Privileged Channels – How the ‘International Community’ turned against the Sinhala-Buddhists of Sri Lanka.

R Chandrasoma

It is an undeniable (and blatant) fact that foreigners view the ‘war against terrorism’ in Sri Lanka in a strangely distorting glass. They see the survivalist maneuvers of a state ravaged from within as an offense against civilized norms of good governance. Meanwhile these very folk are vehement in their denunciation of terrorism in other parts of the world. Why this singular asymmetry in the reaction to a phenomenon that has has no species distinctions? A Tamil Tiger blowing up a civilian bus is surely the soul-mate of an Arab suicide-bomber in a Bagdad or Kandahar. Despite the very evident truth of this, the latter (the Semitic killer) is rightfully condemned while the Tamil insurgent is exonerated through a clever redefinition of the status of the killer.

The explanatory thesis I wish to advance is as follows – Foreigners (be they British, French, German, US or Japanese) have privileged channels of communication. They do not speak the native language and know very little of the culture and history of Sri Lanka.They make no attempt to interact with the hoi polloi to assess the true mood of the autochthons of this embattled Island.

How, then, do they frame attitudes and form opinions on the subject of interracial relations in this troubled country? Friends, they are privileged in that there are traitorous whisperers in high places who pour into their willing ears a dastardly biased version of what is happening in Sri Lanka.

Who are these whisperers?. Must we not include Former Presidents, a notorious Prime Minister, sometime Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ministers of Sundry Description in jaunts and peregrinations overseas, high-flying Diplomats who are supposed to ‘lie’ for the good of our country but who shamelessly betray us, NGO-Wallahs of the academic kind and last - but not least – the haters of Sri Lanka dispersed around the world. It is not difficult to reconstruct the general trend of the ‘advice’ given to foreigners by these betrayers.

Given below is plausible scenario in which our ‘leaders’ speak to inquisitive foreigners -

‘Madam President – do you not recognized the idiocy of using arms against an aggrieved minority population demanding the selfsame rights that your majority constituency enjoys?

‘I am deeply concerned and I recognize their right to bear arms in a righteous struggle.’
‘What, then, is the problem?’

‘The problem is the Sinhala-Buddhist majority. Their chauvinism and their refusal to share power is the root cause of our trouble’.

‘Prime Minister, (not the current holder of this office but the notorious signer of an infamous pact) do you not see that the way forward is to make peace with Prabhakaran and to set up the autonomous territory of Eelam?’

‘I am all for this radical resolution of this problem. But the notorious JVP and that dastardly Buddhist front called the JHU are thwarting my best efforts. The problem is not Prabhakaran – it is majoritarian extremism that is the chief problem.’

‘Foreign Minister (the recent turncoat), there is a resurgence of fighting under the new political dispensation. I thought you were a Christian pacifist. Must you not end it and turn in the direction of peace?.

‘Alas, we are politicians, not ethicists. The vulgar Sinhala-Buddhist mob will destroy us if we suddenly change direction. The international community must bear with us at this trying moment in history’.

‘Dr X ( the leaned man who spends the greater part of his time defending the Tamil Tigers and is well paid for his trouble) is it not your duty to inform and guide the masses on the new thinking regarding statehood? That a nation must be accountable to a brotherhood of civilized states?

‘The political dialectic in Sri Lanka presents unusual difficulties and such a construal of the responsibilities of governorship will surely rouse the ire of the Sinhala majority. Note that the latter are wedded to a hegemonic ideology based on a false history. As long as this mythic history is culturally entrenched, there cannot be a reconcilliation with the Tamils. It is not by open assault that the Sinhala extremists can be defeated – a long-term program of cultural subversion is the most effective means of diminishing the hauteur of this obdurate and backward majority. This is exactly what we are doing. You must help us to whittle away the power of this obstreperous group.’

‘Ambassador (or High Commissioner), you are an educated man. Do you, in all honesty and conscientiousness, believe that the Sinhala majority has the right to use force to safeguard its primacy in governance? Do you not believe in multiculturalism?’

‘Actually, I am all for consensual governance and multiculturalism. Unfortunately, after the great Post Colonial Revival of Sinhala-Buddhism, certain forces are unlocked that cannot now be easily contained. These forces stand in the way of doing justice to the Tamils.’

Dear reader, this dialogue is fictitious, but does it not reflect the views of an elite that has, over the years, been so desperately anti-national and cunningly duplicitous? An elite that constituted the eyes and ears of the meddling foreigner? Are we, then, surprised at the outcome – the damnation of the Sinhala people of Sri Lanka as backward racists?

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