The end of humiliation
Posted on September 9th, 2009

C. Wijeyawickrema

A Frenchman’s burden

 Five hundred years of West European colonialism (white man’s burden) rested on a strategy of humiliation of the natives it conquered. This took place by way of both physical (guns) and psychological (primitives, barbarians, savages, infidels, idol worshippers and widow-burners who should be saved) means. Thus, the Portuguese came to Ceylon in 1505 with the Bible and the sword in the two hands. Pope Alexander divided the non-Christian world between Spain and Portugal (Treaty of Tordesillas-1494) to facilitate this task. In 2009 they come with evangelism and lots of dollar bills. The gun took a back seat except in certain selected targets (Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza Strip) and the more humane HR (R2P) weapon came to forefront. Amazingly the mission is the same. It is un-Christian and uncivilized to violate minority human rights!

Three patterns of Colonial expansion

            Colonialism covered the world as three-part process. (1) Europeanization of the world: European white ruling class went out in search of a sea route to India. East India companies and the Hudson Bay Company made lots of profits and killed thousands of natives in the name of civilizing (Christianizing) the barbarians/primitives. (2) Americanization of the world: The conquering of the native Indians in America was part of the domestic westward expansion of the new state called the USA. Even though the Native American was called the “Noble Savage” it was nothing but a colonial enterprise. Only after 1900, American politicians decided to have foreign real estate for their benefit. The Munroe Doctrine prevented Europeans whites interfering in South and Mid-American affairs, but the itch for new lands became real with the intervention in Cuban war against Spain and in the Philippine Islands. The two atomic bombs effectively ended Japanese plans and until the end of the Viet Nam war American suzerainty was unchallenged. (3) Russification of Asia: The Russian expansion in to the Central Asian Regions was the third land grab. This Russian occupation ended with the collapse of the Berlin Wall, resulting in several Islamic republics. Russia’s desire to have a warm water port in the Indian Ocean created the British Empire nervous and led to several Afghan wars which were costly and deadly. But the Englishmen used the Indian soldiers to fight these wars!

Remote controlled-colonialism

The three processes mentioned above created a World System known as Core-Periphery relations.  For Example, Colombo became the port linked to Liverpool exporting the island’s resources. Roads leading to Colombo were like drains taking the blood and the sweat of people. Beginning with India in 1947 white masters left this system of exploitation of colonies handing it over to local black-whites. Julius Nyerere (1922-99), the first president of Tanzania explained that the agents of white political-military establishments decided to grant “ƒ”¹…”political freedom’ to colonies so that they could run (control) these colonies without a corresponding responsibility. This strategy was possible because of the class of black-whites that the master carefully created. So the “ƒ”¹…”occupied-colonialism’ ended with “ƒ”¹…”remote-controlled colonialism.’  Still some white ambassadors found it necessary to get into local politics to provide moral support to local agents now appear as moderate concerned citizen groups, NGO peace mudalais or born-again retired civil servants.

Three faces (forces) of new colonialism

            On April 29, 2009 in Colombo three new forces of remote-controlled colonialism had a head on collision with Sri Lanka’s 2500-year old Sinhala-Buddhist heritage represented presently by the Mahinda Chinthanaya Program (MCP), which is still less than 4-years old. The three forces in combination project the same 500-year old humiliation strategy despite the fact that the mask is uncovered and the real game is exposed each time white European politicians try to apply it in the field. This is called the “double-standards.” The former white masters are not interested in the HR of their own masses (Katarina victims in New Orleans, slum-riots in Paris suburbs) or critical issues of health and welfare affecting the humanity in general (how come the same medication that costs five cents in Cuba is 100 dollars in USA?) (SICKO, the documentary film by Michael Moore) but HR of minority ethnic groups here and there (East Timor, Cypress, Kurds, Kosovo). Rather than serving world peace, they create instability which helps former colonial masters to make profit and sell weapons.

Three interrelated white European phenomena (currents)  at work are: (1) Clash of civilization thesis of Samuel Huntington (balkanize India plan), (2) Free market globalization (WTO plan to rob third world resources), and (3) Christianization of Asia in the 21st century as proposed by the Pope John Paul II, during his visit to India in November 1999 (Dollar-based Evangelism plan).   One by one, former colonies became aid-seeking sick economies, their black-white politicians begging at the gates of foreign embassies wearing three-piece suits. In turn white ambassadors got into local political games. The door of the mother Lanka was opened to foreigners and NGOs for any kind of use and abuse as if she was the proverbial kind-hearted woman (ref. Nanda Malini’s song, Mage nama lankaya). The Supreme Court decision reported today (June 4, 2009) to nullify the selling of the Insurance Corporation to a private shark in 2003 is the latest example of free market free play of freedom for the Colombo black-whites.

The last item receives at least indirect official approval by way of the annual International Religious Freedom Report of the U.S. State Department. How this policy is differs from the “ƒ”¹…”10/40 Window’ is an interesting question. Various evangelical groups have joined together to form the AD2000 movement, which seeks to make the gospel available to the world’s entire population by the year 2000. The 10/40 Window is the area of the world between 10 and 40 degrees north latitude, where other religions are dominant which therefore means that this area is spiritually impoverished. The Christian Information Network is now in charge of this project (Boundaries of faith: geographical perspectives on religious fundamentalism by Roger W. Stump, 2000, map on p. 224).        

Fake humanitarians

When their own countries are full of problems and HR problems why these white politicians are so concerned about Sri Lanka? On April 29, 2009, a French politician tried to “ƒ”¹…”humiliate’ the Sri Lankan government using “ƒ”¹…”HR’ as a weapon (Tamils taken hostage by Prabakaran in the NFZ should be saved from the army), (The Island editorial, “HR as a weapon” (5/27/2009). He argued that he did not mind even if Prabakaran (P) took him as a hostage in executing his “humanitarian” plan (ends do not justify the means). The defense secretary said he did not want this itch of a white politician to become an unnecessary headache for him in fulfilling his own burden of capturing P.  It is now clear that the white tiger plan (conspiracy) was to ship P and Co. out of the country in the name of getting the Tamil hostages released. This was the alternative strategy after the rejection of a white proposal that P and Co. be allowed to surrender to a third party. All level of P’s terrorist Co. flocked together in one place with a human shield of Tamils (minus P’s parents) so the sure rescue mission would become a piece of cake””‚world’s largest rescue operation of the cruelest terrorist outfit on the FBI list. Osama Bin Laden would have loved it!

Crocodile tears on behalf of Tamil IDPs

Why the entire terrorist leadership was annihilated when they wanted to surrender at the end is now a key HR issue. This is posed by countries that support water-boarding and shipping suspects to servile countries to do the dirty job of torture. If a person had to subject to 187 times of water-boarding that means it failed 186 times.  By humiliating two “fake” white humanitarians (Bernard Kouchner and David Miliband), the defense secretary set in motion a process which could mark the beginning of the end of humiliation of Sri Lanka by former colonial masters, aided and abetted by the local black white lobby. There is a great possibility that this process can spread to other former colonies facing humiliation on a daily basis.

Just like the last of the five great debates, the Great Panadura Debate in 1873 ended humiliation of Buddhism and Buddhists, the UNHRC debate at Geneva on May 27, 2009 could be the first of many debates (to be held in London, Ottawa, Berlin, New York and Oslo?) to defeat the humiliation game by a group of European white politicians against Sri Lanka. The aim of humiliation then was to erase Buddhism; the aim now is to destabilize the island and to thrive on that instability.

Crisis in capitalist democracy

             Why are a group of white politicians behaving like a deer dazzled by a bright head light or an ostrich hiding its head in the sand? Their double standards, their vain attempts to be duplicate Mother Theresas, their trying to solve world problems when HR and other problems in their own backyards are reaching the tipping point, are obvious to any reasonable person. The best way for politicians to survive or thrive is to take the attention of the innocent general public away from their daily sufferings to issues about the other people in distant lands. Their own crisis situation can be camouflaged by this method for the short time they know they can be in power. A new variable in this game is the voting blocks of diaspora Tamils in London, Toronto or Paris who make tenure of white politicians troublesome.

             The history of human society is a history of exploitation of people by a tiny fraction of elite class at the village or at the country or global level. Both Buddhism, and the early Christianity, supported ending this exploitation of man by man.  Frederick Engels wrote how in the textile factories in England pregnant women had to work standing in dust filled cramped areas until the day or the moment of child birth and then they were forced to come back to work  the next day or two after the delivery. Buddhist literature is full of evidence on egalitarian communal public property-based living as well as of capital and skill-based reasonable profit- making.  After the Roman general Constantine attributed his victory for the battle for the throne of Rome to the intervention of Jesus Christ and embraced Christianity in A.D. 312, militarism and political domination got entangled with the cause of Christ, the innocence of the original Christianity had changed to an unexpected level ever since (The politics of Jesus: rediscovering the true revolutionary nature of Jesus’ teachings and how they have been corrupted, Obery M. Hendricks, 2006, p. 87).

Colonialism combined colonial master with the local exploiting class. This system help create a world system of exploitation broadly known as the core-periphery exchange. Resources exploited from the colonies allowed a better life for the West European nations. With USA joining the club finally in the first decade of the 1900s and the Russian Revolution in 1917 as a colonial itch, colonial masters could engage in religious wars in Europe killing each other. Hypocrisy was everywhere. During WWII, USA went to protect democracy and human rights from Hitler using black soldiers who had practically no rights at home! This kind of contradiction did not prevent a highly effective military-industrial complex to project the value and success of a liberal democratic society. Hiding behind a Christian veil became politically profitable for U.S. presidents from the 1980s onward (Hendricks, chapters 5, 6 & 7).  But the end of Christianity and end of Christianity in America are topics propping up in the Newsweek (April 4, 2009) and the Time magazine (2008-ten religious topics).

End of history

The “end of history” thesis (Francis Fukuyama, 1989, 1992) provided a false sense of security to the white political establishment in western capitalist democracies. Fukuyama thought the end of the cold war with the collapse of the Berlin Wall signaled the triumph of free market-democratic capitalism. No more threat to capitalist democracy, hence no more history! The 9/11 tragedy marked the end of end of history talk and the beginning of an era of state-sponsored or state-opposed insurgencies disturbing and disrupting the  world peace and the American hegemony.

But nobody expected that a second end of history will come with the collapse of the Wall Street. The “government was the problem, not the answer” philosophy of Ronald Reagan (Margaret Thatcher, and JRJ in 1977) and the democratic capitalism of free market society promoted by the invisible hand thesis of Adam Smith in 1776 collapsed in 2008, making the white American voters to go wild and to elect a black president. Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank (central bank of America), the guardian-promoter of free market capitalism, confessed that he was wrong in his life-long faith in capitalism.

 End of plenty

 The end of plenty is an expression of the collective guilt of the failing American white political establishment of which American blacks had no significant role until Obama’s election. The end of plenty (the need for the American society to come out of wasteful use of resources and practice frugality) was the cover story of the Time magazine of April27, 2009.  The National Geographic also had an essay on the end of plenty in its June 2009 issue. The Time magazine (April 6, 2009) identified the second end of history (Wall Street collapse) as the End of Excess (of all kinds). For example, in the late 1970s 15% of Americans were obese, now it is 33%. Even in the poor man’s Sri Lanka 25-33% has diabetes after the free market economy lured them to shut the kitchen doors to save time for sexy tele-dramas in the living room! Capitalism can glue people to their televisions.

Lucrative HR business

             HR as a colonial weapon thrived with the help of an HR support industry located in white capital cities who found a profitable employment avenue at the expense of hoodwinking the common people in these countries. They started all kinds of index companies””‚failed states index, religious freedom index, happiness and welfare index””‚and HR watch companies. The R2P agency with an office in a university in New York City marks the zenith of their growth and power.  An idea of the level of profit-making can be gauged by the fact that in Sri Lanka one such agent gets a salary of million rupees a month plus money for six-figure wages for assistants and other perks.

Old rules of the game changed to fit the new profit-making needs of the former master. Thus, incidents of white diplomats interfering with local affairs was not some eccentric act of a lonely ambassador but a deliberate policy decision taken by the politicians in London, Paris, Berlin or Washington, D.C. as part of remote-controlled colonialism. When some white ambassadors join the ruling elites in Colombo to play Sri Lankan politics, the elite class””‚who also wear an assortment of masks as anti-Sinhala Buddhist chauvinists, anti-Jathaka Potha writers, anti-56 children, the re-enthronement of English lobby, the moderates, concerned citizens against Sinhalese triumphalism, pluralists, the Indian “F” federalists, 13-A plus crowd, APRC Marxists, peace-making NGOs, and some retired civil servants””‚loved it to death!

The world is flat

The study of colonialism as humiliation of non-whites escaped the attention of history graduates produced by the universities based on the colonial model. Those who claim to be historians recorded here and there historical incidents such as the humiliating reasons behind the Sepoy munity in India in 1857 or to teach a lesson massacre at Jallianwala Bagh (Amritsar) on April 13, 1919.  The late American Senator J. William Fulbright in his timeless contribution to the world and to his fellow Americans (I wish president Obama reads this book), The Arrogance of power (1966) records numerous incidents of humiliating other nations, especially, China when it was a sleeping giant. What Spanish soldiers did to Incas was barbarism. There were story topics like the scramble for Africa, King Leopold’s real estate in Congo etc. but they never interpreted humiliation as the oxygen of colonialism. Instead, people like the black African Archbishop Desmond Tutu made comments like “”‚when the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, “ƒ”¹…”Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.

The humiliation thesis came in to prominence with the book, “The World Is Flat” by Thomas Friedman (2005). He, like several other western writers (mostly journalists) understood the modern version of the old thesis of colonial humiliation. But he discussed it as if it were a new phenomenon hindering the progress of global trade which benefits the global class of elites.  He advocated a non-humiliating set up not just for world peace but also for the expansion of the numbers that can share the enlarging prosperity pie, for example, the rising middle class in India and China. Thus, Friedman writes about the negative impact of humiliation””‚how humiliation by the West created a whole generation of young Arabs hating America and the West, and willing to undertake suicide missions when Iraq replaced Palestine as the primary source region of volunteers.

Humiliation of Russia

In 1905 when Japan defeated Russia it was a matter of Asian pride against a white European power. In the 1990s the former Soviet Union faced a different kind of humiliation, in addition to the Russian debacle in Afghanistan. Experts on Russia discussed how the behavior of American politicians created a feeling of humiliation by the Russians after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. They think that the disintegrated new Russia is coming back with a vengeance against the NATO plans to reclaim its rights and its pride. In the case of Sri Lanka, history students, if history is still available as a subject (Can we eat history lobby?), should critically explore this thesis for a better understanding of the present impact of  Sri Lanka’s past. For example, from a humiliation perspective, otherwise neutral looking Crown Lands Ordinances confiscated Kandyan peasants’ lands, paved the way for tea estates to remove the forest cover, increasing soil erosion and silting, and  the poor Sri Lankans got the “ƒ”¹…”benefit’ of drinking tea made of tea dust. The BOP went to London. The infrastructure made to facilitate tea growing and profit making was called “ƒ”¹…”progress and development’ by the local black whites and the CCS cadre!

Vietnam War and wars in Afghanistan

             The defeat of western European white politicians at the UNHRC on May 27, 2009 can be compared to the humiliation the USA received at the end of the Vietnam War.  As an Island editorial calculated (Victory over diplomatic terrorism, 5/29/2009), 29 nations that stood by Sri Lanka represent about 4 billion people while the opposing countries are home to only 0.5 billion. It is reported that the vote at the Geneva HR Council was the first of its kind””‚rejection of Western Europe by others””‚since the end of the cold war. This could give a shot in the arm to the currently dormant Non-Alignment Movement with a history that can be traced back to a meeting in April 1955 by a group of 29 Asian and African leaders.

 Meeting humiliation with humiliation

           As a psychological strategy, there were all kinds of examples of natives trying counter-humiliation” of the west. It was once reported that the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin had a tent with an entrance down on the floor so that his guest, the Queen’s military general had to crawl on his knees to enter inside to meet with him.  But there were very few cases of outburst of genuine anger negatively affecting the psychological mood of the white colonial master. One such rare case happened on June 30, 1960 in the Belgian Congo. On that day, at the independence granting ceremony, Patrice Lumumba, the 35 year old new prime minister, who was impatiently listening on stage to the Belgian king’s long sermon (confession) on what Belgians did for the good of Congo, when his reply time was up, reminded the king, how Belgians exploited Congo and asked him to leave Congo ASAP. The king and his royal team left as angry men and women but Lumumba lost his premiership within 76 days. He was killed within a few months (Africa: a biography of the continent, John Reader, 1998, p. 657).

 A similar thing had happened to De Gaulle in 1958 when the French Guinea rejected De Gaulle’s plan for a new French community, and declared independence. All French aid was withdrawn and the new state had to obtain a loan from Ghana and to seek Russian help. This was not the case in Colombo, Ceylon on February 4, 1948, the birth day of either Sir Ivor Jennings or of Lord Soulbury’s wife. A group of brown people wearing clothe suitable for a winter month in London received “ƒ”¹…”independence.’ The king’s agent was so impressed by the speech given by SWRD. The significance of the May 2009 Sri Lankan incident lies in the fact that it was a clash between the Mahinda Chinthanaya Program on the one hand and three interrelated white European phenomena mentioned above in the first paragraph. Therefore, the final outcome could be similar to the outcome of the Great Panadura Debate in 1873.

     Buddhist revival as resistance to humiliation

            The Temperance Movement in the colonial Ceylon was an attempt to reject colonialism by peaceful means. But prior to that Buddhist monks in the coastal areas faced a different kind of humiliation. The locals who embraced Christianity for godliness or for goodness began to ridicule and insult Buddhism (and Buddhists) and they were frustrated and angry that there was no reaction from Buddhist monks. After so much agitation they finally got what they had asked for. Previously, James D’Alwis predicted that Buddhism will be dead in Ceylon in a few decades. But after the Great Panadura Debate in 1873, western editors in Colombo declared that the Christian groups had lost badly their long fight for dominance despite the support of the colonial government.

The white Buddhist

            The Buddhists found an American who was willing to help them in their struggle. Despite the subsequent disputes Ven. M. Gunanada and the Anagarika Dharmapala had with Col. Olcott, his landing in Galle in 1880 marked a historic break in the history of humiliation of the native Sinhala Buddhist (and Tamil Hindu) people of Ceylon. He was the first white man to take the side of the Sinhala Buddhists against the white ruler and the locals who converted to Christianity for perks. Yes, there was a situation when the colonial governor wanted to make Vesak a public holiday, the representative for the Sinhala people on the Legislative Council, a Christian, protesting against it!

            Anagarika Dharmapala took the counter-humiliation theory to new heights, by using it against the colonial masters as well as on the locals copying the master. Just like Gotabhaya Rajapakse, met humiliation by humiliation, Anagarika Dhramapala used humiliation to attack humiliation. He did this using a variety of methods. He called John Kotalawala, “Our John” because JK had a habit of physically assaulting white men who confronted him. He would ridicule those who wore a bended comb on their head calling them stupid bulls. He called the white man “para suddha.“ This had two meanings. When a judge questioned him why he insulted white men, he said the two words meant foreign white person, not a foreign devil. But villagers received a different meaning as in “para balla.” It did not mean a foreign dog. The worst method was his preaching to have an effigy of a white man in front of the house and hit it on a daily basis. 

Buddhist politics

 When he was president of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam, former science advisor, who has a Tamil-Muslim ancestry, said that Buddhism provides solution to world’s problems. The American professor Robert Thurman in his book, “Inner Revolution: life, liberty, and the pursuit of real happiness (1998, chapter 9: Hope for the Third millennium, the reunion of outer and inner) offers advice to American politicians on how Buddhist principles could be utilized to create a better America. This is what the late Buddhist philosophy Professor W. S. Karunaratne described as the internal and external revolution (Santhanagatha ha bahira viplavaya). An application of Buddhist politics in real world situation can be found in Sri Lanka under the Mahinda Chinthanaya Program.  It is not perfect but it works.

 White politicians who target Sri Lanka with the HR weapon have no idea””‚not even persons like the former U.S. President Carter or the black African Archbishop Tutu””‚that in a Buddhist society HR (rights of women, other religions, races) is only one item of AR, PR and NR (animals, plants and nature including rocks). For example, I have no doubt that Ms. Navanetham Pillay, Commissioner of UNHR has no idea about the Theri Gatha or about the Mahamevna, the first historically recorded botanical park in the world. This ignorance received further reinforcement from locals such as a retired foreign service man who identified Sri Lanka as the (not an) abusive state in the world in an Island news paper piece.  A group of Sri Lankan-born anthropology and history professors living in America over period of three or more decades created an impression among the western students and readers that in Sri Lanka there is Buddhist fundamentalism as if Buddhist monks are similar to religious fanatics in Israel, USA or Afghanistan. These students are now politicians and officers in government agencies, embassies and UN agencies and numerous NGOs.

 Seven Great Forces in Sri Lanka

 HR groups in the mostly corrupt UN system, created originally as a strategy to continue colonial grip on the poor countries in the world, have joined hands with an assortment of NGOs to break Sri Lanka into two pieces. It is shocking that they see an HR problem in ending a 33-year old conflict within three years. Do they not have other more important HR work in other places on earth? These entities with 99.9% Christian domination, have selected Sri Lanka as their target case.  They are puzzled by the success of Buddhist politics and Buddhist economics utilized in Sri Lanka since November 2005. This is a threat to their humiliation strategy.

Since 1948 Sri Lanka has had black-white politicians except perhaps, SWRD who had only so many months of real power. The Marxist created hell for him joined by the separatists and western agents. Due mostly to the efforts of a solitary monk, the late Ven. Gangodawila Soma, the spirit of the Five Great Forces of the 1956 fame was rekindled in November 2005 with a rural man elected as the president of the country despite all the obstacles he had to face. It was a miracle that he won the election. It was God Vishnu who saved the island.

The world paid lip service to Gandhi’s way of politics or even what Nelson Mandela was saying. Big is better, consumerism is good for the world, discard history, call your father by his first name; this is what new colonialism wants the world to go for. Sri Lanka has all the ingredients needed to rebel against this line of thinking and it has the leadership and forces in changing the system imposed upon it by the western masters and their lackeys in Colombo. The five forces now have a sixth force called the Rana Viru and the seventh force, those who live in foreign lands who received their free education in Sinhala and Tamil. While the change should take place inside Sri Lanka in thousands of villages, a new system of international relations should replace the old set up of Sri Lankan embassies aboard.  This is the gift Sri Lanka can offer to the world. In the past two small nations, Irish and Jews, contributed to world civilization. Similarly Sinahalese can help the world to come out of the mess it is now in. President Obama can benefit from studying the implementation of MCP in Sri Lanka since all the problems Sri Lanka is facing are also the problems USA is faced with today whether it is education, health care, crimes, drugs, prison overcrowding, pollution and general HR of citizens.

 C. Wijeyawickrema

[email protected]

2 Responses to “The end of humiliation”

  1. jana Says:

    Wonderful analysis.

  2. jay-ran Says:

    Highly true spirited annalysis of prevailing situation faced by Mother Lanka which is worth read by those CRITICS OF MCP thru anger and selfishness so that if they have an IOTA OF COMMONSENCE, WOULD TRY TO ADJUST THEIR MINSET TO SUPPORT MOTHERLANKA.

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