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?