17 June 2018

Have US-NATO soldiers been honored by Terrorists as Sri Lanka’s Military Officer has?

No accolade is enough for Col. Ratnapriya or the rehabilitation locally designed & implemented under the previous government which after 9 years reaped results in the manner that one single officer was honored by an entire village of former LTTE cadres & their families by carrying him on their shoulder. These former LTTE cadres including their families were seen unabashedly crying as they bid farewell to him. The images have certainly shook the world in particular a large number of con artists who have been enjoying perks & privileges claiming to know how to enforce reconciliation for post-conflicts. Thus, the incident immediately questions every reconciliation program that is being forcibly shoved down Sri Lanka’s throat & all of the pundits who claim to be veterans at rehabilitating terrorists. In just 9 years one soldier has made an entire village of LTTErs cry – how the hell did he do it without foreign intervention, foreign templates & foreign reconciliation models?

Reconciliation in Afghanistan
In 2001 the US & NATO invaded Afghanistan and they have been in Afghanistan since. After 17 years occupying Afghanistan what is the reconciliation US & NATO troops can boast of?
Professor Amin Saikal implored policymakers in 2007 not to ‘cave into the Taliban.’ While Professor Maley believed the solution lay not in talking to the Taliban. In 2008, reconciliation principles were drawn up by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Policy Action Group (PAG).

What have they achieved from the initial zero-sum rhetoric of ‘you are either with us or against us’ branding the Taliban as evil?

A Multi-billion dollar Program Takhim e-Solh (Strengthening Peace, commonly known as PTS) which has given dollars to Afghans to give up arms! 11,077 militants were paid to lay down their arms. With so many experts in psycho this & psycho that, so many templates that are designed by NGOs spending millions all that was eventually done was to hand over money in exchange for giving up arms & now the money is not enough but the Afghans are enjoying the dollars!

Reconciliation in Iraq
Iraq was invaded & occupied by Western troops since 2003 (15 years)

Mrs Lindborg president of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) says reconciliation is people's necessary "mechanism for discussing what is the divide in their community without resorting to violence."
However, Iraq was illegally invaded. There was no weapons of mass destruction, There was no ISIS or Al Qaeda in Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s rule. The world was told Saddam was a dictator, ‘rebels’ were imported to create the dissident voice of the people & that was how Saddam was ousted & ultimately died by hanging in a kangaroo court.

What are Iraqi’s supposed to reconcile with? What if there was never any ethnic or sectarian conflict & everything was politically contrived raising ethnic/sectarian slogans. No wonder the US imposed the Shia-Sunni-Kurdish political formula since 2003 has increased sectarian rifts. If Sunnis ruled under Saddam, the West placed Shia minority to rule over Sunnis & its total chaos. How can a minority rule the majority? (we do not wish the same to happen in Sri Lanka) Why has West left out Iraq’s shattered infrastructure from reconciliation. The West has bombed Iraq to the cave age!

Reconciliation in Libya

Following a military intervention, Libya has been occupied by Western troops since 2011 and resulted in the killing of Libya’s leader M. Gaddafi ‘We came, we saw, he died’ is what former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said laughing.

In 2015 national reconciliation framework was launched by the UN brokered Libyan Political Agreement. However, the leaders of Libya are not chosen by the Libyans but by foreigners so how can the General National Accord set up by UN function without the buy-in of the people succeed?

In all 3 cases the template has been the same – change the existing constitution, change penal codes, change law & order mechanisms, change internal systems, place foreigners into key roles & in their absence replace with locals who will do as the foreigners pay them to do and while all these changes are taking place to the structure & foundations of a country by parties that helped create the chaos more chaos is taking place because more chaos needs to be manufactured & people kept busy until the real objectives that brought the external forces into these countries are fulfilled. So reconciliation has become a beautiful word battered on paper & by statements uttered by every foreign envoy, every UN official, every foreign paid civil society & NGO representative – simply to fool the masses. Reconciliation term has been prostituted more than its value.

The farewell by LTTE families to a military officer is poignant for many reasons

1.   It shows there is no one template or manual for reconciliation that the UN or its NGOs can plug & force upon countries or people.

2.   Human compassion has no limits, has no definition, has no strings. A soldier showed humanity & the human element in the terrorists was tapped & they reciprocated. He didn’t follow any book with step 1, 2, 3. It came from his heart & the response came from the heart of the receivers.

3.   It completely destroyed all the bogus ‘We will look after our Tamil people’ chanted by the Northern Province Chief Minister Wigneswaran, the TNA in particular the Opposition Leader Sambanthan & especially the very rich LTTE Diaspora. None of them had done anything for these families except use LTTE for their own political gain.

4.   It also brought to the surface all of the supposed NGO development programs, NGO initiatives that they highlight on their websites in appealing for funding for in reality what have they been doing with the money kind-hearted people have donated?

5.   The manner that the TNA & LTTE Diaspora as well as the UN, foreign envoys & local NGOs have digested the incident is also worthy of mention. Starting out with Sivajilingam the incident is not being appreciated but is being attacked probably because all of their lies have become exposed not only locally but internationally too. People are all asking ‘why have the TNA not looked after these people’ ‘with so much money in the LTTE kitty, why have LTTE diaspora neglected these former LTTE cadres’ ‘if a soldier can make an entire village of terrorists cry, do we need foreign NGO templates or proposals’ … these are what the people are now asking and it is a hell of a slap to all these con artists.

6.   LTTE cadres were rehabilitated according to a plan devised by the Sri Lankan Army. The soldiers & officers were well aware that rehabilitation was one thing but every terrorist needed to walk out into society. Did they have livelihood options, would Tamil society accept them… that their own people did not accept LTTE cadres & that a soldier was ready to empathize with them, help them triggered their response. The politicians, TNA, Wigneswaran, foreign NGOs, LTTE diaspora did not help them form dance troupes, music groups, sports, employment opportunities – but Col. Ratnapriya did. There was the difference and those that didn’t help are now so jealous & envious of what he achieved.

7.   When means of self-employment & jobs were given what was the NGO response – to claim that the military-run livelihood programs were exploitative! So much for constructive criticism. While all of these entities who did not help have all the time to shower criticisms & will probably try their best to stop such programs in the future, one human rights activist Shreen Saroor says it is the Government & not the Military who should be delivering - Col. Ratnapriya spent 9 years treating the LTTErs with dignity & respect.

8.   Not only did Col. Ratnapriya uplift the hearts & minds of these LTTE cadres but he in no way devalued Tamil culture. He was able to turn them to think of Sri Lanka first was seen in the manner they sang the National Anthem in Sinhalese!

What the incident seen in Vishwamadu & the reconciliation in Afghanistan, Iraq & Libya all boils down to is that there is no set model or menu. The UN & the entire NGO system need to wake up & realize they cannot give themselves means of livelihood to design fancy models & templates that are irrelevant & cannot be forcibly plugged into every country. None of these foreign modules have worked – if so the US-NATO soldiers should be getting garlands & carried by Islamic terrorists too. No Islamic terrorists have cried for any US-NATO soldier’s kindness.

These are good lessons for the Sri Lankan politicians who are made to feel anything foreign has to be applied simply because it comes with carrots of money for them & assurances that they can remain in power if they agree to implement them through their decoys.



Shenali D Waduge


16 June 2018

Reparations: Sri Lanka’s War Victims are Not ONLY Tamils & certainly NOT Banned LTTE

The Sri Lankan Government has approved a proposal by a Tamil MP to pay reparations for war-affected & missing persons which include families of LTTE unlawful combatants. LTTE remains a banned terrorist organization, without first holding LTTE on trial for its war crimes against the State of Sri Lanka & its people what kind of lunacy is it to be giving reparations?

Some unanswered questions to everyone presenting these senseless proposals

Where is the justice for every man, woman & child that LTTE killed since 1980s?

What is the compensation paid to every victim of LTTE war crimes & should they not be entitled to compensation before terrorists?

Why has LTTE crimes not been put on trial?

Why have every individual, LTTE fronts, organization, political parties linked to & supporting LTTE over the years (covertly/overtly) not been investigated by appointment of a Presidential Commission? In particular the calls to investigate the TNA-LTTE links has fallen on deaf ears.

What has been the compensation given to all the members of the Armed Forces (dead, injured & living) other than their monthly salaries as it was they who became the first National Army to annihilate a terrorist movement (ground force & leaders)

Why is the present Government & the International Community, in particular the UN system & INGO/NGO network eternally presenting the view that ONLY Tamils are the victims of Sri Lanka conflict? Why have they all forgotten the Sinhalese & Muslim victims. None of the Sinhalese or Muslims have been helped to resettle, to return to their original lands/homes – why is this discrimination against the other communities in Sri Lanka. LTTE killed more Sinhalese & Muslims than they did Tamils, though LTTE killed more Tamils than the Tamils they accuse Sinhalese of killing.

When the LTTE remains banned, why should the Sri Lankan tax payer have to pay compensation to their families? If UN or foreign country insists let them pay from their pockets. Sri Lankan tax payers are taxed enough & to be forced to be taxed to maintain terrorist families is unfair & downright obnoxious.

What is all the more important which this government cannot ignore is that LTTE took to gun to create a separate state, that objective remains linked to the Tamil racist political parties/politicians that are pursuing the same objective as that of the LTTE though differently worded camouflaged in different themes. The 1976 Vaddukoddai Resolution is endorsed by the ITAK the main constituent party of the TNA in its 2008 amended resolution by a footnote. This automatically questions why any government should be naïve to ignore the quest for a separate state without taking the bull by the horns & demanding that the ITAK & all other Tamil parties annul the Vaddukoddai Resolution if they sincerely wish to peacefully coexist with the rest of the communities in Sri Lanka. We have a dormant 6th amendment Article 157 which clearly denies any individual or organization to violate the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka https://www.lawnet.gov.lk/1947/12/31/sixth-amendment-to-the-constitution-2/

LTTE combatants by virtue of their designation as a terrorist organization and reference to Sri Lanka’s conflict as a Non-International Armed Conflict are denied status of Prisoners of War or Combatants. So all LTTE members (rehabilitated or not) should be termed Unlawful Combatants only.
The term Enemy Combatant is used only in International Armed Conflicts.

The term War Widows too should not be used in reference to LTTE spouses. War widows are those whose soldier husbands have died in military operations on behalf of a Nation/State. The term is ONLY entitled to be used by the spouses of the Sri Lankan Military whose husband-soldier sacrificed their lives defending the territorial integrity/sovereignty of Sri Lanka. Spouses of terrorists are not entitled to use this term. War Widow title is reserved for ONLY the 27,000 soldiers who died on behalf of the Nation. Elsewhere they are termed Black Widows.

The next issue is the claims of the civilian dead & the LTTE dead or missing. While only wild guestimates prevail with no dead body or skeleton, the repeated question is who actually died & who are actually missing? We know the number of soldiers who died during the final phase, we also know that there are 5000 Missing Soldiers (no one is bothered to even search for their whereabouts) but even those that claim 40,000 or more dead civilians cannot even produce 100 names of the dead!

So anyone throwing wild allegations against the Sri Lankan Military must first provide numbers & details of

·      How many of the supposed dead (whatever numbers they allege) were really civilians as per international definition. That means how many did not take part in any form of hostilities to qualify to be termed ‘civilian’. Please note LTTE had its own trained & armed civilian force & these civilians do not qualify to be called civilians by virtue of their use of arms/ammunition. So how many among these 40,000 supposed civilians were members of the LTTE civilian armed force, for they do not qualify to be termed civilian? Who can answer?

·      How many unarmed civilians were killed by LTTE – from UN & foreign envoy statements it is confirmed that LTTE shot at Tamils who were fleeing to government controlled areas.

·      How many LTTE died in civilian clothing – they don’t qualify as civilians (also note all the 12,000 LTTErs that surrendered to the SL Army were in civilian clothing)

·      Everyone who is placing a figure of dead civilians have conveniently omitted to mention how many of them actually qualify to be referred to as civilians & how many LTTErs died in civilian clothing & how many LTTE killed. Without knowing any of these details everyone is crediting the blame on the Sri Lankan Army only & advocating war crimes tribunals. You can now understand how ridiculous this demand is.

The compensation to LTTE & their families is totally uncalled for & it is astounding that the Government that has yet to pay compensation to the families of disasters – Meethotamulla, Salawa, floods etc is happy to ignore all of them & channel the tax payers money to terrorists.




Shenali D Waduge

11 June 2018

SRILANKA, GOVERNANCE- ACCOUNTABILITY
& PERFORMANCE SINCE 2015,

Kanthar Balanathan
DipEE(UK), GradCertRelEng(Monash), DipBus&Adm(Finance-Massey), CEng.MIEE


SriLankan government since snatching power in 2015, have been in corrupt practice which has led the country to tiptoe towards bankruptcy. The term “accountability” does not mean anything today, to the people of SriLanka or the members of parliament anyway. Parliamentarians think that they are the god which has freed them from conviction and that they can do anything they wish.

It is beyond the scope of this document to discuss “government accountability”. However, it is good to discuss a few of those in “government accountability”. The framework that forms government accountability mechanism: (i) Political accountability mechanisms, (ii) Legal accountability mechanisms, (iii) Administrative accountability mechanisms

The question is: does the GOSL has a framework for government accountability, and if so, do they practice?
Of course, we know that the current GOSL has no “political accountability mechanisms”, which we have seen from their actions in political blunders and slip-ups in the past and in continuation. With the power GOSL has embraced, they seem to shovel through the docks with no hesitation.

The question of “Administrative accountability mechanisms” and “Legal accountability mechanisms”, can also be questioned.

Why do we need a parliament? Quote: we need a parliament to ensure that you have freedom of speech, movements, and association, and to ensure that there is no misuse of authority by elected leaders as constitution describe their powers and limitations to select the national government to control guide and inform the government for making laws

Why do we need MPs: Quote: MPs have three major responsibilities: legislating in Parliament, representing their riding and political party, and serving their constituents' needs. MPs are elected to represent the interests of the people in their constituencies where they maintain an office.

Of course, SriLankan Parliament is like a “DOSA KADE”, cos, how many of them have the educational background and/or knowledge. Do they have 1.25 to 1.5 kg of the brain with perception/intelligence? How many of them want to be a role model for people (young ones) to follow them? Could CB be considered a Kasappu Kade?

My previous article Ref: http://nrnmind.blogspot.com/2018/06/srilankademocracy-barter-system.html explains how MP candidates are selected.

Each MP receive a sum to develop his/her electorate. Where is the money channelled to? Do they invest in any small-scale development?

Treasury Bills, Treasury Bonds, & Development Bonds:

Th public Debt Department accepted Rs 10,000 million treasury bills in an auction where bids received was Rs 55,688 million to be settled by the 8th June 2018. (Ref: https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/This may be good planning of the value accepted according to the muscle of SriLankan debt trap crisis.

However, we must note one action: GOSL owns the land and the infrastructure. Well, in other words, the people, citizens of SriLanka own the assets and they have elected some people to manage and govern the assets.

It looks like GOSL to manage their immediate debt crisis, raise Treasury bills, Treasury Bonds and collect their funds, and do not invest to collect the funds for repayment. For example, how many of these people will be in parliament for the next 10-20 years. Even if they are they manage to go scot-free without any imprisonment for any crimes committed. A reference article on US debt crisis; The US economy is caught in a debt trap. Avoiding a major economic downturn requires alleviating the burden of servicing public and private debt. The key is restructuring federal debt, which will diminish the country's net interest burden. Ref: Escaping the US debt trap Now is the time to strike deal with creditors Ref: by Joergen Oerstroem Moeller in Singapore, Fri 11 May 2018

Q1.
Does the Governor of the CB advise GOSL on the risk of issuing large bonds for a longer period? Does he advise on the necessity and the risk of Treasury Bills sale? Does CB do an analysis before deciding on a sale of Bond?

It looks GOSL Treasury has more activity in the sale of Bills and Bonds rather the governance carries out any development other than foreign countries involved in a couple or two.

Q2.
Why would GOSL sell valuable lands to foreign companies? Have the lands being sold to settle the bond repayment? It is a must that land sales shall be approved by the people, citizens of the country. Maybe the representative for the electorate or by other approved means.

Q3.
Why cannot GOSL sell lands in the Northern sector? Ie. Jaffna, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi etc.

Q4.
What is the reason for handover of the Port and the Airport in the South to foreigners?

Finally, Sri Lankans would be left with no lands and assets, except their toilets.
The main reason for selling assets to overseas companies is to receive kickbacks in foreign currency to an overseas bank.

Sri Lanka Development Bonds Outstanding, as at 30 January 2018, is US$ 4,239.45 Billion. Can GOSL show proof whether they have completed any development to the value of such amount. Or do the Opposition Leader R. Sambanthar has the guts to ask questions on this development bonds. (Ref: CB)

Financial System Financial System Stability Review 2015, the report was prepared and signed by Arjuna Mahendran in 2015. How often is this report prepared and released?

It is recommended that readers view the page as given here.

As of 2nd May 2017, the Treasury Bond for Foreign Investors amounts to Rs.4,089,965,085,500.00. This is over four Trillion Rs. Of which Rs 504,250,120,000.00 is supposed to have been settled between 15th May 2017 and 1st June 2018.

Q5.
Was the land sale a collateral for this amount to the parties?

Hope the LOP has the guts to raise this in parliament rather talking about “missing persons & self-determination”. How many of Sri Lankans assets are planned to be sold?

If the current GOSL cannot manage then they should leave office and hand over to credible people to run. Maybe Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa? The only choice in SL with the blessings of Mahinda Rajapaksa.


It is recommended that citizens and professionals become quite acquainted with the CB operations. It's their right and duty.
LTTE village & a Sri Lankan Military Officer show the world what Reconciliation & Peaceful Coexistence is all about.

It was a farewell that has shocked & left plenty of critics speechless. It has put to rest & completely nullified the lies that have been spread against Sri Lanka’s Army. The culprits include foreign governments/envoys, INGOs/NGOs, UN & even the present government in particular the Tamil leadership & the LTTE diaspora who must be startled at the pictures emerging of an entire village weeping as they bid farewell to a military officer who had played the role of their mentor, their father, their brother, their advisor & virtually their leader. Col. Rathnapriya Bandu has done what Prabakaran, Wigneswaran, Sivajilingam, Sumbanthiran, Sambanthan or even Tamil Nadu politicians could not do & do not want to do. In a world that plays divisive politics of divide & rule he has shown that it takes a hero to unite & Col. Bandu is one hero that we must all salute. No former LTTE village would ever carry a Sri Lankan Military officer on their shoulders & weep as he bid goodbye if he was no hero in their eyes.

Lesson 1: No Caste difference
Vishwamadu was an one time tiger den. Many LTTErs cadres were enlisted from Vishwamadu. It was also a village of only low caste & impoverished Tamils. They were virtually outcastes of their own Tamil people. No Tamil politician desired to look into their needs. They were good enough only to be fighters & have their dead bodies exhibited in photos across the world for political gain. To Col. Ratnapriya these villagers were not low caste or poor. They were people & he opened up to them & they in turn opened up to him. These images can fill the rest of the story. These pictures have shattered the myths & lies that have been floated.

 
Lesson 2: Sinhalese & Tamil do not need to live separately
No TNA politician has been honored by LTTErs in this manner. No TNA politician has been carried by the people of any Tamil village in the North but these Tamil villagers not only carried Col. Rathnapriya they were all seen crying. It is a sight that has stupefied all of us because it has completely negated the lies that the Tamils & Sinhalese cannot live together, it has completely dislodged the argument that a new constitution is needed with an asymmetrical federated state separately for Tamils. When an entire LTTE village showers love & affection for a military officer the incident must surely shake the entire world in particular the foreign governments & the UN.
 

Lesson 3: Artificial barriers
We are drilled day in and day out that the Sinhalese cannot live with Tamils & Tamils do not want to live with Sinhalese. We are brainwashed to think the soldiers are cruel & mean to Tamils & the military should be removed from the North. But then, we have an entire LTTE village carrying a soldier on their shoulders, crying as each line up to bid farewell. What the hell is going on, we all are now asking. Well, the pictures tell the story & we really just need to look at the tearing eyes of these Tamil villagers & in digesting the love & affection that has taken place to realize that we have been fed lies & fake news & distortions & these are all artificial barriers created for political agendas. When one soldier has won an entire village, no wonder the TNA & the present government together with the lying machines want him transferred & away from the people.

 

Lesson 4: Third Parties & Foreign Templates useless
The third parties sitting either across the world, in some hotel or AC room in Colombo, or UN rapporteurs arriving on business class with files & folders of temples on reconciliation & peaceful coexistence should not waste their time, money or our time because one soldier & an entire LTTE village have shown the rest of the country that we don’t need external parties, we don’t need foreign paid NGOs, we don’t need damn rocket science to live in peace with mutual respect & sharing ups & downs together. Let everyone remember that this one officer changed an entire village of hardcore LTTErs. No foregin document can have the answers that! Without these international community & other meddling parties the LTTE families & the Sri Lankan Military have shown that they have mended & bonded & the trust & harmony that has been cemented must be a shocker to all the critics. The incident has shown that reconciliation doesn’t need foreign interference, doesn’t need foreign templates, doesn’t need NGOs, INGOs, foreign envoys & it has shown that reconciliation is easy & is very much possible without the external interferences & interventions.


 
Lesson 5: TNA / Tamil high castes / LTTE Diaspora don’t fool your own people
Vishwamadu is just one village with virtually a 100% low caste & poor Tamil populace. They were used and good enough only to be enlisted to take a gun & die for a cause that would benefit the Tamil higher castes. They had no voice, they had no one to care for them. TNA, the Tamil high castes & the LTTE diaspora must feel ashamed just as they must be reeling with envy & jealousy seeing how these low caste & poor Tamils are treating with honor a Sri Lankan military officer. They have given a strong message to the TNA/the Tamil high castes & the LTTE diaspora – they no longer wish to kill. They only wish to live. So be it & we must reach out & make many more Vishmadu villages where the hearts & minds have opened to reconcile & usher peaceful coexistence that we were made to believe was never possible. What lies we have all been fed by the same parties that wish to keep us divided promoting bogus reconciliation templates.
 
Col. Rathnapriya Bandu has completely shattered the lies & myths that have been floating.

The Tamils of Vishwamadu a village that produced hard core LTTE cadres are crying as they bid farewell to a Sri Lankan Military Officer. The message is very clear – remove all interfering parties, remove racist TNA politicos, remove the Sinhalese/Muslim racist politicos, remove Tamil caste system & do not allow LTTE diaspora to divide any further & the Tamils & Sinhalese will be at peace, will be living in peace & harmony as they have done for centuries.
   
If Vishwamadu had to elect a chief minister it would not be Wigneswaran or the TNA, Col. Rathnapriya would win hands down!
We salute this gallant officer who has silenced all, shattered the lies & myths & shown what true reconciliation, peace & harmony are all about.


Shenali D Waduge

06 June 2018

Sinha-Le 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.  
 
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. 
 
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!  
 
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. 
 
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? 
 
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.  

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

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?


 


Shenali D Waduge

05 June 2018

In the name of a misunderstood identity, Lankan Muslims are getting isolated: Prof. Ali

By Frances Bulathsinghala Courtesy Daily FT


Sri Lanka is currently wedged between Buddhist fundamentalism and rigid Orthodox Islam that have made inroads into the country in the past 40 years or so. Both Buddhists and Muslims have forgotten the magnanimity and tolerance of the Sinhalese who welcomed Muslims into the country centuries ago. Sadly, Muslims have forgotten that they embraced Sri Lankan and not Arabian culture when they decided to live in Sri Lanka as Sri Lankans. It was Buddhist compassion, which made Buddhist monarchs of ancient Sri Lanka welcome believers of other religions and extended their unparalleled hospitality. The experience of the Muslim minority in Sri Lanka until ethno-nationalism raised its ugly head in the 20th century was pleasantly unique,” says Professor Ameer Ali, a scholar of Economics and the former President of the Australian Federation of Islam Councils. Prof. Ameer Ali juxtaposes his analysis of the history of Buddhist compassion in Sri Lanka with explanations of the cosmopolitan outlook of Islam in the medieval era that allowed the Caliphate to welcome intellectuals and theologians of other faiths to settle in Baghdad, Cordoba, Istanbul and Delhi, which ultimately produced a civilisation unmatched by any other at that time. He explains that the convivencia” model in Muslim Spain, which allowed people of different faiths to administer their affairs according to their own religious principles and traditions, had a parallel in ancient and medieval Sri Lanka where the Buddhist monarchs also did not interfere in the administration of Muslim affairs. Muslims in turn did not have any qualms in living peacefully amongst their Buddhist hosts. This is how religious harmony and social equilibrium was built in Sri Lanka. This is the need of the day,” states Prof. Ameer Ali who holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Western Australia and has taught Economics in the University of Ceylon, Murdoch University, University of Brunei and the University of Western Australia.
Below is a discussion with Prof. Ameer Ali:
Q: Why don’t the Muslim intelligentsia, writers, opinion leaders including political leaders, address the issue of the growing cultural gap between the Muslims and other Sri Lankans? Why don’t they even introspect and debate this issue among themselves? 
A: Everyone is scared of the orthodox ulema controlled by ACJU, who may issue a fatwa calling such scholars as heretics. The tragedy is that the so called intellectuals do not want to speak out in public although in private they concede that the community needs progressive leadership. One can forget about the politicians because they will lose votes if they criticise the status quo.
Q:Until Wahabi–Salafi Islam was imported into Sri Lanka fromSaudi Arabia, Sri Lankan Muslims had a strong Lankan identity that was especially strong during the days of the Lankan monarchy, which led to Muslims being given refuge in the East of the country by the then Lankan King so they could escape fromconversions to Catholicism forced by the Portuguese. And we know Muslims were very much part of the Buddhist culture and traditions of Sri Lanka, such as making offerings to the Kandyan Pererahera festivities. But this has been changing with the rise of puritanical Islam. Do you think this distancing away from Lankan identity by Sri Lankan Muslims and embracing a Saudi Islamic identity and a dress code, is the root of Sinhala Buddhist fears and extremist views/phobias by some members of the Buddhist clergy and some Sinhala Buddhists? 
A: Muslims confuse culture with religion. Religion is only one of the elements that make up one’s culture. Local history and traditions, geography and climate, population mix and language are other elements that influence culture. In the case of dress any dress can be Islamic as long as it complies with the requirement about modesty as emphasised in the Holy Quran. Muslims still do not have a clear idea about the term modesty. Extravagant display of one’s beauty is frowned upon in Islam. In fact that sort of display is not encouraged in any religion.
However, the dress one wears must be suitable to the climatic environment of one’s country. What is necessary in a hot desert environment is not suitable in a humid climatic environment like Sri Lanka. The cotton sari worn by Indian and Sri Lankan women for centuries with a piece of it covering the head is Islamic enough and satisfies the modesty requirement. The Pakistani shalwar with a shawl thrown over the head also satisfies Quranic expectation and climatically suitable.
I remember that in the ‘60s and ‘70s even Sinhalese and Tamil girls were wearing the shalwar to schools and work. But the abaya, niqab, and burka belong to another culture, history and environment. They are a product of a patriarchal society which treated the woman as a piece of property.The colour black, which was the colour of the Abbasids who succeeded the Umayyads in the 8th century, was chosen to mourn for the loss of members of the Prophet’s family killed by the Umayyads. It has now been misconstrued as the Islamic colour. Who are these people mourning for now?
Q:Modesty is equally emphasised in the Quran for men and women. Am I right? If so, in practice, why is it taken out of proportion for women, where it is a common sight in venues such as restaurants or outdoors to see fully covered women accompanied by men in shorts?
A:Modesty is both for men and women. I know several incidents where fully covered women have been unnecessarily put into embarrassing situations. This is unwanted and should be avoided.Only education can bring changes and that education has to come from the pulpit from more enlightened imams. Where are they in Sri Lanka?
Q:In basic social psychology it is clear that when a human being dresses covered up from head to toe, with only eyes visible, (and that too at times covered in net or cloth) that there can be no social interaction. In schools and universities this can lead to serious segregation and promotion of the ghetto mentality that is displayed by sections of the Muslim community of Sri Lanka. Do you think being covered up like this is actually a requirement of Islam which was at one point of history seen as being more progressive than Christianity?
A: In the name of a misunderstood identity, Muslims are getting isolated. This is a regrettable development since 1980s. There is also something unfair about the fully covered dress with a window for the eyes to see. While it allows the wearer to see clearly the full figure of a man in front of her, that opportunity is denied to the man in front to see the wearer’s face. Is this fair? There is a saying in Tamil to the effect that one’s face is the reflection of the beauty of one’s heart. That means those who cover their face actually are covering their heart. May be their heart is ugly.
Q:After your recent talk ‘Buddhist Compassion and Islam’s cosmopolitanism’, at the Walpola Rahula Institute on 15 May, you referred to a recent incident in a Tamil school in the East where one Muslim teacher insisted on dressing in the abaya. You took the side of argument of the Tamil teachers stating that the dominant culture of the school should be respected and that the ‘human rights argument’ was not valid in this context. As an observer, I would simplify your comments as meaning that in a multi cultural society there must be some compromise and give and take between communities, depending on the dominant culture of the district/community/location, etc. How would you elaborate on this and advice both Buddhists and Muslims on how to adjust their ideologies and beliefs and avoid rigid carved in stone mentalities. 
A: Tolerance and compromise are essential elements of successful democracies. If someone wants to join or work for an institution then that person should abide by the rules and regulations of that institution. If unwilling to do that one should not go there at all. It is this principle that was broken at that school in Trincomalee, which led to unwarranted accusations and insults. If you want to enter a mosque you should take off your shoes. You cannot enter with your shoes and then argue in terms of human rights.
Q: Soon after your recent talk you mentioned in the discussion that ensued, that the Sharia Law tells Muslims how to behave towards and live with religious groups that make up a minority populace but that it does not teach Muslims how to live as a minority community under a majority ethnic group. What are your recommendations and advice to the custodians of Islam (the Islamic clergy of Sri Lanka)?
A: What the clergy refers to as Sharia is the fiqh or rules and regulations derived from the Quran and Hadiths by Muslim Jurists who lived in the 8th and 9th centuries. They did an excellent job at that time. These rules fall into different schools of interpretation. What we have in Sri Lanka belong to the Safiite school of Islamic jurisprudence even though there is a small minority that follows other schools of jurisprudence. These rules were derived and prescribed for Muslims by Muslims when Muslims were a hegemonic power.
Today more than one-third of world Muslims live as minorities in more than 100 countries. Time and circumstances have changed and the laws need reforms. Muslim experts in the West are currently engaged in compiling a new set of fiqh to meet current challenges. This is a vast topic impossible to cover adequately in this answer. All I can say is this: There is hardly any Islamic religious scholar or religious institution in Sri Lanka today that is equipped with the vast knowledge which is required to reinterpret the holy texts to meet modern challenges.
Q: In the discussion that took place after your lecture at the Walpola Rahula Institute, I asked you a question on whether the Muslim clergy (as in the case of the Catholic Jesuits) are involved incomparative religious studies (for the cause of promoting similarities in religious philosophies and not for the cause of nitpicking and fault finding, as Salafi Islamic preacher Zakir Naik does) and you replied that under the current Wahabi–Salafi surge that there is ‘no chance of it’. Then, where do we begin? I ask this question in the backdrop of Saudi Arabia currently going on a ‘modernising’ spree and where interestingly some social media posts by Lankan Muslims criticise this move.
A: Comparative religious studies and analytical religious studies stopped in the Muslim world after the 12th century. The study of Kalam as it was known then came to a halt and it should be reintroduced. In a plural society like Sri Lanka, everyone should have an understanding of each other’s religion, not to belittle the others or to convert one to the other, but to create a harmonious relationship among believers of different religions. This should be introduced in our schools.
Q: So you think comparative religious philosophy should be incorporated into the Lankan school curricula and education on ethno religious lines abandoned?
A: This is imperative.
Q: Would you agree that it is important to study one’s own religious roots through other lenses (other than faith alone) such as history, anthropology, philosophy and psychology? 
A:This is a must. It was on that basis that the Muslim philosophers of the Abbasid era were able to provide rational explanations to the verses in the Quran.
Q: Islamic history is replete with poets who shone in their wisdom and mystical poetry where pure love equals the concept of God and beauty is spoken of as a pure wonder of God. Sadly this richpoetic legacy is not kept alive or promoted widely today.Your thoughts?
A:It is a strange irony in history of Islam that the entire poetic works of Rumi, Hafiz, Saadi, Nijami, Khayyam and many other Sufis are bubbling with beauty and divine romance, and the revolt of orthodoxy in the 12th century has killed this heritage. The Wahabi imams have even prohibited music. According to the Quran, Prophet David was given the gift of music. If God has given music as a gift to one of his prophets, who is man to prohibit it? What an irony?
Q: In attending many interesting public seminars held in Sri Lanka such those on Vedic philosophy/Buddhist philosophy, I have found the audience is mixed to include Sri Lankan Christians, Catholics, Buddhists and Hindus (including clergy members) but almost always (unless it is some specifically NGO funded event) Muslims are notable absentees. Could you comment?
A: This is unfortunate and adds further to the isolation of Muslims.Even secular Muslim scholars find it difficult to attract a Muslim audience when they want to speak on a mundane subject. To that extent the clergy has indoctrinated the Muslim masses with anti-secular teachings. This indoctrination has a long history for me to elaborate in full.
Q:You opined during your recent talk that ‘if one cannot live with a Sinhala Buddhist villager, one cannot live with anyone’. You referred to many humane qualities inherent in the Sinhalese villager. How do you think the situation has come to current state that there is a lot of hate against Muslims expressed by some Sinhalese Buddhists?
A: They can see a definite change in the external appearance of Muslim men and women which is confronting. To the ordinary villager something that is unordinary creates fear and suspicion. This is natural in any society.Why do we make ourselves the other” by unwanted changes? This is not intentional on the part of Muslims but an unintended consequence of mimicking features foreign to this country and its culture.
Q: Sufis and Malay Muslims are some of the Islamic communities in Sri Lanka that are struggling to keep their identity and beliefs amidst the Wahabi dominance that has asserted itself in this country. Sufism was once dominant in Sri Lanka and Sufi saints/poets/preachers who propagated universal love and wisdom based from the Quran have won much love and popularity across the world. Do you think that the philosophy of Sufism, which is seen as a pacifist branch of Islam as opposed to the current militant Islam, could ‘save the world’ so to speak?
A: Sufism is inclusive whereas Wahabi conservatism is exclusive. By condemning Sufism and destroying sufi shrines these conservatives have caused irreparable damage to a cosmopolitan civilisation. I will give you a simple example, which I observed while in Sri Lanka a few days ago. The mosque at Kataragama, which also has a sufi shrine, is neglected by the community while it has constructed ostentatious mosques in other places. Kataragama is a place where all religions meet and all worshippers gather. In addition, tourists from foreign countries also visit this place. Shouldn’t this mosque be kept beautiful and attractive?
Compare the beauty of the mosque and its shrine in Nagoor in Tamil Nadu, which attracts not only Muslim devotees but also Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and so on. I feel that either the Department of Muslim Religious Affairs or the Wakf Board should take over this mosque and manage it. Wahabism hates the Sufis and that explains the neglect of this shrine. This again is a vast topic for me to cover in this answer. While militant Islam, like militant Buddhism divides communities, Sufism like the true Dhamma unites them.
Q: You described yourself as a rationalist. Could you explain from the rationalist point of view the freedom for people not to believe in God (where their morals are dictated by rationale and conscience, which functions independently of religion)? I ask this in context where in some parts of the world people are lynched for even a vague questioning of what Islam expects people to believe although the actual reality is that the crux of religions such as Christianity and Islam is based more on the individual versions of Prophets across the Old Testament, the New Testament and also the Quran. Don’t you think it is intellectually normal for a person to question, if they wish,accounts of people down the ages who thought they were God or Son of God or Prophets of God? Where do you stand in the argument of rationality that allows people to question, debate or even debunk ‘religion’?
A:In the history of Muslims there were many who remained agnostics or atheists. Freedom of and from religion coexisted especially during the Abbasid rule from 750-1258.Some of the Mu’tazilite rationalists did not believe in God and God’s revelation. The Syrian blind poet Abu al-Ala Ahmad ibn Abd Allah al-M’aarri (973-1057) who in his ‘Risalat al Ghufran’ or A Divine Comedy, visits paradise and meets heathen poets who have found forgiveness. Ma’arri was a sceptic of religions. Here is one of the gems he wrote: Each generation of men follows another and turns the old lies into the new religion. Which generation was given the right path?” A statue of this poet remained proudly preserved in Syria until the ISIS murderers destroyed it.
Q: Across ages there has been hundreds of belief systems, many originally connected with animism. Reflecting philosophically, would you agree that these forms of ‘religions’ were far less harmful to society that the current ones, which functions mainly as political labels and are used by countries and communities to dominate, conquer or control human beings?
A:Animism, although less harmful to societies, was the product of a particular age when reason was not the supreme arbiter of human actions. This is why it died before the power of human reasoning.
Q:A person’s diet is generally based on the produce available in the country of birth. Christianity and Islam originated in arid, desert land where there was no abundant vegetation. Because of this lack of vegetation, meat eating was considered to be necessary and was interpreted as God giving man command over all other beings, to use them for consumption if necessary.Meat eating is however not really necessary in the Sri Lankan context and beef eating in particular is known to have caused a cultural gap between the Muslims and Christians vs. the Buddhists. This is a sensitive subject and I do not infer that all Buddhists are pure vegans or vegetarians or practicing ahimsa which should be towards all beings and not just select beings. But I nevertheless ask the question as to why we do not find many Muslims choosing the non violent path of diet in a country such as Sri Lanka when there are hundreds and hundreds of vegetables, grains and fruits to eat? (I would ask the same question from Christians, Catholics and Buddhists). 
A: Even among animals there are herbivorous, omnivorous and carnivorous creatures. So too among humans. Is one better than the other, I don’t know. I myself do not like beef but I prefer other meats. My problem with animal slaughter is the way the animals are treated in Sri Lanka. We do not have modern abattoirs. There is absolute cruelty to animals when dragged to the slaughterhouses. An island that is fertile and surrounded by the ocean should consume more vegetables and fish than meat. Why is this country not self-sufficient in the consumption of fish?

Currently there is a countrywide protest in Australia against live sheep export to the Middle East. Some of the videos showing animal cruelty in Muslim slaughterhouses that I saw made me join this protest movement. In a Buddhist society like Sri Lanka I agree that animal slaughter is abominable. However, when some Buddhists, themselves consume meat how can we prevent others from consuming it?