BBS bashing
Posted on June 23rd, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala

Although we do not in any way approve of Bhikkhu Gnanasara’s agitated behavior and style of expressing his views, we do not dismiss his ideas. We strongly condemn the vilification of the whole Sangha community based on those incidents instead of investigating the truth or otherwise of the matters raised by him and applying appropriate remedies……”

  • Statement issued by the Karaka Sangha Sabha of the Asgiriye Chapter under the signature of Mahanayake of the chapter the Most Reverend Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thera on June 20, 2017

The name Galaboda-aththe Gnasara Thera” is synonymous with the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) organization. The terse authoritative Asgiriya Statement gives the object of the monk’s struggle unprecedented official recognition within the Maha Sangha (community). To date, it was the personality of the messenger that attracted much negative attention and comment from the world, obscuring the real issue that he passionately articulates. Now there is a chance for the message to be heard and acted upon. What matters is the truth and validity of the monk’s grievances and protests. Though his excitable personality is of only secondary importance, it provided inveterate BBS-bashers a convenient excuse to excoriate him and the organization he leads. With this virtual grant of imprimatur, which is largely his own achievement, Ven. Gnanasara stands vindicated, and cleared of the calumnies heaped upon him (and the BBS) by the likes of Ezeth Hussain.

The following was written on June 02, 2017, but remained unpublished. I touched it up a bit to make it up to date, and here it is being offered to Lankaweb readers. Though, like many, I do not endorse his outwardly aggressive, unconventional (‘patisothagami’ or ‘against the current’ as he claims trying to justify his method by deviating from the phrase’s real meaning of against humanity’s selfish desires”) mode of protest, I believe that he is bravely fighting to forestall a catastrophic  religious conflagration in the country, by revealing and extinguishing hidden sparks of trouble that are being kindled by a few extremists among the Christian and Muslim minorities. The fact that the narrow-minded power-hungry politicians of both the government and the Joint Opposition studiously but irresponsibly avoid making their stand known to the country regarding the very real problem that the BBS is at present demanding a solution for further vindicates Ven. Gnanasara. These are my personal views, politely submitted for critical examination by the discriminating reader who has the national interest at heart.

Ezeth Hussain (Israel, Islamophobia, and the question of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty”/The Island/May 27, 2017) tries to prop up the patently false argument that……. there was a serious erosion of sovereignty under the last Government. We have to be emphatic on this because the Opposition holds that the last Government was authentically nationalist whereas the present one is expected to sell the country to the West. The truth, the horrible truth, is that it was the last Government that acquiesced in, connived at, and virtually supported a very serious erosion of our sovereignty. We refer to the Islamophobic hate campaign of the BBS. It was quite evidently well funded, supposedly by Norwegian Christian fundamentalist groups”. Elsewhere in the same article Hussain states that, during the last government, the BBS …… were acting as proxies for Israel”. Ven. Galaboda-aththe Gnanasara Thera, the General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena organization, has repeatedly denied any such connection with either Norway or Israel as alleged by his detractors. In both countries faith-based religious orthodoxy reigns, unlike in Sri Lanka. They don’t look kindly on Buddhism. I believe the monk is telling the truth.

Hussain makes the same farcical allegations against the BBS in a later article in The Island (June 1, 2017, ‘BBS – farce of tragedy or both?’), and true to his warped imagination, attributes to the Buddhist organization what he calls ‘blood-lust’. Where the term ‘blood-lust’ may be meaningfully applied is well known to all and needs no reiteration here. In any case, the raising of such charges against Buddhist monks by a prejudiced individual will be tolerated by compassionate Buddhists who know better. Ezeth Hussain also talks about the ‘Wirathu gang’ of Myanmar. Though the Myanmar monk is also only peacefully reacting, as a reluctant last resort, to the depredations of some fundamentalist Islamists from among the so-called ‘Rohingiya’ Muslim community, Bangladeshi (pre-1972 Indian) immigrants, in his 88% Buddhist to 4.3% Muslim country, he too has been demonized by the ‘international’ media pandering to Western nations pursuing their geopolitical interests at the expense of the rest of the world.

We need not go to great lengths to demolish Hussain’s consciously false charges against the BBS. No sane person, here or abroad, friend or foe of Sri Lanka, would deny that the war winning previous government that called the LTTE’s bluff reasserted Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and national dignity, both of which had been seriously compromised by the UNP, the major partner of the present yahapalana regime, through its policy of slavishly following the dictates of the West and India, and  of appeasing the Tamil separatist sympathizers.  Most readers, it is certain, know very well by now who to blame for the erosion of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.  Hussain tries vainly to add weight to his frivolous assertion by saying: We have to be emphatic on this because the Opposition holds that the last Government was authentically nationalist whereas the present one is expected to sell the country to the West”. Where is this formidable ‘Opposition’ that he clearly wants to inflate? Isn’t it the acquiescent opposition comprising the TNA and the JVP whose combined strength is only 22 members? Hussain doesn’t even register the JO’s presence, which, with its 51 members forms the real opposition. It is not that his recognition matters to the JO. We are sure that his deliberate lies against the peaceful legitimate activism of Buddhist monks launched after years, nay decades, of restraint could contribute towards leading the country to hell on earth.

IAt the same time, Hussain is wrong to charge that the present government is expected to sell the country to the West”. It is only leasing out or is going to lease out the country’s assets including large portions of arable land for long periods of time such as 99 year terms, which of course is tantamount to outright sale as far as the present generations are concerned. Don’t India and China also feature in the government’s clearly spelled out economic policy, which heavily depends on attracting foreign capital investment?  The lessees are not only from the West; they are from the East as well. Right or wrong, that is the economic policy of the present elected government. If that policy is not popular, and if the government refuses to change it despite its unpopularity, then the people have the democratic right to change the government when the time comes for elections. Unlike losses caused by wrong economic policies, what the monks of the BBS and others are warning of is a loss that will be irrecoverable for ever.

Hussain writes: The truth, the horrible truth, is that it was the last Government that acquiesced in, connived at, and virtually supported a very serious erosion of our sovereignty. We refer to the Islamophobic hate campaign of the BBS”. What he asserts about the BBS is  funny. Why should our sovereignty suffer simply because, as alleged by Hussain, the last  government  ‘acquiesced in, connived at, and virtually supported…… the so-called ‘Islamophobic hate campaign of the BBS’? The truth is that none of these things happened under the previous government. Quite the opposite happened: the previous government, like the present  one, did not take any action to investigate the activities of a fundamentalist Islamic sect against which the BBS was agitating nonviolently, though in a loud voice.  Its activists have often argued that the violence attributed to the BBS was not the work of that organization. However, they warn that though the BBS monks do not commit acts of violence themselves, the young people around them, however peaceful they are, could be provoked by extremist Islamic troublemakers; some of these Muslims can even get into a yellow robe to assume the guise of a monk, and indulge in questionable behavior  so as to falsely incriminate Buddhist monks. We could see a video of such an incident circulating in the internet a few months ago. Thorough investigation of alleged incidents like that with a view to apprehending the miscreants is the only way to deal with them.

Most average citizens still depend on the traditional print and electronic media sources for information, which are at present as free as we all know. True information about the doings of religious fundamentalists targeting Sinhalese Buddhists and their ancient sacred places and authentic news about the monks of the BBS and others who criticize them are considered too sensitive to be made freely available in these desperate times of persistent efforts at reconciliation between still not exactly estranged communities.

The BBS is only about five years old. But the problem that led to its emergence has a history of at least forty-five years. Of course, the onslaught of Christianity on the established indigenous Buddhist religious system or dispensation (Buddhasasana) began in the early 16th century. But even by the time of independence in the mid 20th century, only about six percent (6%) of the population had converted to Christianity despite intense missionary work under the auspices of the imperial government. The form of Islam that came to be traditional here did not enjoy the same government patronage then. Its impact on Buddhists was negligible in terms of proselytizing activity. Sufism is the form of the Muslim religion traditionally professed here.

But things started changing in the last quarter of the 20th century. The fundamentalist Wahab version of Islam is the official religion of Saudi Arabia, where it originated. With the desert kingdom suddenly becoming a super rich nation in the wake of the 1973-74 Arab Oil Embargo imposed on oil hungry America in retaliation to its support for Israel, it began its religious expansionism by exporting its extremist Wahabism to other countries. It is said that the ISIS organization is inspired by this form of Islam. Wahabism has made inroads in Sri Lanka, too. The Wahabis hate Sufis. There have been internecine clashes between them, which were definitely more violent than those falsely linked to the BBS. In order that Hussain be persuaded to stop spreading venom among peaceful communities through his malicious anti-Buddhist propaganda, he is kindly directed to read the well researched article: The Wahhabi Invasion of Sri Lanka” by Stephen Schwartz and Irfan Al-Alawi” (FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share), which had been first published elsewhere in 2012.

3 Responses to “BBS bashing”

  1. Senerath Says:

    We must than Rohana for writing the TRUTH.
    By silencing Ganansara Thero invasive forces of so called ISALM will eat up the whole country in less than 25 years. When did we have a Sinhala Mayor for Colombo ? It is hightime authorities demark the Colombo city limits or carry out development work at Maligawatte to evict Jihadist settlement and make our capital to have a Sinhala Mayor.
    Asgiriya and Malwatte too should now take up the batton from Ganasara Thero.

  2. ranjit Says:

    You are very correct Senarath “we need a Sinhala mayor in the city of Colombo not a Muslim or any other. Colombo city has become a Muslim city already. It cannot be like that way. Sinhalaya treats everybody alike but not Muslims. They are always for themselves. Look around the country and see what is happening. Muslim communities spread like ants. They have the right as citizens to live anywhere in the country but their intentions are evil. Their demands are evil. Their statements are provocative. The whole world had a problem with Muslims. Sinhalaya should stay alert and awake because of the dangerous situation we are going to face from minority conspiracies and interference from western countries and Indian parasites. We have a failed state at the moment with ruling elite acting like a military junta. We need thousands of Galaboda aththo to fight against this evil. I like his style and actions. At last somebody heard his voice. I hope Maha Sanga will now act to take our Motherland on the correct path and bring peace and prosperity to our beloved Motherland.

  3. SA Kumar Says:

    It remind me once Amirthaligam said , Sinhales do not know how to live together or separate to live.
    Not you know why we call you ….

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