KUSAL AND AKUSAL OF A FRIDAY FREAK! On mono-causal theory of blaming Sinhala Buddhists only
By H. L. D. Mahindapala
Kusal Perera (KP), a Senior Journalist writing a Friday Colum to the Daily Mirror and Jehan Perera, CEO of the National Peace Council. are two underdeveloped peas of the same anti-Sinhala-Buddhist pod. They can be categorised as minoritarians because they believe that the most evil force in Sri Lanka is the Sinhala-Buddhist majority. Jehan Perera’s minoritarianism is somewhat subtle and subdued because it helps him to mask his anti-Sinhala-Buddhist stance. On the other hand, Kusal Perera’s (KP) anti-majority sloganeering is somewhat loud and raucous.
His latest tirade against Sinhala-Buddhist majority (Daily Mirror – 4/10/2019) was over the top. He thinks that everything has gone wrong in Sri Lanka because of Sinhala-Buddhist majoritarianism. But if he had a better education to grasp the diverse dimensions and the multifarious factors that interact and mesh to determine the winding, zig-zagging course of history in time, he would not have written the bilge he wrote last Friday (DM – 4/10/19) blaming only the Sinhala-Buddhists for everything that has gone wrong and goes wrong in Sri Lanka. For instance, he argues that only the Sinhala-Buddhists would idolise military heroes and pick them as presidential candidates. So can he tell us how many Sinhala-Buddhists voted to elect General Eisenhower as President of Amereica after World War II? And how many Sinhala-Buddhists voted for General Sarath Fonseka in the North when he fronted up us as the presidential candidate in the election of 2005?
His piece also makes it clear that his knowledge of history is limited to what the anti-Sinhala-Buddhist propagandists had broadcast loudly before. In it he pontificates as if he is the sociological Einstein of Sri Lanka revealing profundities never uttered before. In short, to believe in a mono-causal history is to believe that a fish curry is made of only fish with no other ingredients added to it, not even a drop of water.. Obviously, he plugs the mono-causal theory because that is the only way he can demonise the majority in order to white-wash the subhuman and criminal politics of the minorities.
The spectre that is haunting contemporary global politics is the ideological and the violent conflicts between the majorities and the minorities. The rise of aggressive minorities challenging the traditional rights of the majorities is the new phenomenon that has replaced the reds-under-the-bed ideology that dominated the Cold War phase. At one end of this spectrum is Donald Trump saying that the future is with patriots and not with the globalists”. At the other end are the Kusal and Jehan Pereras, the self-proclaimed human rights activists, trying to rewrite history and the boundaries of geography for the benefit of minoritarian heroes like Prabhakarans and Zaharans. The main objective of these half-baked ideologues is to manufacture a revised political morality that would glorify and justify minority racism as an inviolable human and political right. In this whacky morality the majority is always wrong and the minority, however brutal and violative they are of the larger interests of human rights, and peaceful coexistence, is always right.
KP and his anti-Sinhala-Buddhist gang of Friday freaks who rule the Friday forums revel in trumpeting minoritarianism, however evil it may be, as a secular soteriological force. Contemporary history has proved that minoritarianism has surfaced as the most destructive ideological perversion that has generated violence to end centuries of peaceful co-existence The Sri Lankan experience provides existential proof of the failure of violent minoritarianism glorified to pursue elusive goals of the brutal megalomaniacs. Glorified minoritarianism is the oxygen that sustained and energised Prabhakarans and Zaharans. Kusal and Jehan Pereras lived off the misery caused by the minoritarian heroes. Counting cadavers left behind by the minoritarian megalomaniacs was the sole means of buttering both sides of the Pereras’ daily bread. They shed crocodile tears for the victims of minoritarian violence that failed to bring the salvation promised by Prabhakaran and Zaharan. The Eelam promised by Prabhakaran was as realistic as the 72 virgins promised to Zaharan.
It is the rationalising and the sloganeering of the Pereras that helped to prolong the war declared by the Tamil leadership in Vadukoddai in May 1976. It could have been finished earlier and saved the lives of tens of thousands if the Pereras knew how to read history and its impact on contemporary times. But they undermined their own cause and prolonged the futile war by distorting reality, or wallowing in half-truth or outright lies, or glorifying racist minoritarianism as a human right.
This also leads to another question: If racist minoritarianism is a valid right for Prabhakaran and Zaharan to pursue their violence in the hope of establishing their mono-ethnic or mono-religious enclaves why isn’t it valid for racist majoritarianism to maintain and preserve a pluralistic and democratic Sinhala-Buddhist nation with all its infirmities, of course? But the Pereras believe that human rights are only on the side of racist minoritarianism and not on racist majoritarianism, however conducive it has been to maintain a cohesive nation with diversity and pluralism throughout the greater part of its history, until G.G. Ponnambalam unleashed aggressive and provocative racism which caused the very first Sinhala-Tamil riots in Navalapitiya and neighbouring towns in June 1939. The Pereras tend to withdraw into a state of denial when it comes to facing the living proof under their noses. More than ever, in the current state of affairs, truth telling is a sine-qua-non for us to escape the prevailing despondency and find new directions. It is also vital for us to attain the highest ideals prioritised in today’s political agenda: peace and reconciliation.
Those who violate the fourth precept in the Buddhist panchseela are the enemies of peace who will drag us down further into depths of despair. After reading KP’s punditry (DM – 4/10/19) in which he liberally prescribes his kokathat thailya for the ills of the nation I could not help but come to the conclusion that his penchant for musavadas takes away the goodness and the value in his first name ”Kusal” (meritorious). He is more entitled to be called Akusal” than Kusal. (KP will agree to this, no?)
Though he pretends to be an ideological maestro firing devastating salvos against the Sinhala-Buddhists he is merely expectorating the usual anti-Sinhala-Buddhist venom that has ruined inter-ethnic relations ever since G. G. Ponnambalam triggered the first ever Sinhala-Tamil riots in Navalapitiya in June 1939 by attacking the Mahavamsa and the history of the Sinhala-Buddhists. The rest, of course, is history. There isn’t a single original thought in his tirade against the Sinhala-Buddhists that has not been bruited by the anti-Sinhala-Buddhist lobbies before
KP poses as a champion of minority rights. His idea of defending minority rights is to demonise the Sinhala-Buddhist majority. In the current new phase where reconciliation is raised to the highest level in the national political agenda KP’s cheap and threadbare tactic is disgustingly repulsive. Nor will it be a viable means of calming the shattered nerves of a traumatised nation. In the post-Prabhakaran period where the emphasis is on reconciliation, on forgiving and forgetting to pave the path for a new future, the strategy should be to move away from demonising one community to appease another.
Besides, exonerating one ethnic community and blaming the other is counter-productive for peace and reconciliation. At this stage when committed peace-makers are moving away from the dreadful past, he will have to explain how his brand of demonising the Sinhala-Buddhists can promote reconciliation. Is it not this kind of demonization that hardened the racial prejudices that exacerbated inter-ethnic relations in the past? Was it not the bloody political tactic that led to Nandikadal, via Vadukoddai? His pretentious claim to be a righteous human rights defender is exposed by his visceral bitterness against the Sinhala-Buddhist, all of which is wrapped in distorted human rights and other values.
The need of the hour is to analyse the available facts as objectively as one can in the hope of arriving at rational conclusions, however unpalatable they may be to both sides of the divide. Most of all, he must explain how he could exclude the multifarious factors that interacted with each other in a complex history, often colliding with each other, and blame only the Sinhala-Buddhists for the futile Vadukoddai War which lasted for 33 years (from 1976 declaration of War in Vadukoddai to the humiliating defeat in Nandikadal in 2009). The Vadukoddai War (aka Eelam War) was the ultimate expression of futile and fascist violence initiated by Tamil extremism.
At the root of the failure to co-exist in peace has been the mono-causal theory of blaming the Sinhala-Buddhists only when, in reality, all parties should accept responsibility for the breakdown of inter-ethnic relations. But the ideological blinkers worn by KP prevent him from viewing the broader picture in all its inter-twining complexities. Neither his fundamentals nor his arguments differ from that of C. V. Wigneswaran, the former Chief Minister of Jaffna, or Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, the legal advisor of Prabhakaran, now the fake prime minister of a non-existent Tamil government in exile. The least I can say for KP is that he seems to be somewhat of a good man fallen among a bunch of unredeemable Wigneswarans and Rudrakumarans.
I must also concede that his ability to parrot the anti-Sinhala-Buddhist jargon is excellent. If there wasn’t this thing called Sinhala-Buddhism” someone would have had to invent one for him to keep his adrenalin flowing. This obsession has obviously reduced his cognitive powers to observe faithfully the fourth principle in the panchaseela. Now let us consider a few of Kusal’s akusals (sins) one by one.
Musavada 1: He rails against Sinhala-Buddhists picking their heroes in military uniforms as presidential candidates. He says (T)his craze for ‘war heroes” …….runs deep into the primitive mindset of the urban middle-class more than into rural polity.” Is this true? What are the facts? Every rural school girl or boy walking across miles of paddy field hero-worshipped their rana viruvos” because those in the front lines consisted of their brothers and sisters, or their fellow village lads and lasses. Thousands joined the front lines from the villages and not from the urban middle-class. The urban middle-class either migrated into greener pastures abroad or stuck to safer white-collar jobs in the cities.
The urban middle-class dominated the security forces from the beginning (1949) to roughly 1970 when they were basically a ceremonial force, saluting and marching to the drum beat of Sandhurst. Besides, the urban-middle class cadres were drawn from Royal, St. Thomas’, St. Joseph’s, St. Peter’s colleges. They were accustomed more to imitate the elitist rituals of the British colonial army than fight the bloody wars in Mullativu. The war was won by the rural cadres with officers drawn from Ambalangoda and Ibbagamuwa central colleges and not from Royal, St. Thomas and Trinity colleges, In fact, the Royalists (e.g., Ranil Wickremesinghe) ridiculed the achievements of the village lads who liberated the nation from the brutalities of Tamil terrorism.
The heroic psyche generated by winning wars against enemies of the Sinhala-Buddhist state was instilled genetically in the minds of the rural polity from time immemorial The Colombian-type (like Akusal”) were happy only when our rana viruvos” were sacrificed on the human rights guillotine at Geneva. They refused to accept that ending the beastly war, under the courageous and war-winning leadership of commanders like Shavindra de Silva was, by far, the optimum means available to protect, promote and serve human rights. War was the only strategy available to those engaged pragmatically and constructively in saving human rights and peace from an intransigent war-monger like Prabhakaran. His elimination was a primary necessity for the Tamils to escape the tyrannical and fascist brutalities of the Tamil Pol Pot. Gen. Shavindra de Silva turned out to be the greatest saviour of human rights by ending the war swiftly, with the least amount of casualties, as revealed by Lord Naseby.
In fact, the anti-Sinhala-Buddhist lobbyists refused to accept that it was the ONLY means of saving human rights from a tin-pot Tamil Pol Pot who intransigently rejected all peace offers, including those with international guarantees. These theoretical humbugs posed pompously as a new breed of pundits who believed that they were superior moralists by appeasing an armed tyrant who was guilty of killing more of his own people than the others put together. When the futile palliatives of peace-mudalalis in NGOs failed to cure the evils of violent fascism of the Tamil minority the only option was a surgical operations to save human rights by restoring peace. Gen. Shavindra de Silva’s surgical operation that cut across the broad terrain from the West to the East was a brilliant tactical manoeuvre that liberated the nation, particularly the Tamils from oppressive, Pol Potists fascism
Musavada 2: KP accuses the Sinhala Buddhists of dressing up ‘patriotism’ in military uniform to win elections. In short,” he concludes, the UNP and the JVP helped militarise the social mindset within Sinhala Buddhist ‘patriotism.” According to the logic of Akusal”, it is ingrained in the Sinhala-Buddhist mindset to go for Sinhala-Buddhist militarism. They can think of no other alternative, according to him. But the historical facts prove that the intransigent and arrogant Tamil leadership rejected offers for peaceful co-existence from the thirties. When G. G. Ponnambalam demanded 50 – 50 the Sinhala-Buddhist government of the day offered him 46 – 54. Twelve per cent minority of Tamils getting a power share of 46 from a Sinhala-Buddhist population (75%) is a unique gift that the Tamils never gave their oppressed minority who were refused even water from their upper-caste wells. Ponnambalam rejected it like the way Prabhakaran rejected Chandrika Kumaratunga’s and Ranil Wickremesinghe’s offers to appease him.
Besides.TNA and the other minorities backed Sarath Fonseka to the hilt in the 2005 election. So in voting for Sarath Fonseka was the TNA dressing up Tamil nationalism in Sinhala-Buddhist uniform? Most of all, when the Jaffna Tamils were crawling before Prabhakaran, without any right to dissent, weren’t they dressing up their patriotism in Tamil military uniform?
So how and where would the wonky theories and logic of KP fit into the historical realities? Does he think that he can serve the minority rights by demonising the Sinhala-Buddhists? Does he think that he can serve human rights with his musavadas?
I don’t want to exceed the space limit by going into his other musavadas on 3. devolution, 4. the private sector and 5. his bleeding concerns for the Sinhala-Buddhist peasantry. I shall stop at this point hoping that the Editor, Daily Mirror will give us space to continue the debate under the vaunted principle of the right of reply pursued religiously by the Times Group.