| by Nilantha Ilangamuwa
Directions and instructions are determinations of action which have an influence upon a number of minor circumstances too numerous and unimportant for general laws.
– Carl von Clausewitz
( April 04, 2012, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) A new chapter of politics is emerging in Sri Lanka after the UN resolution adopted at the 19th session of the UNHRC in Geneva. As this writer pointed out last week, it was a new dawn for the Island Nation to move forward in terms of real reconciliation, if the government would genuinely facilitate the restoration of the rule of law in the country. However, it seems the mindset of the ruling party is preventing any serious recognition and action of the basis of the UN Resolution. The Government may dismiss the opportunities presented by the UN Resolution but it cannot ignore the internal need to understand the real political spectrum. If we are concerned about the current confusing circumstances, it seems even worse for those within the government as there seems to be no one within the ruling party who knows what kind of plans the Government has in mind to improve its governance. As per the current trend someone first issues a statement; then someone else rejects it and describes it as not necessarily reflecting the view of the government but rather his or her own personal views.
Meanwhile, President Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) warned when he was addressing the AbhimanMatha felicitation ceremony organized by the Ananda Maithree National School, Balangoda, that there is no need for explanations from outsiders regarding how the regime has to protect human rights ( HR) , but the country’s long history itself proves it while claiming that certain Western elements were trying to snatch the ownership of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Report which is the government’s own initiative. ‘They are forcing us to put into action those very recommendations contained in the LLRC Report’, the President claimed.
“We have followed human rights for over 2,500 years from time we embraced Buddhism. Those who have limited human rights in their countries are trying to teach us about human rights. We have protected human rights in a proper manner and it should be questioned as to who are violating human rights,” he said. (Daily News, 02.April.2012)
“We are on the way to development after three decades of war. We should pay more attention on the development of children along with the country’s development. We should never make them face the same problems we are confronted with today. We should create an independent and beautiful country for our next generation,” the President stated. (Ibid)
The sound is shrill, perhaps the ideas that he has expressed show reflections of political disguise. But the reality is totally different from those fictional ideas. In other words, what the government still does not appear to understand is that facts are very often stranger than fiction. His reference to Buddhism as the base is quite laughable when we call to mind the political-socio reality in the country where threats to life, harassments kidnapping, abduction, torture and extrajudicial killings have become a part of daily life in our society. It was just last week that a brother in law, of a Minister of the ruling party was abducted and dumped on the road side after the armed gang received two calls from an “unknown” power. After the incident one victim is reported to have thanked the Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa for saving his life while no one knows what happened to other person who was in the same vehicle, struggling for his life due to torture by the armed gang. Is the Government going to answer to the people who have lost their fathers and sons due to the white van syndrome which is strongly believed to be conducted by the state agencies?
It was end of last week that four army personnel attempted to force the Tamil speaking wife of JVP dissident group Jana Aragalaya Movement member and activist Kugan Muruganathan, who has gone missing, to sign a document in Sinhala, which she could not understand. This happened on March 23, around 4 p.m. following this several persons clad in civilian clothes were seen monitoring Kugan’s house from the street, as per media reports. Both Kugan Muruganathan and Lalith Kumar Weeraraj were abducted on December 9, 2011, while both of them were preparing for a press conference to be held on 10 December, World Human Rights Day. Up to now no one knows what happened to those victims and the Government is also suspected of foul play. So, while President Rajapaksa is happy to say that his respect for human rights comes from Sri Lanka’s 2,500 year-old history of Buddhism, is this how our President shows his desire to respect and to protect human rights?
Not only Buddhism, but all religions in Sri Lanka have today become tools of political discrimination, and symbols of dissimulated selfishness. Religion has been used to minimize the free space of faith by the people eventually to be taken over by the regime technically manipulating every aspect of society. The ownership of religions has been damaged through bribes and corrupt, underhandedness, prurience and unlawful gangs who decorate themselves as “politicians” despite claiming to abide by the basic rule of freedom of society. Accepting this cynically manipulated micro path as freedom would lead us to the darkness of stupidity.
Real norms and basic principalities of Buddhism were assassinated by politicians centuries ago not only in Sri Lanka, but in India where Buddhism was born. But unlike in Sri Lanka, there were a few dedicated people outside Sri Lanka who contributed to protecting the real meaning of Buddhism, that is still living at least between pages of history. Our concerns about the present situation in Sri Lanka, overlaps the idea expressed by Aravind Adiga in his famous novel, The white Tiger.
Here is what the author told us about Buddhism in his village which is in darkness: ‘. …… comes from the village of Laxmangarh, in the district of Gaya. This is a famous district – world famous, Your nation’s history has been shaped by my district, Mr. Jiabao. Surely you’ve heard of Bodh Gaya – the town where the Lord Buddha sat under a tree and found his enlightenment and started Buddhism, which then spread to the whole world, including China – and where is it, but right here in my home district! Just a few miles from Laxmangarh.’ (The white Tiger – page 12)
I wonder if the Buddha walked through Laxmangarh — some people say he did. My own feeling is that he ran through it — as fast as he could — and got to other side — and never looked back!(Ibid).
The meaning of Buddhism is social reform based on equality and fraternity; the Lord Buddha would never stand above justice. But what we are seeing today while claiming Buddhism as state’s religion is completely different from the real, and they are assassinating the real meaning of social theory for reform born thousands years ago.
The President says that the government should pay more attention to the development of children along with the country’s development. But it was last week that the media reported quoting the Police spokesman Mr. Ajith Rohana that there is no one has been arrested over the abduction of an 11-year-old school student of Vishaka Vidyalaya in Colombo. The question is how the president can give assurance to the children, when the police haven’t strength to bring to justice criminals who abduct Children in broad daylight. It was just beginning of last year that media reports stated that one of police officer forced a disabled rape victim to accept Rs. 10, 000 ( 80 US$) in settlement. It is widely believed that the policing system in Sri Lanka has lost its capabilities and reputation due to political interference.
It is not only policing system but rather most of institutions of the country that have become dysfunctional. This again confirms the level of loss of reputation of the education ministry. It was reported by the media, how the results of the G. C. E. advanced level exam were terribly muddled up, and that even the G C E ordinary level exam results released few days ago had been bungled on a monumental scale by the regime by trying to find solutions to problems according to its own whims and fancies, to avoid responsibility.
W. Pagngnarathane Thero of Sri DharmodayaVihara who sat the G C E ord. level exam this year in Sinhala language has received the results of a Tamil student, reports say. This Thero had sat the exam under index No. 10030492 in the Sinhala medium. The result he received is that of a candidate Glasensia Evangeline Irudhiyaraj under his index Number. Another Tamil student, Arasaratnam Dayalani St. John residing at St. John Dilari , Norwood who had received a most unexpected result had committed suicide in acute disappointment . It is believed that this tragedy is because of erroneous results. The President is swearing about the strength of human rights and development of the Children, while the country is facing serious situations like this.
As I quoted earlier, the president has sworn that the country has protected human rights for over 2,500, years unlike other countries. The common understanding from this is that the president is trying to move to refuse the LLRC’s recommendations and justify the actions the government is taking to crackdown on dissidents. But eventually the people are left with the burden of the cost of this political agony and sincere stupidity. The present political context in Sri Lanka is a prime example for an idea arises by Jose Rizal of Philippines centuries ago, “no good water comes from a muddy spring. No sweet fruit comes from a bitter seed.”