Parallels for Sinhala Buddhists from Brexit & the British
Posted on July 18th, 2016

Shenali D Waduge

 When the views of the majority populace of a country are ignored and they react after enduring with patience they cannot be ridiculed as being xenophobic & racist. Going against the established system manipulated and well controlled by a handful of people is not an easy task but 52% of the Brits showed the world that it was still possible. The Brexit vote shook the mental disposition of many who thought they could drive any liberal-theory home and people would buy in blindfolded. Brexit showed that even the poor and downtrodden still had power to change and change they did creating a domino effect across the entire European Union. The lesson for Sri Lanka and in particular the Sinhala Buddhists who find themselves being treated like a minority majority is that they too have the powers to change the established system. Prof. Scott Anthony perfectly sums up the status quo which Sinhala Buddhists will well agree with the actual people who voted for Brexit are precisely not the people who get invited to explain their reasons, especially to an international audience.”  This is the same case ailing the Sinhala Buddhist majority in Sri Lanka.

According to Prof. Scott, the British that voted to Leave the EU did so against the advice of the leaders of all the major British political parties, ignoring US President Barack Obama and EU leaders, as well as an international array of major businessmen, scientists and cultural figures. It was one of the first occasions that the people’s will came to the fore devoid of media and other manipulations. The Brits went against conventional wisdom. They refused to fall prey to the fear psychosis media and powerful others were repeatedly telling them.

Brexit has exposed the political, economic and social crisis that prevails and ushered a rebellion of sorts against the established systems.

Prof. Scotts analysis of what the Brits were fed & similar stories are being fed to the majority in Sri Lanka

  • Leaving EU would increase terrorism
  • Pensions and public services would be cut
  • World war 3 would start
  • Brits were creating national hara kiri
  • The Brits who were voting out were labelled ‘racist’ ‘xenophobic’
  • The Brits under 30 saw the  EU as a marker of cosmopolitan internationalism
  • The older generation of Brits saw the EU as propagators of a false, almost parochial kind of internationalism
  • Trade unionists blame the EU’s enforcement of regulations on freedom of movement and freedom of capital for pushing down wages and undermining full-time, secure employment.

There are common traits that the Sinhala Buddhists share with the Brits.

For both, the vote was a mark of protest. Brits that voted for Brexit and the Sinhala Buddhists in general are poor – their decision invariably was one based on the logic that the less you have, the less you had to lose in voting. The poorer the area the more likely they wanted to leave EU. There was nothing in it for them to really stay. The Brexit voters were of an older generation, the Sinhala Buddhists today disgusted with how the country is being sold for toffees are similarly of the older vintage able to understand the ramifications. The Brexit voters were also less-educated, living in the outskirts while Sinhala Buddhists who make up the majority vote base as well as provide the manpower for the armed forces that defend the nation and also the Buddhist clergy that also continue to keep the identity of the country alive were also poor, less educated and living in the outskirts.

While the Sinhala Buddhists do not have a Nigel Farage what is interesting is that Nigel Farage the leader of the UK Independent Party did not even win the parliamentary seat he was contesting at the 2015 May election. Yet he was able to muster the sentiments of what the majority of Brits felt so while a ‘wanted’ sign for a true Sinhala Buddhist leader still prevails there is hope that a man or even woman can emerge at the right hour representing the majority populace in Sri Lanka!

Another hopeful moment for the Sinhala Buddhists is how racially and religiously diverse areas like Birmingham, Nottingham and Leicester in fact voted to leave the EU. Then there is Barking and Dagenham in East London where less than half its population were half British and 62% voted to leave EU. Therefore all is not lost afterall. Nevertheless, Scotland that voted unanimously to remain in the EU is more like the Northern Province always following orders of India in whatever votes that take place.

Of course there are issues that the majority populace in Sri Lanka can connect with sharing the sentiments of the Brits

Billionaire Peter Hargreaves, says Brexit will push Britain to emulate Singapore.

“It was a mosquito-infested swamp with no natural resources…….All they had were people with brains and hands and they turned it into the greatest economy in the world. I believe that will happen to us, too.”

What the Brits and the majority in Sri Lanka do overwhelmingly share is the issue of demographic changes visibly frightening the Brits as a result of free flow of immigrants/asylum seekers and what not while the Sinhalese see the signing of the ETCA with India on a similar footing with Indians flooding into Sri Lanka. In both cases the fears are valid.

If Brexit voters felt that Britain was losing something very valuable to the powerful bureaucracy in Brussels, the majority in Sri Lanka are fearing the same with India eventually ruling over Sri Lanka.

If the Brexit voters feared the authority of Brussels to impose laws & regulations upon all EU members and free trade of goods and serves, free movement of people the same fears are what engulfs the people’s objections to signing ETCA with India.

Just as the majority in Sri Lanka are proud of and wishes to keep its heritage, culture and traditions without it being kept on par with cultures that have come later day and are trying to place their cultures and traditions above that of the majority, the Brits too began feeling the same. Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak has correctly pinned down how problems have been created ‘multiculturalism and political correctness’ is to blame.

In short, you just cannot put culturally diverse civilizations with different values and goals most of which aim to destroy historical identities of others, together and package it as multifaith, multi-religious etc. Ideologies that have hatred imbibed into their religious texts and teachings plus a plethora of new ideological schools of thoughts that are emerging as free-thinkers cannot harmonize with civilizations that are dharmic and nonviolent.

As Sri Lanka experienced with the hypocrisy of the ‘national government’ denying the franchise of the SLFP voters at the last election, the Brexit voters are now feeling that the UK MPs might do a U-Turn and find some way to avoid leaving the EU. Days after the Brexit result the possibility of this occurring looks a reality!

The Brexit voters has enabled the ignored lot to finally have their say which again is an inspiration to the majority in Sri Lanka. Political correctness has meant anyone questioning neo-liberal policies are branded a bigot or racist and silenced using the tool of global media and local lackeys. The inconvenient truth is always silenced. Brexit showed that there are plenty of possibilities to change the status quo. The vote in fact has shaken a lot of people who thought they could comfortably feed lies to people and fool them.

It is now time for the castigated majority in Sri Lanka to also rise and be heard.

Shenali D Waduge


6 Responses to “Parallels for Sinhala Buddhists from Brexit & the British”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    Very good comparison.

    This is why it is essential Sri Lankans are given a referenda on each Indian imposition (Indo-Lanka Peace Accord, 13A, ETCA and FTA).

    As with the case with Brexit, mainstream political parties support or don’t promise to abrogate Indo-Lanka Peace Accord, 13A, ETCA and FTA. People should vote for groups that fight against ETCA, not to the opposition that is silent on it apart from blaming only the UNP.

  2. anura seneviratna Says:

    Many thanks Shenali for your wonderful thought waves. During a general election people vote for the party conditioned by media who are influenced by traitorus, unrefined and corrupt party politicos plus bribes, threats to poor ordinary majority voters. And ballot rigging as a norm in SL. But in Britain so far this anomaly is not present, hence Brexit vote triumphed. A similar Referendum for a specific reason unlike the general election is apt for SL but the prevailing nefarious voter arm twisting ploy is a great threat for a true referendum result.

  3. plumblossom Says:

    Sri Lanka should tell the US that Sri Lanka cannot abide by the UNHRC resolution. The Sri Lankan Army did not commit any war crimes. It is the LTTE terrorists who committed war crimes throughout 26 years of war. No country with an ounce of self respect will place their army in harms way to be tried by a court domestic or hybrid of war crimes the army did not commit in anyway. If individual soldiers committed any crimes, a complaint can be placed in a court of law in Sri Lanka. Why is there a need for special judicial procedures? This government is a puppet of the US, EU, UK, Norway, Sweden, Canada and India and is so subservient to US interests that it is ready to try its own armed forces for crimes that the armed forces did not commit. All the while, the LTTE terrorists who committed war crimes are being shown as totally innocent. Using the ploy of wanting a new constitution which almost all Sri Lankans don’t want, this treacherous government is trying to create a separate state in the guise of a federal state as the TNA separatist terrorists and the US, EU, UK, Norway, Sweden, Canada and India wants. Sri Lanka should tell the US that Sri Lanka cannot abide by the UNHRC resolution. The worst that the US, UK, EU, Sweden, Norway and India can do is impose sanctions on Sri Lanka. So what? Sri Lanka can trade with all the countries of Asia and the rest of the world even if the US, UK, EU, Norway, Sweden and India imposes sanctions. Sri Lanka can grow rice, we have jack fruit, bananas, bread fruit and plenty of water too. So we will not starve just because the US, UK, EU, Sweden, Norway and India imposes sanctions. Also since we can trade with the powerful economies of Asia which includes the Middle East, South East Asia, South Asia, the Far East and Central Asia as well as the rest of the world, actually, we may be OK economically too despite any sanctions imposed by the US, EU, UK, Norway, Sweden, Canada and India. However by avoiding implementing the unjust UNHRC resolution, Sri Lanka will safeguard its independence and freedom which is the most important thing for the next thousands of years as we have safeguarded our independence and freedom for at least the last 2600 years and avoid the creation of a separate state or eelam in the guise of a federal state. So Sri Lanka must very urgently tell the US that we will not abide by the unjust UNHRC resolution but carry out our own domestic process of reconciliation as we see fit. Let the imperialist US impose sanctions. Nothing much will happen to our economy since we can trade with the powerful economies of Asia and the rest of the world instead but Sri Lanka would have preserved its independence and freedom for the next thousands of years and avoid the partition of the country and the creation of a separate state which will be Sri Lanka’s end.

  4. Sooriarachi Says:

    When the present regime even postponed the holding of elections to local government bodies, fearing they would lose, we have to be very optimistic to think they would hold a referendum on any contentious issue. We cannot compare Sri Lanka with Britain as Britain, when it comes to their internal affairs, respects the rule of law and its constitutional obligations, whereas the leaders of Sri Lanka cannot be trusted to do the same. We know how they sacked a sitting Chief Justice to re-appoint an impeached Chief justice; we saw how a Prime Minister was appointed, whilst there was a sitting Prime Minister; we saw how the Parliament was dissolved, to prevent the tabling of a report on the scandalous Central Bank Bond sale; we saw how defeated MPs were appointed to the positions reserved for those listed for these positions; we are seeing on a daily basis how politicians of the previous regime are being arrested or remanded on unproven charges, whilst ignoring major financial malpractices now happening. So can we have any confidence in that this regime would act according to the constitution?
    However true Shenali Waduge’s article is, the people of the country may not get that chance to express their wish through a referendum.

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    Great article Shenali, succinctly summarizing the parrallel similarities between the Britons who drove the Brexit and the Sinhala majority of Lanka who will soon engineer a Sri Lankan Exit.

    A deaf, dumb and blind Yamapalanaya goes it’s merry way oblivious to the deeply felt needs and the growing rumblings in the Sinhala majority.

    Soon, the Yamapalanaya that seeded the wind with treachery will reap the whirlwind of retribution when the Sinhala majority of Sri Lanka riseses up to regain control of their beloved Motherland.

  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    Sooriarachci makes some valid points, but elections and referendums can be brought about by massive public demonstrations and the fear they generate in incumbent MP’s, that they are sitting on the wrong side of the fence for their own survival.

    It is a source of continuous amazement to me how many politicos forget that they will be subjected to the same injustices that they inflict on others when they have even a minimal amount of power.

    Don’t they KNOW that what goes around will come around??

    Also, don’t they REALIZE that there are certain things … like winning the war, reunifying the nation, and ushering in an era of unprecedented prosperity …. that no one can argue away and hide forever??

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