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International News Agencies blatantly promote Christian Agenda in Sri Lanka

The Director,
Yahoo! India News.
June 10, 2002

Sir,

Article of Wednesday, 5th June 2002. - Top Stories Yahoo! India News. Holy Heavyweights back Sri Lankan Peace Plan. Author Juliana Liu

As representative Buddhists of Sri Lanka, we take strong exception to the article with the contemptuous title referred to above. Adherents of the Catholic faith would be aghast if you had a screaming headline 'Knock-kneed Vicar of Christ thinks of quitting Papacy' even if there is substance to the claim.

The frivolity of your writers would not go so far as to needlessly offend a constituency with the kind of power and influence that global Christianity wields. It seems otherwise with respect to the Buddhists who are treated cavalierly by a world-wide journalistic establishment that finds Asiatic religion an ignoble backwater that can be treated with jocular disdain in those rare instances when something newsworthy happens.

You refer to the esteemed leaders of the Maha Sangha of Sri Lanka as 'Holy Heavyweights'. They are not 'holy' in the Christian sense of being suffused with an aura of sanctity attributable to a delegation of spiritual authority by a Higher Being. Nor are they in any meaningful sense 'heavyweights'.

The role they play is ritual, ceremonial and advisory even if it is conceded that politicians of all kinds do meet them as supplicants for their benediction and goodwill. The reprehensible canard that the Maha Sangha has 'Khomeni-style' powers to veto moves favoured by the lawfully elected government of the day is entirely an invention of the Christian-NGO establishment of Sri Lanka.

Equally tendentious and cunning in design is the widespread notion that the Maha Sangha is against 'peace' and that the failure to reach a settlement with the Tiger Terrorists is largely due to the insufferable contumacy of the Sangha of our country. These lies have wide currency and a fair share of the blame must be placed on carefree journalism of the kind favoured by Juliana Liu.

Not all have the discernment and the background to realise how these damaging pre-suppositions have given a deplorable slant to the reporting of an otherwise innocuous piece of news - a 'doctoring' that certainly does not redound to the good name of the Sangha at a time when our religion is regarded as an dispensable archaism by many with power and influence.

The opinion-makers you quote - Jehan Perera and Kethesh Loganathan - are in the vanguard of a Christian conspiratorial movement to crush Sinhala Nationalism in this country. Mr Jehan Perera is a noted Christian activist ( the Media Director of the Christian Church funded National Peace Council that acts as a fifth column and leading Christian cheer squad for the LTTE under the guise of ' peace' ) who, for long years, has battled relentlessly to champion the cause of the Tamil separatists. He has doggedly pursued an agenda that seeks to annul all claims of the Sinhala-Buddhists to territorial primacy in a land that has been theirs for over two thousand years.

Mr Loganathan belongs to an institution set up to tar-brush the historic claims of the Sinhala people. As a Tamil, he is in danger of being exterminated by the Tigers if he says anything sensible a sad fate that befell the boss of a similar 'think-tank' ( Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam ) a few years ago.

The fault lies not so much with these professional hacks as with the organisations that readily tout their opinion knowing full well that they do not represent the mainstream of public opinion in Sri Lanka.

Sinhala-Buddhist patriots or, for that matter, plain Sinhala-Buddhists - are never given a chance to voice their views by the dominant news gathering organisations of the world ( BBC, CNN, Reuters etc.). The correspondents of these organisations in Sri Lanka are, certainly, a diverse and mixed lot but we have no evidence that there are any Sinhala-Buddhists among them.

Their recitations follow a format that is beloved by their employers slanted reporting intermixed with faint ridicule of genuine Asian nationalism. Need we give an example?

R. Chandrasoma and others

Colombo


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