, this is what he narrows it down to:
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?
Couldn't have put it any better myself.
Please go over there and read the whole thing. It's worth it.
Four years ago, Sri Lanka ended a cold-blooded war that had haunted the island for more than 25 years. The reconciliation process was going to be the next step, at least that’s what many people thought. Unfortunately, it seems like a dream when one considers the events that have unfolded over the past year or so.
We have gone backwards even before we could take a step forward, thanks mainly to an organization called ‘Bodu Bala Sena’ that practices racial discrimination in the name of Buddhism. Sadly, not many are raising concerns regarding their activities, and that only empowers them to continue and grow strong. Obviously preventive measures should be taken right now before the issue gets worse and becomes another major civil conflict that we sure as hell can’t afford.
Are they in line with Buddhism? Does Buddhism encourage violence and racism? Does it give you the right to rule? The head monks have a responsibility to question the BBS’ motives and actions. There is no point in waiting till you receive complaints when the problem is quite evident. They are entitled to take action in order to protect the reputation of Buddhism, thereby make a positive contribution to enhance unity in Sri Lanka. They can also make an attempt to correct ingrained prejudices among people. It baffles me when some of the educated ones believe in the slogan ‘This is a Sinhala Buddhist country’.
The government can’t turn a blind eye to these matters. When the war ended, there was talk about how everyone would be treated as a Sri Lankan regardless of their race and religion. It’s high time they walked the talk. The very existence of the BBS contradicts the government’s statements.
Sri Lanka and its people have suffered long enough. Why do we have to repeat the same mistakes over and over again? For once, why not just live?
Monday, April 1, 2013
Who We Are
'A bunch of Sri Lankans' would be the most appropriate and truthful statement. We have Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims among us, we have followers of Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity as well as a few atheists in our ranks, we have people from all sorts of backgrounds and places, living in and outside of Sri Lanka. What we do have in common is that we are Sri Lankans and we have it's good intentions at heart.
Who we are not, however, are racists. We hate racism, bigotry and general douchebaggery.
What We Want
We believe in equality. And we want to see people treated equally in our motherland irrespective of their race, faith or any other such superficial divider. What race you are born into is out of your control, what religion you choose to follow (or not follow one at all for that matter) is (or it should be) a private matter of yours. Neither should come in the way of how you are treated as a citizen of this country.
However, things have not been that ideal in Sri Lanka of late. Racial and religious tension is everywhere, some well organised and well funded 'cults' with serious political backing has sprung into existence recently and they have nonchalantly taken the law into their hands on more than one occasion. People have started to live in fear. We only just ended a bloody war that brought indescribable pain and suffering to many thousands but it looks like not many have learnt their lesson from that. By the looks of it right now we are heading into another war at full speed.
We don't want that.
What We Will Do
We are a bunch of people with good intentions at heart and a zero budget. And we would like to keep it that way. We won't be trying to raise funds, we won't be organising events of any sort and we most certainly won't be taking up cricket bats and chasing those hooligans mentioned above.
What we will do is trying to create a healthy debate among the sensible yet silent people out there. We've noticed that while the organised racism is fully fledged and out in the open very few people are opposing it. Which is a huge cause for concern; your silence is as bad as their hatred. Therefore, we want to create a platform where any sensible person who wants to be heard can be heard. If you want to voice your opinion, we give you the opportunity to do so.
At first we, the members here, will be posting our thoughts on this blog from time to time. We will also try to give opportunities to other people if they have something to say. We will try to bring in people of all races and faiths into the discussion and create a healthy debate. We will try to do something constructive about the problems at hand instead of just being cynical about it and looking away. But of course we can't do all that all alone by ourselves. We want YOU - our readers - to give us constant feedback and constructive criticism. Please feel free to comment anytime and we will post them as long as you keep them civil. We won't tolerate hate speech, cursing, insults and racism.
Like Martin Niemöller once said,
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
It's time we speak up, people!