Canines and the moving caravan
Posted on April 14th, 2020

By Rohana R. Wasala

This article was partly inspired by Orpheus Perera’s commendable writeup under the title ‘Open letter from the Chinese embassy to the Editor of the Wijaya Newspaper’/Posted April 11, though my subject is not the same as his. As Perera’s article suggests, there are more plausible explanations of the actual origin of the novel Coronavirus than what the West-controlled media want us to believe. At the moment the Chinese government appears to be playing it cool (perhaps because they know, and want to show, that they are blameless), while trying to combat and contain the unexpected COVID-19 outbreak and its fallout in and outside China. Dr Palitha Kohona, our former UN Ambassador, described how the Americans tried to prematurely pin the label of perpetrator on China in an informative article published here in Lankaweb a month or so ago. The Americans’ apparent prescience was a clear giveaway on their part. Neutral websites are awash with factual articles that direct suspicion in the same direction. The Canadian Global Research – The Centre for Research on Globalization has already published a number of papers on the subject. We have also enjoyed reading a few interesting contributions dealing with the subject from some fellow Lankaweb writers. 

On a different note, Perera’s mention of a so-called faith healer named ‘Digana Kumara’ deserves a comment too. The fellow must be the same person known elsewhere as ‘Deegala Kumara’, not Digana Kumara, unless the latter is another potential religious crook of the same kind or an alias for the former. I think Deegala Kumara was reportedly in police custody over the incident involving the bread allergic child brought to him for faith healing. There were You Tube videos of this man’s faith healing gatherings attended by unimaginably large crowds of  patients, who were overwhelmingly Buddhists as could be guessed (nominal, no doubt). Of course, the videos could be spliced ones of unrelated masses of people like election rallies, meant to exaggerate the numbers. But, again, DK’s videos may be showing authentic numbers, considering the largeness of the bovine population among Sri Lanka’s rural Buddhists; their participation in such unbuddhistic rituals is a disgrace to their Buddhist identity; these idiots who are mesmerized by mere talk will be more vulnerable to the non-viral non-bacterial mad cow disease than to Corona. Plainly the mass meetings, in tone and substance, are non-Buddhist events, while nevertheless externally exhibiting Buddhist symbols like the multicoloured Buddhist flag, and the picture of the lotus, which are actually misappropriated by the organizers as decorative camouflage. There is no faith healing in Buddhism. Of course, there are charlatans who claim to effect cures through occult powers, but these are not offered as Buddhist practices.  It looks like that there is some well funded evangelical movement behind this superstition vendor’s activities. He keeps the venues of the meetings secret. It is up to young You Tubers to expose hypocrites like this. There is another very musical evangelical preacher/stalker who suddenly exclaims ‘Jesus is the Supreme Truth’ in the middle of his speeches to large crowds of mostly Buddhists with yellow robed men in the guise of Buddhist monks on the stage (which is reassuring to the largely gullible audiences). He affirms or asserts his personal religious belief among Buddhists thus maybe because of his implicit faith in Buddhist tolerance. But it is no compliment to Buddhist tolerance, but really an affront. This man might do the same in front of an Hindu audience without mishap. But he must ask himself if he’d dare wear his religious heart on his sleeve before non-Buddhist (or non-Hindu) audience. 

Probably, in answer to the well known characterization of Buddhism as a wholesome practical ethical philosophy that agrees with modern scientific thinking and as an antidote to the evil of religion, the very idea of religion being rejected as delusion, superstition in the Buddhist teaching, this sly zealot has lately begun, tongue in cheek, to denounce religion (!) as I heard him doing in a video interview recently. It is no harm if he shares his wisdom with people in public speaking engagements for which he gets paid as probably he is a professional in the field. But his proselytizing zeal should not transgress the borders of others’ religious spaces. It is possible that he justifies his tresspasses as aimed at religious reconciliation. However, religious reconciliation is an attractive but ultimately meaningless slogan; striving for so-called religious reconciliation is not an actual necessity, because, there has to date been no discernible enmity among people of different religions in Sri Lanka, where the extremely tolerant and accommodating Buddhist and Hindu religious cultures dominate, except for the deliberate irritation or provocation caused to some young Buddhist monks by the outrageous invasive activities of a handful of religious extremists associated with, but not representative of, the two traditionall mainstream Christian and Muslim communities. The tragic reality is, though, that the moment the monks point out these atrocious acts of aggression with documentary evidence and firsthand accounts of  witnesses from among traditional Christians and Muslims themselves who have suffered at the hands of those fanatics, the monks are misinterpreted and attacked as intolerant mischief makers, thugs, racists, xenophobes, etc. The way the outspoken Bodu Bala Sena leader Ven G. Gnanasara was treated by the previous regime was despicable to say the least. An allegedly large contingent of armed police on the instructions of the now virtually disgraced former IGP Pujith Jayasundara tried to intercept the monk and arrest him like an escaping bandit or terrorist or murderer around 10 o’clock at night oneday when he was returning to his monastery tired and exhausted after a busy day having participated in a series of religious events; only the enraged intervention of the passing-by drivers and local residents prevented the police from arresting him there and then (to befit the rogue image falsely and criminally attributed to this upright monk by the religious fanatics and minority racists that he angered by opposing them. (There was, at that time, a You Tube video of this incident from which I gathered this information years ago; even then I was living abroad). No main party politician in or out of power, has ever uttered a word in support of this monk’s genuine dedication to his extremely legitimate cause – protecting the country and the Buddha Sasana from religious fanatics and vandals – except for Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (who was not a politician) when he was Secretary of Defence. GR, engrossed with countless responsibilities on his shoulders as the live wire between the political leadership and the military during the decisive final phase of the war on separatist terrorism, first shouted at him and drove him away, as the monk claimed only recently, when he went to see him once with his complaints. But, later he relented and listened to him patiently; he understood the justness of the monk’s previous outbursts, and even implemented lawful practical solutions (e.g., removal of unauthorized structures from the Kuragala archaeological Buddhist site in the Balangoda area. Lawless enemies and political opportunists fabricated stories about a secret liaison of a political nature between the monk and Gotabhaya. This was in order to undermine the pre-2015 Rajapaksa administration. There was not an iota of truth in those stories, but they did a lot of unimaginable damage to the country, facilitating, among other evils, the growth of  unprovoked Islamic terrorism that culminated in the devastating Easter Sunday suicide bomb blasts on April 21 last year (2019) that left over 270 dead and 500+ injured, some grievously. Towards the end of the former Rajapaksa government, Gotabhaya had promised Ven. Gnanasara that he’d fix the Islamic extremist problem within three months (which would have involved nothing more than the fearless assertion of the country’s laws in the relevant context), when the unexpected exit of that triumphant administration in January 2015 was engineered by local reactionary forces in collusion with global geopolitical meddlers. 

The Corona outbreak seems to have given these treacherous elements new hope and the gumption to think of rekindling the doused fires of minority racial and religious extremism against the nationalist camp. There is an FB video of a group of militant sounding Muslim activists called ‘Safeguarding the rights of Muslims in Sri Lanka’, which must have drawn the attention of the security forces. Its threats are too openly menacing to be ignored. What about the stockpiles of knives and swords hidden in mosques discovered in searches conducted after the Easter bombings (as shown in TV newcasts over a few days following the atrocity? Remember how the then army commander made light of these unheard of hauls of knives and swords, some of them freshly imported from somewhere (China?), claiming that he himself had four or five swords at his house, something not likely to be true? Did the Sinhalese  make any unnecessary noise about these lethal weapons (whose potential target was not difficult to guess in the circumstances, leaving it to the security and law enforcement authorities to deal with whatever was amiss if that was the case? Some Buddha statues were vandalized by some young Muslims in Mawanella, but Buddhists did not take the law into their hands against them. A secret hoard of weapons believed to belong to a suspected Islamic terror outfit was discovered by police in an abandoned coconut estate in Wanathawilluwa in the Puttalam district, before last April attacks, but nothing apparently was done about the discovery. The bombings took place. The foreign NGOs and media were unpleasantly surprised when it was found that it was not the work of Buddhists. Groups of shocked citizens, the majority of them Buddhists queued up to donate blood, and to help injured survivors and bereaved families. This haphazard catalogue of  atrocities that didn’t provoke any retaliatory violence from the constantly slandered Buddhists is to show that this long tradition of Buddhist bashing is very unfair. Even the scattered incidents that took place elsewhere than where the Islamic attacks took place, that too about a month after those incidents, were found to have been the work of mischief makers brought from other areas just to try and implicate Buddhists in violent incidents against Muslims; as those miscreants were strangers to the area they just targeted the houses and business places of both communities indiscriminately. The victimization of Buddhists wherever there was violence usually went unremarked or unreported by the biased media. 

This is because the Sinhalese who have an unbroken spiritual tradition with a recorded history of over two thousand three hundred years are nevertheless a global minority with few friends around the world. They are therefore obliged to fall back on their own defences and ensure their survival themselves. It will be a constant struggle for ensuring the survival of our distinct  race ennobled by the heroic deeds of our ancestors of yore, our unique linguistic heritage, our Buddhist spiritual tradition, our inalienable motherland of countless millennia. Sinhalese Buddhists, as a patriotic Buddhist monk said recently, stop living in their country as if they were mere boarders there, but as its owners, which they really are. When the Sinhalese Buddhists flourish, the racial and religious minority communities sharing the same land and the same resources in perfect harmony and goodwill ensured by the most humane and inclusive Buddhist culture will automatically flourish too. Asserting this historical reality should not be identified as racism. There cannot be a Sri Lankan nation without due recognition being given to this fact. It is only when the citizens are inspired by this nationalist fervour that they make sacrifices in the name of the country in critical situations, be they outbreaks of terrorist violence or global pandemics like what we are going through at this moment.  

Now, the Buddhist monks who are always roundly condemned for their alleged violence do not, in reality, try to grab land or anything else belonging to others; they don’t mean to convert people of other faiths; they do not discriminate against anyone on the grounds of religion or race when they come to them for help in any critical situation. Yet, monk bashing has become a tradition in Buddhist majority Sri Lanka today; nay, it is a long standing tradition that is now intensifying, because ‘the worm has turned.’ This must stop.  All Sri Lankans have a responsibility to look into their genuine grievances if any and implement remedies as appropriate within the framework of one country, one state, and one law. The same must apply to the minority racial and religious communities as well without any discrimination. All Sri Lankans remaining as one nation is the only way we can survive as an independent sovereign country. What would be the situation today in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic if the country had been divided into nine provincial administrations each with separate land and police powers? Unless the non-racist, non-fanatical, absolutely democratic nationalist camp that comprises the sensible Sri Lankans belonging to all communities win the next general election and form a stable government with Gotabhaya as the executive president and become able to reinforce its unitary status as an independent sovereign state, the majority community will remain in the doldrums for the foreseeable future, but are bound to rebound with might and main, sooner or later, sooner than later. The caravan that is the inclusive accommodating cosmopolitan Sinhale nation will move on though dogs bark.

One Response to “Canines and the moving caravan”

  1. dingiri bandara Says:

    Praying gives comfort to those who believe in it. Like the sugar pills placebo effect, faith can some times help psychologically, Other than that it does not cure any any diseases or pandemics. If these bogus healers can cure diseases, we do not need medical doctors or any medical staff or hospitals. If the all powerful and the omnipresent can cure diseases, these diseases would not have been started.If praying can cure, in countries like Italy , Spain where the Catholics pray all the time and Iran where they pray five times a day, the situation would not have been so dire.
    One can pray as much one wants but need to change their behaviour. Stop extreme greed,stop over consumption, stop the pollution of the see, waterways, air and treat their fellow humans ,animals and and this wonderful world kindly. If there is fresh air to breathe and clean water to drink, people will get less sick.
    The sad part is, so far none of the world religious leader have come forward to tell their followers that first of all people need to change their behavior for the better, but what I hear is most of the telling them to only to pray.

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