– by Shenali Waduge –
Mass media have a power far more than Governments to tilt public opinion to their line of thinking using a plethora of modes at both international and local levels with a dangerous ability to make mountains out of molehills. The scope of their manipulation is phenomenal and profit driven. Humans are sensitive to emotional blackmail and fall victim to either mind conditioning or the human weakness of money and power. Media stands guilty of portraying situations in worse scenarios for its own gains and is largely accountable for creating tense situations in a country. Sri Lanka is currently facing a combination of these onslaughts. Media can create “victims” and then engage in efforts to slander the target, a combined effort with external forces. Balanced content is nil. Sanity is what is required to sieve the lies from the truth. The current issue is the projection of Sinhalese Buddhists or Buddhist Sinhalese as “racists” – let us see how fair or truthful this is.
When news media control what we see, hear, think, learn and know – it is a dangerous situation. “You know very well, and the stupid Americans know equally well, that we control their government, irrespective of who sits in the White House. You see, I know it and you know it that no American president can be in a position to challenge us even if we do the unthinkable. What can they (Americans) do to us? We control congress, we control the media, we control show biz, and we control everything in America. In America you can criticize God, but you can’t criticize Israel…” Israeli spokeswoman, Tzipora Menache,. This is because 6 Jewish companies control 96% of the world’s media.
The situation in Sri Lanka
There is a proud history that the Sinhela race should not feel shy about which secularism and liberals cannot simply write off, undermine, laugh at or legislatively remove simply because it does not conform to their ideology. Nevertheless, the growing tension is that an increasing lobby is galvanizing the theory that the majority is discriminating the minorities. A lot of effort is been given to shape this theory into acceptance.
Historical evidence cannot be ignored. The prehistoric settlement in Sri Lanka is proved in the discovery of the oldest human found in Pathirajawela in deep South of Sri Lanka who had lived 20,000 years before the Neanderthal inhabited earth. Pathirajawela also exposed a flake and stone tool industry belonging to 125,000 to 75,000 BCE. The 2nd oldest human was found in Bundala again in the deep South. The 3rd oldest Lankan human was found in Fa-Hien the largest natural cave in South Asia known as Pahiyangala which can accommodate over 3000 humans. From 123,000 BCE it was in 546 BC that the Sivu-Hela (Simhala which became Sinhela) tribes of Yaksha, Naga, Deva and Raksha tribes lived. This was the origins of the civilization of the hela people (Sinhela) far before the arrival of King Vijaya in 543BC. http://www.srilankaheritages.
Sri Lanka’s history is chronicled from 5th century BC led by Sinhalese Buddhist kings. There were invasions and incursions of Cholas and Pandyas but these were defeated. Elara (235 BC – 161 BC) ruled in Anuradhapura more or less as a Sinhalese kingdom. There is no Tamil archeological evidence to prove that a long standing Tamil civilization existed in Sri Lanka.
The Muslims in Sri Lanka have different origins. A vast majority of them have their origins in South India which explains why they spoke and still speak Tamil. Muslims that settled in Sri Lanka never had a linguistic connection to Arabs and began settling in Sri Lanka only after the 10th century.
The Dutch brought the Vellalas from South India for tobacco cultivation in the 1700s while the British brought the Indian Tamils as plantation workers in 1800s because the Sinhalese refused to work as coolies in tea plantations that were originally land belonging to the Kandyan peasantry but grabbed from them under the draconian Waste Land Ordinance which was enacted in 1840. Under this law all lands for which there was no proof of ownership or possession were regarded as waste land or Crown land. Vast acreage was thus grabbed by the British Colonial Govt. without taking into consideration the customary ownership rights of the Kandyan people. This bred dissatisfaction among the Kandyan people which was the major cause for the 1848 rebellion.
Of late, the media has become a platform to denigrate the Sinhalese and ridicule Buddhism. As an example a pro-Christian website run by exiled local journalists paid from foreign funds publishes everything that serves this objective. Its article headings over the past few weeks clearly show their bias: “Bhikku brigade”, “Buddhist Taliban”, “Attack on Muslims”, “Extremists BBS Majoritarian virus”, “Hamuruduwane Booruwane”, “Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism”, “bigotry of SinhalaBuddhism”, “haunted by the Mahawansa”, … the labels that Sinhalese Buddhists have been tagged with that media enthusiastically promotes are many. It is a gross violation of ethics of Journalism.
Before writing off the Sinhalese Buddhists and believing every word that transpires over the media it is necessary to engage in a content analysis of all the English language newspapers in this country. It is evident that the main feature writers are more or less the same in all the newspapers and saying the same things over and over again and media gives only space for them and it is their views that monopolize what people are made to read and form their opinion upon. There is no room or opportunity extended for alternate views.
The objective is always to make the readers believe that the Sinhalese Buddhists are the cause of all the ills, the source of all the trouble and disharmony between races and religions, and that their numbers in the country (70%) prevent adequate space to minorities from exercising their rights. This is realistically far from the truth.
Who are the real minorities?
On a broadsheet the minorities statistically in religious terms are Hindus, Islam, Christians while ethnically the minorities will be the Tamils, Muslims and Burghers. Yet, in reality when we take the capital Colombo it is these minority ethnic groups and the minority religions that rule – they control much of the commercial sector, they have a monopoly over the wholesale trade, they hold prime immovable property in greater Colombo and form the greater composition of elite in terms of the monetary power they hold. It is for these primary reasons that politicians end up gravitating towards them, for power and money are fatal attractions. It is through these influences that a lot of unwarranted and irregularities have taken place often bypassing customary laws.
What have the minorities not been given in Sri Lanka? Do Buddhists have these privileges in other nations as minorities themselves? Do Muslims not have 3 public holidays, do Christians not have 2 public holidays plus 52 Sundays for Sabbath? While Hindus have 3 public holidays. Places of worship for all religions abound in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka issues stamps in honor of all the faiths every year – which is unique and sets Sri Lanka apart from all the countries in the world. Not a single Muslim or Christian country has issued a stamp in honor of Buddha.
Are the minorities not given recognition in the national flag? Is it not on account of the unmonitored freedoms that we are faced with a situation of conversions to the Abrahamic religions and unnumbered groups of faith healers all over the island spreading the “Word”?
Let’s be candid. The ever vociferous Christian promoters of “freedom of religion” slogans cry “freedom” so long as they can inflict their religious beliefs on others. Sri Lanka has not forgotten the work of Catholic Action and the secret societies that continue to prevail when India’s own media is owned by various Church bodies there is little surprise at how media is slowly getting India to self-Balkanize India.
The truth is that the role of Sinhalese Buddhists are confined to only bringing politicians to power and these politicians end up deserting the voters that voted them to power. That is the sad reality.
Buddhists have reacted to these rapidly developing scenarios that they have identified as similar to those brewing in other parts of the world. These potential threats to Buddhists and Buddhism in Sri Lanka have been clearly articulated but media has purposely blocked giving publicity to the fears and warnings of future trouble expressed by the Buddhists.
§ In a population of under 50,000 why should 42 mosques emerge in Kattankudy alone? Is this fair and justifiable? The visible rise in the proliferation of mosques is said to be 5000 throughout the island where the Muslim population is just 1.6million.
§ Should there not be a moratorium on establishing any more mosques?
§ Is it wrong for people to object to use of loudspeakers at Mosques that purposely project outward causing noise pollution beginning early in the morning at 4.30 a.m. disturbing the sleep of non – Muslims in the neighbourhood who are forced to listen to the sounds of Islam against their will? Especially when the Government has given a radio channel for people to listen to azan – no media gives space to opinion calling for the enforcement of the Supreme Court interim order given in 2007 which clearly hold that use of loudspeakers is not a fundamental right but the right to silence is! Instead anyone bringing this argument is labeled an anti-Muslim. How correct is this?
§ When halal method of animal slaughter is banned in other nations and Muslims do not object why is it that in Sri Lanka media jumps to say that any opposition to the barbaric killing through slitting of throats and allowing an innocent and defenseless animal bleed to death slowly, is violation of religious cum human rights?
§ Is the advocacy for rights of animals no longer accepted in a country that for over a period of two millennium protected animals from man’s inhumanity under the benign rule of Buddhist Kings?
Should people coming from Abrahamic religious backgrounds be allowed to have the last word on how this country should preserve and protect animals and see to their welfare through appropriate legislative reform?
Is it wrong for Buddhists to object to animal sacrifice when the founder of the religion Gauthama the Buddha vehemently condemned it as an evil practice and Sinhalese Buddhist Kings prohibited Animal Sacrifice in their Kingdoms following Buddhist injunctions against such practice until the fall of the Kandyan Kingdom in 1815?
Is it wrong for Buddhists of Sri Lanka to object to a takaran shed developing into a Muslim Shrine in Anurdhapura that Buddhists consider their most sacred city when it is right for the Pope and the Catholic Church to claim the Vatican as the Holy City for Catholics, and Mecca as the Holy Land for Muslims where non-Muslims are prohibited from entering? Has the media ever balanced this side of the argument?
When it was clear that the halal certificate and logo on every consumer item being purchased was something illegal and extortion was taking place why has this aspect not got media attention except to convey the impression that the Sinhalese were objecting to Muslims and creating an anti-Muslim story to sell the world ?. Why did the media not speculate as to the sudden demand for halal labels when purchase of foods and items without halal certificates/logos had taken place for centuries – moreover with GMOs which are legally not to be tested before release to market what is the guaranteed that foods we eat have not been crossed with pigs? So much of food-modification is taking place around us all to the profit of the food industry.
When nations are banning burqa’s and niqabs and citing the reasons of unnecessary segregation disuniting people why is it when similar sentiments are expressed in Sri Lanka the media goes to town to again project the notion of anti-Muslim.
When evidence is given of the disregard and disrespect for Buddhist cultural heritage why does that not get media attention? When Sinhalese object to Muslim encroachment of traditional Sinhala Buddhist temple land and demolition of historic sites and archeological remains why does the media project it as anti-Muslim and encourage articles that tow that line of thinking only?
There are enough of sensible arguments and articles available by people who have handled both sides of the issue in order for people to realize the need to balance things and more importantly for people to realize that incursions of the present nature are that which is creating the divides. Should the media not be highlighting the incursions and encourage people to not overstep their boundaries?
In a majority Buddhist country why has no English media dedicated an editorial to the plight of the Bangladeshi Buddhists, the anti-Buddhist happenings in Maldives, or Myanmar who are trying to protect their Buddhist nation from Islamic fundamentalists who have been smuggled via Bangladesh over the years?
Do all these liberals and Human Rights proponents and the minorities simply want the Sinhalese Buddhists to silently watch the take over of a nation that they have defended over centuries? Can they not understand that it is the Abrahamic religious “take over” that the Buddhists fear?
Are the Buddhists only good enough to be sacrificed by the LTTE so that all others can live safely? Was it not 99.9% of the Sinhalese Buddhist soldiers that died in defending the nation and is it not why the people do not want a similar instance where another lot of Sinhala Buddhists may end up in graves?
Given that 74% Sinhalese Buddhists are difficult to annihilate we realize the foreign driven multipronged efforts to break up the foundations of Buddhist nationalism being the last line of defense. This is what Myanmar is currently facing in a fierce competition between the two major Abrahamic faiths for world domination through control of the world’s people and territories.
Do people seriously think that the Sinhalese Buddhists would create situations where it is they who will end up dying?
In reality is it not the Sinhalese Buddhists who are in real terms in the minority? As against 77million Tamils – 72million Tamils who live in Tamil Nadu alone the world has only 14.8million Sinhalese (of which less than 300,000 are Sinhalese Christians). Efforts must be made to protect the Sinhalese Buddhists as an indigenous species on account of the language and the ethnicity of the Sinhalese being spoken only in Sri Lanka.
Religious Freedoms worldwide
Studies show that in a Muslim-majority nation there is a high level of government restrictions. Ironically, in these very Muslim nations Muslims themselves are often the victims of religious intolerance. It’s a battle over what type of Shariah law should be enacted, or who holds the reins of power in government – as Islam and its practice rests on the leaders that call the shots.
Afghanistan – an Islamic Republic….The sacred religion of Islam shall be the religion of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan….No law shall contravene the tenets and provisions of the holy religion of Islam in Afghanistan
Argentina – Article 2 of the Constitution of Argentina reads: “The Federal Government supports the Roman Catholic Apostolic religion.” Article 14 guarantees all the inhabitants of the Nation the right “to profess freely their religion.”
Canada – In most parts of Canada there is a Catholic education system alongside the secular “public” education system. They all run on Catholic principles and include religious activities and instruction as a matter of course. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is entrenched in the Constitution, states in the preamble that Canada “is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.”
Denmark – Section 4 in the Constitution of Denmark: “The Evangelical Lutheran Church shall be the Established Church of Denmark, and, as such, it shall be supported by the State.”
Finland – National churches of Finland, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the Finnish Orthodox Church have a status protected by law. The special legal position of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is also codified in the constitution of Finland.
Malaysia – Islam is the official state religion and the Constitution of Malaysia provides for limited freedom of religion, notably placing control upon the ‘propagation’ of religion other than Islam to Muslims
Saudi Arabia – Islamic theocratic monarchy in which Islam is the official religion; the law requires that all Saudi citizens be Muslims
Turkey – 99.0% of the Turkish population is Muslim of whom a majority belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. The constitution explicitly states that they cannot become involved in the political process (by forming a religious party. No party can claim that it represents a form of religious belief. Turkey, like France, prohibits by law the wearing of religious headcover and theo-political symbolic garments for both genders in government buildings, schools, and universities.
United Kingdom (UK) – provisions of the Act of Settlement 1701 which ensures that no Catholic shall ever be the monarch of the United Kingdom, nor shall they be married to one. Religious education is mandated in state schools based on a syllabus reflecting the country’s Christian traditions. Britain is a predominantly Christian country with two established, the Church of England (COE), the mother church of the Anglican Communion and state church in England and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The Church of Scotland is Presbyterian while the Church of England is Anglican (Episcopalian). The former is a national church guaranteed by law to be separate from the state, while the latter is a state-established church and any major changes to doctrine, liturgy, or structure must have parliamentary approval.
Maldives – the supposed paradise for over 60,000 tourists annually are given arrival cards giving lists of prohibited items (materials contrary to Islam). Saudi Arabia and Maldives both 100% Muslim nations. The 2008 constitution adopted states “non-Muslim may not become a citizen of the Maldives”. In Maldives too the Wahhabi Islamic pattern is increasing. Women in the early 1990s did not wear the black burqa and men with long beards – but that is now seen increasing. Many say that these attire changes come with an exchange of remunerations both cash and kind!
Iran’s constitution recognizes 4 religions whose status is formally protected – Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
In Egypt, a 2006 judgement by the Supreme Administrative Council demarcated recognized religions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism) and other religious beliefs – other religious affiliations were prohibited which means they including Bahai’s are denied rights of citizenship in their country – they cannot obtain ID cards, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage or divorce certificates, passports, they cannot be employed, educated, treated in public hospitals or vote!!!
As far as religious freedoms go when it is forbidden for Muslims to convert from Islam to another religion Islam encourages conversions of non-Muslims to Islam. When the Vatican speaks of freedom of religion, equality of faiths – the Vatican will not consider ever putting a non-Catholic structure inside the Vatican City – where is the logic?
Let’s look at the laws in some of these countries.
In France and Belgium students in state schools and government workers cannot wear “conspicuous religious symbols” – forbids Islamic headscarf, Sikh turban, large Christian crosses, Jewish yarmulke. Both countries ban people from publicly wearing full-face veils. France also forbids people from wearing any headgear in official identity document photos. The body covering burqa and face-covering niqabs in public was banned unanimously in France in April 2011 claiming 6.5million Muslims were not integrating into French society – the fine is €150 ($215). Those that force others to cover their faces will be subject to a fine of €30,000 ($43,000) and a year in jail. Human Rights Watch claims that the burqa and niqab do not constitute a religious practices sanctioned or prescribed by Islam but is only a cultural practice. The new law was introduced because French voters are becoming worried that the Muslim minority is building a parallel society in France which was why France claims multiculturalism is a failure.
Switzerland, Netherlands and other EU states are debating similar prohibitions.
In some Swiss and German states Islamic dress restrictions exist for teachers.
The restrictions that are rising across the world and especially Europe are due to 2 main reasons : historical and demographic. Western Europe has a history of monolithic state religion and secularism was included as a mere monoculture. No one can deny that Norway treats their official churches as vestigial organs and they would not give that same place to any other religion whatever demands are made. The other factor that the world is now beginning to take serious note of is the rise in the Muslim population which go hand in hand with Islam and visible rise in their anti-secular behaviors and actions drawing rise in public sentiments forcing Western European parliamentarians to review the prevailing situation.
What goes without saying and as the European Court of Human Rights has rightly declared is that religious freedom is a right but not an absolute one. Where an individual’s religious observance impinges on the rights of others some restrictions have to be made. In Sri Lanka our Media refuse to highlight this aspect.
In summary, a very interesting comment on a website by a Tamil Christian (using the name Lorenzo) is being shared to convey the above in very simple terms.
Being a Tamil Christian, I believe Sri Lanka is a SINHALA BUDDHIST country.
Let’s play a game.
1. Show me where is Tamil Hindu country?
Tamil Nadu. Good.
2. Show me a English Anglican country?
3. Show me a Hindi Hindu country?
4. Show me an Islamic Arabic country?
5. Now show me the Sinhala Buddhist country?
It is now called Sri Lanka. Correct name Sinhela.
Did God Jesus Christ visit Sri Lanka? NO.
Did Prophet Mohammad visit Sri Lanka? NO.
Did Krishna visit Sri Lanka? NO. (Rama did visit Sri Lanka but to destroy it.)
Did Buddha visit Sri Lanka? Oh! Yes!
So it is a Buddhist country. Sri Lanka is the ONLY country Buddha visited BY CHOICE. He was in Nepal/India so he had no choice there. But the moment he got a choice, where did he visit? Sri Lanka
So this is why Sri Lanka is the Sinhala Buddhist country.
But some foolish Sinhala Buddhists have out of GENEROSITY given up their claims. So all the cats and dogs have started to claim it as theirs.
If you still don’t believe it let me explain from the Bible – Wise King Solomon.
Once upon a time there was a very wise king by the name Solomon
He was the king, army commander, the judge and the jury and the parliament. Somewhat like MR.
One day 2 women came to him claiming ONE baby as theirs. 2 mothers, 1 baby!
King asked, “Yako, whose son is this?”
MINE! Screamed both women.
Then the king asked, “$%^#*@(, whose son is this?”
MINE! Screamed both women.
hmmmm…thought the wise king. He ordered a soldier to cut the baby into half and give each half to each woman. Then ONE woman came to the baby’s rescue and stopped the king. She begged to spare the baby.
So the king found the OWNER of the baby!
And he hacked the other FAKE woman to death.
When Norway, UK, India, USA, UNHRC, LTTE, PLOTE, IPKF, Tamil MODA-RATES, etc. tried to CUT SL into halves, who came forward to defend it?
(Well VERY few of them DID come forward UNDER the leadership of real owners).
Sinhalese. YES. Like the REAL mother of that baby, Sinhalese came forward to defend their baby – Sri Lanka
That establishes who the REAL OWNER of Sri Lanka is.
(I know we are not as wise as King Solomon, but we are enough intelligent to get it, aren’t we?)