You are wrong Mr. Foreign Minister – Majority Sinhalese Buddhists are very much affected by the Buddha Gaya Bombings
– by Shenali D. Waduge –
The Minister of Foreign Affairs quite casually answering the Opposition Leader on the floor of the Sri Lankan Parliament when questioned about the situation following the serial explosions in Buddha Gaya the heart of the World’s Buddhists had only a very curt response to conclude that Sri Lankans are not affected by the bomb.
Sinhalese Kings right down from King Devanampiyatissa venerated Buddha Gaya and that continued through the 180 kings who ruled Sri Lanka.
The Buddhists of Sri Lanka would like to tell the Foreign Minister that we are very upset and saddened by the fact that the place the Buddhists of the World regard as their Holiest Place was the target of extremists attack. Whether Sri Lankans were hurt or not hurt is immaterial to the feeling of dismay and shock that everyone of the over 14million Sinhala Buddhists witnessed over the mainstream media following over 9 bombs 3 of which did not explode one of which was aimed at creating the same fate as fell upon the Bamiyan Buddha.
Whilst we are not the least surprised by the manner the Foreign Minister treats Buddhism or Buddhists (given that he has come from the back door with a history of treacherous agreements to question his credibility) he is clearly seen by the manner he subtly omitted Article 9 (a place given to Buddhism since King Devanampiyatissa and which even the British agreed to) in his 2000 draft constitution and the fact that he refuses to open a Buddhist desk or to even inquire after a fellow Theravada Buddhist Nation – Myanmar and not even considering a Fact-Finding Mission to Myanmar initiated by Sri Lanka.
A TRUE BUDDHIST would not have made such a statement that the Foreign Minister did and we regard his statement no different to the NO Statement that has yet to come from the UN Secretary General or even UNESCO given that Buddha Gaya is a UNESCO world heritage site.
The Minister does not seem to realize that every politician running for President is elected by the majority Buddhist vote and so long as Article 9 is enshrined in the Constitution, the place of Buddhism cannot be diluted. If he personally does not wish to submit to it he is welcome to resign without using his portfolio to undermine the status of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Buddhists have done no harm to any religion and it is as a result of the actions of such selfish power hungry and prestige driven politicians by way of creating issues that the country is continuously saddled with problems.
The Buddhists of Sri Lanka expects that the Foreign Minister continue to keep a close tab on the investigations and appraise the Sri Lankan public daily on the results and findings. That should not be too much to ask.
We suffered 30 years because a handful of people who followed a policy of “unwinnable war” and as a result thousands of brave soldiers and civilians perished. We will no longer be ready to allow the same set of people to ruin the country again.
We are very well aware that the threats to the Buddhist world are very much prevalent and we do not expect these unwinnable war proponents to court another enemy to roost inside Sri Lanka who will end up a far more formidable force than the LTTE.